Worth it. (De-Interdimensional Simplified Part 2).

You may or may not have read the last post I wrote this week. Normally I don’t have time to write that much. But there was a certain element of the post that really kept speaking to me. So here is a little extension.

Catch up here: De-interdimensional Simplified.

Pushing past my interdimensional illustration and jumping back to that video. That video gets me every time – twice. Because I see myself in it, way too much. No, maybe I’m not going to shoot myself – but the metaphor of being deep in the crap bed we make for ourselves is so real to me. The first time it slaps me in the face for tears is when ‘I’ drop the gun and run the gauntlet against the odds because I finally see where true peace and love is. Only when I get ground into a million pieces and sometimes it’s a last resort. Which is such an insult to the love that Jesus is still pouring out for me the entire time.

The second slap is more of a gut punch. When running back, the stuff and consequences of my actions, no matter how hard I try I can’t quite make it back. So Jesus steps in. That’s when I often can’t hold back the tears.

And if my first blog post here was about the first slap – this is about the second. It came to my attention that the decision to run full-pelt at the challenges and fights and restrictions and mess and hurts and fears and insignificances won’t always be enough.

For me it comes down to value. So often I don’t value who I am enough. Yet, dare I say it, if we’d be honest to ourselves – the circumstances and obstacles we run through often value us more than we value ourselves sometimes. I know that’s true for my life. Even the crap we put up is sometimes willing to fight to keep me more than I can muster to fight against it. But even if they do value me more and are willing to fight for me more. Jesus loved me so much more first. And stereotypes and cliche phrases can’t water-down the reality of that. So much was his value of my feeble life that he’d take a bullet for it. And did.

Going through this week, physical and very non-metaphorical storms remind me how hard obstacles can fight back sometimes. But open arms and love that surpasses all understanding trump all else and even when my running home becomes a stumble or a crawl – his running is a never ceasing supersonic blur of everything as he joins me where I am and carries me the rest of the way. His value on me surpasses anything else we can imagine. His value on you surpasses anything else you can imagine. No matter what we think stands between us, does not. Not if we’re willing to run to him.

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De-Interdimensional Simplified.

Sometimes I think things are so obvious that it’s stupid. But at the same time, I’m even stupider for not remembering how simple things can be when I need to know it the most. Contrary to the overcomplicated title and seemingly hypothetical opening blurb, this post is the most simple post of them all.

We have our loves and our likes and Jesus was no foreigner to understanding the importance of relevant stories. That’s why he didn’t start his stories with ‘so I was just chilling with the Father, making some epic miracles and shooting out some lasers at devils’. No, he talked in stories relevant to the audience he talked to.

In the same way, here’s the story as I see it. Interdimentional travel is a highly exciting prospect, but until now (and for the foreseeable future), highly fictional. To switch between dimensions and places and spaces is a glorious appeal. And so often I imagine myself breaking through the dimensional divide. But even in those day-dreams – I so easily forget the most important part before going. The anchor. Tony Stark nailed it in Endgame by asking that question before even ‘is it possible’; ‘How would we even find our way back’. Or better put, how will we know where we started. Interdimensional travel is literally infinite possibilities and paths. Great if you want to loose yourself. Not great if you want to come back.

In it’s purest sense, sometimes we just forget that Jesus is everything. No matter what. And sometimes we just let distractions and illusions and desires and fears and failures and politics and semantics and starts and ends and everything else blur that truth. We burst through the pinhole of our reality and get bombarded with the biggest and the brightest that everyone everywhere has to offer. But before long, it all dies out. The initial success breads complacency, the promise of stuff leads to insecurity and the path we were on is somehow more complicated, more blurry, more full of crap that it ever needed to be. Worse still, through it all we forget how we got there.

I have recently been reminded that no matter what dimension I’m lost in, there’s an anchor to that simplistic love that casts out all fear. That destroys wipes away lies and protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Unlike most anchors though, the moment I make up my mind – the anchor changes from a interdimensional pinpoint to something far greater. Think more of a relentless force that will fight and stop at nothing until it has me back in His arms. He doesn’t care about politics or semantics, chaos or odds.

While trying to find a more modern analogy to the story, the truth is – this video says it all perfectly. So I won’t even bother trying to top it. And in case you don’t have time, or you can’t be bothered – we’ll skip to the bit where I remember Jesus is everything. For me, that’s something I need to be reminded of way more often than I should. But every time I do, He fights harder for me than I ever could.

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UP

Two letters, one very short word. It doesn’t have too many meanings. Perhaps your mind immediately goes to the Pixar classic with the balloons and the house. Maybe the atrocity that VW dares call a car. Or maybe you’re normal and your mind goes to the actual definition of the word. Well, when I hear UP, I think of something completely different.

