Friday, November 12, 2010

Finding some Flow

Last Friday I spent some time out in Penn's woods, taking in the fresh air, crunching leaves underfoot, and reconnecting with the Father. It was great just to get out and lose myself in my surroundings for a while. Here's a couple pics of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and one of my hiking partner, too. For the record, I think she also lost herself in the surroundings. She spent most of the evening bounding through the woods after squirrels. Once, I saw her vertical jump like 4 feet. She was definitely in her flow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Do work!

Im learning from the example of Immanuel Kant, the late 18th century philosopher and lecturer. This man was so brilliant, and so rigid, that reading his works without going insane or quitting halfway is still considered an achievement worthy of bragging about. It has been said that he was so precise in his schedule that his neighbors could set their watch to his routine comings and goings. His Critique of Pure Reason was "the result of reflection which occupied (him) me for at least twelve years". Despite the immense amount of brain power that went into it, he claimed to have pounded the book out in four or five months, without regret, "since otherwise, had I longer delayed... the work would probably never have been completed at all".
Immanuel Kant teaches us to do. He could have waited for the right time or spent years working on an unfinished piece, only to die leaving it behind. But he didn't. Despite the fact that he had over a decade of his own thought (the business end of Philosophy) tied up into it, he pounded that sucker out in 150 days or less. That's like a 30:1 ratio of thought to action. I read that he was worried about being misunderstood because he left so many concepts without example, all for the sake of space, and he was forced to create new meanings for words because appropriate words couldn't be found to express his thoughts. Immanuel Kant had plenty of excuses not to do, but he ignored them. He went for it, he did it, and it is still with us today.

So many times I think about "it", but I never do it. Oh, I have good reasons of course. I want to make sure it's "done right", so I don't waste the idea on a lame attempt. But maybe a less than perfect attempt is better that never doing it at all? Maybe once I reach the threshold of diminishing return it's time to make it happen and hope for the best.... BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Flow, aka, "Aaron makes up fluffball"

So, in Psychology class today we discussed a guy named Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced "cheeks-SENT-me-high"). He is a modern psychologist who studies happiness. One of his most noteworthy findings shows that people find themselves most happy when they are fully engaged in meaningful, challenging task. It is known as the Psychology of Optimal Experience. To help explain, he uses a chart in the shape of a square cut into four sections (there are other, more complex, visuals but this one suffices for us. Also, this could get deep, but it's worth it). The top left box is low skill, low challenge, and in it we find the label apathetic. We are apathetic because the task is pointless and we're no good at it anyway. The box immediately beside it is labeled frustration because it's challenging, and we can't make the cut because our skill is low, so we become frustrated. Now, on the bottom row we have high skill to perform the task and the box on the left is full of boredom because the task it represents holds no challenge for us. This box is like hitting tennis balls into an outfield: very low challenge that just about anyone has the skill for. Beside it we come to the money box: high challenge, high skill. This is where we should camp out, clear some land and build a cabin. This box is marked FLOW. This is where the "optimal experience" comes in.
So maybe at first it's giddy fun to knock a few tennis balls out of the park, (high skill, low challenge) but once that feeling of newness wears off we realize we've been hitting yellow fluffy balls instead of the hard-laced baseballs we are meant to be hitting. We get bored, and we want more. Our state of Flow occurs when we're caught up in something, when we lose our sense of self and time, and we're creating the thing we're meant to create. Whether it's art or justice or nurture, our best sense of well being comes when we're in the flow.
While this is a pretty basic concept- seems kinda like common sense- I think there is some very interesting truth hidden within this idea: In order to find ourselves we must first lose ourselves in something bigger. Sounds like something Jesus once said doesn't it? While I'm sure Mihaly didn't intend to do research on Matthew 10:39, the correlation is really outstanding. Jesus tells us to "get lost" in Him, and then we will find both ourselves (the part of ourselves that we've been missing) and Him.
How does this practically apply to our lives? Easy. Money, success, notoriety, status, sex and anything else we like to pacify ourselves with, they're all tennis balls. That's why we get bored with them and we end up needing more or different pacifiers. They make us feel good for a while but there's no flow, no purpose being lived out, and we never find that thing we've been missing. Ignore these things. Focus on worshipping God instead. Get lost in Him. Go in deep over your head, totally swimming in a river of heavenly "flow". That means literally in worship but also figuratively, by worshipping with every aspect of your life. We should be continually asking ourselves "Is this a challenge, or am I just playing fluffball?" "Am I being worshipful with this, or just trying to make quota?"
So swing that bat, pick up that pen, start that business. Get in up to your elbows, give the glory to God and find yourself...smack dab in the middle of Him. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, October 7, 2010

