When you have nothing to say, write anyway…

Anothing-to-say"Most of us have two lives.  The life we live, and the unlived life within us.
"  Steven Pressfield

"Give us what you got!"  Steven Pressfield

Ok, I have nothing for you today.  And if I'm going to take Pressfield's words seriously, I think I know why.  Yes, life has been MORE than hectic lately.  I was sitting, sipping a glass of Merlot last night with Vicky and I was double tracking…listening to her and participating in our conversation but something more was happening.  I was taking an inventory of how I've been disconnected from so many people and things that give me life of late.  I haven't had some life giving conversations with key people in my family…my daughter, son and dad.  I haven't checked in with some people I love because I never walk away from some time with them without feeling challenged and encouraged.  I looked at my bookshelf and missed reading some books that are actually enjoyable and disconnected from anything that has to do with work.  I've been lax at playing guitar lately…just keeping up with weekly demands.  So, there is that "unlived" life…the one I was hoping to live but didn't have have time to live it.

There was a pivotal moment last week where I received a phone call telling me that a dear friend had died of a heart attack.  I had meant to drop by and see her last week…in fact, it was the day before she passed away that I had the inclination.  But life was on a "dead run"…I missed the opportunity to live life because I was doing, doing, doing and doing some more.  I've been taking more and more words to heart of how to live the unlived life and you know the only conclusion I've come to – you (I) have to SLOW DOWN.  And truthfully, I don't know how to do it.  I'm a "white knuckle" guy who feels alive when the pressure is on.  But let me tell you something…I used to appear to be at my best when the pace was high and demands were surfacing my gifts humming at productive RPMs.  But now…all the intensity is doing is robbing me of life moments and making me resentful.  So, I'm doing what Pressfield also said above,  giving you (and me) what I got.  I really don't have much to say…you would think I would have realized that before I have written down over 400 words as of this moment.  But I really don't…I have my stack on my desk staring me in the face…I have my "to do" list looking ominously at me as it sits idlely by my printer and I have a TON of equipment on a table across the room that is shouting "install me."  I have classes to grade, courses to prepare, messages to write and people to see.  All the stuff is robbing me of life…OR is life in the midst of all this "stuff?"  You know, I'm going to try to pray this through today.  I'm going to do my best to figure it out as I go and maybe, just maybe, I'll get to the end of the day and say that life was "lived."  

So, how's that for having nothing to say…

Gone fishing…literally! And I’m not kiddin…

Ahandicap-red-gone-fishingOk, so this will be a bit humorous to those who really know me…not that I HATE fishing.  It is just that I don't see the point of it when you can go to the store and buy a perfectly good fish without having to get your hands all slimmy with fish juices and bait, having cuts all over your hands because you don't know how to work with hooks properly, going financially broke because you have wasted yards and yards of fishing line because you don't know what the heck you are doing.  It just seems easier to go to the store and buy some fish!  Oh, and did I tell you that I really don't like eating fish?  No comment. 

So a buddy of mine (or two) really really really wants me to go fishing.  I'm joining Captain Tom (of Excel Fishing Charters, who is simply a great guy) and a few other dudes boating off the Washington coast in DEEP waters looking for salmon.  Yep, here's me buying my fishing license (for a year, mind you) and headed out…yep, going fishin!  See ya in a few…

“Footprints…being dragged by Jesus”

PhotoI saw this the other day…truthfully, I can't remember who sent it to me.  Maybe a FB post, I don't know.  All I can say is that it IMMEDIATELY struck me as truthful, at least in my experience.  I have always loved the footprints poem.  In fact, there have been countless websites actually dedicated to its personal impact.  Here's the main website for the poem.  I've read the poem at funerals and I'm sure if I made a sweeping review of talks I've given, I'd come up with a few times that I've used it as an illustration.  But I like this one better…why?  Because it is true.  I don't find many times in my life where I am "humble" enough to have the Lord carry me.  Rather, I'm the "he needs to be dragged" type.  Yep, I'm self-directed…narcissistic…self-assured and independent.  I need a good dose of brokeness occasionally.  And you know what, you do too!  Maybe if we all admitted that we need to be dragged into God's direction, His will, obedience and submissiveness to His voice or even that we have to be "dragged" or forced sometimes JUST TO OPEN OUR HEARTS AND HANDS to receive a gift of His love we would be better off.  I think we would…I know I have to be dragged around at times in my life…don't you?

