you are your experiences

Have you ever had a tough journey?  A road that you walked that just seemed too rough? I have had some moments which I consider tough.  There were some tears, I was angry.  There was just some stuff.

But I know some people who have had a far tougher life than me.

This song makes me think of when times are tough.

When projects pile up and you feel like you haven’t been really present for anyone, even though you’re there.

When rejection stares you in the face.

When there is a blatant breech of trust.

When you don’t feel like it is even worth it to try again.

There is an old saying, “You are your experiences.”  I don’t know who said this, but I do feel like there is a ton of truth in it.

I don’t know if it is any comfort to anyone to know that your experiences shape and form who you are.  Maybe if it is only just a perspective shift.  Maybe realizing that you are your experiences makes those times a little more meaningful.

Maybe even the mundane times shape and form you.  The times of temptation bring understanding.  The times where you refrain bring will power and discipline.

When I first saw this video and heard this song the first thing I though of is people who need to trust and love again.

Because how much does life suck if you can’t trust anyone?  How horrible would your life be in the absence of love?

You are your experiences.  But don’t be bitter.

You are your experiences.  But don’t be defined by what you were.

Slow down.

May you remember the experiences that made you, you.

May you be set free from the pain.

May you live free.

May you find healing in and from your experiences.

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is she really sleeping through this?

My daughter is still sleeping.  I have no idea how, but she is.

My neighbors just got into a huge fight.  They are slamming doors and screaming obscenities.  I have to confess.  The entire time I was sitting on the couch looking out my window watching the whole thing.  This was so much better than TV.

I wonder if it is because of my secret love for reality TV that makes me want to see this real life drama.  Yesterday, I found myself thumbing through a tabloid magazine to see who Kourtney Kardashian’s new alleged boy friend is.  I already miss Scott.  How else am I going to keep up with the Kardashians in the off season?

Which brings me back to my neighbors.  If that were my family I’d say things like, “I just wish this were over.”  “Why does ___ have to be that way?” But since it is someone else’s family I just watch with wide eyed anticipation with what will happen next.

The way I opened my curtains and sat on my couch today made me think of the name of this blog.  I do want to see life turned around for people.  I do want to see new life.  So why then do I become a consumer of the content that perpetuates drama?  The kind of stuff that perpetuates brokenness rather than healing.

I guess I’m part of the problem.

I’m just glad that my daughter slept through all of the drama.  I wonder how long she can sleep through it all.

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shake the dust

I don’t know what it is about this poem that really resinates with me.  I find it incredible. If you like music you probably love poetry, you just don’t know it yet.  I like that poetry doesn’t need music to be a song.  I think there is something vulnerable about performing poetry that is beautiful.  It lets people in, it shakes things up.

I was just sitting next to a dad who was teaching his kids art.  This dad is in a wheelchair and drives one of those van conversons for folks who can’t walk.  He was fathering his children, leading them to a deeper understanding of drawing comics.  They were even reading Calvin and Hobbs. (some of my favorite reading as a kid)  He wasn’t cynical.  I am sure there are dark days for him.  Being paralyzed from the waist down and having two boys must be difficult.  But this was a guy who shook the dust.  He didn’t let it get to him, at least not from what I saw.

I began to see his life as poetry.

I couldn’t hear what he was saying or what what his kids were saying.  But there was something there.  Maybe it was the gentleness and the genuine happiness he appeared to have.  I don’t see that with the working stiff.

Maybe it was the Love for his boys.

Whatever it was.  I had a hard time not staring at this guy.  Not watching him interact with his kids.  There was a redemptive quality about it.

I wonder how people see my interactions with others.  I wonder if anyone really sees?  I wonder if people see my bent for peace and redemption.  Or do they see a working stiff?

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your life is probably meaningless…

I was listening to a pretty famous pastor speak today at Catalyst West Coast.  His talk was all about finding meaning in life and doing something meaningful each day.  He had this idea that he would wake up every day and do at least one thing that had meaning.  This made me question what I do.  I have meaning because I have a wife and daughter, and I probably get the most meaning in my life from them.  But I am talking more about individually.  Is there meaning in the decisions I make or the things I say?  What do I do all day?  I write, I talk…and that is just about all I do.

I began to think, what would it look like for me to have more meaning.  Another speaker at the conference told us that he asked the CEO of the International Justice Mission what motivates him.  He said, “If I don’t get up and do what I do every day, then a little girl will be taken into slavery.”  That guy has meaning.  I think I need something meaningful yet tangible to motivate me.  I’m not saying my job has no meaning; it is just more abstract than other jobs.  (And to be clear, I love my job)  My friend Richard builds stuff, and that’s pretty cool because you get to see a finished product and then you can take a step back and take pride in what you did…Thus, tangible meaning.  Me, I have thousands of word documents on my computer.

Your life is probably meaningless because you’ve never thought about what gives your life meaning.  You probably don’t keep track of things that are meaningful.

I think you should.

Imagine if you did that.  Imagine for a second if someone asked you what the meaning of life was.  Do you think if you knew the things that were meaningful in your life you could give a good answer?  I think if you knew where your life had meaning then you can show others what it is like to have a meaningful life.

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the complement sandwich

I was hanging out with my laser tag team tonight (really my life group from church, I don’t play laser tag…any more) when we found a complement sandwich in 2 Corinthians 6&7.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this method of tearing someone down it goes like this…

“Hey Phil, you have really been doing some good work on that project.”

“But ya know what, you really need to think about how you dress at work, what you wear really says a lot about your self, and what your wearing says you don’t care if you get the account.”

“Listen you have a very promising future in this company, your work really is excellant.”

Using a complement to get to what you really want to talk about, but then your point is lost because the person really focuses on the complement and the fact that someone said something nice about them, is a poor way of communicating.  So are really long sentences.

So why do we do it?  I find my self doing it from time to time.  Using a meaningless complement to get to the heart of the matter, which actually dishonors the person you are talking too even more.  When we have to talk to someone about something negative why don’t we just tell them.

“Hey, we’re about to have a tough conversation…”

Instead of: “You’re awesome but I don’t really mean it, you suck, but wait your awesome again…and no, I don’t mean it.”

Tough conversations always have to happen in almost every walk of life.  Let’s commit to be honest and say what the issue is.

Sometimes people need to be rebuked.  The word rebuke used in the New Testament means, “To Honor or to heep honor on someone.”

It means you really care.

It means you will walk with them through the tough times.

It means you want good for them.

So if you are in a position where you need to talk to someone about something serious.  Think about it.  Think about the approach.  What will honor this person the most?

Sometimes you just need to say it.

***I’m not trying to say that Paul is wrong or that he actually used the complement sanwich…I actually really like those chapters in 2 Corinthians.  If you look at the context the way Paul did it was pretty effective, he gave them a transforming principle vs a meaningless complement at the end…so no comments about how I disagree with the Bible because I don’t…

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