Give Your Dreams to the Wind

Say your dreams out loud. Let the wind carry them off to the right ears.

Say your dreams out loud. Watch God as He takes the smallest of seeds and grows it exponentially. Delight in every part of the process.

Say your dreams out loud. Give specifics and be excited about them! Do not hoard them or save them up for a rainy day.

Say your dreams out loud. Appreciate those who help you attain them. Love those who doubt you.

Say your dreams out loud. Give them away freely to people on the train, in the park, or at your job. Know your softly spoken dreams are protected against all threats.

Say your dreams out loud. They are your dreams, and they are worth having. They are worth pursuing. They are worth every hurdle and every frustration. Your dreams are where you will find life’s simplest treasures, so say your dreams out loud.

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Some People Just Care…

…is number 26 on my January Jewels list. I’ve written this blog post at least six times, and it doesn’t matter what words I use or what order I put them in, I still can’t bring myself to understand the notion of someone caring without an incentive. That’s a wee bit sad. I’m so used to everything else, but the moment there’s a good-hearted person, I’m out here withholding information and testing the boundaries of any given situation. Backwards, right?

I wrote some people just care and thought about people in general and a surface kind of caring. Now I’m thinking about one person in particular—A, who I mentioned in A Friend Loves at All Times.

This isn’t a surface type of caring like someone saying, “Get home safely!” or “Text me when you’re home!” It’s more than that. It’s a type of caring that gives you locks and asks for frequent updates when your home has been compromised. It is a type of caring that calls for three reasons. The first one to ask you to describe your Bible study. The second reason to say that she figured that was the answer, so she bought you a devotional book. And the last reason is to read you a Psalm. It’s a type of caring that when met with the distress in my voice immediately responded with, “We’re going to lunch. What do you want to eat?” A is the definition of love does.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was reading Bob Goff’s Love Does. That’s the whole book: Love does. Love doesn’t say it’ll do something with no follow-through. Love doesn’t only think about helping or doing. Love doesn’t mock or tease. Love does. That’s A. I’m gonna level with you, I assumed Goff was 1 in a 100 million and this wasn’t ordinary practice, yet here I am a living, breathing recipient of it.

I know I can annoy and maybe even tire A out, yet she still picks up the phone. She still tries to understand me. She still tries to connect with me. She keeps caring, and that’s a radical type of caring that makes me wanna do what she’s doing.

I’ve written all of this about seven different ways just to say that people who choose to love no matter how annoyed or uncertain they are, might be the best kind of people. Because, after everything, they still decided on love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Love in a way that puts all other loves to shame. Maybe that’s what I was trying to say.

Walk like Who?

I like asking people their favorite parts of the Bible. I feel like it helps me know them a bit better. Most of the responses come from stories I know well. Occasionally, I’ll get a story I don’t know well at all. Those are fun. People tend to get creative with their answers when I’m unfamiliar with the story. Personally, my favorite part of the Bible isn’t a story. It’s a little detail in the grand scheme of greatness that the Word is–a raindrop in the ocean.

Genesis 5:21-24 says, “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

I love this. How, I ask, how did Enoch live? Even Abraham could not escape the jaws of death, yet Enoch did! This paragraph has generated countless opinions and historical perspectives of who Enoch was and why God took him. Every time I read these verses, I have a plethora of questions. Why isn’t there more about what he did? Who was Enoch? Why at 65 did he begin to walk faithfully? Is God still taking people away pre-rapture? When I tell people my favorite part, they give me an, “Oh yeah, him,” or a confused, “Who? In Genesis?”

Truthfully, I get excited every time I read this. I get lost in the possibilities of everything I imagine Enoch to be. I’ve dabbled a bit into the history of Enoch, but I read everything with a discerning eye. I have yet to find an answer that satisfies my mind. I long for Enoch’s story to be laid out in front of me. I want to be able to revisit his life. I want more than a paragraph, so my true questions can be answered: What did God see in Enoch? And could He see it in me too?

January Jewels

This month is coming to a close, but me oh my, have I learned quite a bit about where I’ve been. Slowly yet surely, I can see where I’m going, and it’s oddly bright and filled with singing. Here’s what I learned:

1. Don’t put anyone on a pedestal.

2. You are never alone.

3. Aaron Burr was wrong. Talk more. Laugh loud.

4. Be less about “I” and “me” and more about “us” and “we”.

5. Get over it.

6. Change. You’re too young to be so rigid.

7. Fun is a thing you have. It cannot be calculated or analyzed.

8. Get to know who you are first.

9. Who cares what they think!

10. Do not respond to every reaction.

11. Give yourself room to be angry.

12. Change requires a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

13. Good friendships are hard to come by. Apply 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 to a new one.

14. Dude, just sing. You sing all day every day. The song ain’t end cause you’re in public.

15. Never again will you dull your shine, intelligence, affection, honesty, or loudness because someone else is uncomfortable.

