That's how many days have passed since the last time I wrote in this space. To be honest, that's probably how long it's been since I've written anything of significance. I wish I could say it was simply because I've been busy, or I haven't been "inspired" -- but if I said that, it would be untrue. I think the true issue behind the lack of writing, is that I lost my desire to pursue my passion. I let everything else in my world distract me from this. Whether or not that is because I was afraid to enter back into this place of vulnerability or that I needed a season that didn't include writing is something I can't be sure of. However, what I am certain of is that, I've felt an emptiness and a longing to return to this. Instead of updating you on all that's occurred in the last 507 days, I want to try and pull together the conversations, thoughts, experiences, and insights that have prompted this return.
Conversations planted a seed.
Since the beginning of this new year, I've had a number of conversations with people about what this year holds for us. Some of those conversations revolved around relationships, work, the gym, and how to better ourselves. You know, the typical "new year, new me" mentality. All the while, I was thinking about all the years past that I set goals for myself that I failed to achieve, many of which, revolved around writing. I remember driving home from work and thinking "That whole writing thing, that's the old me! That's not who I am anymore, that season of my life is long gone". Moment of sheer vulnerability: I think that was me trying to convince myself that I didn't have to do this ever again. I wanted to believe that my season of vulnerability was gone! As usual, God had different plans...
Fast forward a few weeks, and you'll find me down in Louisville with a group of people that I truly consider to be family. Around 10-11 years ago, these people invited me into their lives and they've been paying the price ever since! In all seriousness, they aren't just good(e) people, they are some of the best. Granted that day was filled with a lot of furniture moving, logistical thinking, and even a few under the breath curse words now and then (door frames hurt your hands), but more importantly it was filled with laughter, love and great fellowship. It was during that time, that the matriarch of this crew (even though she's surely not a day over 27), and someone I consider to be a Mom to me in every sense of the word (her and Woman even share the same name!) made a comment that planted the seed. During the conversation Lori asked why it had been so long since I had written anything on my blog. She went on to tell me how much she enjoyed reading it, and that I was good at it. It had been a while since someone had told me I was good with words. From that moment forward, God began working in my heart, the return was imminent.
Experiences cultivated the seed.
All too often, when God plants a seed we are guilty of ignoring it, especially when that seed inevitably will sprout something we don't think we are prepared for. Of course, since God knows my heart better than I ever could -- He saw the reluctance I had to cultivate this seed, so He found a way that would do that, in a very subtle way. Over the last 3 weeks, I've gotten a number of opportunities to see people take part in the things they are passionate about. I spent time in Lexington with people passionate about helping others. I attended a wedding and watched two people start a life with the person they have passionately pursued. I went to Atlanta, and I stood in many of the same spots that Martin Luther King Jr had stood, while working fervently and passionately for Civil Rights. I went to a collegiate Indoor Track and Field meet, and watched a friend run with passion. Even better, I got to witness her hard work pay off as she achieved new things in her passion for running. That night, on the way home from IWU I spent some time in conversation with God. Over and over I kept hearing God say to me "Brad what are you passionate about? What are you doing to pursue those passions? What does that look like in a way that honors Me?" As much as I hate to admit this, I remember responding with "Lord, I'm not really sure in this moment, where my passion lies". Talk about an intrinsic kick in the pants! God was asking me directly what my passion was and how I was honoring HIS KINGDOM with that passion... and I couldn't answer him.
Naturally, I did what I do best. I got busy... distracting myself from that question. I put so much focus into other things, friendships, projects, big picture dreams, stressful situations, that not only did I lose sight of the seed... I began to lose myself. I started acting almost in complete hypocrisy of the person that God was calling me to be. My desire to honor Him at work was lessening, I wasn't handling stress effectively, I allowed myself to become the kind of "friend" I always swore I would never become. I was no longer Brad. I wasn't me. As always though, God was still the God I know is bigger than all of that. He sent waves to knock me down and carry me back to shore. It started with a Saturday filled with rest. A Sunday filled with a sermon, a conversation about relationships with my gym buddy, and plenty of moments of silence. A difficult but necessary Monday, filled with stress at work, uncertainty about the future, and a wake up call from a close friend. A Tuesday filled with more stress at work, an incredibly solid lunch time conversation about faith, some redemption within my soul, and some much needed sleep.
Wednesday the seed sprouts.
Which brings us to today. Today was just a good, solid day. I started my day with some quiet time with the Lord, and followed that with an hour commute with my dear friend (and now Dentist (in training)) Bria. Why wouldn't God combine someone I love and something I'm uncomfortable with (my teeth) into a day that brings everything full circle. Here's the thing, I've known Bria forever, and I've seen her succeed at basically everything she's ever put her mind too. BUT I have never seen her so passionate about something. Today it showed through in how she interacts with her co-workers, her superiors, the patient (me!), the focus she uses to excel at each task, the confidence she has in her ability, and her lack of fear when it comes to admitting she's not exactly sure about something. It was eye-opening, and after I got home (with freshly cleaned and much happier teeth!) I was able to really process today. I sent her a text to let her know how impressed I was and how proud of her I am. Not long after I sent that text, God slapped me in the back of the head and said "Get your computer, and get busy writing." So here I am...
What grows from the sprout?
That's a really great question. One that I'm exploring at length, but what I do know is it starts right here. It started to grow the moment I got my computer out, reset the password to my blog (I couldn't remember it), and started typing. Granted that first paragraph was reluctant, and I tried to distract myself with the TV, text messages, and anything else I could think of. Yet, as always, God watered the sprout. Except this time, I wasn't covering it with an umbrella of fear. No this time, I lifted my hands to the sky and let the rain wash over everything. I let God's grace and mercy wash over everything. And as always, with every keystroke, the weight of the last 507 days began to lift. I am lighter, I am calm, I am no longer anxious. While I'm not yet fully me again, I'm taking steps in the right direction. All I can ask from you, is that if we talk regularly, you hold me accountable to pursuing my passions of writing and serving God through serving others. It's really that simple.
"I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work." 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
Grace and Peace.