My youngest daughter is a wild soul. Perfect in every way, but when she’s in go-mode, there’s nothing that can stop her. And yet for all the speed, agility and momentum – there comes a point in the day when very suddenly, that all-consuming energy diminishes. The fun ceases and the quiet sets in. Then she’ll find one of us and simple say ‘UP’. Not because she can’t formulate a sentence, not because she’s lazy and can’t be bothered to say anything more than that. But because she knows, that’s all she needs to say. At that moment, we’ll thrust her up into our arms and cuddle her for all she’s worth. And sometimes -very rarely- she’ll relax enough to fall asleep.

To me that’s the perfect analogy for our lives, in our endless cycles and attempts at victory. We sometimes, if we’re honest to ourselves, wonder where God is in it all. We wildly chase through life’s gigantic hurdles and chasm-sized potholes trying to see a pattern or logic to it. Sometimes we find the pattern and push through, rolling with the punches. Sometimes we’re lost in the water and the rolling waves hit his before we can catch our breath. But yet, sometimes it takes us to loose the energy we once had, in our own strength, and simple ask God to pull us ‘up’. Into His control; into His peace and into a perspective that puts everything else into model-railway scale.

It wouldn’t take too much strenuous scrolling in the blog history timeline of my site to see that life was a challenge for me over the last year. As my family and I battled to purchase our first home, make no mistake it was painful and frustrating. We seemingly circled the conclusion a million times before eventually landing our breakthrough. At the time and shortly after, I knew that there were lessons that I was learning in the process that would change the way I do life. But I wasn’t aware of just how identical life’s patterns can be.

Less than a year later, the same pattern of challenges emerged. Without getting too technical, we found ourselves up against new challenges and obstructions that we’d never faced before in business this year. Simple things like securing a working overdraft on our accounts became a big issue for the small-minded, but heavily bloated, banks. What started as a positive move to a limited company quickly presented some unforeseen difficulties we couldn’t have imagined. And yet, somehow it was all wildly familiar.

I am absolutely amazed at how identical the issues I face match up to last years’ battles. And I’m starting to believe that there are only a finite number of battle varieties we face during our lives. Sure, the intricacies and details move. But overall, it’s the same thing but a different aesthetics. With that in mind, I believe that as we recycle those game-plans of how we won those battles, we come out better and stronger each time.

And I believe one of the only ways to fight those battles is to learn from before, fight hard, then take a beat. And in that breath just a single word is enough to put it all into perspective. Turning to my God with my weary breath, ‘up’. Is enough to bring peace and a spiritual cuddle with the Almighty. A reminder that no matter the battle. No matter the recycled attack or difficulty. He’s bigger and he’s not letting us go.

And then, keep on going.

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Brain Storm (Second Guess)

I know, I know, it’s ‘Mind Map’ or ‘Fluffy Picture with Lines’ these days. But I’m not referring to the process of mapping out a particular topic on paper. I’m talking about something else.

I don’t know if this happens to everyone, some people or if it’s just me. But I know that far too often I find myself lost in a Brain Storm. Official terminology aside for lack on knowing, but I use this term when I’m lost-at-sea in a thought. You see, about half the time, I have a tendency to overthink things to the nth degree (the other half if made up of stupid impulse reactions, usually courtesy of my tongue). And that can be a useful tool. It helps me problem solve, helps me predict likely chain of events (even if they never pan out that way!), it helps put my mind at ease to know I’ve thought it through.

But it’s not all plain-sailing. A Brain Storm can also hinder things. The emotional and environmental factors aside, there is a monumental assumption that underlines every Brain Storm. That logic (my logic, no less!) can answer everything. It’s a similar way that leading scientists around the world claim that science can prove everything – even if it hasn’t yet. And I’m not refuting that claim. But I am raising the point that sometimes there is a gap between understanding and truth that our minds cannot connect. Furthermore, my never be able to connect.

The question then becomes: Is truth, indeed truth? And if it is, does understanding matter?

Humour me for a second. If you know something to be true. But you don’t understand it. Does it make it any less true? I am, of course, talking most specifically about the truth of who Jesus is. Immediately offensive to some, I realise. But truth to me. Trying to fit his reality inside of logic doesn’t work. And so the only way to accept his truth is to put it into a category outside of Brain Storming and outside of a tidy theorem. Into the category of faith that what he said was true. In this case, the truth that God’s love is so massively incomprehensible that time and space were no matter for him. He broke ‘rules’ of nature and logic to connect with humankind because he cared about every little thing they did. More than that, the fact he could look past all the crap and see the value. How could I possibly logic that one away?

So to that end, this particular truth can actually calm any Brain Storm. That there’s a higher power. That he’s more than interested in me – he actually wants me. And to think too much about how or why would be a waste of my time when I can just enjoy the love he wants to give.

