event planning

Our church’s English ministry ran a drive-thru ministry event.

Every year churches around the country gather the children to put on festivities that include worship, craft, snacks and great skits and musical. At our church, it’s a spectacle like you’ve never seen.

The budget, the manpower and the sheer planning that goes into every little detail is immense and I took a lot of pride in planning out every little detail.

This was first year that I wasn’t in charge. This was the first year that I didn’t insert myself into any role or responsibilities.

I’m so happy that it went well. Really happy for the kids that got to experience a taste of normal.

I didn’t want to show it so I had to retreat into my office many times but I was so sad.

Seeing the volunteers that I trained over the years, watching them pour themselves into a system and a process that I was so used to developing.

Maybe this is what letting go looks like.

I see the faces and I remember their stories.

I miss being at the peak of my powers – I miss pushing the group – squeezing as much energy out of them as I can and bending them to my will.

To exhaust ourselves for the joy of the children.

We want to bring the joy because when there is joy – they are blessed, and in their blessing, God is glorified.

For the first time in nine years, I wasn’t a part of that.

It really felt like a part of me died today. It had to be put to rest.

I’m no longer that pastor anymore. It’s no longer my role.

I even got comments today – people asking me if I missed it.

People seeing me get excited and commenting that I should move on.

I grieved a part of me that died today and I didn’t enjoy it.

But still I’m happy for my church and happy for my people.

This one hurts, but I’m still thankful

cheers

walking with crutches

There are clear moments that define our proverbial crutch

Crutch (as defined my Merriam-Webster)
a: a support typically fitting under the armpit for use by the disabled in walking
b: a source or means of support or assistance that is relied on heavily or excessively

So here’s the thing..

How is something that’s supposed to be a temporary measure become a lifelong part of our walk?

Continuing thought – if we’re on crutches, if we’re still using a crutch, are we truly walking?

Is there ever hope of true recovery?

Walking is an endeavor that requires repetition and patience. You have to give it time to make the most of the effort and the energy that you’re investing. Now am I really talking about the physical act of walking or am I talking about figuratively?

I’m not sure if it’s fair to speak in terms of what should or should not be it’s unfortunate that through the course of an average human life, our individuality is shaped by these crutches.

A figurative (yes I was speaking figuratively) crutch is technically a personal coping mechanism.

We form and develop these crutches to help us face life.

And when the moment has passed and we are faced with the decision to let go of our crutch – more often than not – we choose not to let go of these crutches.

But I miss walking normally. It might be a pipe dream but I actually yearn to walk through life crutch free.

Is this reasonable? Is this something that I can reasonable seek to do? To walk through life without my crutch?

I hate feeling useless. Function is king. And often I find myself without function.

I think my crutch is no different than what others go through at regular intervals. We’re all creatures of habit learning to cope through one stressful moment to another. Maybe it’s true what people say about clowns like me. I am an Enneagram 3 – that means I am fucking terrible at resting. Taking the time to rest, doest give me rest. Is this really messed up?

For me, rest is merely respite that preps me for the next job, the next challenge, and the next obstacle. It gives me so much stress because I can’t seem let go of this need to be useful. And it’s crazy because my crutch manifests in so many different ways.

When I publicly declare that I want to do something, but I end up failing.

When I’m proven wrong or someone shows me up in a group discussion.

It feels like, sometimes my need to be in control grows out of really hidden places in my heart and I end never being satisfied with how things turn out.

My thoughts are muddled so I’ll stop it here for today but I’m left wondering with another thought: does healthy walking even exist?

cheers

lacking

What is the value of feeling fulfilled?

Is it worth your everything?

I’ve been feeling the highs and lows of my emotions in rather sharp turns and nothing has been helping to abate these swings. It’s a bit uncomfortable at times.

But that’s my word lately.

I feel like I am.. I feel.. lacking

It’s a lifelong obsession with utility. Existence, for me, is predicated by function. Now I know this sounds harsh and I guess I’m learning to soften my stance on this but I’m typing this little disclaimer to let y’all know that I am aware of what I’m about to say but I stand true to myself here: “If you are not functioning the way you’re supposed to, are you really existing?”

Physically you can exist but without functioning properly – what are you?

Yeah I can go on an infinite loop with circular reasoning about how I’ve been feeling but it’s much more than that. Excuse me for just five seconds: but sometimes there are just raw moments where I feel so fucking useless.

I always say eight years I suffered, eight years I wandered the wilderness.

Maybe I never a left. What a joke.

I think there’s nothing worse than knowing that at a visceral level, when you gave it your absolute everything and to still come up short: it’s just the worst.

lacking. I lack

Hey Google. What are synonyms for lacking?

Google: flawed, inadequate, incomplete.

You know, in all honesty, my life is perfectly adequate – I always have something to be thankful and so thinking out loud like this and on this format gives me pause – I have a routine and habits and just things that I do and I like to do those things at certain times and intervals. But sometimes, I just can’t help but feel helpless because no matter how much discipline I strive to implement into my life, I’ve never truly, and I don’t think anyone else really has, ever had a handle on my/our emotions.

So back to my earlier point.

What does it mean to be fulfilled?

What is the value, in this day and age, of being fulfilled?

Is it worth your everything?

I feel lacking to the point that it cripples me emotionally.

Because, to me, there’s nothing that makes me feel more worthless than when I feel like I come up short.

It’s the same sob story, whether it was 1999 or 2020.

