May 28, 2015

  • Impressions

    I'm depressed.  That's obvious.  I've avoided being responsible.  I've avoided being deep with people.  I've avoided God for the majority of the last few months after I decided not to pursue Shelby.  I've often had moments of clarity, and the reoccurring theme is simply that things aren't that bad.  I just have to "dust myself off and try again."  I just have to believe and do productive things, and life will be back to normal.  I won't feel stressed from being behind.  Good things will happen when I move on and live the life I'm called to live.

    But, like my last post, I guess I believe the lie that I really don't deserve that life or maybe that it's just too hard.  I don't have any other logical reason why when success or peace is within my grasp why I don't do everything in my power to strive for it.

  • (Out of) Sync

    I'm still off...  I have blogged in the last month, but they've been private.  So, yeah...

    The semester is almost over, and I can honestly say it's been pretty much a waste in terms of what I've learned.  I hardly studied.  I hardly read.  I missed the maximum amount of class I could in the first couple of weeks, and I didn't even buy all my textbooks.  I haven't worked much really since the end of February, and I haven't worked out much in the last couple of months.

May 17, 2015

  • Lies...

    There is a lie I believe every time a relationship or potential relationship fails.  The lie is that I don't deserve someone as attractive as the person I was interested in.  I'm not good looking enough.  I'm not talented enough.  I'm not spiritually strong enough.  I find a woman that I really want to pursue, but something always happens...  And when it does for whatever reason it does, I come back to believing this lie.

    This lie makes me take God out of the equation.  I "waited" on Him.  I tell myself "I did things His way," which is often the case when it begins but not when it ends.  Somehow it's God's fault and not any of the other rational explanations.  Even when it does fall back on me, on my poor choices, it's God "punishing" me for.  In a very real way, I seem to sway between a "great for me girl" and a rebound.  The "great for me" girl doesn't work out, I get frustrated, and I seek what I can get.  When I get it or even just spend time thinking about getting it, then I realize that the person I'm trying to get really isn't great for me, and the process starts over.  I better myself, I get "back on track," I start working out, eating right, getting organized, etc.  That happens for a period of time, usually between 3 to 9 months, and then I see someone that I genuinely feel would be great for me.

    I'm on track for finding a "great for me" girl, but I'm not putting myself in much of a position to find her.  First of all, I haven't started any of the aforementioned rehabilitation.  There's reasons behind that, too, but even that it under girded by the fact that I haven't let God back in fully, and if there's anything I've learned about my relationship with God, it's an all or nothing type deal.  "You can't walk with God and hold hands with the Devil."  I still vacillate daily between wanting to get things done my way and wanting to give everything to Him.  Temptation is right around every corner, and in the past, I've put up more of a struggle.  For the last few months, I really haven't.

    This is pretty much exactly where I was last year.  Rae and I broke up, and the rehab began pretty quickly.  After Shelby in December and several first dates later, I'm no better off now than I was last summer.


    I'm going to Georgia for a week.  I leave tomorrow.  There's a girl I'm going to have dinner with Friday in Atlanta, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to that just as much as seeing everyone else.  She's one of those girls that would be "great for me."  Long distance, but I've been there, done that.

    Let's just give things to God, and see where they go, shall we?

March 16, 2015

  • May(be) 2nd

    Spring Break happened...  Ghost Ranch Retreat Center in New Mexico.  I got to go for free, but I did have to drive.  I journaled a little bit while I was there.  I may transfer those to here when I get the time.  Right now I just need to type.


    My parents asking about Roatan gave me a good "in" to contact Rae again.  Like I mentioned last time, she's just been on my mind a lot recently, and I don't know why.  Well, I do know why actually.  I still love her and want another chance.  I guess I don't know why it's just popped up so intensely all the sudden.  Regardless, I texted her and asked if she was going back to Roatan, but she wasn't.  Not that they had a special interest in seeing her, but they did make connections with a Crawford girl living there, so it wouldn't have been out of the realm of possibility for them to run into her there as well.  She told me she wasn't.  I guess I could have asked why, but that really wasn't important to me.  After we talked about that for a little bit, I just reminded her to use her Tough Mudder voucher this year.  There's a race in Austin and one in Dallas, and in case she didn't remember, I wanted to make sure she knew there were some close.  The Austin one is May 2nd, so early warning was relevant.  To be fair, I was baiting a little bit, but honestly just a little bit.  Last I knew, she was seeing/dating someone, so I didn't want to put too much out there. She said she was thinking about running the Austin one.  I told her I wasn't sure yet, and I ended with "enjoy your break."