For Sure God

My wife and I are headed out for some R&R tomorrow morning, and it couldn't be at a better time, spiritually speaking. We're both facing a lot of things lately: school, work, family, personal issues. Not to mention helping each other deal with these same issues; life is hard right now! That's why it's such great timing for a trip somewhere far, far, away. Maybe a change of place plus a change of place will equal a change of perspective (thanks to Mark Batterson for teaching me  his awesome one liners).
One thing is for sure, we serve a God who loves us fully, is fully in control, and fully capable of handling everything that comes our way. I realized that tonight as we were preparing to leave for St. John. We were praying over some burdens we had given to Him, and I said something to God along the lines of "at least we wrote them down here". That's when I realized I was praying like God was a weakling, or worse, an uncaring Creator.
The Holy Spirit showed me how foolish it sounded and I recanted a few thoughts later, telling Him I fully trusted Him with everything we listed.
You see, at first I felt like maybe He wouldn't take care of the things I wanted Him to, perhaps because I feel I don't deserve it. Not just because I'm a such sinner do I feel undeserving, but also because I'm not that great of a Christian. I routinely swear, steal, and think nasty thoughts. I push the Spirit away, and I lose my Bible ( without realizing it's missing) for weeks or months at a time. I only pray when I'm about to eat a formal meal, when I really need to get through traffic quick, or (briefly) right after I tell someone I will pray for them, just so I actually get one in on their behalf. I'm not that great of a Christian man, so why would God answer my prayer the first time I offer it to Him?
Thankfully, Abba does not work that way. He loves all of us, and He is always there for us, for sure. He wants have a meaningful prayer relationship with all of us. That would include Him listening as we lay our burdens at his feet, even if only for the first time. He is not a selective listener, and surely not a selective lover. He is not a God of "at least", He is a God of "for sure".
So here's to finding full faith in a God who is as omnipotent as He is tender.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wish List

I want to be an amateur in ministry, not a professional. I want to be motivated by love and not profit, and I want to be swimming in the presence of God. I want to leave my selfish broken heart behind, along with my corrupted mind. I want a new operating system and I want it to be Jesus Christ. I want my mind renewed with His thoughts and I want my intentions and motives to be purely His. I want to fulfill all the plans He has for me. I want Jesus to walk this Earth, and I want it to be through me.

Actually, scratch that, I want it to be through all of us, together. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, August 13, 2010


"The only things in life that are certain are death and taxes". I heard somewhere that Benjamin Franklin coined that term on a Friday the 13th in 1789. I'm not sure if that is an accurate tag or not, but on this Friday the 13th I would like to clear some things up about the phrase itself.

Maybe it's the teenage rebel trapped within me that always wants to buck the system or dispute the sayings of our parents, but this particular one-liner has always left me feeling uneasy. It may have something to do with the way my mother, in particular, used this saying, seeming always when something didn't quite go my way. I believe it was well meaning. I believe she meant to quote it as a way to help me learn to cope with unexpected circumstances, but the negative and helpless attitude it communicated always left me feeling out of control or wearied, never relaxed or safe.

Here's the beef: I don't think that either taxes or death are quite as consistent, unyielding, or unchangeable as my Father God is. His will included. I mean, Jesus beat death. Tell Him death is certain. See what He says. See if He doesn't laugh a very real/ not dead laugh.

As far as taxes go, (or any other man-made system) Jesus bested those as well, paying his Disciples' tax by making a fish spit out a coin. Not commonplace, I'll grant you, but it did happen. Jesus can do the same with the seemingly overwhelming systems you're facing today. The best part is, He can do it in a silly, simply easy way. He can think of things you never did and pull strings (or fish) you never knew existed.

So hear me out, I'm not saying Christ followers don't need life insurance or that we should all stop paying taxes ("Jesus is our general"). What I'm saying is that as followers of Christ we should be trusting in Him to be there. Resting in him. He is certain, He will certainly help, He certainly has a plan. His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and that's all there is to it.

Maybe I need to let my Father teach me something new about the absolutes in life. Whenever things are happening that feel out of control or unexpected, I should now remember: "The only thing in life that's certain is Jesus Christ and His awesome love for you". That's a little less dizzying, a little more reassuring.

I think that's what my Father meant. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I unboxed my Bible today, and with it, my calling.

I had packed it away, hoping to forget about it, or maybe discounting it's significance. If there are other Bibles I have access to, then maybe other destinies await as well?

I was wrong.

There is only one Bible that is mine, covered in notes from lessons learned, with tattered edges and tear stained pages. It contains not only The Story, but my story is written in it as well. I boxed it up when I left the church, and with it my heart and my spirit.

It was over two years ago today that I heard the voice of the Lord calling me to serve Him with everything. I missed that milestone (the 8th) because I was ignoring it. That missed date dawned on me today, and feeling the prompting of the Spirit, I rushed into the basement and dug out the boxes from my office. I looked through my books and altars, things I had saved to help me remember. When I saw my old Bible He hit me again. My faith and my God had been locked in a box, along with the book I didn't see fit to carry.

