There’s a great scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden tries to convince the narrator to “just let go” and give up the control he thinks he has over his life. It is a powerful scene that encapsulates many of the themes of the film (and Chuck Palahniuk’s brilliant novel), but what always stood out the most for me is this: People spend much of their lives trying to control the things that happen in their life, when in reality we have little control. By shattering that illusion of control, Tyler leads the narrator on a path toward self-actualization.
Control is a difficult thing to relinquish. We all want to feel like we’re in control. We can take care of ourselves. We have our own plans. Put your best foot forward and you’ll get the job, the girl will like you. Work hard and you’ll be successful, respected. Eat right and exercise and you’ll be in good health. When that illusion of control is shattered like the windshield of Tyler’s car, it’s a traumatic experience, not necessarily as violent but always painful.
There have been times where I have felt close to God, as though I am walking lock-step in the path He has laid out for me. There are times when I feel as though I am all alone and my unheard prayers and cries are echoing off the bare walls of my bedroom. This is the latter. It’s easy in such times to ask “where is God” or “doesn’t He care?” Recently, however, it occurred to me that maybe times like these happen because he cares. Maybe it’s his way of saying “Jeremy, just let go.”
The more we rely on ourselves, the more we try to maintain control, the less we rely on God. Maybe sometimes God takes something from you to show you that it wasn’t what you need, that your heart and your mind are focused on the wrong thing. I have a hard time letting go. I have my own hopes, dreams, and desires. I have my own plan for my life. I have my own ideas of what it means to be successful and secure. And no matter how much time I spend trying to convince God that my plans are the best — and believe me, I have spent a lot of time doing exactly that — I know that God’s plan is likely very different. Read more…
Since the last post I wrote was such a downer and I’d like people to stop worrying about me, I decided to write something (hopefully) funny again. To that end, I’ve come up with a rapid response blog game. I’m using an online topic generator to bring up random writing prompts and on each topic I’m writing a short paragraph on the spot without taking time to think about it. I’m writing whatever pops into my head, but the goal is for whatever pops into my head to be funny or interesting. So think of it as written improv and like all improv, it should either be really fun or a total disaster.
Traffic. People have been trying to figure out how to stop speeding but with no success. I think it’s because we’re going about it all wrong. Speed limit signs give us a goal, as in “sweet, I can go at least 10 mph over that before I get a ticket.” Even our speedometer hurts the cause. The needle pointing to increasing numbers gives us a competitive mentality, like we’re playing a game. “Woo hoo! I got 95 in a school zone. That’s a new high score!” The only way to reduce speeding is to remove numbers and instead tell us what the result would be if we hit a tree at that speed. You’re driving 30 mph? Nope. According to my car, I’m driving a speed called “bent fender and minor concussion.” Willing to risk driving 80 mph on the highway? Maybe, but would you if it was called “eat all future meals from a straw?” Read more…
As I lie here in my pajamas with my dog on my lap and my notebook sitting next to a half-empty glass of wine, it occurred to me that people don’t look at the positives of clinical depression. Sure, we all know what the downsides are. Your friends keep asking what’s wrong and won’t take “I’m fine” for an answer, just because it’s obvious you’re lying. You quit going to work, get fired, get evicted from your house, and end up living under a bridge while eating road kill over a campfire. You know, that kind of thing. What most people don’t realize is that there are benefits to depression as well.
5. You have more free time. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from people is that there “just isn’t enough time in the day.” That’s not the case when you’re depressed. When you spend all your time at home, lying in bed or catching up on the shows on your DVR, you have nothing but free time. Since you don’t do anything all day, you have plenty of free time to do anything you want to do, which is more nothing.
At this morning’s memorial service, friends and family of the late Isaac Hunter shared how Isaac impacted their lives and how he will be remembered. It was a touching tribute for a man who achieved so much and fell so far in such a short time. One thing that was quite clear is that Isaac had a profound impact on the lives of many, likely in more ways than he ever realized. I wanted to share my story as a slightly different example — of how Isaac forever changed the life of someone he didn’t even really know.
For those who don’t know, Isaac Hunter passed away on Tuesday of an apparent suicide, approximately one year after his struggles with sin caused him to resign as Senior Pastor of my church home, Summit Church. I say church home for a reason. I had attended a few churches before Summit, but only as a visitor on Sundays, where I would sing songs and listen to a sermon before going about the rest of my week. Summit is the first church that became my home: a community I would serve with, fellowship with, laugh with, and grieve with. Isaac’s vision (“relationships matter”) made that possible.
I’m currently in the process of trying to convince someone that she wants to go to Halloween Horror Nights with me. I started the pitch with perhaps the dumbest question I could have asked: “So, do you like being scared?”
Pretty much everyone who refuses haunted houses, roller coasters and horror movies does so by saying the same thing: “I don’t like being scared.” To be honest, I’m not sure anyone likes being scared. We enjoy fake simulations of scares. I don’t think anyone who gets mugged thinks that was such a rush! Tomorrow night I’m walking down a dark alley to see if that can happen again! Read more…
Those of you who know me know that the last year has been a rough one. That all seems to be changing this October, though, as the changing of seasons marks the changing of fortune. When I say “changing of seasons,” I mean it figuratively, of course, because Florida doesn’t really have those.
October is normally a great time of year anyway. It signifies baseball’s postseason and the time of the football schedule when the contenders start to separate from the pretenders. October means the return of The Walking Dead, haunted houses, and inappropriately risqué Halloween costumes. It’s the time of year when, just as Jesus changed water to wine, everything edible becomes pumpkin. October means it’s finally socially acceptable for me to gorge myself on candy corn all day long. If those lazy guys at Brach’s would get around to making pumpkin-flavored candy corn, the circle would be complete.
Every day when I come home from work, my dog greets me wagging her tail, excitedly jumping around and hoping I don’t notice that she pulled my (insert object of the day here) off the counter and chewed it into pieces. Just once, I wish I could be that happy. I wish anything made me as happy as my dog gets by getting to sniff some grass. Could anyone be that happy? Is it even possible?
Throughout most of my life, I’ve thought of happiness — true happiness — to be kind of like a fancy Porsche: I recognize its awesomeness when I see it, but realize I could never have it myself. But maybe I was looking at happiness the wrong way. Maybe it’s more obtainable; I just have to know where to look. Read more…