Archives For honesty

I stand–mouth agape, arms akimbo–in awe of people who manage to maintain large coteries of friends, social media connections, socialize with coworkers, etc.

Because that’s not me. When first I began blogging, I was there: commenting, sharing, interacting. Then I hit a wall. I burnt out. I couldn’t keep up with everything and everyone. It got overwhelming.

Funny thing is, when I pulled up virtual stakes, my Internet presence began to go along with it. This blog may as well be drying on the vine as much as it’s read these days. I can’t say I ever had halcyon days, but the old grey mare sure ain’t what she used to be. I wanted to use it as a springboard to launch a platform, but what influence do I have?

That’s as may be. I don’t know what to do about it. I only that I’m not above the pangs of jealousy whenever I hear that coworkers have gotten together over the weekend, that so-and-so has another book coming out, that this other guy is getting all these hits (and comments).

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m defective, off putting, something. I have a family that loves me, but I sure don’t have a lot of friends. And the Internet friends I once had have gone their own ways. Some days I just feel so alone. It feels like childhood all over again: being ignored, left to my own devices.

I mostly get by. I have a God Who loves me, a wife and kids who adore me. But anytime I’ve gotten close to a group of friends something has happened. I don’t know if it’s me, them, or just this rotten world.

In any case, I’m not unhappy. I love Jesus, my wife, kids, family. But it would be nice to be known, to be appreciated, to be able to share life with brothers of like minded faith sometimes.

I know we’re all busy. And I hope I’m not just writing on my own behalf. I’m sure there are others of you out there feeling the same.

I’m here. I’m still here.

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I want to tell you about my friend.

My lunatic friend.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at him. No, from the outside looking in he appears to be as normal as anyone else. He’s calm, cool, collected. Has his stuff together.

Or at least appears to.

But in his chest beats the heart of a beast.

Yes, despite all appearances to the contrary, he doesn’t have it all together. He knows it, and it drives him up a wall!

He is a mass of conflicting desires, thoughts, emotions, pent up frustrations. He wants life to get easier.

But it never does.

It never does.

You see, my lunatic friend can fake it with the best of them. He can pose.

But in his heart he knows:

He’s not strong

He hasn’t got it all together

And prays everyday, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”

You might know my lunatic friend. He’s me, you see. He’s me–and you, and everyone who’s ever lived.

“For the flesh lusts against the spirit,and the spirit against the flesh. The two are contrary to one another.” And no matter how long we walk with Christ the flesh never gets better. We can get better at resisting its allure.

But it is never sanctified. Our souls are. But not our bodies. “Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We, as long as we are here on this earth, shall never be sinless. But let us pray fervently to sin less and less. And let us remember to be as forgiving towards the lunatic friends of others as we are of our own. That to my mind is what it means to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Are you brave enough to admit you have a luntic friend? Are you ready to do something about that? Put it down in words below.

God bless you!

Failing Forward

randomlychad  —  January 9, 2014 — 2 Comments

The last couple of years have been interesting ones to say the least. Amazing breakthroughs followed by agonizing defeats. One day, literally on the mountaintop; not long after, wallowing in my own hog slop.

I found freedom, got free, had liberty…

In Christ.

And turned it into license.

Because I was the enlightened one, had made the pilgrimage to the mountaintop. I knew better.

And I knew better.

For six months in 2012, I lived duplicitously. Without integrity. While nothing, as they say, happened, I nevertheless kept my wife out of the loop on something. And because I did so, things looked quite worse than they were.

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching since then, and have been to counseling. I’ve come to the conclusion that I had come to value success (and thought I had found a connection on that path) more than I did my own integrity. More than those close to me.

And that’s never the way to be.

Let’s face it: writing is like life; if an artist has no honesty, no integrity, what have they got, really? What have they got to say? What contribution can they make? Anything would ring hollow.

They certainly wouldn’t be anyone worth the follow.

The point I’m trying to make, what I’m trying to so haltingly state, is that it’s never too late:

To start over.

Success begins by taking an honest look at ourselves, and our failures. For it is then–and only then–that something glorious occurs. In that light of introspection, and repentance, our failures, setbacks, coal-black before, begin to shine like diamonds. For it is then, in that light of honest assessment, that what was once failure now propels us forwards.

We “fall forward” when we both acknowledge, and learn, from what has gone before. The only definition of success that matters is that it begins, and ends, in integrity.

How are you falling forward today?

Is it Dead?

randomlychad  —  January 23, 2013 — Leave a comment

Today’s post is by Pamela Williamson. Pamela is a writer and photographer, with a passion to preserve life’s moments by both means. She’s not only a fan of flash fiction and short stories, she pens them too. Her current journey, writing her memoir. She shares about all of the above on her blog, Snap Shot of the Whole
Note-this post originally went up on Pamela’s blog on July 3, 2012.

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The shriek pierced the silence, intense and frightening.

Jumping from a perched position on the edge of my bed, milk sloshed over the edge of the bowl. Crunchy chocolate balls rode the creamy waves.

