I know what you’re thinking, two blog posts in two days?! I know, I know, it’s madness (Sparta!). Yet, I have come again to write out another post! Though, this is not merely limited to just the presentation about my perspectives regarding man, God, or life. The greatest purpose in my starting of this blog was to share bits and pieces of my life, my struggles, my reflection, or more acutely, the essence of my experiences as I move throughout my life. Thus, I try to be as open and honest regarding my representation of myself throughout my writing. While sitting behind my MacBook, I am, at least in part, shielded from having to be too vulnerable or genuine. In fact, it would not be beyond a reasonable assumption to think that I could, perhaps, create a separate persona of my being. This is, of course, reflected upon you the reader. Most, if not all, who have come across this blog have never met me. To you, I am what you see, you read throughout. I am merely a representation of someone behind a computer who has characterized theirselves through words which has then been formed into a semi-concrete construct within your mind. However, despite some of the limitations of truly revealing myself through the internet, the text, my word choice, or whatever means by which I may purposefully or inadvertently use to protect my ego, I try my hardest to share an account that is as close to reality as I can. And so, I have to admit a few things to y’all.
One aspect of attending Seminary, which is something of a blessing, is the saturation of Biblical studies in my life. I am constantly having to, choosing to, wanting to read the Bible, books written about the Bible, listening to teachers talk about the Bible, about God, about worldview, and so on. However an unforeseen or poorly anticipated issue has arisen in my life. I, for lack of a better means of description, am burned out. Despite the constant new learnings, discoveries, and perspectives, I have found it difficult to spend time in the Word for the sake of purposeful learning. I use, as a supplementary resource, the app He Reads Truth, which has dedicated lesson plans for men (Here is a link to She Reads Truth, dedicated toward women), which focus in on specific passages, topics, people with additional scriptural passages that tie into the overall lesson. It is a wonderful resource that serves many purposes, I use it in addition to the things I am already studying apart from school. My personal study if you will. Yet, over the last month or so, I have wavered in my discipline in purposely, intentionally seeking God in both study and prayer. I skim through the app, not dedicating myself or my attention fully toward it. I am haphazard in my approach to study. I do not want to blame school for this, for this issue is of my own doing, but I have grown arrogant or uninterested in certain parts of scripture. Typically, this is the result of an overexposure to the same passages over and over in study that I have become hardened to them. I mean, John 3:16 is a wonderful anecdote that follows an excellent passage regarding Jesus and his sacrifice, but once you’ve studied the intricacies of that, or any other passage, over and over it grows stale. My biggest difficulty is the inability to read the Word of God with child-like eyes, to be curious, to be inquisitive, to read with awe and wonder (ironic because I wrote about being in awe of God yesterday. Like I said, I want (need) to be honest with God first and foremost, myself, then y’all the readers).
While I’d like to admit that this is limited to my study of the Bible, it is too, directly tied into my prayer life. I know that God wants me to come to Him for all things. To talk, to ask for help, to vent, to seek answers. I cannot deny that God is amazing in all of His qualities, but I, currently, have had difficulty in seeking out that time. As I said, this is a discipline problem. Not in the context of being an unruly troublesome child, but that I am not putting into practice the very things I need in order to function properly. While I may not be, in the eyes of the world (of man), be a troublesome individual, I am a sinful man. I fail everyday. I may speak poorly, make an inappropriate joke, have a shameful thought, or any number of what the world might call minor transgressions, but they are all equally wrong in the eyes of God. I recognize that I am sinful, that I am imperfect. That I, due to the effects of the fall, am inherently broken and separated from God. Due to this fact, this reality, I do not always seek out God. Sometimes, it may be because I’m too proud of my sins (crazy thought, I know) to come before God to ask for forgiveness. Maybe it’s because I am not content when I do not hear an audible response from God. Maybe it’s because I am unwilling to hand off the burden to God to carry for me. Maybe I do not want to be told that I am wrong, and need to change my ways. Whatever the reason may be at whatever given time, I am not praying as often or as intently as I ought to be. The common characteristic throughout this issue is myself. God hasn’t abandoned me. God hasn’t changed His mindset. I am the problem. I am my own worst enemy in this regard. Now, in saying this, I am not speaking negatively about myself as to cause concern or alarm in others, but merely to point out to myself and to y’all that I fail. Because of sin, the causal connection between my willfulness and indiscretion. I cannot blame anyone or anything apart from myself, because such is my own doing. As such, I am in a place where I need to continue to work on my spiritual discipline. Spiritual life, along with the entirety of the Christian walk, is a process requiring dedication, purposeful intention, and a willingness to be broken down to be built back up.