I have only one destiny, one calling and purpose. Even if I choose to box it up or ignore it, it will not change or go away. Praise God for my Bible and for my story.
BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rest while you can

That one liner just keeps popping into my mind. Rest while you can. Maybe it's just my sense of self-preservation, battling my conscience and telling me it's OK that I havent done a lick of paid "work" in the last two weeks. I've been waiting for one position to end and another to begin and, well, they didn't overlap as smoothly as I'd have liked. I've spent some of the last few weeks preparing for change, but mostly I've just been waiting. It's really sucked it some ways (anxiety!) but has been good in other ways. Waiting has made me question my direction a bit, which is healthy, and in turn the questioning has been driving me back to trust Jesus' plan and timing. I just blogged about this yesterday and then I wrestled with it well into the night. I even dreamt about my doubt. It's funny how many times we need to relearn and remember our lessons?
In another sense, my waiting has led me to believe that a season of change is coming, where my ability to work hard and stay focused will be tested. As a bit of a dreamer/ BS-er, it's hard for me to finish things. I don't often "ship" as Seth Godin puts it. I'd much rather think of awesome ideas, dream about their details and implications, and then move on to the next idea. (As a kid, I'd change my hobbies and interests every few months, depending on what article I'd just read in Field & Stream magazine.) That means that God is going to be stretching and growing me in big ways as I start two full-time, God given adventures in the very near future. They will both be long term investments into our future as a family, and I believe, huge ministry builders. They're coming, and they'll be tough.

For now, I'm goin to rest while I can.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

God controls the outcome

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I believe God "decides the outcome of my income". I promised more on that later, and well, today is later. So, if you have a few minutes let me explain what the heck I am talking about. It will be fun.

I believe that those of us who are trying to follow Christ's leading through life (or "chase the Wild Goose" as Mark Batterson puts it) have the upper hand in the situations and decisions we face, and it has nothing to do with us. God controls our outcomes, He has a plan for us, good works that we were predestined (I said it) to do, and all this for His glory. He certainly puts opportunities in our path and wants us to respond to these in a way that please Him, but that still doesn't guarantee the outcome. He decides.

So, that means the incomes are ours. What we put into things via prayer, and passion and intelligence and energy (Hear, o Israel) is up to us and doesn't really equal what the outcome will be. We can try really hard, and want it so bad we can taste it, or have a huge heart for God's work in our career path and study like mad for our next test but ultimately, it's up to Him. He decides if we get the position or if we pass the trimester or if we get pregnant (I have no womb, Thank you Jesus) and it often seems like He doesn't really care what we think or feel about it, doesn't it? Certainly we've all felt at one time like God just doesn't understand what we're trying to do for Him, and if He'd just get out of the way and let us git 'r done there would be so much more fruit for us and the Kingdom.

So what do we make of this mess? God has a plan for us, and our actions do matter, but He still decides. For many of us, this is difficult to manage. We wanna control what happens and be masters of our own destiny. I think we have our perspective all wrong. What we see as a curse is really an immense blessing! We have the Almighty looking out for us in ways only He can, moving pieces on the board that we didn't even know were in play. So what's left for us? Trust Him, Love Him, try our best to please Him and talk to Him about it when we don't or can't. Seems pretty simple, right? I think so.

We have the upper hand because we don't really have a hand at all. Instead, we've trusted our Father to play our hand for us. All he asks is that our head is in the game, and that we're looking over His shoulder, watching, learning and being amazed by Him.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What is Veritas Blog?

Veritas Blog is about everything. It's about the truth that surrounds us in tiny pieces and slivers and glimpses. It's about the truth that saturates our relationships, our places and people and things. It's about exposing when and where this truth exists and claiming it, pointing to God as Creator of it.

In Velvet Elvis, author and pastor Rob Bell (let's get things off on the right foot) writes about the kavod of God, the "weight or significance" of His glory that completely surrounds us. Bell says everything is "drenched" with Jesus' presence and he mentions the words of David, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it". That's where we're going with this.

And not only is Veritas Blog about pointing out the everything and everywhere-ness of God, but it's about changing our thinking and perspective to include Him, more often. Yeah, it is about recognizing and claiming, but it's more about thanking Him or possibly even changing how we act or think. And if we allow Jesus to change how we act or think to include Him, more often, then we're slowly adding up to be more like He was and we're slowly adding up our impact to be more like His was. And that's a pretty big impact.

Like many budding writers, I want you to read my stuff. Even more so, I want you to read my stuff and think about it. Then I want you to comment about it, or tell your friends and family and cohorts your thoughts and where they can read about it and comment too. But in spite of my building ego and inflating weather-balloon- proportioned- head, there is something in my heart that quivers and makes my hands shake when I think about me writing and you reading. It's the thing that pops these thoughts in my head and shows me what I'm actually seeing when I look around. It's the driving force behind the equations and deductions, and it decides the outcome of my income (more on that later). To say these thoughts are not my own, but the Spirits' is a lie, and a bad one at that. I'm obviously not a psalmist (and I've been told that God's written revelation is complete), but to say that these thoughts are all mine would be taking too much credit.

So let's expose the truth (Veritas in Latin). Let's claim it as His and ours. Let's allow Him to saturate us and our everything.

Where do you see Truth?