I couldn’t get to the commotion fast enough.

Tripping over my feet in the effort, I slammed a shoulder into the door frame, landed full force on the annoying heel spur, and finished the trek to the kitchen with a renewed limp.

Shrill sounds, poured from a face masked in horror. I tried hard to understand. Words, loud and desperate lost their own unique sound in the flood.

The dogs! A bird! Screeching! Help!, were the only words I could decipher.

Small gray eyes bulged in their pleading. Scarlet crept across her face, and followed the length of her neck, as long thin arms waved frantically towards the sliding door.

Though the limited vocabulary on its own was a mystery, combining it with mime gave me a better idea, and I followed her out the back door.

With stick in hand, I prodded the baby bird slick with dog slobber. Despite the lack of movement, I clung to hope, and turned him over on his stomach.

Anticipation, weighty as the humidity that drenched us, hung in the air. We watched and waited.

Minutes passed, and aside from the shallow rise and fall of its back, the baby was sadly motionless.

It was with regret that we left the injured bird where he was. God, after all, takes care of his own.

A verse from the Bible, Matthew 10:29, came to mind as we walked back to the house: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

I’m not sure that poor little guy actually fell to the ground. More like he was on the ground and ambushed, but the sentiment still held true.

I was reminded of Luke 12:6 too: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.

It was in that context that we left the poor, little, comatose fledgling in the lawn on a breezy morning, alone in the shade of a swaying tree.

The kitchen was cool and refreshing. A great respite from the heat outside. The oldest child worried incessantly, while the littlest prayed.

To dispel the worried looks, wringing hands, and pacing, I promised to check on the little guy soon.

Through all the comforting and encouraging I was faced with a dilemma.

If death did descend on the wee thing, should I protect the girl’s precious hearts from breakage? Should I bury it and tell them that God spared its life?

Is honesty the best policy in this situation, really? To submit to them, in their wild-eyed hope, that their prayers did not save the life of the poor bird? Can that kind of honesty, at such a tender age, be a good thing?

I didn’t want to console them with the age-old saying, it was just his time to go. They’d get it. They’d understand, but what would that teach them about prayer?

If he died, and I lied and said he lived, then I would be stepping on the toes of God, wouldn’t I?

I was conflicted, and to be honest, it was not a good time. It had only been two weeks since they witnessed the burial of a family of six mice, a mother and five new-born babes. That is entirely another story in itself!

Whatever happens, I decided, be he there, or be he gone, I’d leave the end of the story in God’s hands.

I vowed to tell my girls the truth, regardless of what I found.

After scouring the yard, literally, from one end to the other. The baby bird was nowhere to be found.

This happened last week, and the tale of the wounded bird is packed away, in a tidy little folder, in the back of the girl’s minds….. But, this Mimi is still giving thanks to God. He heard the prayers of two desperate little girls, and honored the faith they placed in Him.

Have you ever faced a situation where it would have been nicer to lie, but felt honesty was the best policy?

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Yes, I know–this is just a blog. There are millions of them out there–all begging for attention. There are many better, some worse, and many better-trafficked.

To me, it’s more than a blog– it represents an ideal, a dream. Hearing the stories yesterday of how Jesus used my words, that’s what makes me come alive. That is what I was made for.

But dreams don’t pay bills. I’m afraid all I’ll ever have is a bite of this succulent fruit, never to step foot into the orchard. Don’t get me wrong–I have a good job, earn sufficient wages to cover the basics. Insofar as I can tell, it’s not changing lives.

I feel like I was made for me. When I hear of hearts being challenged, finding freedom, my own heart leaps within me, cries “Yes!”

Again, none of which pays the bills. Part of me wants to say “That’s okay–you’re better off than so many.” And this is true.

I just want my work to count for something, have meaning. There’s a suffocating sameness to life lived in the confines of a cubicle. The accuser of the brethren lies to me, says it will never get better…

On the other hand, while I’m there, I don’t want to miss God. He’s got me there for a reason. And there’s a certain security in knowing that I don’t have to write for money, that my family isn’t dependent upon my creativity for its bread.

I can write for love, for passion, out of conviction. My dream is being financed by my day job.

But it’s a hard place to be when one can see the more, see that carrot dangling there, just out of mouth’s reach. Just last night–bearing in my mind I said nothing–as we watched the opening scenes of that old Chevy Chase movie, Funny Farm, my wife said, “I wish that could be us, that we could move to the country, where you could write your book.”

Ah, desire! So cruelly awakened!

I wish

But the pressures of age, obligation, and health crowd in, too–their voices demanding to be heard. Let’s not forget fear. Fear is there, too, wondering:

What if you fail? What then? What if you succeed? Could you do it again? I look at the creative life, and see a life that requires much more faith and confidence than I currently have.

“Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief.” Lord, help me to wait and trust.

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How about you? Do you have a dream? Something that makes you come alive? Look down deep into your heart–past the clutter and the noise–what do you see? What were you made for?