something you should know

i just finished writing an email to my friend justin. and after rereading it, wanted to share it with all of you. before you read it, please read this post first as it was the inspiration for the email.

hey man...this got a little longer than expected. it just kind of started writing itself, so my apologies up front for the length.

thanks for the email hookup. i wanted to write in response to the entry you made about me some time ago. first off, i was surprised and honored. but more importantly, i was ashamed. because while me going everywhere, trying new things, and living with abandon is in and of itself interesting, it hasn't been for the right reasons. well, maybe the right human reasons...seeking out my passions, not compromising, living for adventure, taking risks and not settling. i think those definitely play a role in how i live. but there's something deeper, hiding underneath the surface. something i make sure stays hidden. until recently. i just wrote my old bible study in jacksonville an email explaining this very thing. i have done all these things out of fear, weakness and confusion. i left for chicago to seek an identity for myself. my love of improv gave me a great reason to do so. but i went seeking fame and a sense of purpose. i went trying to run from the confusion of not knowing who i was. but that caught up to me. i left for china for the exact same reasons...plus an additional one that seemed to jump on board thinking i could easily bear the load of more burden. i left chicago because i found no identity there. i also left because i was just beginning to find a great group of friends i cared about, and who cared about me. when my friendships started becoming intimate and honest, i bailed. i was afraid of that. of the effort. i was scared, weak and confused and had to get out. so why not china? in china it was the same. i found no identity. and when i started to truly know a few of my students, and establish meaningful relationships, i bailed. i was afraid of the commitment required on my part. i have discovered i'm a selfish person. very selfish. selfish enough to seek identity in myself...rather than in my Father, who provided me with the very identity i was searching for. i left jacksonville for oregon again in search of identity. this time not as an aspiring-could be actor, or an international teacher, but as a could be photographer. someone with creativity and passion. i also left because i was just beginning to really involve myself in my bible study. with people who liked me for me, and who i liked for them. and i was afraid to let them see that who they thought i was wasn't who i really was. i was scared to make the effort true love and friendship requires. and so, i bailed. i've fallen into this habit of running. and then running again because what i was running from was always right beside me. in fact it was me. and i think i always knew this, but would never admit it to myself. and now in oregon, it has caught up to me again, and i have been miserable. i've been lonely and wallowing in self pity. and fortunately God is saving me from that.

God is reminding me of the person i used to be, and the person i used to want to be. someone who doesn't seek himself...but seeks God. someone who doesn't worry about himself, but worries about others. not worries...has compassion for. i used to want to help people, to serve others, to make a difference in the world. to use my time on earth for good...for love. and somewhere i just completely abandoned that whole ideal. i started living for myself. i started trying to make something of myself. and that journey has led me around the world, through a number of different careers, and plenty of depression and heartache. and God is saving me from that. He is patiently brining me back to that place of compassion. that place where self doesn't matter. He is leading me into a life of servanthood i think. i hope. and even in that i feel selfish. i feel that i want to serve to avoid my own problems. to take on the problems of others to avoid my own. and maybe that's ok. maybe not...i'm not really sure. and maybe i honestly feel that way, the selfishness i mean, or maybe it's the devil's unrelenting grip on my life. trying to hold me back. i don't know. the one thing i do know is that God's grip is stronger. that i like the idea of serving others. of finding joy in sharing God's love. taking refuge in Him. ok, so that's technically more than one thing.

my point is...a lot of people mention to me how brave i am for always trying new things. and what they don't know is i try those things for the opposite reason...out of fear. i'm simply willing to risk change in exchange for my fear. and it has never worked. not once. and that's a good thing. because if it did, then i'd be screwed...because that's how i'd live the rest of my life. instead God has used this journey to teach me. to teach me i have a passion for change, for going to new places. to teach me that i'm good with people, i adapt well to different kinds of people and can relate to them in some form or another. that this is a gift from Him (and useful in improv as well). to teach me i have been happiest when involved in a community. when i have have shared experiences. when God's love is between me and one or two or a thousand other people. these are the times i feel most alive. and He has shown me that my heart wants more of that. gah, more than wanting more, my heart craves it. shared experiences in Christ. through His love. that is my purpose. that is my reason to exist...and life is too valuable to be worrying about ourselves. and this for me is a struggle, as i am having to allow the undoing of years of cynicism, bitterness, selfishness and doubt that i have shrouded myself in...and it's hard to shed that. but God is doing that. and it is awesome.

i used to be inspired by people who did great things. who were reckless and passionate. and these things still get me excited...but i am finding more and more that what inspires me the most is honesty. people who are honest with themselves, those around them and God. and it's this honesty that leads to passion and excitement and growth and joy and love. and it's that which has inspired me to write you. that you would know why i've done the things i've done. all of which were for good reasons, but not great ones. all of which has taught me something. all of which have been touched and used by God in one way or another. and that in seeking myself, i have discovered God in a whole new way.


kristy said...

i love that you shared this. i'm sure there are many out there, struggling, who feel the same way...and you've just inspired them to change.

not that my one-per-post comments get you really excited because i see you every day, and to you i'm "just kristy"- but really, thanks for sharing.

Dave said...

Great post, dude. I really appreciate the humble soul-searching.

The really cool thing is that you can actually have the best of both worlds. God created us to use our passions, excitement, sense of adventure, talents and, yes, even reckless abandonment sometimes, for Him. And the great thing is that he's created other people just like that so that we can share experiences with them.

Anonymous said...

if honesty be the organ, then know that:

i want to walk with you, through leaves, over bridges.

Laura said...

i was just looking through your blog at your wedding photos and found this. if people can't say that you're brave for your many exciting adventures they can say for baring your soul like this. truly knowing and accepting yourself is harder than any adventure we take interest in. anyway, hope life is good for you on the other side of the country.