Open Text: Before you read, I want you to know this will be my last post till December. Something fantastic happened, which I will post about in December.
Just think about this as an end to the first installment, and await the next one with the same anticipation that you wait for the Hobbit or a new episode of Breaking Bad.
My routine basically consisted of a few key elements. Wake up, work, alone time with a cup of coffee, maybe meet with someone but probably not, hit the thrift stores to find a few treasures I could flip for quick cash on ebay, fit in times to write, and most definitely make time for the woman I had been dating. Maybe I’d even find time for a little one on one with the Lord, but mostly not. I would end my nights in one of three ways, either with my girlfriend, at a bar, or on the front porch of my house with my stud muffin roommates. This was my ritual. You have yours. They look different, but we all have them. What happens to us when our daily ritual experiences turbulence? When it becomes interrupted?
Not real turbulence, though we like to say it is. The loss of a friend, or a job, the ending of a relationship with someone significant, not making it in the first round for nursing school, not making enough to put food on your table, you could alter all of these just a little and the list of real turbulence becomes significantly longer. The type turbulence I am referring to is more secretly known as inconvenience, though we would not dare claim it by this name. When our daily ritual experiences something out of the ordinary, something that requires us to go out of our way, whether great or small, we call it turbulence. And we hate it. We despise it, and avoid anything that would intervene with our ritual. Heaven forbid I mess up my ritual for “you name it”. Trust me, being a professional at selfish living, I know what it takes to live an uninterrupted day. A turbulence free day. Its actually harder work than one would think.
If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you would know that the manner of life I lived last year was less than ideal. If you have not followed my blog, and are not a personal witness then you can read about the relationship with myself that I said goodbye to Here.
As I went back over last year’s journal I began to notice the amount of times I used the words “I” and “me”. The number of times I used these two words were astronomical. Journals are meant to be for the individual, so what better place to check yourself then the very location you devolve your deepest thoughts, aspirations, struggles and desires. Am I right? Consequently, My journal was a direct reflection of the way I lived my personal life as a Christian. When I would enter into conversations about God, right living, my struggles it was heavily focused on me. No area was safe to my self focused life. Even at church, which happened to fit in my ritual, the message would be for me and about me, and how I could become a better me. Not that the messages themselves were about me, but when you wear your “bro Oakley shades of self service” at all times its hard not to make everything about me or you, and our routine. I have no problem with Oakley shades, in fact they have a special line called frog skins which I particularly enjoy.
Don’t, get me wrong. Routine and schedules are incredible tools to master, and I am all for them, but if you are anything like me, we have a way of turning our routine and schedules into personal slave drivers.
On any given occasion my previous girlfriend would bring a guy named Jair to church. Bless her heart. Jair was the guy who rolled up on his bike at 6am when our shop opened and hung out with us till it closed at 10pm. He didn’t have a home, so this place was a suitable establishment for him. Pay a buck twenty-five for a coffee and you’d have shelter for sixteen hours. Not a bad deal.He was rough around the edges in every sense of the word. He had maybe five teeth altogether, but his smile was unforgettable. He had the “Moves Like Jagger” but what surprised me the most was how clean and perfectly combed his hair was day after day. He was homeless, but he sure knew how to tend to his mane. I loved this guy, but he fit into my daily ritual so it was an easy sell. Taking him to church was not something I entertained. Why? Well the obvious reasons of having to go out of my way to pick him up. Then there was the perma smell of smoke and all the others that come with being homeless that I frankly didn’t want in my car. Then there is having him at church. The thing about Jair is he has no filter, and how would I be able to know if he was going to blurt out something inappropriate? There would be no way I would enjoy myself during worship or the message if I had to worry about Jair. Listen, being professionally selfish has its cost, and Jair didn’t make the cut into my ritual. It would be too much of an inconvenience. I hate turbulence. And remember this thing is about me, or if its you, its about you, and if you are a cool Christian you only have time for your new jeans, #twitter, and the new whisky bar down the road. Nothing should interrupt your trip to the new whisky bar.
If I can’t keep my ritual, if something comes up that interferes with my “quiet time” (which were few and far between) then how am I supposed to work on tending to myself. If I have to take Jair to church how am I am I going focus on the message and the feelings of worship, which are all things I need to maintain my walk with the Lord. Is it the greek in me, or am I not supposed to think it is highly important to tend to myself? Thats why I can’t have my daily rituals interrupted.
I’m not sure where I began to believe that this whole following God thing was just about me loving Him so I could love my self so that I could feel valued, important, needed, whatever. It is essential that we have an understanding of God’s love for us because if we didn’t, how could we truly love our neighbor, but, correct me if I’m wrong, no where does it say, ” You shall love the LORD your God so that you may love yourself, and then your neighbor as yourself.” The byproduct of loving God and our neighbor produces the realization of our actual worth, but no where does it say we are supposed to tend to ourselves.
The very same spirit that tells me I need to love God so that I may further love myself deeper is the same spirit that tells me this new guy or girl who gave their life to the Lord is going to interfere with my ritual. Its close to the real Spirit that tells us to love God and love our neighbor, but are not the most cunning false “spirits” near replicas the real thing, yet slightly twisted? When unwrapped fully that same spirit that does not want their ritual or schedule interrupted is the same spirit that really doesn’t want people saved. For if we actually led people to the Lord, then we would be accountable for their discipleship, and if we are accountable for the discipleship of individuals then how in the hell are we going to get around to our own routine?
My father has an open door policy at his work. The very place one is “entitled” to their own routine is the very place my father opens his doors for others. And if that is not inconvenient enough, he makes up for it by working longer and harder hours. More hours than are required. Why would a professional business man do this? Because he has caught the vision of living an others focused life.
Now if you will excuse me, a group of friends just showed up spontaneously, at the coffee shop I am tucked away at, to celebrate two lovely ladies birthdays. At this moment Celebrating their lives is more important than my routine.
See you all in December.
Until then, follow me here: