Sunday, January 29, 2012

Live Dead Challenge: Week 3

If you happen to check in on the is blog regularly, you may notice that if you count the days between the last post and this one, it has been more than 1 week in the challenge.  That is for 2 reasons:

  1. I have not been very good about blogging and have gotten behind (Today is day 23)
  2. I have taken a few days away from the challenge as life has become very busy for me.  I am trying VERY hard to "be more" in so many ways, and unfortunately, everyone gets skipped every so often as I am physically a little drained from balancing everything.  The worst part about this is that I know in my mind that everyone EXCEPT God should get skipped every now and then, because he should be at the center of everything that I do.  But, to be honest, I'm not quite there yet on my faith walk.  I am, however, much closer than I was 30 days ago.  
Because my last couple of weeks have become more busy in virtually all facets of my life, it has been very difficult to devote extravagant time to Him.  I hope he forgives me for this shortcoming.  On the other hand, when I stop to think about it, I have developed many new tendencies (I'm not prepared to call them habits yet), that take place throughout my days and weeks that are bringing me closer to Him.  I am encouraged in my mind by these actions, although I also know that that is creating shades of gray in this world (like we humans love to do), when pretty much everything is actually black and white (you are either following Him or you're not).  So, I'm not prepared to break my arm patting myself on the back just yet.

I find myself listening to different radio stations in my truck which allow me to take a few minutes in my day to appreciate a little worship.  I am much better about seeing a need in someone's life and immediately "shooting a prayer arrow" in an effort to help them.  I am taking time to attend daily mass 2 times per week over my lunch break and it is amazingly refreshing in the middle of my crazy work schedule.  I have made time in my schedule in the past few weeks to sit down and talk over coffee or lunch with some great like-minded men.  I have limited some draining activities from my life in hopes that I can focus more on the energizing items which lift me up.  I have worked hard to invest spiritually and emotionally in some of my college student athletes in an effort to be a positive mentor in their life (I have been rewarded handsomely by several of them thanking me for making an impact in their life and showing me what their new relationship with Christ is doing for them).  Then again, I probably shouldn't say that since I work for a secular institution.

As I said, I'm not prepared to call these habits yet, but they are me moving in the right direction.

This week's challenges that stand out to me are those which relate to apostolic function, worship, and suffering.  It may be hard to understand unless you've read these challenges, but to me they relate back to a common theme:  Serving.  This week I am firmly convinced that He is calling me to help many unreached people in Sudan (hopefully with Man Up).  It is kind of a long story, but I have been slapped in the face repeatedly with Sudan in the past 7-10 days and the suffering that has taken place there in recent years.  This is for many reasons (many of which I don't understand), but I believe that one of the main causes is the lack of believers in their society.

Apostolic function is all about bringing the Gospel to unreached people (i.e. Sudan).  The challenge day on worship was all about listening and following God's call (i.e. to visit Sudan).  And obviously suffering is also related to these people.  Through apostolic function, we can help those who are suffering to understand why their suffering is taking place and to learn to trust in Him to know His plan for them.

The day that stands out to me as a call to action was "Hospitality."  I think I'm pretty welcoming to others and easy to be around, but I do know that as I reflect on myself and my personal thoughts that I do not view small inconveniences in my day as opportunities to invest in others.  Rather, I find myself annoyed and not always as hospitable as I should be.  One of my many efforts this coming week will be to look for those opportunities to share with others and show His love by working to serve and not be concerned with myself when others ask for my assistance.

It has been a great month so far.  It is coming to a close, which is a little bit sad, but also a relief.  I only hope I can continue these changes when the challenge is complete.

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