I’ve been stuck in a writing rut recently – hence few new publications in the last couple months. There are many factors at play – a new relationship, an increasingly crappy laptop, and general insecurities that deter me from sharing my heart publicly.
In the past it’s become apparent that as a writer, sometimes you have to press through and just start writing. So that’s what I’m doing right now. Starting to write, and hoping that what comes forth from my fingertips makes some sort of impact on your hearts, or at least challenges you to think a little bit more.
Fair warning – there’s a lot on my mind, so this will be one of those hodgepodge blogs where you’re like, “Wow – Justin thinks too much.” Click to the exit button now while you still can.
First off, I never knew it was physically possible to miss another human-being so much when they’re not right there beside you. Dating Katie has been such an excellent blessing in my life and only as ‘time-consuming’ as I’ve allowed it to be – because I just freaking love spending time with her. She’s the gentlest, sweetest girl I’ve met and certainly “a looker” as some would say. I’m a man of great relational wealth.
Relationships, however, open up your eyes to your general insecurities. With my heart quite tethered to hers now, it makes me a lot more vulnerable. An available heart is a vulnerable one – and our hearts have become very available to one another. Therefore, it makes our words, actions, and body-language all the more potent. I’ve been on a huge learning-curve (as this is my first serious dating relationship) and made a lot of mistakes and she’s been incredibly gracious and patient with me. The bottom line – loving someone is hard, but we’d gladly tell you it’s been worth it.
One area of insecurity that I’ve been wrestling through is the inability to control the future, or predict what will happen. “Will we fall out of love?” (Whatever the heck that means…) “Will I remain attractive to her?” “Am I too much?” (The answer to this one, is probably “yes” most of the time. But she endures the race with perseverance. Ha!)
And then there’s been non-relationship-related insecurity, such as, “When will a more lucrative opportunity open up within my company (or elsewhere)?” “When will I start seeing progress towards some of the goals I’ve set for myself?” “What truly makes me an adult?” “What defines me as a man?” #LifesManyQuestions
It’s been angst-filled season of life. I haven’t come across an “Adult Life for Dummies” manual yet, but if I were the author, it’d have “25 – The Hardest Mental Year Of Your Life” as one of the titles. The quarter-life crisis is a very real thing. I’m well into the second quarter of my life with very little to show for it. These are the defining years – what will a healthy definition of “success” look like for me? When I’m in the reflecting years of my life – what will I look back upon and be proud of? How can I actively provide for a family someday? How do I plan to become more independent for myself right now? Honestly – all of these questions – can cause me a great deal of anxiety sometimes, because I don’t often feel like I have the answers.
Then there’s been the issue of the spiritual. I feel it’s been a particularly dry season of life when it comes to my Christian faith. I’m beyond the point in life where happy-go-lucky platitudes will suffice and frustrated with the politics of the capital-C, Church, in general. “Our way is better than yours” and “if they’re gonna be ‘missional’, then we’re gonna be focused on growth for the ‘mature’ believers”. I empathize with the concerns expressed by the homosexual community – and wonder how one protects the sanctity of marriage, while also loving their neighbor. It’s all quite complicated and I find most of us (including myself) are far too quick to judge and cast out others for their differences. I understand that group dynamics dictate that there be common goals, objectives, and beliefs, but I wonder what a collective group of loving, faith-based individuals really looks like. Has the American church figured it out yet? How does the Church look more like a loving family and less like a politically oriented campaign – often backstabbing one another? I also deeply desire to see the power of the Cross at work – the gifts of the spirit readily available and shining light into darkness – but at the same time I’m weary of the hype created by charismatic groups like IHOPKC, etc. and the dangers involved with making that the primary focus.
Despite the build of deterrents within my heart toward the Church, I concede that there is a desperate need for community within the heart of man – what more healthy place can that be found than within the context of Christ’s love and the church. I also concede and find myself awestruck to the compelling and gravitational pull of God’s immense power as displayed by my Good Friday thoughts on social-media this morning:
“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two.” (Matthew 27:50a) The symbolism here is potent – now ANYONE can stand before the Father, because Jesus is mediating on their behalf. “…The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened…” (27:50b) His glory could not be contained.
Finally, despite my inner frustrations/critical-thinking about the world, I’ve increasingly seen the value of friendships within my life. There are people in my life that I can talk with about anything and they’ll LISTEN. They have no agenda – item they’re selling, idea they’re pushing, or want they’re vetting for – they simply love me. And I very much love them. For the few and proud close confidants – thanks for your unwavering support and increasingly valuable depth.
Wrestling Through Life With You,