    Then came the "Let me know if you decide to run the Tough Mudder (in Austin)."  Hmmm...  Instead of saying something like, "Thanks, you too," there was an invitation for further contact.  A nibble perhaps, to continue the fishing metaphor, and just enough of one to pique my curiosity.  Asking Brandi about it, she said that she though she was just trying to be friendly.  I can see that, but given our history, it doesn't seem to play like the right move.  Then again, I'm not entirely sure she would know the right move to make...  Long story short, I think I'm going to slow play this and just see what happens.  She's going to sign up a couple friends; I'm going to sign up a couple friends.  It all seems rather harmless and, perhaps, strictly platonic on her part, just seems like there's a hint of something.  Part of me just wants to call her out on it now.  That would be a bold move, but it would clear the air for sure.  I've decided just to let it rest for now.  Romance isn't a boot to a locked door.  It's a gentle knock or a gentle tap on the window.  Less things get broken that way.

    Given my recent aversion to even wanting to check dating sites, I wonder if I'm really even ready to take that step.  My prayer has been that God give me the confidence to be there.  I can do nothing without Him, and there's still work to be done my own walk and it my studies.  Then again, there always will be.  I just want to come at her from a place of strength because I feel like I was in a place of weakness last time.

    We shall see.

February 23, 2015

  • Another weekend, another D-Now.  My team was felt closer knit this time around.  Our trip up there seemed shorter even though it was an hour longer.  This D-Now was definitely heavier on the fun that the Jesus, but His Word does not go out void.  They told me they would e-mail me an evaluation form, and I look forward to being honest with them about a few things.

    Before I left this weekend, I had a heart to heart with God about this whole relationship issue.  It’s been stewing in the back on my mind, and I can’t seem to shake it.  Since before Valentine’s, I’ve had these little reminders of my relationship with Rae.  Music coming back into my mind, then Whitley’s name in a conversation to a marriage story that included a long break up, then my parents talking about going to Roatan, then actually passing the “Wimberley” sign on the way to the D-Now.  I wonder whether this is me creating connections in my head or God laying down breadcrumbs for me to follow.

    As I mentioned before, I’m not ready for anything yet.  Even in searching on Match, I’ve found my heart growing numb toward the search and even toward profiles that might genuinely be good to follow up on.  At the end of the day, I know I’m not ready, and I still have this nagging thought in my mind that there is a second chance somewhere in the distance.

    I’m still struggling with spiritual momentum.  I find myself with a general lack of motivation when I have every reason to trust in God’s provision.  I’m wondering if there’s this sense of sorrow or grief or remorse or something from my divorce that I just haven’t been comforted from yet.  It reminds me of when the Bible says Isaac took Rebekah and “was comforted after his mother’s death.”  Not that God isn’t great or that I’m stuck in the past, but there is an emotional scar that may just need the love of a woman to completely heal from.  That sounds a bit…like a stretch or…superficial maybe, but I don’t know.

February 15, 2015

  • V-Day +1 ... -1

    Today was good.  This weekend has been pretty good considering it was Valentine’s Day weekend.  Not having a significant other to pamper is difficult, but I made it through.

    I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think about Rae this week. The songs that I included on the CD I made her last year started popping into my head even though I know there are songs on there that I haven’t listened to since I made it.  Clicking on some link drew me to some blurb about Jacob’s Well in Wimberley.  I remember, chocolates, a card, red heels, a pokka-dotted dress, salmon, and a glass of wine.  It seems like my thoughts about her come in waves, and I’m sure this is just a wave that will pass like the rest.

    I was talking to someone about how my last few relationships have been long distance and how difficult that can be.  As they commented about how they could never do it, I kept thinking “For the right person, that’s nothing.”  I’d make that 2 hour trip again in a heartbeat because she’s worth it.

