Category Archives: Lifestyle

Consistent Inconsistency

SINCON_375_1I’m sure you know the answer to this question even before I pose it to you, but have you ever found yourself being inconsistent?  It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s not exercising 4 to 5 times a week OR diving into the cookies/potato chips OR watching too much television OR answering significant others in a few words rather than having a deep, intimate conversation.  Do you simply find yourself saying, “I should be doing this,” but continue to find yourself doing the opposite; the same exact unhealthy behavior day in and day out, repeating the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again?

Looking back on my posts (can’t believe it’s almost been a year blogging!), I’ve alluded to this topic several times, primarily in the last post Destroy What Destroys YouThe impending proposition is a play on words, thinking critically about the title, understanding what occurs when we have consistent inconsistency in our life.  And most importantly, how do we manage such a dilemma. 

First of all, it takes a lot to recognize your own inconsistency.  It takes an attentive discernment of one’s character to say, “wait a second, this isn’t good, this isn’t bettering me as a person.”  It not only takes a lot to be cognizant of ones’ flaws, but most importantly, takes an abundance of tempered attitude to refine and adjust private weaknesses.  It’s imperative to note, we’re all fundamentally exhausted.  We’re all quintessentially afflicted.  We have our own secluded predicaments and complications.  We’re all simply imperfect.

With imperfection comes inconsistency.  With inconsistency comes commitment dominance (and not all imperfection leads to inconsistency; that’s not the extent of the following, but rather an analysis of the adverse/unfavorable influences on our lives).  In other words, habit forming.  And in this case, negative habits; dominating negative habits, fulfilling the majority of ones’ thoughts and actions.  To understand habits, we must appreciate the science behind habit forming.  Essentially, habits are developed through frequent repetition and reinforcement, links between stimuli and responses.  Most habits we have today were shaped during our early years as well as being passed down from our parents.  Also, we’ve learned through observation and modeling, being most often consistent with our personality.  Therefore, frequently repeated thoughts or actions create neural pathways in the brain and the more frequent the repetition, the stronger the connection and the wider the pathway will become.  The constant recurrence decreases the biochemical resistance to that certain thought or action.  That is why we can perform certain thoughts and actions almost unconsciously.

Ultimately, as we begin to realize and recognize a negative habit forming, we should quickly do all things possible to extinguish its damaging wrath.  Because it’s oh so often, we relinquish control to the repugnant behavior.  Sometimes, we get so lost, so deep we become uninterested, unwilling to change because we begin to disparately believe, “well, I’m too far gone to be saved, I’ve already gained 50 pounds, why stop now, I’m comfortable and “happy” with what I’m doing.”  Once friends, family, or even yourself recognize the denial or resistive posture to change, then you must cut it out of your life, Destroy What Destroys You, seriously.

It’s so easy to float through life, staying up late, sleeping late, sitting and watching television all day, eating junk food, with not a responsibility or care in the world to change.  Granted, I know there are a plethora of circumstances well beyond one’s control that may limit one’s alteration, but why not change, why not take a risk, why not take a leap of faith?  There is one guarantee, if you DO take that risk, you won’t be alone, I promise.  You won’t have to suffer, feel alone, or turn to risky behavior anymore because Jesus Christ will always be at your side.

“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”-Ephesians 4:22-24

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”-Hebrews 13:5

If your day-to-day schedule is filled with inconsistency, develop a new one and start by getting rid of the things in your life causing or leading to so much anguish, so much anger, or so much regret.  If it’s the television, get rid of it.  If it’s your smart phone, get a “dumb phone.”  If it’s friends pulling you down, cut them off.  It may seem foolish to others, it may seem like it’s over the top, but if you’re going to overcome inconsistency, you must remove yourself completely or remove IT completely, whatever that IT may be. Once you remove these things that have been destroying your character, destroying your relationships, you can begin to mold and mend a new life; a holy life God has always designed for you to live, and only if you allow Him, turn to Him in these troubling times you can be completely and thoroughly refreshed, renewed, and revitalized.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”-1 Corinthians 10:13

Post Script-an ensuing post MAY follow because…1) some of you like post series and 2) we must learn what to do after removing a bad habit from our lives.