A 6-year old post “resurrects”…question, should it have stayed dead?

Ashocked_faceNO – don't do it!  Don't you dare!  Ok, I admit it…sometimes the mind is a bit fuzzy.  I look at my bookmarks at the top of my browser and think, "man, it's Monday…what am I going to post?"  That happened today.  But HERE IT IS to save the day!  I thought I would post one of MY favorite posts from when I first started blogging over 6 years ago (that would be a grand total of 956 posts).  I've been talking with my faith community about living in the "paradox" of BEING and DOING.  We aren't "saved" by doing…but our doing flows out of our being or identity.  So, here's a bit of encouragement from the past to DO and BE!

I've taken a vacation from reading the bible…to live it! - Blog Post June 2006

I know what’s happening…you just let your eyes scan over that title of this post and immediately you are probably thinking, “another one bites the dust”.  I came to the conclusion that I needed a break from reading the bible because I was pride-ing myself on how good I was for being such a great “student” of the Word.  A long time ago, a friend of mine told me that he wished he knew just a fraction of the biblical passages and truths that I had forgotten.  Remembering how I felt at the time when he said that to me still brings me a “shiver” down my proverbial spine.  Understand, over the years, I’ve been a huge advocate and practitioner of bible reading disciplines…The One Year Bible (I read that 7 years in a row, whoopee), Quiet times (don’t even get me started), one chapter of OT/NT/and a psalm a day, the lectionary (both the Protestant and Roman versions I might add), you name it…I’ve probably done it with passion and purpose.  In fact, I have a collection of bibles that fill about two entire bookshelves in my home….most of them, boldly and extensively highlighted with pithy and insightful notes in margins (of course).  I think I know quite a bit about the bible…I’ve taught scores of bible studies over the years; preached thousands of sermons; written countless articles and papers on it; I’m even a biblical studies professor for God’s sake!  You get the point. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am spoiled rotten with the text.  Like a kid with his/her hand in the cookie jar…I can’t get enough…I can’t consume enough, to a point.  Sing it with me, “the B-I-B-L-E yes that’s the book for me”.  But remember, I’m spoiled.  I’m holding on to the text with a truckload of pride and carrying it around like a trophy…but something is missing.  It is like having a fancy fishing rod for fishing and never having used it to catch a trout.  It is like saying you are an expert in relating and leading teenagers without ever having a child who grew to be a teenager in your own home.  It is like saying you have the keys and title to a Porsche and bragging to your friends that you drive an expensive sports car without ever having taken it out of the driveway.  It’s like playing “air guitar”…it is just not the real thing, is it?

The real issue is NOT just reading the text…it’s living it, isn’t it?  I’ve been thinking lately about a few things – the Disciples of Jesus never carried a bible…millions of followers of Jesus over the centuries never had a bible on their shelf…never knew the differences between the KJV or NASB or NIV or ASB or NASA or UK or whatever…millions of Christ-followers over the centuries never heard of a quiet time…millions of Christ followers died a martyrs death having only heard a select passage or two during their entire lives.  So, these things got me thinking…what’s the difference between how they lived out the Kingdom and how I experience God?  The real issue is not just reading and knowing the text…if you’re in the boat, you have to get out the oars and row, right?  Nice to be in the boat but without rowing, you’re just dead in the water.  I know for me, any many other followers of Jesus, we are pretty happy about simply being “in” the Word…maybe we are to “into” it and not living it as we could.  Mmmm…

So, I’m taking a vacation from reading the bible…to try to live what I’ve read.  The issue isn’t knowing the Word; it is living and becoming the Word to the world.  You know what I mean?