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Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Online Content Manager’

The Dreaded Question

October 3, 2012 7 comments
Dog shaking hands

“So what do you do for a living?”

Meeting new people can be stressful, especially when you are an introvert. It’s not the new people that bother me. What bothers me is that almost every time I meet someone new, I get asked the dreaded question – “What do you do for a living?” Since I am still unemployed, I loathe being asked this question. I don’t want to be seen as Debbie Downer and bring everyone down. How do you respond to this question without being seen as “that guy” and have everyone avoid you?

For men, we often associate our identity with what we do for a career. We want to be the provider (whether you are single or married with a family) and without a job we feel like a part of us is missing. There is a great article on Relevant magazine’s website that talks about not letting our occupation (or lack there of) determine our worth. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done not to go down the path of doubt and depression when it comes being unemployed.

In a recent conversation with a friend, he reminded me that I am so much more than any job. When people ask me this question, his suggested response was to tell people the truth – that I am serving through world missions, leading others in discipleship, and using this time to grow spiritually. I know that I will eventually have a job title as an answer to this question, but lately it’s been all about what to do or say in the mean time. At times like these, I wish life had a fast forward button so you could move on to the next stage of your life (while still attaining the lessons you learned or unlearned during the “fast forward period”).

If you have been without a job, how did you answer the dreaded question?

Photo Credit: By Shannon Yeh

Conversations of a Life Unexpected

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment
life tiles

Life never goes as we plan.

I will be celebrating (okay, maybe “celebrating” isn’t quite the right word…more like “dreading” right now) a milestone birthday in less than six months. Last night I was talking with my roommate about all of these things that I had hoped to have accomplished or done by this upcoming birthday. We all have our “bucket list” of things we want to do by a certain age and my list was more out of feeling a sense of entitlement (like I deserved these things) – “Why am I not married by now?” or “Why do I not have a house of my own now?” These ideas brought more questions, but no answers.

Donald Miller’s blog Storyline has a great post by Jeff Goins on this very topic – “When Life Doesn’t Turn Out the Way You Expect” and I felt like it was written specifically to me. Goins compares our life to that of a story where we are an important character, but not the MAIN character. God is the MAIN character in our story. Things happen in our life that we don’t plan – job loss, death of a friend or family member, car problems…and the list continues. We get frustrated because more often than not, we have no control over these situations.

One thing we are quick to forget – when we are on the other side of our respective situations, we will be stronger and a better person because of them.

How has your life turned out differently than you planned?

Photo Credit: By Wes Peck

52 Days And Counting…

frustration

This is how I feel right about now!

It’s hard to believe all that has happened in the past few weeks. As of today, it is only 52 days and counting until I leave for my Brazil mission trip. Currently I have raised $1540 of my $3000 in support for the trip (thanks to some AMAZING contributors). I have to raise the remaining $1460 by August 17. If you are interested in contributing, there is still time.

I ran (more like walked) the Peachtree Road Race on Wednesday, July 4. This was my fourth time participating in the race. I was not really pleased with my time this year (1:52:52), but I finished it and got my t-shirt (and the t-shirts keep getting uglier and uglier every year – geez who creates these things?!). I keep telling myself that I’m going to start training earlier and earlier each year, but I always end up waiting until the absolute last minute. Hopefully I will change this in 2013.

My job search continues to be a daily source of frustration and stress right now. I recently found out that a job I interviewed for (that would have been my “dream job”) ended up going to someone else with absolutely no explanation of why. At the end of this month it will be 13 months since I lost my job and looking doesn’t get any easier. They keep saying that the economy is getting better and the unemployment rate is getting lower – I will believe all of this when I finally get a job! I started this blog as a means to help me keep up with my writing skills and to have something to show potential employers as an example of my work, but lately it has become a place to vent my frustration.

Something has GOT to happen on the job front soon! I honestly don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Have you been through a “longer than expected” job hunt? If so, what kept you encouraged during the difficult time?

Photo Credit: By Shelby H.

Janet’s in Control While Jesus Takes the Wheel

control

Why do we have to be in control?

A great philosopher once said “I’ve got my own mind, I want to make my own decisions. When it has to do with my life, I’m gonna be the one who’s in control!” Okay, calling Janet Jackson a great philosopher is more than a little messed up, but she shares the same mindset as a good portion of the American people. We have the ability to make our own decisions, so therefore we should be the one in control. We’re constantly saying “Jesus take the wheel” but it’s like we’re the passenger in one of those driver’s education cars that has a steering wheel and brake pedal on the passenger side. We immediately grab the wheel and start turning the other way when we are taken in a direction we don’t want to go.

Why do we feel the need to be in control? Is it the fear of the unknown? Do we really think we know what’s best? We can’t make time go any faster and forcing the hand of others (including God) to do what we want just isn’t going to happen. More often than not, when I try to take control one of two things happens – I either stress myself out over the situation because I can’t actually control anything or things fall apart due to my feeble attempt to do things my way.

The Bible has some great advice regarding control.

1) God is the one who is in control, not us.

Jeremiah 29:11 states –

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

2) Worrying over something of which you have no control doesn’t benefit anyone.

Matthew 6:25-34 tells us –

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I know it’s much easier said then done, but sometimes we just have to learn to let go. We’re not in charge and pretending we are is only going to get us no where fast.

Enjoy Janet Jackson’s “Control” video below and ask yourself, “How can I relinquish control of my life today?”

Photo Credit: By Emilian Robert Vicol

Prayer and Bruce Almighty

man praying

Why do you pray?