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Destroy What Destroys You

6175770250_5f3805cdbb_zI want to sincerely apologize for my hiatus.  It’s been a very long two months, with end of semester papers and projects, bachelor party organizing, graduating from grad school (with highest honors-all credit goes to the Lord!), moving, applying for career jobs (any leads in sports, fitness, recreation, please send my way!) and my brothers wedding.  The aforementioned should not be used as an excuse not to spread His gospel because no matter what we’re doing, as busy or as unbusy our lives may be, we must always be willing to be a beacon, to reach out to those in trouble as 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  Moreover, this comes to the topic at hand, and as you read the title, Destroy What Destroys You, we must embrace this idea as instrumental in growing and evolving as a believer.

Think about this for a second, if we all had the control, all had the patience and determination to stop sin in its tracks, we wouldn’t be sinners, right?  If we were able to recognize and realize our actions and behavior were turning detrimental, then we would be living in a perfect world, right?  Well, there’s our problem, as humans and especially as believers.  (If you haven’t read my previous post, Jesus Loves Pornstars, I implore you to stop reading this now, and read it; it’s highly conducive to the idea at hand.)  In other words, self-control is either absent or becomes subject to failure.  Furthermore, what sets us apart from other creatures of God’s creation is our consciousness.  Most often, we think in terms of an angel on one shoulder, and a demon on the other, so at least that’s the depiction of society.  This conscious behavior, thoughts, and actions precede a choice; a choice to choose what is right or wrong, a choice of yes or no, a choice that aligns with His or not.

For non-believers, this right/wrong dichotomy is parallel to their upbringing, societal norms, or even religion.  It’s in a sense their personal standard of living, able to clearly define what’s right or wrong, even with the Jesus Christ not in the picture.  As believers, our one and only way of living is through His Word, through living each day as Christ Jesus wants us to, not based upon society or other standards.  Innumerous studies have been done to investigate how and why people act the way they do, interestingly studying mentally unstable and felonious individuals.  Researchers Cima, Tonnaer, and Hauser (2010) examined how psychopaths process and control their decisions.  Specifically, they found that psychopaths and criminals alike have a “normal understanding of right and wrong, but an abnormal regulation of morally appropriate behavior.”  Even though the vast majority of us aren’t psychopaths or criminals, this study and many alike positively demonstrate we all have an innate moral compass.  So as criminals are beginning their sinful thoughts and actions, there’s always an escape route, there’s always an angel telling them they can be saved, there’s a definitive way out.  But all too often, the devil overcomes these Holy voices to say, “no one likes you, this will show them, it feels good, you’ll be happy, etc, etc, etc.”

Oh so often, after such sinful behavior, we’re fall back to square one, we come back to the dichotomized thoughts of regret and excuses “gosh, I shouldn’t have done that, it felt good, so it was ok, I’m in a tough situation right now, so give me some slack.”  It’s not until we’ve fully committed our lives to serving the Lord, praising His name, that all worldly things don’t mean anything, don’t have value to us, including sinful behavior; lust, selfishness, wicked hearts are lost at the waist side.

So you’re asking, how can I stay consistent with my faithful, devoted, loving lifestyle, being bigger and stronger than temptations?  Well, it may seem easy, but you must take up the Cross daily.  Whatever this may be, reading a daily devotional, studying/memorizing a few scriptures of the Bible, conversing with other Christians, or going to church, we must be involved one way or another with His Holiness.  Establishing these Holy habits is a must for change to occur.  If it’s reading your Bible before you head to work, do it every day, no matter the circumstance.  Once you do it for about two weeks (when the action begins to be neurologically imprinted), it’ll become commonplace in your life.

As you begin this process of seeking out new and healthy behaviors (e.g. by inserting God into your life), you can begin to see/recognize how your sinful thoughts were devastating to relationships, friendships, productivity, and true feelings of love and closeness.   Think about this; is it easier to give into temptation or fight it?  What does it say about your character and faith in God?  The more change that occurs in your life, the more you’ll realize that if He’s taken you to a tough situation, He will get you through it.  No sin, no mistake is bigger than Jesus Christ and His forgiveness.

