The Compliment I Never Forgot

The year was 2010, and I was on a mission trip that went to Kansas City during Spring Break. Our small group of college students was serving in the Kansas City Rescue Mission, assisting with preparing food and serving those who came to the soup kitchen, as well as basic building and cleanup projects. My brain tends to remember general ideas, and so I don’t recall details from the majority of the trip. However, there is one moment that stands out clearly, and I will never forget it. 

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The Day the World Changed: A September 11 Remembrance

Note: Below are my memories from September 11. This post contains images of the attacks and quotes from survivors, which may be sensitive for some people. Sources are listed at the end of the post.

I was 12 years old on September 11, 2001. It was a day that changed the world for so many of us. Some memories are indelibly etched on my mind, while others are lost to the muddle of time. I do recall that it was a beautiful clear day, even in Kansas.

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Our rest lies in looking to the Lord, not to ourselves.

– Watchman Nee (Ni Tuosheng)

Having grown up in the church, I’ve been familiar most of my life with the concept of “resting in God.” One of my favorite passages is Psalm 46, which includes the words “Be still, and know that I am God.” Recently, however, I’ve been struck by just how many Christians (including myself) live lives that really don’t look much different than anyone else. In this case, I’m not referring to the things we normally suspect (such as entertainment choices), but rather the very essence of our lives. Few of us have the kind of joy, peace, and assurance experienced by some of the Biblical saints or very rare people you might know personally.

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The Weight of a Life

Have you ever stopped and thought about the incredible number of sensations and experiences you have, even in a single day? Our brains filter out the majority of the information we take in each day, because most of it is unimportant and would only overwhelm us. But even those sensations and thoughts we ARE conscious of in a given moment are rarely committed to memory.  At the end of each day, you can probably recall most major events of the day. Those with better memory might be able to recall many of their feelings and thoughts, and notable sensations (feeling comfortable, cold, in pain, et cetera)… but there are still innumerable experiences that are never recalled.

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Hope in Pain

Pain has its own noble joy, when it starts a strong consciousness of life, from a stagnant one.

John Sterling

Several months ago I began reading a great deal of C.S. Lewis. I had become fascinated with his unique way of putting old ideas in “new clothes,” to make you take a second look at things that you thought you already knew. About a month ago, I read his book The Problem of Pain, in which he attempts to answer the philosophical issues that arise when we live in a world full of pain, yet claim to believe in a loving, good, and all-powerful God. Honestly, I can’t say that I understand philosophy well enough to know if he makes a very compelling case or not. I’m certainly not going to try and tell you, dear reader, that I have it figured out.

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What if Failure IS an Option?

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

Most of us have heard the saying, “Failure is NOT an option.” It seems to fit well with some kind of spy story, where the character is warned of the dire consequences of not completing their mission. The saying has seeped into our popular culture, and for many it becomes a kind of mantra or goal.

This sounds like a worthy goal on the surface, and there are some cases where it’s true (high-stakes things like space missions or cloak-and-dagger spy work come to mind). There’s a problem though, particularly for those of us that tend to be more perfectionist. For many perfectionists, failure can tend to mean, “Anything that doesn’t live up to my (often impossibly high) standards.”

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Are You Too Distracted to Reflect?

A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful we find others spending it for us. . . . It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, “Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?” . . . If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one’s time—the stuff of life.

Carl Sandburg

In my previous post, I introduced the idea of examining your life in an effort to find areas where fear may be having a very negative impact. It’s a necessary starting point for anyone who wants to make a change in their life, whether fear-related or not.

Here’s the problem: most of us, living in our fast-paced, busy, stressed-out lives, don’t have the time or mental energy to commit to really thinking about what we’re doing with our lives. It’s really a cultural phenomenon: as our lives become more and more inundated with technology along with our responsibilities, we feel greater pressure to fill every waking moment with something. Lots of people have written a great deal about this already: for example, on the glorification of busyness here, and on being overworked here (by Chuck Norris, no less), so I won’t go too much into that.

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Reclaiming a Life from Fear

I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.

Nadia Comaneci

You might think: Who in the world is Nadia Comaneci, and why is she headlining your blog? Glad you asked! Nadia is a former gymnast who competed in the Olympic games in 1976 and 1980. This girl from small-town Romania was the very first Olympian to ever earn a “Perfect Ten” on a gymnastics routine (uneven bars, Montreal, 1976). As if that wasn’t enough of an achievement, she went on to earn SIX MORE perfect scores in 1976, two more in 1980, and a total of nine Olympic medals.

Source: By Unknown (Comitetul Olimpic si Sportiv Roman) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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