Thrill of Hope.

This is my favorite Christmas carol. I think it tells the story of love and rescue better than any other I’ve heard. If you’ve never taken time to read the lyrics.. you should.
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Learning how to die.

I am so sick of myself I could cry.  Seriously, I wish I could get away from myself for a few days.  And that longing leads me to wonder (and fear) that if I need a break from myself so badly, what about the people around me?  How in the world are they putting up with me?  I spend most of my time with some of the greatest people breathing and really can’t understand how they can stand me.

I mean I am sick of me.  I’m sick of hearing myself talk.  Sick of the useless things I talk about.  I’m sick of my habits.  I’m sick of my laziness and apathy.  I am sick of how critical I am and how quickly I judge others.  Who the heck am I to judge anyone on anything?

I want to get away from myself.  I know that we are supposed to die to ourselves daily in order to live for Christ.  That to live, we must die.  And I’ve been claiming to want to be “less” for some time.  But I haven’t.  I am still as self consumed as ever.  It’s like I keep sucking myself back in.  Like there is part of me, the part of me writing this, that wants to die (figuratively) and get out of the way.  And then another, more compelling and natural part of me who just won’t have that.  There’s a part of me that wants to be a big deal and another part that wants to die.

But it’s not natural to want to die.  Human beings have survival instincts that cause us to fight tooth and nail with death.  We know that it will eventually happen to everyone, that it’s “part of life”, but I don’t think we fully accept the reality that it will actually happen to us personally.  And how can we embrace something we don’t believe exists?  (Just to be clear, I am drawing parallels between figurative and literal death- the former being the kind I’m claiming to want.  There will be no need to talk me down from a ledge.)  So how then can I die to my Self if I don’t believe in the possibility to do so?  And by the way, I don’t have an answer to that.  I wasn’t setting myself up to spew awe-provoking brilliance with that question.  Though, I’m sure I would have if I did have an answer.

I don’t really have a good way to end this- It’s just something I needed to get off my chest.  So I’ll just end by apologizing for you having to put up with me.  The fact I’m even publishing this makes the part of me that wrote it sick, and completely proves its point.  In fact, it makes me wonder if the part of me who wrote this even exists at all or if it was just made up by the other part of me in order to convince itself that I have something that resembles a heart.

Confused and a little frightened? Me too. 

JK

Growing up.

The other night, my friend Trey and I bought some cigars and hot chocolate and headed for the 17th street bridge. We sat looking at the beautiful Atlanta skyline while exchanging geeky observations about radio towers and Wachovia.

Our conversation eventually made it to the topic of family. I said that I thought it was interesting how our parents’ roles and our relationships with them have evolved over the years. How when we were infants we literally needed them for everything- we depended on them for our survival. Then when we get a little older they were our heros.. we thought they could do anything and we always wanted to be near them. Then at some point we started hating them. We hated their stupid rules and the fact that they were always killing our fun for what we could only assume was for the hell of it. Nothing they said to us made any sense and we wondered why they wanted us to be so miserable. And how now we are beginning to see clearly what their intensions were.. and how they are our heros once again. There is a point we reach when we realize that they were usually right and everything they did they really did do out of love. Sure they told us that was the reason then, but we thought that was the biggest load of crap we’d ever heard. After all, if they loved us wouldn’t they want us to be happy? But at some point we start thinking about having kids of our own and we realize that we will have the same “stupid” rules for them… because we love them. And thinking about that makes me want to go back and tell my 13-year-old self how big of a jerk I was being. Thinking about the possibility of being a mom one day and futilely trying to make my child understand that everything I do I do because I love them more than life already breaks my heart. And then it hit me- the complete brilliance of God calling Himself our Father.

As we sat watching the cars roll by and humbly admitting how stupid we were then and how thankful we are now for those rules, I started thinking about all the things that I don’t do because God has said not to do them. About all the times I thought that was complete crap. All the times I felt left out and lame.. wondering why God wouldn’t want me to have fun like everyone else. Then I thought about the times that I’ve done those things anyway. About how that has to break God’s heart. I am still that 13-year-old jerk kid. 

What more do I expect Him to do to show me that He loves me more than life. That He knows way more about life and about happiness than I ever will, and that He wants the very best for the daughter that He loves. When will I understand that His rules aren’t there just because He felt like making up rules or because He wanted to kill my fun. When am I going to grow up?

Margin for excellence.

Yesterday, I tweeted something that I want to expand on- “I need to learn how to create margin in my life. I love saying yes, but it has caused me to compromise my effectiveness in every area of my life.

I really do love to say yes to just about everyone. And when it’s a friend I can almost never say no. Now I don’t want anyone who is reading this to misunderstand. It is not that I want to say no.. I want to say yes and usually do. I love helping anyway that I can. And I think it comes down to the fact that I am so honored that I can help or that you believe I have the ability to help.

This has been an issue my entire life and up until now it has been something that I’ve found a way to manage. But right now it feels like it is all about to blow up in my face.

By saying yes to everything I have spread myself thin over lots of projects and areas of life. As a result, I get the job “done” but leave much to be desired in the area of excellence. (Which unfortunately includes relationships)

My desire is to become focused. I want to be able to offer excellence in as many areas as I can- and when I reach that capacity I need to learn to say no or to re-prioritize.

I would much rather be effective in a few areas where my passions and talents allow me to be rather than average in many areas.

I want to stop cheating others and myself of the results that I am capable of.

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