I have hypothyroidism, or underperforming thyroid. Of indeterminate origin, there’s nothing for it other than supplementation. This means when I get up in the morning, I take a pill. It also means, because I’ve taken that pill (with a little water), no food for an hour, no coffee for two hours, and no vitamins until four hours after I’ve taken my thyroid medicine.

Having thyroid disease, and the fatigue which accompanies it, is not a blessing. But the time it gives me is. Having to take a pill in the morning essentially means I have to wait to start my day. It forces me, instead of rushing into the day, to slow down.

So I read my Bible and pray. It gives me time to draw nigh to the Lord. (Now, don’t get me wrong: I’d love a cup of joe to go with my study time, but it’s not to be. At least not first thing).

I didn’t always think of my thyroid problem as blessing, decrying it as unfair. And there are still times when I wish I could get out the door to the gym sooner. But the only thing I can control is my attitude. As the cliché goes: attitude determines altitude. So I choose to see the time I’m given as a blessing–and not a hindrance.

What about you? Is there something in your life that was at first an annoyance, but which now you count as a blessing? Share in the comments.

What If I Shine?

randomlychad  —  December 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

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I drive past this sign every morning on my way to work. It both challenges and convicts me. Frankly, it also frightens me. I mean, what if I shine? It means that, quite possibly, I could stand out (when everything in me wants to fade into the woodwork). My proclivity is to quietly go about my thing not drawing attention to myself (said the guy with blog bearing his name). If anything, it’s the work I want to be known for, and the quality thereof. There’s an old saw that goes: “Take the work seriously, and yourself not at all.”

I have always embraced this. But what if what if I shine? means that I–that you–that we allow world the feel the full weight of just who God made us to be, and the world just has to deal with it?

What if?

Does your soul recoil at the thought, wondering just who you think you are? I know mine does. Who am I to shine?

I am Chad, blood bought, sanctified, spirit-filled child of the living God, Who paid my debt through His Son Jesus. I need to constantly remind myself of that.

Who are you today?

Will you shine?

The other morning I was downstairs making breakfast for my daughter. Now, on account of being banned from all things cooking due to a slight pizza mishap (who burns take-and-bake pizza? this guy), making might just be a slight exaggeration. Let’s put it this way: I make a mighty mean microwave scrambled egg.

So there I am cracking the eggs into a microwave-safe soup cup, pouring a little heavy cream adding a dash of salt, and whipping it all into a fluffy froth when my daughter puts on Toy Story 3. Not the beginning; no–it was the end. You know the part, right? Where Andy is ceremonially handing over his beloved toys to Bonnie.

As I stood there watching from the kitchen, it just struck me all at once:

Bonnie could be my little girl, and Andy my son, who’s sixteen and will only be with us a few scant more years. And then my daughter will shortly thereafter follow. All it took were those few scant moments, and although I knew my kids wouldn’t always be around, I felt it.

I was unmanned as stood there stirring eggs. Mouth agape, I felt my chest constrict, and suddenly my eyes blurred. I felt gut-punched right in the feels. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m a man of great feeling, but I usually keep it all tightly under wraps, beneath a veneer of cynicism.

But that moment, infinitesimal in a lifetime made up of moments, wormed its way past my watchful dragons, and right into my heart. My daughter was going to grow up, my son would soon be leaving home, and I wouldn’t always have the opportunity to microwave eggs, play with them, hang out with them, watch the same movies time and time again…

“Bella,” I said, voice quavering. “I’ll be right back.”

“What about my eggs?”

“They’re almost ready. Daddy needs to go see mommy.” And so I did the only thing I could think to do: I went upstairs, eyes moist with tears, crawled into bed with my wife, told her the tale of moment I had whilst making eggs, and let her hold me. Afterwards, I felt like Buddy the Elf: a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. A goof.

But I wouldn’t change a thing.

God, help me to cherish such moments as long as they last. Thank You for each and every one.

How about you, dear reader, have you had any such moments? Ones that hit you right in the feels? The comments are open below.

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Have you ever been there? You know, just chilling? Kicking back, watching a show–and God just kind of gobsmacks you?

No?

Is it just me then?

I was watching this week’s mid-season finale of The Flash, and this bit of dialogue hit me like a bolt out of the blue:

The man in the yellow suit “has taken enough from us.” Beyond it’s literal meaning within the context of the show (a man in a yellow suit–the Reverse-Flash), I was struck by what an apt metaphor it was for anything we let rob us of our joy.

It could be fear. It could be getting passed over for a promotion. It could be a slight, real or imagined. It could be we feel like we aren’t getting , or didn’t get, the love we felt we deserved.

It could be any decision we make from that place of trying, at all costs, to avoid getting hurt again. Or letting hatred take us down a road that Jesus can’t follow.

The man in the yellow suit is anything which keeps us shackled to the hurts, slights, fears, pains… which in turn keep us from being all that Jesus says we are in Him.

For myself, I’ve spent an inordinate number of years trying to make up for something that I can never get back. Like Barry’s father says to him in the show:

It’s time to let go.

It’s time to live.

Is there anything keeping you from really living into all that you should be? Is it time, and are you ready, to let it go?

Nota bene: this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen Interstellar proceed at your own risk.

My wife watched Christopher Nolan’s new film Interstellar last weekend. I’ve been pondering it ever since. The film presents a rather bleak (or dystopian) view of the future, showing a world where most crops are dying due to an unstoppable blight. Corn is shown to be the hardiest, but it too is showing signs of falling to the blight. Moreover, due to the dying plants, oxygen levels are dropping.

Mankind, of course, can’t live without breathable air.

What happens next is something which appears to be supernatural–numinous–by which the film takes great pains to explain scientifically. Murphy, the daughter of the film’s protagonist, Cooper, seems to be receiving communications from her bookshelf. Some force, or entity, is using Morse code and/or gravity to leave her a message. This message contains coordinates, which lead to a secret government facility.

And thus the plot of the film is kicked into gear. The secret facility, it turns out, is the last NASA facility left, where they are working on a plan to save humanity. It seems that a wormhole has been opened near Jupiter, which is seen as a chance to find colonizable planets. Other missions have gone, by have not returned. Cooper, now a farmer, was once NASA’s best pilot, and is seen as this last mission’s best hope for success. He of course agrees, leaving his children to be raised by his father-in-law.

What follows are thrilling scenes of space travel, alien landscapes, intrigue, danger, betrayal, and salvation. It is this last of which I’m going to write.

Cooper, it turns out, becomes the means of mankind’s salvation by becoming a conduit through which ascended human beings communicate to his daughter, Murphy (who grows up to become a scientist while her dad is gone), who completes a formula to move mankind off of Earth.

As a lifelong fan of sci-fi, this didn’t bother me, namely the idea that our hope lies amongst the stars. That’s a trope as old as time. Philosophically, however, Interstellar is firmly grounded in materialism and humanism. All that exists is only what we see, and somehow we evolve to save ourselves. Becoming somehow so transcendent that we can’t communicate except by leading a man to the farthest reaches of space, and then dropping him into a singularity. My biggest beef (if you will) with the film is this: future humans are so transcendent we can make wormholes, and indeed black holes, but can’t, you know, speak.

Now there were aspects of the film I appreciated, particularly the notion that love transcends time, space, gravity, and death. But in the end I’m glad it’s fiction, and that our hope lays not within ourselves, but in God.

The God Who became one of us, spoke to us, showed us the way. Because the Gospel according to Interstellar is a bleak one.

What do you think? Did you see the movie?