July 16, 2010

Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents or teacher would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up? It’s kind of funny because if you said something like “waitress” or “plumber” you’d get some pretty strange looks. They’d suggest something more suiting like a doctor.

They want you to have purpose. They want to think that they brought you into this world to do wonderful things and be successful. They want to be able to sit around the nursing home and brag about their kids.

Think back to what you wanted to be way back when. Did you change your mind a thousand times? Are you doing that now? Or have you just fallen into that “normal” job, so to say?

Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing. At least you have a job, which is more than a lot of people can say.

But do you ever think back on those fantasy jobs? Your dream of being an astronaut or a princess? Or about the way you thought everything in your life would happen and just fall into place?

Do you feel like you have purpose? Do you feel like you were born with a reason? A set-in-stone reason for you being here?

Yeah, me neither.

Only one person that I know of has had his purpose known from the start. Jesus.

And it’s kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it? Creating life for the sole purpose of having it stuffed out to give others life. Creating life for death.

I read a book a while back called My Sister’s Keeper. In the book, a girl is born with a terminal illness and is going to die soon if not given the proper transplants. The parents decide that rather than waiting or risking transplants from other people, that they would have a designer baby with its only purpose to be saving her sister.

And in a crazy kind of way, that’s what God did for us. We are the terminally ill child, bound for death and hardship, but He gave us a “designer baby” with the power to save us all through one thing- his death.

No pressure or anything. I mean, how would you feel as Jesus, knowing that the main purpose of your existence was to die? What if Jesus wanted to be a dentist or a baker? Nope. He was here to save us all.

We all know ow the story ends. He doesn’t live a long life and peacefully die in his sleep. He’s flogged to within an inch of his life and crucified. That was his purpose. This was what his life was leading up to.

Or was it?

Because three days later, he rose from the dead. I don’t know about you, but if I was able to do that, I’d think my life was pretty meaningful! So maybe that’s the purpose of Christ’s life, to not only die for our sins, but to also show that he is stronger than it, that he can concur it and set us free from it by rising three days later.

But in the midst of all this, my thoughts go back to Mary and Joseph. What was going through their minds? This was the baby they’d had raised and loved. They had big dreams and high hopes for him. Were they thinking negatively of God? Or were they praising Him and thanking Him for the miracle that is Jesus? I honestly can’t say, but I’m sure they were scared.

But I bet they found relief. Relief in the fact that their son is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

And maybe you can find that relief to. And in that relief, may you find your purpose.



July 7, 2010

Do you have a special song? Maybe you danced to it with your high school sweetheart at prom, or it was your wedding song or the song your mother sang to you as you fell asleep. One of my songs is “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins from “Tarzan.” That was the first movie I went and saw with my mom and could understand what was going on. She used to sing it to me all the time. Whatever the circumstance might be, that song is your song so to say. And it will always have a certain effect on you. When you hear it on the radio or someone is humming it down the hall, you stop and listen and you remember that special moment when it became your song.

It’s the song you sing in the shower, in the car during traffic, when nobody’s home. You forget about it sometimes. Life gets busy and the song is no longer in your thoughts; it’s gotten pushed to the back. But you hear it on the radio and it all comes rushing back. It just sticks with you. You can’t explain it to anyone else. Because that song is so much more than just a song. That song is a story, a moment in history. That song was the background music orchestrated the instant perfectly. And it stuck with you.

And everyone has their own songs because they’ve all been in different situations or just have different musical tastes. The song my mom danced to at her wedding is probably very different from the song I will hopefully dance to someday at my wedding.

But in a sense, it’s all kind of connected in this universal happiness when you hear that song.

That’s how a relationship with Jesus is.

Most people have them and they react accordingly when mentioned. And when they do hear it, they get this passionate feeling. And it’s different for everybody. But they all feel this warmth. This sense of comfort. Something they can identify with and call their own.

We’ve all met God at different places. He’s spoken to us in different ways. Sometimes we forget about Him. But He’s always there. So sing with Him.

Hold My Heart

July 5, 2010

I love running.

Yep, there you have it. Jesse Springer probably just had a heart attack, but it’s true. Now, I’m not like some people I know who will run 8.13 miles a day at an average rate of 7.62 mph at 5:49pm on 7/5/2010 (you know who you are). But I do enjoy running. I don’t run far and I don’t run fast. I go to the local YMCA and hop on the far left treadmill next to all the ellipticals. I speed walk but then I bump up the speed and just kill it.

And it’s strange. Because I never really like running before. I’ve always looked at it as a punishment. Until I started doing it for me. Whenever we had to run lines at practice or run the mile, it was always for someone else’s benefit. And there was always a specific amount or distance you had to run. And I’ve never liked things like that. When I’m done, I’m done, I’m not doing any more or any less. That’s it. That’s why I like running for me.

As soon as I start running, I don’t stop until long after the burning has set in and my legs have gone numb. I’m kind of a weirdo and don’t really feel satisfaction with some things, such as running, unless the hurt. To me, pain has always been a measure of strength, so to say. I feel like to be strong and satisfied and feel like whatever I had started was purposeful, I had to, for lack of a better term, “feel the burn.” To feel like I had succeeded or done well, I had to walk away in pain. And I don’t think I like that. I’m not really fond of that characteristic of myself. I think it makes me feel full of pride, or “worthier”, both of which I have a negative perspective of.

One of the things I like to do while running is spend a little time with God. I’ll focus on something, usually a tree outside, or a car parked across the street. I’ll just run and talk to God. I feel vulnerable when I run, which is probably why I’ll open up and talk to God during that time.

It’s a little bizarre, but talking to God and having a special relationship with Him gives me the same kind of feeling as walking away from a treadmill feeling as if my legs are going to give way. Talking to Him and admitting my faults and fears makes me feel accomplished in a sense. It makes me feel satisfied and purposeful- without the pain.

And maybe that’s just one more reason I love having this bond with Him. He never makes me feel pain when I say “goodbye” but rather makes me feel better than I did coming into it. He makes me feel beautiful, happy, hopeful, strong, loved.

And I find it odd that I would talk to Him and feel that way while I am running, trying to feel the exact opposite. But it makes sense. While I am doing something that causes pain, I think about other things, eventually coming to terms with God and placing all my focus on him, thus forgetting that I am aching.

That goes for everything in life, not just exercise. If you talk to God through your heartache and pain and sorrow, you are essentially giving Him that burden.  And the good news is, He’s more than strong enough to bear all of your strife. You’re not. Psalms 103: 12 says “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” He is the only one who can do that. So why not give it up to someone who is more than capable of handling this? Why would you want to hurt when you have a glorious God begging for you to give Him your pain?