So when you come to a crossroads of sinning or not sinning, recognize the underlying problem and purge it from your life.  Whether that means getting rid of a television, computer, iPhone application, friendship, or whatever is spawning sinful behavior, sever ties!  You cannot expect to grow in Christ if you’re not willing to let it go completely.  You cannot have one foot in and one foot out.  To have a complete transformation, you must let go of ALL things.  Because Matthew 6:33 says, “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I challenge you today, destroy what destroys you!

Resources

Cima, M., Tonnaer, F., & Hauser, M. D. (2010). Psychopaths know right from wrong but don’t care. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 5(1), 59-67.


Driving With Eggs in the Trunk

Yesterday, after grocery shopping, I was half way home when I realized my 18-flawless, all-natural eggs were accommodating my trunk space, intermingled amongst other seemingly impenetrable items of importance.  Quickly recognizing the apparent predicament, speed was decreased, turns were slow and meticulous, and gentle stops plagued my journey home.  As methodical as the trip became, the more cognizant I became of my surroundings, specifically other drivers.   Some may have been infuriated, some may have been annoyed, and some may haven’t even thought differently; or they may have been simply indifferent and unmoved.

Instantly, I realized it was no longer about the eggs; it was no longer about the principle to get the eggs home safely.  Instead, just as God continues to show perspective through a new lens each and every day; today, the catalyst was a measly package of eggs.

Now you have this elementary, yet necessary picture in your head; what’s the importance?  What’s the significance?

As mentioned above, I became conscious not only of the drivers around me being frustrated and confused by my highly conservative driving, but also recognized their unfamiliarity and distant perspective they had on my predicament.  They didn’t know me.  There’s no position to hold that would recognize something as little, yet profoundly important and fragile my baggage was.

These infirm, easily hurt, particular constituents were personal, they were unknown, they were in fact unique to my car and life only.  These eggs resemble our personal life.  We all travel through rough times.  We ALL experience hardships, whether that’s a loss of a friend, family, or relationship, we cannot go about the world, being disciples of the Lord to the rest of the world if we aren’t considerate and accommodating to others.  Some people may be going through the toughest season of their life and even though we aren’t aware of their eggs in the trunk, we can transform and alter their day by simply holding the door open, helping them with their groceries, or just saying ‘God Bless You.’

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’-Acts 20:35

Believers go through tough times too.  Even though we may be exhausted or unsettled, we still must serve others as the Lord designed us, with respect, love, kindness, and courtesy.  Just remember, we’re all imperfect.  We will mess up.  We will have those moments of inferior treatment towards others or regrets, but the next person God brings along, it’s your time to shine for them and most importantly, Jesus Christ.

We weren’t meant to let these eggs break, but instead, encourage, empower, support, and confirm their existence.  We ALWAYS want them to safely navigate their burdensome climate with their eggs unscathed and unbroken.  


Professional Doesn’t Mean Perfection

Isn’t it interesting how much we value professionals today?  From doctors to plumbers, we take their word for gold.  We respect and trust their judgment, whether it’s a malignant or benign to a clogged or unclogged diagnosis.  Even though we hold these people and positions in high regards, the question remains, why is this so?  A further question, is it because it’s a specialty or a field of study for the minority, for the few, for the uncommon person to follow such a career path.

This infrequently traveled professional path negates restricted knowledge to the typical person.  Granted, everyone can research and educate themselves on the scientific inner workings of the human body or how plumbing fixtures are built and maintained, but it’s simply not equivalent and proportionately valued.  We can’t consider ourselves doctors because we’ve successfully diagnosed our friends and family through WebMD; or because we unclogged a perturbed toilet means we’re now officially licensed plumbers.  We’re naturally missing the formal education and the gained experience.

Through all of this, through all of the years of formal classes, training, and workforce experience, we expect complete perfection from these individuals.  We’ve undivided them from the rest because they’re “professionals” in that field.  But why do we consider them professionals?  Is it because we’re not in that career field?  Is it because we don’t have those same interests or cares?  Is it because we simply think it’s too inferior or superior for our own liking?  All of these questions begin to flood my mind about how we perceive and treat these people of categorical professional positions.

