Friday, December 7, 2007

thoughts on becoming an author

it's been said that there can be no true confession before man, and I think that, to a large degree, that's true. Man will always try and paint himself up prettier than he is in actuality because he, in his heart of hearts, still believes that sin is a game of comparison. he doesn't want to believe that he is truly as bad as anyone else. and so within his "confession" there are subtle lies and knowing omissions. and his "confession" serves as a testimony to his vanity and to his lack of faith in the all-surpassing grace of God.

could i write a book? hmmm....

if i endeavor to do this, to write in such a way that my soul is laid bare, i must make this a practice in honesty. there mere thought of such a practice is terribly frightening. i am bound to disappoint everyone i know. i am a far greater sinner than any of them have imagined. of this i have no doubt. i can imagine the look of horror upon my grandmother's face as she reads of my sexual failures, the anger of my grandfather when he learns of my loose tongue, the great sadness of my mother when she learns of how i turned children's books into drinking games, and the cold shoulder sure to come from the ministers that i have served alongside when they see the thoughts of my twisted, perverse mind.

all of these i must be willing to face for the glory of His name. i must stand steadfast and believe that He who set me free from the bondage of sin and death will surely hold me fast in His love. i must believe that the single greatest thing that could ever happen to me is that my sins would be exposed before the world like they were plastered up on the billboards of every highway in the country so that i would have no place to hide. i couldn't run anymore- the only place that i could flee would be into the sweet, ready arms of Jesus, clinging to Him with all my might. He'd be all I'd have. He's all I have any way, and maybe it's high time i realized that.

i owe the last realization to derek webb.

i know You are my Father; You've called me Your kid

i don't know how it is that i always seem to be surprised by God's perfect timing, but it never fails that i am amazed by how perfectly He orders everything and how He is continually working things together for my good.

i've learned that much of my earnest assesment of my life takes place in the shower. i'm not exactly sure why this is- it certainly is inconveinent to battle life's tormenting questions of purpose while sleepily scrubbing myself with slippery soap sans stilo- but it happens almost daily. as i rest my head upon the shower wall, water tumbling down my face, i am plagued with the questions of my future. this has happened for as long as i can remember, but this year the
magnitude and volume of these answerless questions has intensified.

i work for a high school discipleship ministry and i substitute teach. i fear that i am good at neither. i am almost a year out of college now and no closer to uncovering who i am and who i was made to be. this semester alone i have seriously considered going back to school
to pursue a master's in english, going to divinity school, trying to work for ucf, going through assesment for campus outreach staff, seriously pursuing a folk music career, seriously considering worship leading, going back to school to study philosophy, writing, getting a
teaching certificate, continuing my four-job way of life, and, most recently, abandoning hope. i think that i can be rather successful in the last pursuit, but only in the last pursuit.

yesterday i went to lunch with a friend of mine named caleb chancey. i use the word "friend" rather lightly here, because, until yesterday i hardly knew anything about him. i knew that he was cool, that he took pictures, that we shared some mutual friends, but that was about the extent of our friendship. i wasn't substitute teaching (which makes a day seem even more unproductive and useless), so we decided to meet at a new, trendy cafe on 2nd avenue.

we enjoyed chicken paninis and sugar cane infused ginger ale as we talked over our lives. caleb seemed to stumble upon being a photographer- he studied english at several different schools before landing in birmingham at uab, dropping out to begin his work as an intern for abryan photography- but his purposefulness day-to-day was astounding. he still isn't entirely sure what he wants to do with his life, but each day he wakes up with the assurance that he is where God wants him for right now. and then he goes at it, full force, as though working for the Lord and not for man. "if i do this, take pictures, every day for the next fifty years, that'd be great, but if God takes it away tomorrow, i'd be fine with it, and i'd do whatever it is He wants me to do," he said, "it might even be good to have less options."

what struck me was caleb's true dedication to live each day for the glory of God, wherever He is and whatever that entails. it seems like such a simple lesson, but somehow i'd been missing. somehow, i'm sure, i'll miss it again. while there is no fault in planning for the future and looking ahead, there is great fault, even deep sin, in fearing this unknown, as if God were not in absolute control, as if the unknown to me were unknown to Him, as though He did not order the stars into their place and govern the movement of every particle to the utmost of the glory of His name. the simple lesson gave way to a great and terrible truth: my faith is so weak.

Jesus again and again urges us to have faith like children, trusting in the goodness and love of our great Father. Something seems to happen to us as we age, as we "grow up"- we feel that we grow more wisened, more aware of the "ways of the world," and we lose our innocence. cynicism replaces optimism. sarcasm replaces enthusiasm. popularity replaces individuality. and a numbness whitewashes our souls, where we come to distrust everyone and we mask our doubt with the words of faith we know that we are supposed to believe in.

why can't we trust God? why don't i? why do i live as though i trust Him with nothing, as though He were somehow less-trustworthy than i? Christ, I believe. Help my unbelief.