There’s a song that encapsulates this. And it’s been resonating with me for weeks now.The lyrics that go a little something like this:

If you want me heart; I won’t second guess,
Cause I need your love more than anything,
I’m in, I’m Yours,
Your love’s too good to leave me here.

The lesson I learnt, and am still learning? If our definition of truth is based purely on evidence that is concrete and logical, then immediately we cancel out all other potentials realities. If we broaden our acceptance to include things outside of logic, we can begin to have faith in love that can actually make us valued, accepted and whole.

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The Battle of Mort Gage

This one is a long read. But it’s one I have crafted carefully over the last season.

You always hear that life is a battle. But a wise man once told me that it’s not always about the victory, sometimes it’s about the honour in how you fight. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I can safely say that I have lived this legend. And telling it is easier than walking through it. This is the story of how a thirty-something family man tried to get a mortgage in the UK.

The battle to own a property has been one that I’ve fought over the last three years. Along the way, I’ve been challenged, disassembled and rebuilt more times than I’d care to count. Through this process I’ve fought financial, stereotype and mental battles that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I don’t know why, but while the whole story is still raw, I thought I’d write about it. Thank you for humouring me. This is ‘The Battle of Mort Gage’.

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My Decision

Found these old cards the other day. My first ever business cards. From a simpler time. When I had hair. But in all seriousness, it felt appropriate to share them today. Today marks a special kind of anniversary.

24 years ago today I made a decision. As a seven year old boy, not a lot of your decisions sick around for much longer than a year. But this one has lasted me nearly a quarter of a decade (and counting). It’s not a decision I took lightly then, and it’s one that I take even more seriously now. That decision was to externally express an internal trust and belief that Jesus is who He said He is.

I didn’t do it on a stage. I didn’t do it around others. I didn’t do it because I felt I had to. I did it because I read about the importance of accepting Jesus as He is – so He would accept me as I was (and am). I did it because -even then- I knew that the ‘feelings’ I got when I spoke with God were more than feelings. I knew Him to be real and that He was interested in knowing me, an insignificant pre-teen.

So much has changed since then. Both in my world and in the world around me. But He never changes. And just as He accepted an uncomplicated seven-year-old then – He just as much accepts the highly complicated and over-thought thirty-something now. Something I find highly re-assuring.

And even though I don’t remember much from being seven, I remember making that decision. It’s a decision that has tested me, torn me apart but also kept everything in perspective and exposed to faithfulness that is unmatched by any human. I don’t always make good decisions. But God knows, that’s the best decision I have ever made.

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The Focus

I can often find myself getting lost in myself. My brain can be a infinite abyss of complex realities and unending reasonings.

That is, as you can imagine, only multiplied in times of extra stresses, confusion or uncertainty. And lately, that has felt a little bit like where I’ve been.

Firstly, let me just stress that I am so blessed with the worlds’ best wife and children. I am by no means ‘going through it’. In comparison to many in the world today, I’m living the dream. But every now and again, the minor stresses that I deal with eat away at the joys.

And its times like this that it’s good to stop and re-adjust the focus. This song, recently released by UNITED, is one that really spoke to me in this way.

So often, I feel guilty of loosing focus in the moment of a stressful week or an uncertain bill to pay. So much so that even when I do try to refocus, I miss the most amazing point of all. If only just for the 7 odd minutes of this song, I began to realise that the re-adjustment wasn’t about my focus – but it was all about realising how intensely focused God is on me. Just like He does on all of his children.

And as the universe around us screams of His greatness, it fails to compare, nor does it distract God from His ultimate desire – us. And that’s more than enough to bring my focus back each time to meet His gaze.

But what measures could amount to your desire?
You’re the one who never leaves the one behind.

I’m not a big fan of the aesthetics behind this lyric video, but the song and the lyrics are just phenomenal.

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I don’t know

Following the events in Manchester yesterday, I am at a loss for words. I’m not sure if, as a parent, I can’t help but get a snippet of what the parents of the victims must be feeling. I’m not sure if it was because it was an attack taken out on my home country. I’m not sure of a lot of things.

I felt myself recalling a song that reflected the truth that I can’t do anything, but I can trust God. I’m not belittling the work that anyone has done in the wake of this event and I’m certainly not trying to make myself seem like a victim here – but rather – sending my prayers to those who were involved. Since that is just about all I can do. I certainly cannot begin to reason or explain why things like this happen.

I looked for a lyric video to the song that my insides sang, but I sadly couldn’t find one. So, as that’s something I could produce – that’s what I did do. But, as perhaps expected, Youtube blocked it due to copyright infringement. So Instead, here’s a few images and a link to listen to the song for yourselves.

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