    Church was good today, and even yesterday, I have just felt this sense of trust come over me.  I trust these schools to pay me though I’ve never met their bookkeepers.  I trust my professors to show up to teach me every time I walk into class.  I trust my car to start, my water to turn on, and my TV to connect to Netflix every time I pressed the Netflix button.  For whatever reason, I just felt this sense of trust in God to provide for me in the relationship part of my life.  I’ve searched Match, POF, and ChristianMingle tirelessly.  I’ve gone to church regularly, and sometimes walk in with the thought of meeting someone.  I’ve lived life trying myself, and it just hasn’t worked.

    For one, I’m not ready.  I’ve got things to do, and I’ve invested too much time into finding someone.  I wouldn’t feel right now even pursuing an intentional friendship.  That’s just not where I’m at.  The second thing is that, when I do get there, I know He’ll take care of me.  Whether that’s meeting some online, through work, at church, or elsewhere, He’ll be faithful.  The only way Rae decides that maybe we’re worth another try is by God moving, and if He wants to do that, it’ll happen.  And if He doesn’t, it won’t.  There’s nothing I’m going to do on my own accord in my own strength that is going to get me something that is beneficial to me.  Anything I do without God is going to lead to a dead end.

February 9, 2015

  • Thirty

    My first blog of my 30th year :-)   My birthday was great, by the way.  We had about 15 people over to the house, most who hadn't been over before.  Tons of people wishing my "Happy Birthday" on Facebook.  It's a birthday I won't forget.


    It's hard to know where to start, but I guess I most want to talk about the D-Now I went to this weekend.  There were so many great things that happened, and I had some pretty deep realizations.  I need to make note of this event...

    Even before we left, there was word that there weren't going to be as many students attending as the youth minister thought.  We had enough college students going, so my going wasn't really even necessary.  Honestly, I'd already taken off work specifically for this, and I hadn't seen my team work a D-Now before, so I decided that, even if I was just an extra, I'd go anyway.  As I prayed that Friday morning before we left, I took a mental inventory and had to confess to God that even though those reasons above made it logical for me to go, the main reason I was going was a particular girl who was also going.  After I boiled it down in my mind, I knew that if she wasn't going, then I would probably choose to take a (much needed) free weekend to get caught up on school, on house work, and on planning for young adult stuff.  To be clear, I don't have any immediate intentions, and not that I was going to let distract me from serving, leading, teaching, etc., but I had to give that to God before I even left the house.

    The drive up was fine, and after meeting the youth minister, he gave us a quick tour of the church.  I reminded me a lot of Western Heights.  Old church, old congregation, huge facility that looked like a hodgepodge of the 50s-70s with some occasional modern redesign or signage.  After worship and Bible study on Friday night, I walked past a desk by the entrance of the youth room that had some information on it and the youth minister's business cards on it.  I knew his name was "Ben" from his email, and I also knew that he'd graduated from Baylor, but as I turned the card over, I saw that his full name was "Ben Simpson."  For some reason, that name rang a bell, and I asked him if he'd ever worked any other youth ministry jobs.  He mentioned a couple near the Dallas area, and I said, "No, I meant closer to the Waco area."  He looked at me for a moment, and he asked, "Are you from Crawford?" to which I said yes.  Ben Simpson was a ministry guidance student who replaced our youth minister at FBC Crawford when I was in 8th or 9th grade!  He was more of an interim, so he didn't stay long, but it was crazy to think leading this D-Now (that I really didn't have to come to) was someone I hadn't seen in 15 years.  Come to find out, I was staying with him as opposed to staying with the guys in a host home, so we talked the whole way to his house and well into that night.  In fact, my throat is sore, not only from just singing in worship, but also from how much I talked with him and his wife.  I even got to hang out with their little 5 year old daughter who was fond enough of me to ask me to read her a Barbie Mermaid princess book :-)

    Reminder #1: God's resources are infinite, and He is able to work and make connections and re-connections in ways that I'd never think of or imagine in a timing that's all His own.

