Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Three-Dimensional Truth

There's no such thing as "What's true for you may not be true for me." (Well, outside the realm of things like "Dr. Pepper is the best soft drink in the world." That could definitely be true for me but not for you, but that's not what I'm talking about here...yeah, you get that.)

As I was saying, there's no such thing as "What's true for you may not be true for me," but I recently saw an illustration of why it sometimes APPEARS that there's such a thing.

It all hinges on being able to differentiate between things that are true and something that is The Truth.

Thanks go to @EarnKnowledge for tweeting this picture...beyond that, I have no clue as to its origin.

Truth is...the circus of ideologies that is social media could use a lot more humility and mutual respect as people go beyond spouting things that are true and begin to be more concerned with Truth.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

She Is Dying...Beautifully

Let's make one thing perfectly clear: she is absolutely too young to be dying. Her boys (including her husband) deserve...no...need more time with her.

But dying she is.

After years of battling cancer, she has decided to stop the body-wrecking attempts to prolong her life. She is no longer focused on squeezing out an extra year or month of pain-filled existence, but is instead making a valiant effort to make her remaining days full of quality.

That's a huge bridge to cross, and she is doing it like she has done everything else in her life, with beauty and faith.

From her CaringBridge site:

I'm holding together relatively well. The hospice care team assigned to us is great keeping me as comfortable as possible. Medications are constantly needing to be looked at to keep my anxiety down and my breathing more fluid. I'm thankful for my special team of spiritual friends and guides who help me prepare for the Glory that awaits me. The balance there is difficult - wanting so much to be with Jesus and digging in my heels and wanting to stay here with my boys like I had planned all those years. But the word to notice there is I, not He. It is God's Will, not mine, that is the best ending to this and all stories. I will ask for your prayers to help me remember to continually ask for and accept His Will for me. It cannot be a bad ending if He is in charge. It has to be beautiful.

Truth is...I'm not sure I could write such a paragraph if I were in her condition. But another truth is that we are ALL in her condition. We are all, if Jesus continues to be patient with the world, on a trip to the grave. May we all make our own valiant efforts to fill each day with quality, beauty, and faith.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Meh Ain't It, Ya'll

Here's the funniest video I've seen in a long time. Took me by surprise when a serious thought popped into my head because of this.

Video Credit: Thomas Topas Froschle

Pity this band. They've obviously got the chops to really make some creative, challenging music...but they're stuck backing up a polka-singing lounge artist (apologies to any polka fans reading this). With the obvious exception of the drummer, no one really seems to be enjoying themselves.

So talented. So capable. So much potential...but when it comes to using those talents and capabilities...just going through the motions.

There are reasons why this might happen in people's places of employment. According to an article in The Washington Post by Brad Plumer, and the 2010 U.S. Census, over a third of college graduates work in jobs that do not require a college degree, and only 27.3% of college graduates are working in a field related to their degree. This could certainly lead to some "going through the motions" kind of job performance.

But my bigger question is, how many people go through life like this?

Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Voices to sing and shout and laugh...but when it comes to using those talents and capabilities...just watching what others spoon-feed us on screens of various sizes, just listening to whatever electrified cookie-cutter hit is popular this hour, just mouthing words and repeating catch-phrases and giggling at another's misfortune.

Truth is...Jesus came so that we could live a life full of sights, sounds, and joy. (John 10:10) Perhaps the best way for us to show our gratitude is to dive in with both feet and really live.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Got Hope?

Is there any sadder word in the English language than hopeless?

Life is full of challenges, setbacks, and hardships. To face those without a lick of hope is like trying to climb a fence that's leaning toward you...or kiss someone who's leaning away from you.

I just finished reading Ray Johnston's 2014 book, The Hope Quotient. While the opening of the book, in my humble opinion, tries a little too hard to make Hope seem like the magic pill that can cure all ills, the remaining 14 chapters are full of great stories and helpful hints to increase a person's level of hope (their hope quotient) and thereby make life's challenges, setbacks, and hardships more manageable.

In the chapter titled "Play to Your Strengths", Johnston tells a story that first appeared in a couple British newspapers in order to make a point about how doing what God wired you to do increases hope:

A Brit named Jack Harris lost his elderly wife and took up jigsaw puzzles to occupy his mind. Over time, he chose more and more complex puzzles. He finally tackled a five-thousand-piece puzzle depicting a 150-year-old painting of the return of the prodigal son. He worked on the puzzle for hours each day for more than seven years. When he was eighty-six years old, he was finally ready to finish the puzzle - 4,999 pieces already in place - and he couldn't find piece number 5,000. The only thing he could imagine was that somehow that piece had fallen off the table and the dog ate it. Jack was distraught. The puzzle was no longer being manufactured. But when the company that created the puzzle heard about his problem, they crafted a one-of-a-kind piece, and Jack finished the job.

Almost everybody I know could sympathize with that. Who hasn't put together a puzzle and discovered the last piece is missing? The problem is, when every puzzle piece is in place except for one, what is the only thing you notice when you look at that puzzle? The missing piece. That's a God's-eye view when you're not functioning using your gifts.

Perhaps you believe that no one will miss you if you drop off the table somehow. Nothing could be further from the truth. God's perspective is, "I have a one-of-a-kind spot, just for you." God created you as a unique individual, and without you, the puzzle remains unfinished.

There are people, churches, and causes that will never reach their God-given potential if you don't find your God-given gifts and step into place. Surprising as it may seem to you, you may be the exact missing puzzle piece some group, some person, some church is looking for right now as you read this.
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Truth is...I was desperately searching for the puzzle I belonged in when I read these words. And then, God opened one manager's eyes to see things in my resume and LinkedIn profile that scores of others had been unimpressed by for the past ten months. As of yesterday, I am now gainfully employed and eager to see how my particular set of skills ("giftedness") fits perfectly.