At the end of the day, we come to a point of reflection, not only with ourselves, but with how we have treated others throughout the day.  Did we unconditionally love on every single person we encountered throughout the day?  Did we forgive and forget the mistakes people made?  Did we conclude we’re ALL human and make mistakes?  The latter is the most important question to ask yourself.

We’re human.  We’re going to make mistakes.  We’re going to disappoint.  We’re going to occasionally achieve the minimum.  We may not finish.  Some will misdiagnose.  Some will utter hurtful words.  And most will perfect being flawless and judgmental, even though a simple self-reflection is needed to realize we’re all tarnished; we’re all completely imperfect.

Ephesians 4:32-“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Luckily for us, there is only One who is perfect, the ultimate Professional, the one and only who can treat ALL seemingly incurable problems, misfortunes, and mistakes in our lives.  As much as we think our lives are hopelessly traveling in the wrong direction, we can call upon the one and only, all curable, all life-giving, wholesome professional, that will never make a mistake, that will always construct our lives in His eyes.  Even though there will be misdiagnoses and leaks in the plumbing, God will always come through.  He is the ONLY professional that’s perfect!


Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part VI

Of the two weeks I had off the entire summer, I went into the city for the day to sightsee, to go on a beautiful architecture boat tour down the Chicago River.  On my way back from the city, I wanted to stop by the market near the house to get some fresh produce, since they had the cheapest blueberries I have ever found!  Anyway, after getting my items and was ready to check out, I got into a short line, with an old lady checking out.  Noticing her fumbling around for change, she unexpectedly comes up short and admits she doesn’t have enough, frantically taking items out of the grocery bags to compensate the price deduction.

At this moment in the story, I have to note a particular important facet of my position.  Since I went into the city for the day, this was the only time during the summer I physically took money out of the bank, so that I had cash for the boat tour and a little spending money afterwards.  As a result, I ended up breaking some bills and had change in my wallet as well.  Remember, this was the only time I literally had cash on me; I’m more of a “nothing but plastic carrier.”  A little foreshadowing.

So the old lady in front of me at the grocery was short 27 cents.  And I didn’t even think twice about it at the time.  I quickly pulled out my wallet and gave the cashier the 27 cents.  The old lady tried to obstruct my kindness and luckily, she ended up giving in to the simplistic generosity.  The first words out of her kind, soft voice was “what’s your name, I’m going to say a prayer for you!”  This hit me like a ton of bricks; it floored me.  I don’t know why these words made such an impact, but the simple gesture of giving 27 cents elicited such joy and thankfulness in this Christian woman.

We ended up introducing each other after I checked out.  And even before I went to shake her hand, her unbelievable humbleness, blessing, and gratefulness commented, “there aren’t that many gentlemen out there, you’re mom will be proud, God Bless you!”  It wasn’t about the money.  It’s not about bragging.  It was about her response.  “What’s your name, I’m going to say a prayer for you…”  These simple words of “I’m going to pray for you…” had unimaginative Spiritual power, especially coming from a believer; an old lady who probably spends the majority of her days in prayer for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I cannot fully put into words as to the impact this old woman had on my summer, even as simplistic the scene.  Stepping out of our comfort zones just for a temporary period to give to a complete stranger is more rewarding than any recently purchased item you think you needed.  The superficial contentment felt after purchasing something that’ll collect dust is fruitless, but the bountiful joy I felt after her reaction to my subtle gesture was prolific.  Just like that, my life was changed because of 27 cents.  “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”-2 Corinthians 9:7.  Next time you find yourself in a similar circumstance, step out; nay reach out to help someone because you never know how your life will be impacted.

My prolonged summer was eventually coming to a close, with three major events taking place back to back to back, all in a successive manner, I was beyond tired and running on my last legs of an eventful, inspired summer.  As the summer was closing, my last interaction was with a Jewish girl.  As subtle as it was, her family stories and history of being persecuted because of their Faith was another random, yet wonderful insight of His wonder.  I cannot reiterate the breathtaking moments I had throughout the summer that just shattered my expectations and how many times He showed me He was there.  In all the times it was hard, in every step of unfamiliarity, every prayer, every hurt, in the moments my world seemed to be falling down, He never forsake me.  He never left me.