The subject of prayer has been on my mind today. We don’t truly understand the concept of prayer in today’s society. How can talking with someone we don’t see be of benefit to us? One of the biggest misconceptions about prayer is that we do it for God’s benefit. If I pray “Lord, I need a job. Please provide me with a job as soon as possible. Amen.” God’s reaction isn’t going to be “Wait…you need a job? I had no clue – thank you for letting Me know this!” Prayer isn’t for God’s benefit, it’s really for our benefit. One of my favorite quotes about prayer is by C.S. Lewis – “I don’t pray to change God’s mind. I pray for God to change my mind!”

Through prayer, we realize how much we really need to depend on God. Praying makes us aware of our limitations and reminds us of God’s greatness. Prayer does not obligate God to give us what we want – He is not a supernatural vending machine dispensing our desires at the push of a button. When you are in a relationship with someone you spend time communicating with that individual, otherwise the relationship will suffer. Prayer is about communicating with our Creator and developing our relationship with Him. Sometimes even the church struggles with the concept of prayer (Andy Stanley did a great sermon on this very topic – Big Church (Part 2): Big Prayers (NOTE – The video will automatically start on Part 1, so you will need to select Part 2 for this particular sermon)).

A great illustration of our misconception regarding prayer can be found in the 2003 Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty. It’s the tale of Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey), a down on his luck news reporter who gets frustrated with God. Bruce accuses God of being cruel and not doing His job, so God (Morgan Freeman) gives Bruce His powers for one week to show him that he can’t do it any better. In one particular scene Bruce tries to figure out how to answer the prayers of the world (see the video below) and decides to create a computerized system. He realizes that the more prayers he answers, the more prayers come in. Frustrated, he decides to answer “yes” to all prayers. The results of Bruce’s action cause extreme chaos in the world (you’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens).

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about prayer?

Photo Credit: By Leland Francisco

Discipline Equals Love

June 21, 2012 2 comments
Time Out Chair

The dreaded “time out” chair!

Yesterday I was able to spend some time with my younger brother and his kids. He has three kids that are under the age of seven, so things can get very interesting at times. One thing I noticed was if my brother told one of them to do something (or not to do something), depending on their mood, the response often would be something negative like “No!” or “I don’t want to do that!” At times they may even think their father is mean because he won’t let them do whatever they want. What they don’t understand is my brother has a reason behind why he is telling them these things – he loves them and is looking out for their best interest.

As believers we often find ourselves questioning why God wants us to do something or why he hasn’t allowed something to happen for us. We get mad at Him, stomp our foot, and say “No God, I don’t want to do that!” or “Why did this person get to do that and I don’t?!” Sometimes we go to the extreme of being so mad at God that we try to run from Him. Quite frequently God will just let us have our temper tantrum and then look at us and say “Are you finished yet? I know what I’m doing.” Other times God will just let us have what we think we want at that time and when we realize we were wrong He asks “When will you learn? I know what’s best for you!”

Now days it’s the norm to see parents out in public telling their kids “I’m going to count to three and if you don’t do (or stop doing) <insert whatever random act here>, then you are going to be in trouble!” A couple of weeks ago, our pastor started a series called Age of Kings. One of the main points he mentioned in the first week was “God doesn’t count to three.” He doesn’t say to us “If you don’t do this (or stop doing this) I’m going to count to three and there will be consequences!” He just lets us do our thing and suffer the results. He doesn’t do this to be cruel, on the contrary as Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Discipline is what helps us grow and what teaches us right from wrong. Dictionary.com has three different definitions for discipline:

  • To train by instruction and exercise
  • To bring a state of order and obedience by training and control
  • To punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct or chastise

Which of these three definitions do you think of when you view how God disciplines you as His child?

Photo Credit: By Stephen Nakatani

Sinner – A Great Ending to Paradise

Sinner by Ted Dekker

Sinner concludes the Paradise novels.

Ted Dekker’s Sinner is the third and final book in the Paradise novel series. This story picks up 13 years after Showdown with Darcy and Billy (two of the children who lived in the monastery during the first book). Billy is now a lawyer and Darcy works at an assembly plant. The two are brought back together by the government as someone has discovered their special abilities (Darcy can persuade people to do things with her words and Billy can read a person’s mind) and wants them dead. They are brought to Washington, DC for “safe keeping” but numerous lynchings begin to happen and Darcy and Billy are asked to help solve the mystery behind the occurrences.

The duo convinces the government that the lynchings are racially driven and that it is the work of religious fanatics. Darcy motivates congress to create “The Tolerance Act” which deems anything spoken against another person based on race or religion a federal offense. They begin to hear rumblings from Paradise and discover that Johnny is back in the city preaching the truth of Jesus Christ and how he is the only way to heaven. Under the new act, Johnny’s actions are considered intolerant as by saying Jesus it the only way he is by default saying that other ways are wrong. Darcy and Billy agree to meet with Johnny in hopes of making him see things their way. Three thousand people end up coming to Paradise as a result of Johnny’s message and the government is faced with decision of how to punish Johnny and the others for breaking the new law.

Unlike Saint, Sinner was an enjoyable and intriguing read from start to finish. The book deals with topics like power (asking “When you have the ultimate power, will you let it go to your head and use it for personal gain?”) and being able to forgive yourself for sins of the past. Dekker has done a great job with the Paradise novels and I look forward to reading more of his books in the future.

Photo Credit: By http://www.teddekker.com

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