I remember back in the fifth grade, I lined up in my grade school cafeteria for the snack corner where you can bring your hard-earned allowance to splurge on small snack items after you were done with the “bonk” (Yonkers, NY slang for school food). It was for a small plastic wrapped chocolate chip cookie. It cost a quarter for one cookie. I saved up as many coins as I could and bravely lined up for my turn. The heavy anticipation of buying a snack for the first time turned into a small moment that spoke volumes. I came up 3 pennies short of 25 cents. Coming up short wasn’t the problem, it was the fuck-faces behind me. Fellow 9 and 10 year olds that started to make jokes at my expense. 21 years later I never lived down that shame. Especially in Yonkers, there was no room for weaklings. Nassau Road, PS32, Mark Twain Middle School, Museum Middle School – it was a crazy vicious 3.5 years of getting shit on by kids that lived next to you. I got jumped and mugged, chased down the street, fought my way and lost a lot of fights. I went hungry too many times because I was too soft to fight and defend myself over my lunch money. Those 3-4 years in NY were some of the worst in my life. Because I always felt lacking – I had to learn to hide it.

I used to tell these stories proudly, tbh with you. (if you’re still reading up this point)

I used to brag about being in fights, running with gangs, getting mugged, mugging my first initiation target – getting tough because of my time in NY. I used to say: this is real life – if you don’t want to get jumped then fight back and fight back hard. Trust no one because no one is going to help you. Even your friends will watch you bleed.

Turns out I wasn’t as tough as I thought I was.

Turns out, 20 years later, I’m still hiding.

I’m still reaching for that chocolate chip cookie and everyday I’m told that I’m a few pennies short.

What is the value of feeling fulfilled?

For some. For me.

It’s everything.

2011, I applied to my second choice for seminary at the last possible moment after being rejected from the first school and I got in. I worked into the summer before quitting my job and then moving into the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. Glenside, PA. It’s quiet, the roads suck but the people are nice. I think the fantastic beer helps. But God-forbid that pastors drink right?

Everyone was so happy for me and everyone was so encouraging. I was so sure that I made the right choice and I was on my way to greatness. Everything was going to be great and from here on out it’s just a step by step journey to ministry, family and the rest of my life.

Boy I had it fucking wrong.

2011 to 2019 was another stretch of being reminded that I am lacking in every aspect of my life.

Studying always left me feeling lacking. My friends were dating, and getting married and moving up in jobs and really making their way through and getting a great start to the rest of their lives. I was stuck doing the same thing every week and every week I was told that I wasn’t good enough in school and that I wasn’t good enough in church. Always I felt this way. Always I believed it. Even now a part of me thinks this is true.

I hated feeling this way but I got so used to it.

Those eight years really shaped the way I do and view ministry.

And for the past year, I really thought that I got over it. I’ve finally moved past that season of my life.

I finally felt like I arrived to the next step.

ok – so boohoo – my life is sad – it’s so depressing – yeah yeah yeah

This is where it gets really tough. So if you’re still with me then we can really get to the meat and potatoes of the matter.

I’ve always had this preoccupation that I need to push myself to my limits because I’ve never felt that I was good enough for almost everything that I have. I like to make it look easy and I like to come off as chill and relaxed but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m fucking insane when it comes to my work. But by now that you know what I do for a living. Jesus means a lot to me. It’s not a matter of whether or not I believe – it’s a matter of understanding that it will take me a lifetime to realize God’s calling for me.

God has called me, and yes God has called you, to be fulfilled in Him.

Through His Son, Jesus, there is fulfillment in our creator.

It’s not that I have a hard time believing it’s true, I feel like I’m having a hard time believing that this is true for me.

Because of how little I am able to trust God sometimes.

You know, a lot of times, I feel that my view of myself is so low that I’m convinced that this is how God must view me too. Ultimately there are way too many moments where I feel like a try-hard that will always come up short.

This is hard because I know the answer from Scriptures but I’m just being a hard-headed ass that’s refusing to believe and trust.

God’s grace is sufficient and real. I just choose to still work for it.

So I’m okay. I really am.

I did cry a couple times writing this and I still don’t “feel” good after writing all of this down.

But I did learn a few things organizing my thoughts for the past few weeks for this post.

Shame is deeply rooted to personal experiences but we need to see it for what it really is – shame is deeply personal but rooted in self-centeredness – I have in the past, but now I see that I shouldn’t have let shame bring me down deeper into emotional conclusions that are self-destructive. A lot of times, I’m just doing it to myself. Second, I need to really stop projecting my shame onto others. My shame is deeply rooted and personal – meaning others don’t share in my shame so I need to not only guard myself from sinking into my emotions but I need to guard my heart and others from doing the same thing. Shame is terribly wicked but often the wounds and scars are self-inflicted.

Shame is a choice. As tough as it might be, it was actually up to me and it was my choice. I could’ve chosen to ignore those fuckers on that snack line. But because I care too much about what others think – I chose to be affected by their words. Shame is choice – ignore those beautifully stupid people – life is too short to always buy up bullshit.

God sees the best in you. Okay so this one is tough but this is where I am at the moment. God has already seen the best in me and believes the best about me because He created me so he knows me best. My hangups and difficulties in trusting God are all on me. I’m still learning to practice this and to believe this for myself but often, we need to learn to get out of our own way.

Surrender. Our problems and issues are there because we hold on to them. Clean and simple. Our reasons for holding on problems and issues are complicated and wildly complex but the solution is very simple. (I said the solution is simple, I didn’t say following through on that solution was simple) – we need to surrender – we need to let it go. (fuck, is anybody else thinking of the Disney movie Frozen?)

Hmm

I’m gonna try but this will take me some time.

I think I should try letting go of that cookie now.

cheers