16. Every day is a gift.

17. Love is revolutionary, and it comes in all forms–laughs, shared experiences, songs, dances, smiles, correction, and acceptance.

18. You don’t have to be good at something to love it.

19. Put. Your. Shoes. On. And. Go. RUN!

20. Joy is something that remains. Choose happiness.

21. Give people room to be who they are.

22. Fight for your students and their education.

23. Take a new perspective that doesn’t begin with I or me.

24. You have not cause you ask not.

25. If you say no now, you won’t have to apologize later.

26. Some people just care. They just meet you and love you, and I know it weirds you out, but please let them love you.

27. You teach people how to respond to you.

28. It’s okay to laugh guilt-free again, Esh.

29. You’re a hugger, and everyone knows it.

30. You can’t be right all the time. Take the criticism cause it’s coming from a loving place.

31. Grow up, bebe.

A Poem for Papa

I’m no poet, and I know it, but when I started to know God, I would read Him my favorite poems. I was convinced that every love poem and love song was about Him. One of my favorites is ee cummings, “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart).” The last time I recited it back to Him was when I was leaving Bethlehem, Ga. Something clicked that night. There was a truth that I discovered then. It was that He is in all good things, in all honorable and true things. Between Bethlehem and now, I stopped reading. I stopped reciting. Maybe because I’ve been running.

I’ve been running fast from every giant in my life. It’s like the Jason movies. No matter how far or fast I run, there they are lurking in a dark corner. In the moments where I find a shelter of quiet, I sleep. I’m exhausted, yet my feet keep running.

I’ve heard somewhere that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I always run to the same places, looking for the same people, and asking for the same kind of help. Insanity.

I’m reading this book by Louie Giglio titled Goliath Must Fall. I encourage you to read it. It is so good! Giglio discusses strongholds that people have on their lives and how to be free from them. As I’m reading, I’m making a list of all the things that I’m running from, and there’s so many. Things I dare not say out loud, things I suffer with every single day, a few that are common like pride, approval, control, and abandonment. There’s so many, but I believe they all come from one giant.

Today, I find myself tired of temporary sleeping spots. I want rest. I’m tired of temporary refuge. I want peace. I’m tired of running, and with that there God is. There He is to love me, protect me, and honor me. There He is because He wants me. He wants me more than words can express. So, today, I have a poem for my forever expanding, infinite God who gives me permanent rest.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

A Friend Loves at All Times

My friend, A, who is very near and dear to my heart, recently unveiled some things about me that I hadn’t realized I did. What I thought was me simply arranging words out of my mouth was actually victimization or putting myself below other people. Now, as much as I adore A’s straightforwardness, it stung. It stings a bit every single time she points something out. When she gently says something, I react with a defensive response. Being on the defense is what I know, so I fall back on it often.

Yesterday I met with her, and she said, “I’m gonna stop telling you things cause I don’t think you can handle it.”

And in an instant I said, “I’m doing my best!”

“There you go being on the defense again.”

By that time, I was a little less than irked. I went home, took a nap, and when I woke up I was screaming about war veterans.

“It’s like when someone has been in a war and they get home and realize that some of the things they’re doing aren’t normal, but it takes some time to adjust. I’ve been fighting a battle for 20 years! I need some time to adjust!” I felt justified, yet I was still wrong.

It finally clicked after I spent 90 minutes tutoring a 3rd grader who refused to speak to me because I told him he needed to focus more and study or we’d have to discuss if I would return. He listened to what I said. He silenced all his hyperactivity to reach the expectation I had of him. He thought about every problem we went over, and he responded exceptionally well for someone who was not speaking. That’s when I got it. A just wants me to do better, to be better, to grow up.

I’d been walking through this life for a long time believing that my trauma was on my face, but my trauma does not determine how someone responds to me. My trauma does not justify impartiality, victimization, or defensiveness. It explains it, sure, but it is not a resting point for projecting my life off of.

My 3 year old nephew’s Bible memorization phrase a couple of weeks ago was Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.” A Friend sure does, but sometimes, that love comes in the form of a gentle rebuke that begins with, “I love you, but you’re incorrect.”