    Friday night, Ben told me that we'd be serving at a homeless shelter organizing their clothes closet and passing out food.  They normal have a Bible study before breakfast, and he asked if I wanted to lead it.  He said it'd be just 15 minutes or so, and I didn't hesitate to say yes.  It has been so long since I've done any kind of teaching/preaching.  I needed the practice for sure, but I would have been happy to do it regardless.  So, I woke up a litter earlier on a D-Now weekend Saturday than I normally would have to prepare.  Just being asked to do that was an honor, and I wanted to do well.  I had a passage that I had in my mind, so I whipped up a little 3 point sermonette that morning and gave it after one of the staff there led a short worship time.  I should reiterate that I hadn't given a sermon in close to five years, and I'll be frank in saying that I did not like how it went.  There's anything wrong with the Bible in general, in the specific passage I used, or my preparation process given the short notice, but I was rusty.  I want to use harsher words and go into even more critical detail, but I was rusty.  So I got to speak there, and I also felt called to shared something with the youth group Sunday morning.  Ben had to leave to prepare for a baptism, so he allowed me to close Sunday School.  I knew what I needed to say, and I knew the process of how to say it, but again, I feel like it fell a little flat.

    Reminder #2: Speaking can be a gift, but it's one that needs to be practiced and refined.  Now that I'm formally back into ministry, I need to be disciplined enough to make that process a regular part of my life.

    It's hard for me to write this next part.  I don't want to because it makes me sad but gives me joy at the same time.

    I got to stay with Ben, his wife Mollie, and his kids.  Their little daughter was such a joy to be around.  I got to read to her, and one evening she showed me all her purses and jewelry.  There was a warmth in that family.  Being around that and watching that little girl run into her daddy's arms just to be held and loved made me want that.  I want a family.  I want a wife that supports and helps me in ministry, that cares about my physical and spiritual well-being, and that leads by example.  I want children that are well-behaved and respectful to others.  I want that...badly.  I'll be honest and say that having a Match and POF account is a blessing and a curse.  It's a blessing in that it's nice to be able to search for like minded people and not have to solely rely on brief encounters at church, school, or at a bar.  It's a curse in that a vast majority of the people on those sites do not have the same expectations and desires for family and faith as I do.  I usually try not to spend much time on it because I know that the search will simply get me frustrated.

    Read Reminder #1 again, Chris.

    All in all, though, I feel rejuvenated spiritually.  It was awesome to "talk shop" with Ben and his wife.  It was great to see the youth ministry team getting invested into the kids.  It was fun just to be around a youth group.

    And now real life begins again :-)



January 14, 2015

  • Beginnings Again

    The next semester has begun.  Another chapter unfolds.


    The sermon this past Sunday was on labels we carry with us and the freedom we can find in Christ.  I usually don't find much in those sermons because I'm prideful, and I think I have it all under control.  And I do for the most part.  It's just the rest of it that I ignore that I shouldn't.  Honestly, I came away from that sermon realizing that I do where a label that affects me on a day to day basis, and that label is "Under Achiever."  My dad called me that, and in most serious conversations we have, he still feels that way.  I didn't go to law school.  I didn't compete in college athletics.  I fell in love with the wrong person.  I moved to Georgia hastily.  I shouldn't be in seminary.  I could go on.  I've always wondering why I don't achieve as much as I could, and part of that is simply personal disciplines.  I accept that fully, but I think came to realize that part of it is really that I carry that label around with me.  While it frustrates me to no end, it is almost a comfort knowing that when I fall short or give up or don't quite excel, that's just part of "who I am."  Thing is, that's not who God says I am.  It's not who God created me to be.  So, I have to get rid of it.

    I'm sure I've confessed this at other points, but this time it feels different.  Maybe it's because I'm older.  Maybe because it's just been in my face a lot lately, but...  I have really been living for myself for while.  This "lesser man" idea is nice, but if I look back at my habits and my habits and my failures, I can see that a lot of it is me making decisions for me to satisfy me when I want to be satisfied.  I wanted Rae...too much.  It's literally been a year since I first took her out.  I used to count the weeks we'd been apart.  Then it was months.  Now it's a year.  I wanted Rae too much, not that she wasn't awesome or that we didn't click, but I let my timeline and my desires get in the way of letting God work.  That's the biggest example I can think of, but it's the same for all the little things, too.  I want to live how I want to live, and I don't want to adjust because then I'm not in control, but that's what surrendering your life is.  This week I've made a decision to let some things go.  Not that it'll all happen at once, and not that I'll be successful with everything right off the bat, but I've got to stop living for myself and live fully committed to God and His purposes for my life.

    I've been called a "great guy" "full of wisdom."  I think those are probably true, but it's easy to be the good listener or the sage to everyone else and hide the ever so slight lack of conviction behind everything else.  God has called me to be a leader.  Leaders influence people, and I want to do that for His Glory.  I don't want to have any areas I would need to hide if someone examined my life.  I want to be a light because there is plenty of darkness.


