A new perspective on pain

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The most basic of human instincts is to avoid pain.

When we feel cold, we put on a jacket. When we feel hungry, we eat. When we’re abused, we run, or fight back to stop it. We’re built to avoid falling down, wired to not step out in front of a moving vehicle, and taught to pursue survival, comfort, and safety.

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Making room for growth

Lately, I’ve felt God speak to me through the idea of soil.

It’s sort of funny, because I don’t garden. In fact, I’ve never grown a plant, vegetable, fruit, or flower in my life. I grew up on asphalt, mowed grass, and pool water. Far from any farm or vegetable patch (Though I’ve always loved the phrase “vegetable patch,” because it sounds sort of inviting and yummy).

Nonetheless, I believe there is much to learn from nature, and the substances and cycles of nature – even if we’re not well acquainted with them in our daily lives. Jesus used a lot of farming analogies to explain faith and life, and I think we should try to make an effort to understand them. So, soil.

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Overcoming fear, and other things that can feel impossible

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These past couple of weeks have been difficult. Two weeks ago, I had a plan. I had finally reached a “life stage” I had been anticipating for about a decade. Now, I’m back to where I started – no plan and no idea of what the future holds [if it’s not clear already, I went through a breakup].

What I found in the midst of feeling like “the bottom fell through” on my hopes and dreams were things I didn’t expect: security, faith, some courage.

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God in the details

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I just spent two weeks in Paris. I saw – on a near-daily basis – things of extraordinary beauty: the surprising sight of the Eiffel Tower, backlit in pink and orange at sundown or bristling in sparkle late at night; humans memorialized in stone and gold and marble, expressionless and majestic at the center of squares and parks; miles of grey and cream apartment buildings from another century, with delicate molding and tiny wrought-iron balconies.

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Morning is coming: on faith and anticipation

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Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear. (Isaiah 58:8)

If it’s the case that you usually wake up after dawn, you wake up in the morning to a blue (or maybe white or gray) sky. The sun streams into your room, or at the very least, you are not groping for your phone in the darkness. The day goes on, becomes brighter, then finally fades into purple before going black. Then the pattern repeats. Light becomes darkness every day, signifying closure, ending, a wind-down.

But if you wake up before dawn, you find a different pattern: you wake up to darkness and wait for the sky to pale and the sun to appear. You wait for the light to break forth.

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When the outcome is unclear

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Today was uncharacteristically foggy in Southern California. Where I live, there’s often a morning mist that breaks by mid-day. But today was different. The haze remained into dusk, drifting across parking lots and tree tops, clouding the landscape in white. The sunlight never broke and the hot orange-pink sunset never showed up.

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7 God moments in 2017

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 If you don’t know what I mean by “God moment” that doesn’t mean you’ve never had one.

I define a “God moment” as a moment when God reveals Himself to us through Creation…and that’s not necessarily limited to nature. Creation includes anything created: other people, art, words spoken.

A God moment can be a single moment, or a pattern that emerges. It usually takes us by surprise, and breaks what we believe to be routine, logical, or “normal.”

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