Carl’s Bad Caverns

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Carl is the man who lives in his car; he works at the Flying J, so he does have a job, which is nice. I don’t know yet why Carl chooses to live in his car; we still haven’t met. I won’t knock on his door because I’m still a little scared. Why? I don’t know; all my fears that have been exposed over the last month have been generally rooted in the irrational, which further exposes a lack of trust in God. When that realization occurs does anyone ever feel good about themselves or happy with how they’re performing?

That’s why Carl’s cave is so bad. Whether or not you’re living in a cave or a car or a comfortable apartment alone, unsure how you got where you are, feeling like you’ve forgotten how to obey God or what He asks of you, when you feel like you’ve been sent off into the dark you feel out of control.

Once when I was little, I went to the Liberty Science Center; I recall venturing into a “touch tunnel” with my brother. It was pitch black and you had to feel your way out of the maze. My brother made it out; I did not, at least not right away. I did manage to plant myself into someone’s large posterior, and shortly after I cried. Thankfully my brother came back in to get me and I saw the light of day and never went into a “touch tunnel” again. (A similar incident did happen again in a mirror maze though, of also which I never went into again)

What makes these experiences so awful was the point in time, when I accepted I no longer could get myself out of these circumstances. I came to a place where I said I can’t do it and my only way out is if someone else came to help, but what if no one did? Now that I am older, 25, I realize I don’t need to pay an entrance fee to get lost in a maze of any kind. I also am equipped with a promise in scripture that says: God will never leave or forsake me, the psalms tell us in some instances He comes to our aid quickly, but we’d also be ignorant if we overlooked the times when God provides the ones He loves with an opportunity to find joy in times of uncertainty no matter how prolonged. You may wonder; what joy is to be had?cave 2

Fortunately, there is joy to be had and the joy is in Christ Himself. The world, however does not paint Jesus as the joy to be had. They find their victories elsewhere typically in immorality. Even as a Christian I think about all the other things that would bring me joy, but I’ve seen in the midst of those things being unrealized that Christ who is eternal must be the greatest source of joy and if my affections are fixed on Him, I won’t be disappointed. There are pleasures at His right hand forevermore and even though His hand is really big and is everywhere, to receive what is from Him can be difficult. But why?…

Intimacy When No One is Around

car houseYou’ve probably heard it said, that your truest self is revealed when no one else is watching. Who you are behind closed doors is the better representation of you than who you are around everyone else. Whether or not I agree with that today; I am learning about myself while living alone. I’ve learned that if I am left completely to myself unaware of the presence of God or anyone else, I can barely function. I’ve also learned that who I am behind closed doors is more inconsistent than who I am before people. In a moment I can be lost in joy and love for God and the next I can turn on him.

The easy conclusion as to how this happens is my immaturity in Christ/ being led by emotions. I’m willing to volunteer myself for those labels because pretending to be better than I am would get me nowhere. What I’ve also learned is that the battle waging in my mind is largely of my own construction. It’s scary when there is no one left to blame. Yet it’s encouraging because when I am alone and I am my only obstacle, I see that I am not too big for God to deal with. It makes me thankful to know that the Holy Spirit never leaves or forsakes me even when I find it difficult to be aware of His presence. But things could be worse.

I know of a man who lives in the parking lot of Denny’s in his broken down Cutlass. I only know that he is man because someone told me he is pudgy and sits in there on his lap top. I only know someone lives there because the car never moves and there are towels hanging over all the windows as curtains. One thing I am not sure about is whether or not he is currently alive; I literally have never seen him, only his car every morning when I go to work. It makes me sad because I wonder what intimacy for him looks/looked like. He’s chosen a life of isolation living out of his car rather than going to a shelter or anywhere for help, yet not completely isolated because he lives in the parking lot of a Denny’s that is busy throughout the day.

Proverbs 18:1 says “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.” This week I’ve tried to be active in not being isolated, though I’ve felt anxious and lonely. Thankfully, I have a lot of people close to me that care about me. I also hold dear remembering how God was faithful to Jeff when he was in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota and why we started this blog to this blog to begin with. Ultimately, I’m reminded that my contentment can only come from being and feeling near to God. The book of James tells us to draw near to Him so I already have the invitation. What responding to it looks like, I’m still figuring out.

Silver Linings Bad Attitudes and How He Takes it

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Two weeks ago felt like a reminder of what it’s like to be helpless to control anything including myself. Every now and again I do this thing with my moods where I’m not cognizant of my attitude. I get so buried by circumstance, I think very little about my disposition. As a result my moods are more dictated by circumstance than normal. A little blessing will make me dishonest with a momentary burst of excitement or a little piece of bad news will crush me like I suffered a major tragedy. Yet I’m grateful; God doesn’t like me to be in despair or become too hopeful in things not founded in Him.

Then I read this verse in Hebrews 13:5: Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. It awakened me to something. Being content with what you have is essentially the solution to everything. If you’re content with what you have, you aren’t in need and when you aren’t in need you feel free to give. To choose to act on that feeling is what makes one generous. To choose to act without a feeling or to give when you’re in lack means you either have given up or are super generous.

I’ve also learned though, ironically, that God’s generosity many times is displayed in what He takes away. God pruning His people is a good example; He takes away what is lacking so it becomes more fruitful. He takes on our burdens shares them so they feel lighter. It’s like receiving a “gift” that you didn’t really want, but then you found relief that someone you know needs one of these things that you had no use for. At this stage I’m hoping to be grateful that He is taking my burdens and already took my sins and the sins of the world. Sometimes the most generous thing can be taking from somebody else.

My grandma is a good example of this. She doesn’t want more stuff from me, not cards cassettes or candy. She wants me to stay at her house and eat her food. She wants to relieve my burdens maybe even if it’s just because she doesn’t want to think about hers. Maybe that’s how God feels sometimes. The world is lost and corrupt and needs a savior, all our movies and best stories tell us this, but what kind of powerful and intimate God comes so close to say, “I’ll take the thing that upsets you, that hurts you, even though it’s a small thing; I’m willing to bear it. I’m willing to bear the big things too, the big things you’ve messed up and the deep hurts of people around you, but even this little one appears too much for you now.”

I think today I’m going to let God love me by taking the good and the bad I have to offer him. I’ll let Him do the taking and be content in what I have and whatever is left over.