The Good Life
I am in a good place right now, and I don’t just mean my couch, my living room, my house, Cypress, Texas, America, Earth or the Solar System. I mean that I feel very content with my life right now—that doesn’t mean that I am standing still, but I am further seeking the life that God offers me. I am seeking to live more and more as who I want to be and who God has made me to be: a minister to my family and friends and others and an artist of many disciplines. My ideal life is one where I am ever in fellowship with people and helping others grow while growing as an artist and constantly making and creating things. I don’t think that I will ever have that “perfect” life, and that’s a good thing. I need to be content but also keep pursuing whatever God has on the horizon.
Here are some tools in my life that have been very helpful to me right now—and maybe they will help you live the life God has given you.
- Meeting with friends– I am a person that can go without months without seeing a friend but still be ready to pick things back up when the time comes. Unfortunately, sometimes relationships fizzle out and dragons fly away. So I need to be intentional about the people I want in my life and making sure I see them on a regular or semi-regular basis, talking and playing and enjoying each other’s company, egging on each other to keep growing in God’s grace and will. I also know that when I don’t have people to count on and meet, I fall into isolation and loneliness. Sometimes it’s hard to make the plans or follow through, but in the end, whenever I spend time with a good friend, I know it’s so worth it. “How sweet this presence, family, friends—Like oil running down our heads” An Odd Liturgy based on Psalm 133
- Being part of a small group– In high school I participated in a small Bible Study and fellowship group. My freshman year of college, I found another group to join. After that, however, I have had trouble finding and being part of group that meets regularly and grows together. But I have made myself participate in the Cypress Bible Church College and Career Crossroads Ministry Impact Group (enough titles there, right?). And when I say made myself, it’s kind of like making myself order a salad at a restaurant. Often I don’t want a salad, but I know it’s good for me. And when I get it, I enjoy it. But I have to make the step and just do it. The community I have found is just beginning to grow, but I have already reaped great blessings from the people there. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25
- Meeting with mentors– I have a few people that I highly regard, and there are a few of them that I get to see and talk with once a week or once every couple of weeks. It’s so nice to have people that have gone down the road ahead of you and can share some wisdom. I am ever grateful for my friends and small group and I am especially grateful for the people who have chosen to pour into me thoughts, encouragements, opportunities, and love—They help remind me what I want to do with my life and model who I want to be. “Every Timothy needs a Paul; Every Ruth needs a Naomi.” – Pastor Aaron Williams
- Seeing a counselor– I have started to see a counselor after a year or so of knowing I should. I’ve struggled with depression for 1-2 years now, and it’s an ongoing thing. It’s not just dissatisfaction with my surroundings or my actions or my past or future, but a kind of cloud that hangs around and is always ready to trap me in a fog. I have to be ever vigilant to not let that happen, and if it does, to still respond with character and strength and seek God’s will through it. All these things in my life that I’m doing and pursuing are not just so I can be proud of myself or feel productive (though they are important), but they are to avoid falling into the hidden traps in the days/weeks/months ahead: depression, grief, isolation, lethargy, sloth, acedia, waste, etc. I must work to stay on the right path or else I will veer away to where God and I don’t want me to go (unless He has some unknown plan in the future). Anyway, I meet with the counselor, we talk about my life and how I can keep pursuing that life that I feel I am called to live. It’s a humbling thing, and I am very grateful for someone else’s help and perspective along the way. “Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.” Charles Spurgeon
- Ministering with youth– I have been called to go into children’s and youth ministry (don’t ask me which one—I don’t know!). But I have to realize that’s not something that will happen someday in the future, but that I must do that now as well. So I have committed to help with the high school sophomore guys fellowship group and I am excited to see where that goes. I also would like to continue helping with the junior high students at Cypress Bible, but I’m not sure exactly where my role might be. The heart of my ministry, though, is building relationships, and I’m hoping (especially once this THESIS is DONE) I can meet with students after school, for lunch, on the weekend and bond with them and help them however I can. I am not a people person- I am a person-person. I prefer one-on-one to a crowd. I was greatly influenced by older people that poured into my life and I hope to continue to pour out grace and truth into another young person’s life. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
- Creating my ideas– I have so many ideas—that’s not boasting or anything, it’s just the truth. I am constantly thinking of some new toy, art piece, sculpture, story, sermon, song, recipe, joke, question, article, study, scene, script, design, invention, concept, ad, movie, and more. I wish I could simply be a watercolor artist and merely pursue that discipline—but I feel pulled in so many directions. I have countless journals and bits of paper with doodles or phrases scribbled in the margins. And most of those ideas are never going to leave that paper—but at least they have left my mind. Just writing or drawing down my ideas is a freeing process—but when I can actually bring them to life, that’s a thrill. Writing a song AND adding music, thinking of a sermon AND constructing it, designing a T-Shirt AND seeing it on Hanes Heavyweight—it’s so rewarding. Not just for me (though sometimes I create just for the joy of creating), but also so I can bless others with things that originated in my heart or soul and were crafted or constructed by my hands. I love to create, and when I create, I am more the man God made me to be. “The vocation for you is the one in which your deep gladness and the world’s deep need meet — something that not only makes you happy but that the world needs to have done.” Frederick Buechner
- One new thing a day– Too often I look back on a day, a week, a month, a year—and wonder, “What did I do?” I waste time and waste days and when I look back that’s all I see: waste. So now I have committed (and have a friend who shares my commitment) to do one new thing every day. Now, that’s not like “Watch a new episode of The Office” or “Try a new menu item at Sonic,” but it’s also not “Go Skydiving.” What I want is something special, something new that I can write down in my planner so that when I look back on January 4th, I know that was the day that I went and had lunch with Bigfoot. I can reconnect with those experiences and know that I didn’t just waste a gift of a day. I’ve been doing good so far, being able to find at least one new thing—sometimes I’m just making something up, but often I find special things to make each day… special. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
- One person a day– I’ve been wanting to do this for YEARS—and now it’s happening. You see, I have always wondered, “What are the two main days we associate with a person?” Think about it for a second. If you said, “Their birthday and the day they die” then YAY! That’s what I was thinking. If you said something else, well, you could be right. But let’s assume you’re not so I can make my point. The thing about a birthday is that a person is flooded with greetings and messages and gifts for something that they had no control over—it’s just the day they… well, you know. And also when there are 200 hundred Facebook birthday messages, each one is slightly less cool because you have so many. And when a person dies, we reminisce and say all the things that we loved about them—and often say how we wish that we had said those things to our dearly departed. What if we said all that we’ve been wanting to say about the life they have lived BEFORE they died and on a day other than their BIRTHDAY? My idea is Life Day- Pick the people in your life and give them a day on the calendar. On that day, love on them. Send them a message, get lunch with them, celebrate your relationship and their life. I’ve been doing this for a couple weeks and, man, it’s such a blessing to bless other people. “I believe in person to person. Every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the one person in the world at that moment.” Mother Teresa
I have three other things—Get enough sleep, Get out of the house, and Keep a planner, but that’s pretty basic (and I don’t want to write more). But my dream is that you can be encouraged from these ramblings, that you can empathize with my struggles and find hope in my successes.
May you find the life to which you have been called—and may you live it to the full. Blessings.