Remember, when you’re traveling through uncharted territories, turbulent waters, stick to His word.  Because as far as you think you are from Him, He’s always right by your side.  Even if you may find yourself busy and nearly incapable for providing time for Him, give Him your fears, stresses, and doubts.  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”-Romans 12:2.  He will provide.  He will open the doors.  And most importantly, He will incredibly exceed your expectations if you put Him first.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”-Matthew 6:33.

So my question to you is, “Are You 27 Cents Worth?”

Can you do one “Random Act of Kindness (acronym known as a RAK) for a fellow human today?  When you do, please let me know how it goes because we’re going to celebrate Jesus Christ through serving and helping others, one gesture, one RAK, one 27-cent moment at a time!

Thanks for reading!


Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part V

Now I’m located in the Southwest neighborhoods of Chicago, the family provided groceries, home-cooked meals, comfort, and simply friendships.  Basically, adopting me as a son, with the mom continually calling me her “foreign exchange student.”  I basically exchanged a sort of uncomfortable living situation with close proximity to the city for a comfortable living situation with far proximity; the opposite of everything.  As stated above, God began setting me up in situations to share His Word, which you will see soon.

The first involved Danny and I on the train back to the house.  It was a casual conversation about the recent news bulletin about Chik-fil-a comments on supporting same sex marriage; where the mayor of Chicago stated he wasn’t going to accept the chain into the city because of their anti-gay stance.  As this conversation began, I began to ponder and question about his opinion on the matter, leading to asking about his faith and what he believed.  Looking back, I felt as if I butchered the conversation, probably mistakenly citing wrong sources or scriptures while using the Bible as the ultimate source of information and truth.  At the time of our discussion, I was reading a book called ‘I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.’  If you haven’t read this book or are questioning your Faith and why you’re here on this Earth, you must read it as soon as possible!  It’s a must read!

It answers the infinite questions people may have on the credibility of the Bible and how people need to have science or literal credible facts to back the claims the Bible makes.  Not spilling all the beans here, you must read it for yourself to guard against the refuting arguments people may have against the Word of Christ.  Anyway, jumping forward to the day before I left Chicago for the summer, I felt obligated, confident God wanted me to give Danny this book and so I did; hopefully he has read the enlightening pages and is beginning to see the evidence of our born again Savior in his life.

The previous was one of the instances God began to lift the veil of uncomfortability between someone and myself.  Even as uncomfortable as we may seem or feel, as to our level of expertise with the Bible and citing His Word, God still knows our heart.  He expects us to share His Gospel even if we may feel ‘spiritually unequipped.’  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”-Matthew 28:19  “I will also speak of our testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame.”-Psalm 119:46.  Basically, as much as we think we don’t know enough or think we’re ‘spiritually unequipped,’ we still shouldn’t be shy or ashamed to witness His great Love.  And this is where scripture memorization is important to witnessing, so that we may witness at a moments notice to the whole world or through random train ride conversations.

Towards the end of the summer, the hospital partnered with my department to host another Sports Day with the patients of the hospital, but instead of having it at our location, the event took place at a nearby park, alongside the beautiful lakefront of Lake Michigan.  Throughout the morning, we had several groups filtering in and out, introducing new patients to such sports like: boccia, track & field, cycling, and volleyball.  As we were helping and encouraging participants through teaching techniques and retrieving implements, one gentleman stood out.  He was highly encouraging, highly involved, not only in the sport itself, but very positive and praiseful to the other patients.  Basically, he was being a coach, a positive role model for them.  Once I got the chance, I ended up introducing myself to this gentleman and once again, God began to reveal the enormous sign above his head, “ask him, ask him, ask him if he is a believer.”  And after a ten-minute discussion, it was quickly evident he was and after my question, “are you a believer,” he was quickly unyielding in his response.  God was telling me, “be here for this man, serve him while he is here in Chicago.”  And that’s what I told him.  I’ll visit him as much as I could until he gets released, to share and speak about the Word of God.  As you are reading this, you may seem like this is an insignificant moment in the summer, but it was far from it!

