Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. -Matthew 7:7
In the past few years, more than ever before, I have challenged my beliefs. I have challenged how I live my life. I have challenged my foundations. It has been extremely unsettling at times. I expect that I will never really be done.
I’m on a journey seeking truth. I want to know the desires of God’s heart, the message of Christ beyond what society has made it. Through this process I have found that love remains. If we are not motivated by love, we are harming those around us. What motivates you? What prompts you to open your mouth and speak?
Let all that you do be done in love. -1 Corinthians 16:14
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. -Romans 13:8
There are many things I don’t understand in this world but the need for us to love each other is very clear.
I have a scientific mind. I like to see cause and effect. I like to know whether something occurs because of causation or merely correlation. I tend to assume that if something is true there will be evidence. There are four types of truth: Given, inspired, observed and experienced. It’s possible to know something to be true experientially without fully understanding it. It’s also possible to know something to be true because it was given, although it has not yet been experienced. The purpose of given truth is to protect us. It keeps us from repeating the mistakes of those before us. I didn’t need to stick a metal hanger in an outlet to know that would hurt me, I simply trusted the word of my parents. On the contrary, there are truths I’ve decided to test out for myself. I have been both hurt and healed in this process; and at times have found the “truth” to be the real harm. This process transforms given truth into experienced truth, which is the most genuine, dynamic and influential. So tell your stories, learn from each other, and don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.
"…an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error." -John Galt (Atlas Shrugged)
I could argue in favor of and against the quote above, but the point is: use your brain.
It’s unsettling to seek truth but I believe if you seek it, you will find it.
Today as I woke up, I had mixed philosophical feelings about all the things I had to do and where I was in life. Then, I simultaneously tossed my covers off of me and threw my phone into the crack between the bed and the wall where the spiders live. Gross, right? I rolled my eyes, turned on the light, moved the bed and retrieved my phone. I had a message from my dad with this quote:
"It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy."
Yes. yesyesyes. Every moment of our lives can be perceived by multiple perspectives. Are you bitter? Are you thankful? Are you numb? How neat that I even have an iPhone 5 to throw between the wall and the bed. How neat that I even slept in a bed. How neat that I have a dad that encourages and challenges me. How neat that I have a grandpa that lets me stay at his house and makes me hot tea with fresh lemon in the evenings. The list continues… I’m safe. I’m okay. I’m actually pretty fantastic!
Happiness is not found externally. When you have that job you want… When you can finally go on vacation… When you get married… When you lose weight… or even when you have more money. Sure, these things are wonderful, but they do not change the foundation of your happiness, because without an attitude of gratefulness, there will always be one more thing.
SoulPancake made a neat video to illustrate this point. It’s called the science of happiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg
And so I challenge myself, and you, today. How will you express your gratitude?
Recently I have felt an urgency to give. Not out of obligation but out of abundance. I am loved. I want others to know that love.
Is that cheating? Giving out of abundance rather than sacrificial giving? I don’t know. I do know why we don’t have to choose when it comes to love. God first loved us with an abundant everlasting love. In other words, a love that will never end and will never run out. The more you love, the more love you will have to give.
I am also inspired by what my grandma has left with our family. This Christmas season has been hard for me, knowing she won’t be with us but I want to be sure that the spirit of giving stays with us. Christmas was her favorite and she had such a beautiful giving heart. So I challenge you, find a way to give. You have something. Maybe it’s money, maybe it’s a smile. Maybe it’s a healthy body and time to help somebody with housework or yardwork. Maybe it’s freshly baked cookies or a listening ear.
Whatever you do, be genuine.
"We love because he first loved us." -1 John 4:19
"… a couple of years ago I found out what "you can’t take it with you" means. I found out while I was lying in the ditch at the side of a country road, covered with mud and blood and with the tibia of my right leg poking out the side of my jeans like the branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm. I had a MasterCard in my wallet, but when you’re lying in the ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts MasterCard… We all know that life is ephemeral, but on that particular day and in the months that followed, I got a painful but extremely valuable look at life’s simple backstage truths. We come in naked and broke. We may be dressed when we go out, but we’re just as broke. Warren Buffett? Going to go out broke. Bill Gates? Going to go out broke. Tom Hanks? Going out broke… Should you give away what you have? Of course you should. I want you to consider making your lives one long gift to others, and why not? All you have is on loan, anyway. All you want to get at the getting place, from the Maserati you may dream about to the retirement fund some broker will try to sell you on, none of that is real. All that lasts is what you pass on. The rest is smoke and mirrors. Right now we have the power to do great good for others and for ourselves. So I ask you to begin the next great phase of your life by giving, and to continue as you begin. I think you’ll find in the end that you got far more than you ever had, and did more good than you ever dreamed.” -Stephen King, 2001 commencement speech to Vassar
Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
-Mumford & Sons