It’s been too long since my last blog. I’ve started about four different blogs since the one I last published, but at some point I hit that turn and I can’t seem to bring it to completion. I’ve thought a lot about this and have asked a lot of questions internally. Mainly, “Why do you suck so much at keeping a blog?” And the best part of asking that question is that I actually came to an answer. The truth is that I approach writing blogs like I approach life…
I have a really hard time not being perfect.
I don’t stop blogs because I can’t finish projects, which at times is a truth in my life. I don’t stop blogs because I can’t think of things to say (we all know that’s not true). I stop blogs because at some point right in the middle it isn’t poignant enough, deep enough, poetic enough or some other selfish reason that just makes me turn my head and say…”Eeehhhhhh.” I get this idea in my head that every stroke of my keyboard needs to be leading to a transcendent moment…and when they don’t I tell my own words that they aren’t valuable. And that has made me realize not only how much I do this with my writing, but how much I do this with my life.
How many aspects of the mundane have I criticized?
How many moments of the faithful roll of life have I viewed as unimportant?
One thing I’ve learned about my life is that I love catalytic experiences. I love creating moments. I’m the kind of guy that if I have some money to spend, I want to spend it on an experience. Who wants to replace a cracked windshield when we could drive to Savannah for a night? Who wants to buy a shirt when we could try dinner somewhere we have never gone before? Who wants to buy furniture when we could go to Harry Potter world? Pay for a hair cut? Ppppfffff…I’ve got clippers for you honey. You’re beginning to see why Emily Manginelli is truly the saint that she is. I’ve somehow bought into the idea that if I can’t take a snapshot of a moment, it isn’t that great of a moment. And I’m beginning to realize what a lie that is.
Translate that to right now. To planting a church in Atlanta.
When people ask me how things are going I always say the same thing, “Good I think.” What I’m really saying behind those three words is, “We aren’t a thousand people yet, so I’m pretty sure we are failing entirely.” That might be a bit of hyperbole, but it’s true to some extent. Almost four months into life in Atlanta I’m beginning to realize that my perspective is completely dominated by the lack of highlight moments. I wanted church planting to be like the Miami Heat…and it’s a lot more like the San Antonio spurs. For those who know that means you really know what I mean. We haven’t had a night where tons of people are giving their life to Jesus. We haven’t had moments where everyone in the room is bawling their eyes out because my preaching is just that good. We haven’t remedied Atlanta’s poverty problems and have the photo-op that is going to keep everyone giving.
But you know what we have had?
A good transition. I like Atlanta and my boys and girl are happy.
A closeness with Emily’s family that we have never had before. Everyday God is moving in our family life.
We’re developing relationships with amazing people. Some Christian. Some not. We are becoming close with neighbors, single moms, coffee-shop workers, doctors, college students and the amazing random friendships that God is brining our way.
We’re learning how to live every moment for the gospel. I don’t go to a grocery store, coffee shop, soccer game or meeting without asking Jesus to move. I’ve never lived life so intentionally.
We’re gathering faithful people to worship Jesus and listen to the word on Sunday nights. Right now it’s a whole lot of family and some really epic people…but God is stirring things. Jesus is glorified and in the middle of so many questions of “How in the world do we do this?”, God is just doing this.
And you want to know what is in the middle of all of the mundane? A rhythm. A Jesus rhythm that is helping me realize that he really doesn’t live in the highlights…he lives right in the real. I’m sure there are going to be those occasional epic moments that me and Jesus get to do some high-fiving, but right now I’m completely OK just hanging with Jesus in the real. Because it’s in the real that I’ve got to grow with Andy, Christina, Eliza, Braden, Zach, Shawn, Whitney, Daniel, David, Lauren, Chris, Jennie, Ethan, Shelley, John, Emily, Brandon, Tyler, Mel, Holly, and so many more. God has started to give me people to love.
And for me…that’s all the highlight reel I need.
May you today stop measuring life by your own definitions of perfection. May you stop ignoring what is right in front of you because it isn’t as epic as you wish it was. May you finally realize that grass will only be greener in heaven…and oh yeah, I actually already have that now as well. Stop living life like a half done blog…because I’m pretty sure what really matters is in the middle of whatever you just gave up on.