This man seemed to have a direct connection with God.  He was so insightful, amazingly acute and his words are penetrating to this day.  From his daily departing prayers to his astonishing role model behavior for the other patients, the Lord directed him to come across my path and vice versa for him.  He/you may be reading this and he/you would agree!  It was purely a God-awakening moment of triumph, in the face of adversity and hardship; Christ is always good, even if we cannot see why He has let certain things happen to us in our lives.  He was not confined or defined by his situation.  But instead, defined by Jesus Christ and how he is the always providing, at our best and our worst.  He is constant.  He is only good.  He is sovereign.  He will never forsake us.  Even in the dark, even when it’s hard; this man, this unexpected relationship, conjured up by the One and Only showed me this side of our Faith.  I will never forget and will always be grateful for the days we worshipped our Lord and Savior in his/your room during the summer of 2012.

Final Intermission: Hey, how about that, you made it through three periods of tedious reading, on top of a thrilling OT, only to be continued into one more stanza. Once again, thank you for making it this far.  You have been great and it’s been simply amazing to reflect on some of the things I experienced.  And while we’re discussing this, the aforementioned details and stories are only a fraction of the memorable moments of the summer.  Unless you want me to continue writing an entire book, I won’t exhaust your time and trouble AND especially won’t subject you to anymore terrifying witticism, beyond this last manuscript, for tomorrow’s post.

See you tomorrow, thanks again!

FFe out


Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part IV

So now that I had an “accountability partner” in Christ Jesus before Chicago, establishments of an interactive Bible study, exchanging scriptural text messages, Christian books, and so on kept me in line with Him.  Honestly, if I didn’t have this established Christ-centered friendship or FFe in the back of my mind, I would have strayed, I would have fallen into the same traps as I did a few years ago.  Accountability is crucial in your walk of Faith.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  Similarly, James 5:16 states, “therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  Traveling, working, experiencing new environments ALONE isn’t how He designed us to navigate His beautiful Earth.

Reflecting upon my job, my boss and I were in charge of the summer junior programs, which included working with kids from age 6 to 18 years old, in sports such as: softball, track & field, and basketball.  Even though that was our main focus, we were still highly involved with our adult programs, ranging from basketball, softball, and cycling to archery, powerlifting, and sled hockey, to name a few.  What became quickly obvious was the importance placed on our commitment and involvement with the kids.  Remember, this is Chicago.  Crime and poverty runs rampant.  I sadly saw this first hand.  These kids are basically not cared for.  We’re the only thing in their live that’s consistent and helpful.  We’re the only light in the extensive darkness they endure each day.

With one of our kids, we can no longer give him free stuff and merchandise because his family takes it and uses it themselves.  In other cases, kids are simply on their own, parents aren’t involved, parents are either drunk or high most of the time; basically, no parental involvement whatsoever.  This should be a significant statement and should elicit some emotional response.  Rethink all of this; inner city kids, in wheelchairs, in mainly non-supportive families, in poverty, no transportation, violent neighborhoods, etc, etc; basically the most difficult situation to be in.  And I’m not exaggerating with these living situations.  Another story, one of our boys lives with his grandparents.  When his grandparents were out of country for a week and a half, he simply didn’t shower, he didn’t take care of himself, no deodorant, nothing.  As much as these kids barely having anything, they’re still heavily reliant on caregivers.  Part of our job is to remove them from dependency because as one gets older, especially if you’re in a chair, the more you must rely on yourself to arrange transportation, schooling, and independent travel.  As these kids are getting spoon-fed and consistently reminded go to the restroom, our job was increasingly difficult and stressful because of the counterproductive difficult domestic circumstances.

