4:00 a.m. is a popular time in the Kelley household. None of us should be up at this time or want to be up at this time, but most days we are up (at least two of us). Our youngest daughter, Piper, likes to wake up at this time. Sometimes our oldest daughter, Kairea, decides to join her just to make things extra interesting in the morning.
This morning was one of those mornings. I currently sit here at the dining room table in the camper we are staying at in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho which sits next to Sara’s sister and brother in-law’s home. Piper is sleeping in my arms and I’m doing what I do most every morning – writing. It’s now 6 a.m. local time and I’m just reveling in the victory of getting this little girl back to sleep. But our girls aren’t the only ones who don’t always want to do what they need to do. We’re all guilty of this. I certainly am.
Today and tomorrow, for people all over this country and all over the world, are days of expectancy. For two full days, we will take part in the 2016 Global Leadership Summit by the Willow Creek Association. If you’re not familiar with the conference, it’s one of the most popular on leadership in the country. There’s much reason for those of us attending to be coming to the table with plenty of expectations. But these expectations we bring shouldn’t be exclusive to today and tomorrow.
Today, I anticipate learning a lot. I anticipate having to be stretched outside of my comfort zone – I’ll be attending the conference by myself, so I’ll either be mute or I’ll start a conversation with someone near me. I have great expectations for the conference, but shouldn’t we all have expectations for each day we are granted life? That question got me thinking…
It was natural for me. It was motivating. It produced results. It’s the reason why I showed up early and stayed late. Driven. My fuel? Anger. Revenge. As an athlete, this was natural for me. People would wonder if I was actually having fun when playing sports. I was. But my face showed my motivation. I had a chip on my shoulder – a large one.
God is an artist and the best thing He has created is you. He goes to a blank canvas with no instrument in hand. All He needs is His voice. With every word bursting forth into the blank space, the picture begins to take shape. It’s 4-dimensional, it’s living, it’s breathing, it’s here and now. Look around. You are living in His painting. You are His painting.
The unique thing about you, the thing that sticks out like the proverbial elephant in the room is your reflection. No. Not the thing you see when you look in a mirror. Not the thing you see when you look down into a body of water. You don’t get any credit for this. The unique thing about you is whom you point back to, whom you reflect, whose image you were created in. God put His mark throughout His work of art, but none clearer, none more powerful than in you.
All throughout the New Testament there is a theme. It’s a theme that should get more attention in Christian circles because it is foundational to understanding how someone can begin to live the way they are told to live.
I’ve heard it said that our world has changed more in the last fifteen years than it had in all its time prior combined. I’m not sure how much validity there is to that statement or how you would prove it, however, it seems plausible. This much I know for sure: the way we go about every day life has dramatically changed because of technology. And this doesn’t just impact what’s in our pockets or in our hands, it goes much deeper than that.
Let’s jump in…
Listen: Technology is Changing Your Idea of Goodness
She’s the life of the party, conversing with all, entertaining most, but truly knowing none. She goes home feeling empty. Why does everyone but me seem to have people in their lives who care? The thought runs through her mind constantly. She prides herself on being friendly to all, but it’s been years since she has had a real friend. She is a lonely person. She is a person who has many around her, but feels alone at the same time.
Her pain is at the tipping point. She interacts with many, but at the end of the day, she has a lot of acquaintances and no real friends. She is an extrovert. Her story isn’t unique. She like many outgoing types. She is funny, great at telling stories, and can’t keep her mouth closed for more than a few seconds. Everyone assumes she is happy. She wants to be. It’s a desire she’s never been able to satisfy. She is a lonely person who needs to know something.
Lemons are easy, but what happens when life throws you darts?
What do you do when life sucks? Well, I’ve heard it said, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. But what happens when life throws you darts? What do you make of it, then? A dartboard? Yeah, that feels lovely… Abandoned. Ever been there? Betrayed. Ever been there? Ignored. Ever been there? Insulted. Ever been there?
Like being stuck in the line of a dreadful carnival ride with nowhere to go but on, sometimes life can feel terrible. The lump in your throat grows ever larger as your turn on the ride gets closer. You know what is coming, but it’s as if the wall was not built on the border, but around you, keeping you on track to your nauseous demise.