    It's late.

January 4, 2015

  • It’s 9:30 Sunday morning.  It’s freezing cold outside.  I have no internet.  I’m typing this on a Word document, which I already know will screw up the formatting of this post once I paste it in Xanga.  But, the bottom line is that I need to write, to type, to process.

    It’s been a month.  The girl I mentioned in the last post…  Her name is Shelby, and it’s been a rough month.  Even as I type this, there is a pain I feel that seems deeper than it should be for one month.  Part of that is pain is spiritual; probably more of it is emotional.  She’s my sister, and honestly, I feel like she’s in a dark place.  The last week or two have been painful, not only because it became evident that dating was probably not the right move for us right now, but also because of the reason behind that.  She’s been hurt by her family and by her community in deep ways, and the scars of those hurts were almost immediately apparent after getting past our first date.

    I could type, oh I could type of the things that were said and done over the last month or so.  Maybe for future reference I should.  Maybe I should just process the things that happened and articulate the take away.  Yeah, I’ll do that.

    Lesson #1: I am a sucker for a pretty face.  Looking back at my relationship history, I will do just about anything when a pretty girl gives me attention, whether they are good for me or not, whether they treat me well or not.  Nicole would have been a good choice in the long run but not at the time, and I wasn’t wise enough to see that.  She treated me well on and off.  Anna was pretty, but it was the combination of her beauty, heart, and talent that initially captured me.  Definitely treated me well.  Ex-wife was beautiful.  Treated me well when we dated long distance, not so well when I moved to GA, and not well at all after we got married.  Rae is/was/would have been a good choice, and I am still kicking myself for how I handled that situation.  Coach, athletic, beautiful, Christian…  I took my eyes off of Christ.  That’s all I can say about that.  She treated me well.

    Then there’s Shelby.  She’s beautiful for sure, but even after our first date, there was just this…strangeness…about her personality.  Of course after getting to know her, I could trace that back to how she grew up, but the bottom line is that even after continuing to learn things about her that made me think twice about our future long term, I was still conflicted about whether or not to move forward.  Even in my prayers I was conflicted!  This girl wasn’t self-aware, wasn’t a good communicator, was very conflicted emotionally, and seemed extremely disinterested at times.  She was not the “pastor’s wife” type, she wasn’t really a people person, and while there is a reason for all of that, I still couldn’t help but want to spend time with her.

    Confession time:  On New Year’s Eve, which was about a week after I decided and we talked about how it was not a good time for us to pursue a relationship, I texted her, asking her if she wanted to hang out.  To repeat, this was a week after I’d prayed about it, where I’d asked God to give me a clean out, where I had resolved in my mind that we weren’t good for each other at least for now for all the reasons I’ve already listed…  I text her New Year’s Eve afternoon, and ask her if she wants to do something.  And it gets worse.  Not only that, she’d spent a lot of time with her ex-boyfriend over the holidays, tagged him a few times on Facebook, etc.  I’d bought Shelby a Christmas gift before I knew I wasn’t going to pursue a relationship with her.  I’d planned on giving it to her before Christmas, but she put me off (because she was with her ex-boyfriend).  She said wait until after New Year’s (when he was gone).  I text her to see if she’s available, and she stops by yesterday before meeting up with her friends in town.  I’ll reemphasize the fact that we talked about not pursuing a relationship at least a week ago.  Plus, I know she’s been spending time with her ex-boyfriend, and that she’s more or less hiding the significance of that from me.  She’s all dressed up, we do the small talk, I give her her present…  I had so much I wanted to ask, so much I want to say, but when it’s time for her to go, I walk her to her car.  Before she leaves, I say something like, “So, I really have fun with you, and I miss hanging out.  What do you think of that?”  And it’s at this time that she tells me that she’s gotten back together with her ex-boyfriend (who’s military and is stationed in Italy) and that she’s going to move to Italy to be with him for 4 months.