Every week, we had softball practice in the West neighborhood of Chicago, near Wrigleyville.  For every practice, every week, we have to arrange transportation through a third party company, to pick the kids up for practice.  Because the kids are in chairs, specialty buses, equipped with wheelchair lifts must be used.  In that, time is projected to about two hours before and after practice, dedicated for pick up and drop off for our kids.  For my part, we have the responsibility to contact not only the bus company for scheduled pickup times for each kid, but also to contact each kid to notify them of their individual pickup times.  If this sounds confusing and frustrating, it was!  Remember, these kids, these families live in nearly inhospitable and government subsidized apartments, with economic resources very limited, so it wasn’t uncommon for telephone numbers to be disconnected, changed, or impossible to reach.  So for contacting 90% of our kids, we had no idea who or what would be at the end of the telephone line.  This was one of the many enduring weekly frustrations we had to deal with, not including weekend trips, tournaments, and outings.  Willingness to endure, the definition of patience was one of the many lessons I learned throughout the summer.

As the midway point of the summer approached seemingly instantaneous, I found myself letting go of my living circumstance.  Strictly speaking, letting God supervene, letting Him set the scene for where I’ll be living for the second half of the summer.  Remembering back to how worried, how concerned I was at the beginning of the summer, where I’d live, how much money I’d need to spend.  All these superficial needs, all these trivial concerns were completely absent at the midpoint in the summer because I knew all things, issues, emotional feelings were irrelevant and unimportant because God doesn’t want us to have a heart of concerns for ourselves, He doesn’t want us to worry about tomorrow.  “Therefore do no worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough to of its own.”-Matthew 6:34.  So I gave it to Him.  I gave all my worries, all my concerns associated with where I’ll be living to Him.

Literally a few days before my friend and his girlfriend was moving out of their place; meaning, I had to be gone by then too, a co-intern at RIC offered me to stay with his family near Midway airport.  Whoa!  Just mentioning it to him once, back early in the summer, I wasn’t expecting the offer.  As much as the offer was enticing, I examined the commute comparison of Lake View to where I could be potentially living near Midway.  In Lake View, I literally had a two-minute walk to the bus stop, then a 15-minute bus ride downtown and that’s it.  Midway, I had to find someone to drive me 10 minutes to Midway airport, take the Orange Line (CTA subway) for 25 minutes, hop on another subway (Red Line) for another 20 minutes, and then walk 10 minutes to work; an hour long commute, on good days.  Hum.  This situation may be much different.  It doesn’t matter.  I have no other choice.  Plus, there’s a reason why God has opened this door, so I accepted.  I literally moved in the day after Danny, the offering intern, said I could stay with him for the rest of the summer.

After arriving at his house, I was quickly met by his mom and brother, offering to carry all my stuff into their house.  Being stubborn, I denied multiple times, saying I could do it all, but immediately realizing their Chicagoan temperament, it’s difficult to tell them no.  Expecting the “not so greatest living arrangement” or random corner bedroom, I was bewildered, they were basically giving me their entire basement; with a bathroom, television, comfortable couches, chairs; above and beyond my expectations of hospitality.  “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 4:19.  “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.”-Matthew 6:31-33.  How true is this right now?  What you just heard, can we not say He provided for me?  How amazing His Almighty, for providing answers, for providing a loving, respectful, accommodating family, beyond my finite expectations and restricted possibilities of where I’d end up.

Overtime Intermission: Let’s do a quick reflection again.  Going into the city of Chicago, I had no idea where I’d end up and putting trust in God, He provided me a comfortable, “home away from home,” beyond my expectations of what was in store.  And we are not done!  You still there?  Hanging on, right?!  I hope you are enjoying my story because for the second half of the summer, God begins to position circumstances and people in my path for “Jesus Christ divergent opportunities.”  In other words, people and conversations began to spawn out of nowhere, designating these seemingly inconspicuous humanized construction signs that illuminated, “talk to them about me.”  Expressly, I began to see, I began to recognize opportunistic times to share the Gospel, share His name with people, which I’ve never experienced or seen before now, especially as consistently as they appeared.   Opps, forgot it was break time.  This time, go get some food or a healthy snack, like almonds, carrots, or celery to tide you over, plus some water; drink plenty of water throughout the day, 64 ounces or more!

Thanks for reading, we will see you tomorrow, have a wonderfully blessed day!