Throughout our lives, we will experience places of spiritual mountains and spiritual valleys. I can look back and see moments of such times, where I am invigorated, excited, and inseparable from God. Then in other moments, in placed of spiritual lows, where it is difficult to find an ounce of willpower to bring myself before God. Both of these have one of two results, which are dependent on our own self decisions. I can choose wisely, and experience growth through both highs and lows. This requires perseverance and intentionality, which are cultivated through a full dedication to the process of seeking God. Reversely, I can choose to be unmotivated and apathetic which can only result in my floundering in my spiritual walk. Obviously one is infinitely more desirable than the other. There are more implications to this position than just my own, and because I am a man this is revealing before more than my own self. As a man, there are imperative implications as to the leadership God has charged for me. Should I eventually (and I do hope so) one day be married, I am to be the spiritual leader of my family. But how, if I can not take responsibility for my own spiritual walk, can I be expected to care for and nurture the walk of my future wife (Lord willing)? Obviously I cannot! I do not write this to suggest that my future wife could not nurture herself or her spiritual life, but merely write this because of if I am to be married one day, I must first make sure that I am in a place where I am able to be married. Here is a great article from Desiring God on this very concept. How am I to image the headship of God if I cannot even choose to read His Word? I cannot! I am incapable of doing just that. How can be a leader to the youth of my local church congregation, teaching them and encouraging to read and study the Bible, when I am not opening up my own? How hypocritical of me should I do that! How can I step up and be a leader amongst my peers when I cannot even step into a place to be in the presence of the Lord? These two things, study and prayer, touch every aspect of my life and affect my very being! To deny myself of these things can only lead to my own descruction. So, having laid out all that has come before, what am I going to do? How am I going to address these issues in my life at this moment?
Some of the problems that have befallen me, which are of my own choosing, stem from distractions. While these distractions are not bad or negative or detestable, they pull my focus away or chip away at time that may otherwise be spent doing productive things. In the past I have discussed the nature of social media and its effects on you and I, which has large benefits and underlying implications which have the potential to be devastating to our well-being. While my implications are not aimed at anyone who uses social media, I feel as if I must make clear my intentions in making my case. My opinions toward social media are solely reflected of my own use of them, and not those of others (though we can all use a time of re-evaluation of most of our time usage). I have decided to take a break from all social media (WordPress may be considered as a social platform, but for the purposes of continuing my writing shall remain open to me). I have made my iPhone into the most basic of devices that I can. I have removed my social media applications from it, I have disabled the web-browser, removed the games, the App Store, the iTunes store, and so forth. I have kept my music and book applications as I keep worship music, school books, and other resources as they are a necessity for my involvement in school and youth small groups. While I am tempted to call this a social media fast, I do not believe that such a title is necessary even if the purpose is similar. I have every intention on spending a greater time being social with God, instead of the feeds that I browse on Facebook and Instagram. The purpose of which is to examine my life and allow the Lord to illuminate the areas of my life where sin has made a stronghold. While my goal is set for one month (October 18th) I may continue beyond this until I have come to a point where my focus and time is spent in the appropriate places. There is also some accountability, too, in posting this for the few followers I have, not including those who see on Facebook when I post new articles, to see. Being in my mid-twenties, with an ever growing desire in many areas of my life, I have a need to change some things that I have been putting off or ignoring all together. Having shared this in the past, and mentioning it already in the post, I do have a desire to eventually be married, which requires me to currently be patient in my singleness (another previous blog post, and a shameless plug) and to also seek God first and foremost. Searching out God asking to change my ways, change my focus, to take the entirety of my life which I so selfishly hold onto. Whatever God’s will is, wherever His plans lead, I will go faithfully. In order to be in such a place to be faithful, I am choosing to reach out to Him. To remove the many distractions and time wasting activities, like passively scrolling through the same posts over and over again on social media, and begin first by working on my spiritual walk by searching out God’s word and then humbly coming into God’s presence in prayer. Speaking in specifics, and then sitting in silence as I listen (an ever forgotten practice which requires intentionality) to God’s answers and instructions. And so, I am taking a pause, a breather. Taking this time to have some time of selfreflection. Allowing God to hold up a mirror to my life and pointing out where I have let sin take hold, where I’ve chosen to walk away, to reveal where my choices do not line up with His. I want to seek Him first, and who knows who’ll I bump into along the way, who are on a similar journey. A journey to seek God more recognizing that God must be the center of my (our) life (lives). He must come before all things in my life. In order to cast my the entirety of my life upon God, I must willfully set it aside. I must let go of the things I claim for myself. I must allow Him to take the place of those things, even if they may be my desires, my wants, my needs. He is the only thing that can sustain me. No thing, no person can bring the fulfillment that God does. None can give what God gives. No one can love as fully as God, no one can sustain as perfectly as God, no one is capable of doing the thing our Lord is so perfectly able to do!
To those of you that have made it this far, I want to thank you for reading my blog! I hope that you find something in it, no matter how big or small. It is my hope that God will use it to work through not only my heart, but the hearts of those who stumble across you. Have a wonderful day, week, month, and may we seek out God in all things.