    It pains me to type that.  Pains me in multiple ways.  It pains me that she was so ready to jump back in his arms.  It pains me that in all reality, she’s probably not that ready, but she’s just emotionally vulnerable right now.  It pains me that she cried out to me for help with dealing with her past, but now the road to her recovery and healing is going to be blocked.  The fact that I not only gave the idea of spending more intentional time with her a serious thought, but that I actually came out and let that idea be verbalized to her, the emotionally unstable person I’m supposed to be helping.  I’m 30 years old.  I’m wiser than that.  I’m a pretty self-aware person.  I’m smarter than that.  As a minister, someone supposed to be an example to others, I have to be better than that.  I could come try to rationalize it by saying that I only asked that to get her to come out about getting back together with her boyfriend, but if I’m really honest with myself, if she had reciprocated that feeling, I’d bet money that I would have jumped back in.

    Character flaws and the few times we did hang out withstanding, she did not treat me well at all.  And yet…  I am a sucker for a pretty face.

    Lesson #2:  I struggle with trusting God’s goodness.  There’s nothing wrong with me being sucker for a pretty face.  God made me with desires and hormones.  He made the laws of attraction.  There is something wrong with letting that pretty face take my eyes off God.  Once I get close, I think “I’ll never do better than this,” so I hold on with everything I have.  First, that statement assumes that everything about me spending time with this girl has everything to do with me.  Sure, I play a role and maybe a big role in taking that first step, but to think that God has nothing to do with it is naïve.  Secondly, “better than this” has often (at least every other time it seems) turned out to be not that good for me… That just speaks to a low self-esteem, as does thinking, even for a moment that my goals, ideas, feelings, values aren’t important enough to be respected 100% of the time by the person I’m dating.

    Post-church continuation:

    I love that today is Sunday, and that His mercies are new everyday.

    Lesson #3: I’ve been living for myself a lot.  That’s what got me into trouble with Rae.  I had a good time of rebuilding and letting God lead, but then when I got back into searching for a relationship, I slipped back into old habits.

    Lesson #4: This was an opportunity to learn about myself.  It was easy to see what Shelby needed to work on, but after processing this a bit, I can definitely see the areas I need to work on.



December 1, 2014

  • Muchas Updatas

    Well, in all fairness, I tried to update last week, and apparently my subscription to Xanga had expired, so I had to remedy that before posting.  So, I'm good for another 18 months :-)


    House:   We're closing on a house on the 12th.  Craziness.  It's an acre, it's got a huge game room, and it's easy access to all major roadways, so it's quick to get anywhere.  There's still some things to sort out as far as paperwork goes, but things are rolling along.

    Women:   Long story short, Lizzy said no, Rae's dating someone, and I started talking to someone through Facebook.  She's a little more introverted than I'm used to, and she may move off to Africa to do missions sometime soon, but we've been hanging out.  She likes to explore, go on adventures, and watches The Walking Dead, so....yeah :-)

    God:   Even just being in the talking stages with someone + closing on a house + regular school work + taking on another job + finding a mentor + Lifegroup + everything else...  I feel like I've added a few things to my life, and I'm learning how to balance those new things.  Meanwhile, my relationship with God has suffered a bit.  Details with the aforementioned topics haven't gone exactly like I thought they would, and that's stressful.  Both of those things are things that you invest into.  I research and think over and pray about and dream of, and when things don't go exactly like I see them in my head, I just get frustrated.  When I get frustrated, I think "God, why are you doing this to me?"  The hardest things to think or believe in those times are a) God wants the absolute best for me and b) sometimes those frustrations are for my good.  God wins...all the He should, and I'm still living and learning.


    That's really it, but I need to just...write some things down to see them on "paper."

    I'm set to close on a house on the 12th.  There's still work to be done: plumbing, crawl space, attic, and painting.  BUT, I will be living in Waco in less than 2 weeks.  That is a blessing I've been waiting for...for years.

    Starting next week, I'll be working two jobs, one that will provide me health insurance.  It isn't what I was getting paid with my last job, and it won't be, BUT I'll have a steady income that will provide for my needs.

    I'm hanging out with a beautiful, Christian girl.  She's in a bit of a transition right now.  There are things about her I'm having to adjust to a little more than I'd like, BUT I'm spending quality time with a quality person who loves Jesus.  We watched The Walking Dead under the stars for crying out load.

    God is working in my life.  Things are getting more busy, and I have a little less time to do all the things I want to do, BUT God is good, and I will continue to be blessed if I abide in Him and remain obedient.