Oh man, i don’t even know where to begin to describe the past month or so. This is a good thing.
First off, I want to thank everyone for all of the birthday wishes. I typically don’t make a big deal out of birthdays, but this year was different for a few reasons. First off, I’m entering into the last year of my twenties, which is surreal enough on its own. Add to that a new job, moving into a new house, and the hundred other things that are hovering around, and a birthday becomes a much bigger event than in years past.
So turning 29 might not get the attention that some other years get, but I’m taking it as a call to live it up for the next year. Not that I’m planning on going stale next year, but there are certain things that are no longer acceptable to do when you are in your 30’s. It’s called the Murtaugh list, named after Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon series and one of his catch phrases about aging. For example, one of the defining traits of my adventures for the past few years has been my fondness for couch crashing, which will probably be at the top of the Murtaugh list for turning 30. Not that I won’t be at staying with different friends anymore, but it’ll no longer be crashing. I think it’s called ‘visiting’. Huge difference.
The Murtaugh list isn’t anything new either. In Jr High the Murtaugh list is highlighted by no longer letting mom shop for your clothes. In Sr High, trick-or-treating goes on the list. In college, wearing a lettermen jacket shoots to the top of the list. Post-college, living in frat-house conditions goes up right behind being in the College group at church. There are obviously many things that make up the Murtaugh list, and it probably varies person to person, but you get the idea.
With that being said, I would like to point out that laughing at fart jokes will never go on that list.
So I started my new job at North County Church of Christ a few weeks ago, and my life has immediately become the busiest it has ever been. This is a good thing. I was looking back at my prayer journal from this time last year and things were getting stale. Spiritually, I was on cruise control, becoming very settled into a narrow place when it comes to my relationship with God.
Now I am back home in San Diego, surrounded by so many people that push me to draw closer to God. As a church member, it has been a real blessing over the past few months to revive old relationships, deepen surface friendships, and start new with people that are on fire for God. It has become obvious to me over the past few years that my passion for life is fueled by the people that the Lord has surrounded me with. I find myself spending more and more time with others, and feeling closer and closer to God as a result. It’s addicting. It has been a major paradigm shift for me over the past few months, and I’m excited to dream about where God is taking me.
Which leads me to a big theme for me lately. I ran across this idea of ‘know you are loved’ as a theme last year, and have really started to let this idea start to change my life. I have never really felt as loved as I do right now. Ever.
I have always struggled with my self-esteem and identity. This may come as a surprise to some who have seen me in my comfort zone along the way. The problem has been me seeking a feeling of love and acceptance from others, and basing my worth on what others think of me. Or at least what I perceive them to think of me. More and more over the past year I have looked towards God for my identity. The closer I draw to God, the more it seems that He sends people my way to show I am loved. And right now I am surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and young men and women who are constantly reminding me of how much God loves me. The biggest difference now is that I am willing to accept this love and allow it to change me, because I know it comes from God.
When you know you are loved, everything changes. It becomes obvious that the blessings in your life are gifts from God. Trials are no longer insurmountable and the world seems to be put into perspective. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is knowing you are loved by God, really diving into that love, changes the way you interact others. People are no longer strangers, they are God’s creation. People’s problems turn into their potential. When you are consumed with God’s love there is no room for anything else.
So last year I missed my ten year reunion. Something about not wanting to go back to people I barely remember and talk about being unemployed. I was kind of bummed about that until last weekend when we had the memorial service for John. This service was different for me, as the emotion of losing John was overwhelmed by the excitement to see so many friends. After the service a bunch of us went over a friend’s house in Coronado and had a great party. There’s something about youth group friends that we connect on a very deep level. And while all of us have traveled different paths since our time in the youth group, it’s amazing to see the bond that a man centered on Christ can provide. My prayer is that we can look past our friendships and see that God is at the center of this amazing reunion.
The other thing that has become clear to me lately is that more and more my friends are becoming my family. I love my actual family so much, and I think we are very close considering how far apart we are physically. But there is something special about the depth of the friendships I have with so many people. I was talking with mi madre about this the other day and she said it’s a natural part of life, that we grow closer and closer to the people that we have shared experiences with. For her, back in the early 80’s as our family was settling in at ECB we had several people that became our family. Does anybody else experience this?
I’d like to thank everyone for the encouragement lately. It’s come in from several fronts for a wide variety of reasons, and it is all appreciated.
One love, one heart.