David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the tag “Living the dream”

Sticky Notes (2015-05-06 Daily)

Reality is such an inconvenience. It’s a hill shaped like an elephant, colored white. Have you ever noticed how it seems to pull out in front of you the instant you’ve finally regained your momentum, how it demonstrates Newton’s First Law by lobbing its bowling ball squarely at your humble cue? Reality can be such a bummer, the rationalizations for your deviated trajectory so overused—not enough time,  not enough money, not enough breaks, not enough talent—but always plenty of excuses worn thin from not enough fresh. Oh my God, they killed Kenny, your little voice screams as you shake the ragdoll of your calling until fluff spills from its ears. It’s no longer listening. No one is. Those bastards. But you keep trying to breathe life into it, even if what you’re attempting to resurrect hocks a loogie into your face. Some things are better left lying on Victor Frankenstein’s table, you think. But no, not this time. Not ever. Keep calm and carry on, they say. “If life is a bowl of cherries,” Erma Bombeck lamented, “what am I doing in the pits?” I’ve heard you can make liqueur from cherry pits. Hmm. …

Reality can be a psychopathic torturer of lucid dreams. Lucky dreams, those—at least you had the opportunity to carry them around with you, maybe for months, years, decades, gestating them, gesticulating, ingesting. Guessing. Always keeping you guessing. But isn’t that what it’s all about? Fantasy Island in real time, complete with Kool-Aid-colored cocktails in cone-shaped cups? Avoiding alliteration—and clichés—like the plague? Ha! You laugh, but have you ever wondered what’s behind curtain number one as you pull the rope to open number three? And so you persist—nay, you thrive—consider yourself lucky, even blessed, as once again you dump the grist into the grinder and turn the crank to blend life’s experiences into something someone—anyone—might want to sample.

Sticky notes

I look around my office, at the swirl of sticky notes defining what I do—who I am—as if I have a clue about how to execute this dream that for four decades has so passionately wrapped its hands around my heart. And my throat. I didn’t ask for it: it just showed up, along with puberty, creativity, a sense of humor, and the sudden realization that my arms were too skinny. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Right? “Is there anybody in there?” Pink Floyd asked. “Just nod if you can hear me.” Because I’ve come this close to dying and I lived to tell about it—every moment of my existence has been lived to teach, instruct, share. With you. And share it gladly I do. Like Mr. Rogers implored, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Gotta dig the red cardigan.

Sticky notes

Please, won’t you listen? My sticky notes do. They start out blank, arranged in neat little piles, the same number of the same color in the same package, lined up just for me. They now parade across the front of my dusty in-box piled high with things to remember and even some things to forget, pink and yellow and orange squares, two-dimensional shouts cascading into three dimensions, even four, surrounding my mouse, calling. They overflow from my in-box and spew across my desk, angling toward me, a glacier of neon ideas resolutely inching toward my fingers, begging me to touch them, to manipulate them, to use them, to cast them into the world and see where they land. I’ve always said I have more ideas than I can use in a lifetime, but still they march in, and still I jot them down. Gotta get it where I can get it.

Sticky Notes

“Does anyone actually read books anymore?” one note whines as attention spans shrink, molded by the lightning strikes of flash-nonfiction scrolling across smart phones. “In Due Season” another one proclaims. Sure has been an awfully long season! I holler back. Snippets of Scripture, titles of essays, story ideas graze amongst the hopeful sheep lined up to throw themselves over the cliff, if only I lead them. They comfort me, nuzzle my shins, give me hope. They are my memory, my brain, my reminder that I am in the world but not of it. Thus I hold reality at bay with little more than the flat palm of tenaciousness pressed firmly against its insistent face. It growls. I growl back. Grr.

Reality is such an inconvenience. It’s a hill shaped like an elephant, colored white. As it collides with my avocation, I cringe but don’t shrink; I tighten my seatbelt and stare through the Plexiglas, waiting for the crash that may never come but one which I always survive. I’ve never cared for the sound of that collision, the subsonic boom of God’s calling plowing headlong into the world’s necessity. But, alas, this is our lot in this life. The squeal of my thin mettle being peeled back, the rush of bodies, the whoosh of air as reality clangs and whumps and snaps against the bulkheads of twisted dreams. …

I emerge then, from a silken cocoon, a wet, crinkled, formless thing that, only with a groan of unfairness, pumps its wings up under the heat lamp of domestication. But now, in this this great moment of “oh,” poetry has stepped in, pinching my wing spars and carrying me outside into the flood of sunlight. Sticky notes flutter around me as I perch on a folded purple coneflower. “Butterflies,” they shout.

Reality is once again subdued.

 

Copyright © 2015 David C Hughes

The Epiphany of Joy, Chapter 10: Joy in Our Calling (3 of 3)

“Soon after we moved to Mineral Wells we began attending a traditional church and realized there weren’t many younger families there.  We were really bothered by this.”  So falling back on his desire and ability to fix things, he and Janna started looking into how they could reach younger families with meaningful church experience.  “After a lot of prayer, research, and meetings,” Dan continued, “we were approved to start a new ‘contemporary’ service in the gym.  It was my first taste of real ministry and I absolutely love it.”  Despite opposition against this church service, it grew.  “We knew that God had ordained these steps for us to take, and we took them.  It was the first time in my life I felt like my life had a purpose.  I was finally able to scratch the itch.  I was like a fish that had been flopping around on the shore, gasping for oxygen, and finally finding water.”

Dan and Janna moved away from that church after a year and a half, but the service they established continues to this day.  Then God led the couple to plant another church in Weatherford, Texas.  “Church planting is the hardest, most thankless job,” explained Dan, and yet it’s “the most rewarding and exciting job all the same.  I love everything about church planting.  Once it’s in your veins, it’s hard to get out.”  As they drove back and forth between Mineral Wells and Weatherford, Dan and Janna realized God had planted them in Mineral Wells for a purpose, so after New River proposed opening a campus in their town, New River hired him as the Campus Pastor for the extension in Mineral Wells.

“I love doing what God has called me to do.  It is awesome knowing that you are at the center of His will.  I love sharing the love of Jesus with people who are so far away from it, to see people who are broken in so many ways become healed and whole again.”  One of Dan’s favorite Bible verses is Philippians 2:1-4, a passage, he said, which greatly expresses his ministry of service and compassion.  “My joy comes from serving the One Who is the glue that unites us all, and gives our lives purpose.  Where He guides, He provides.  He makes my joy complete.”

“For we are God’s handiwork,” Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).  Notice what Paul said: God prepared our good works in advance for us to do.  “All the days ordained for me were written in your book,” the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139, “before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16b NIV).  God’s will, His calling on our lives, was ordained even before we took our first breath.  Dan followed his heart of service first to the medical field, then to sales, and each time his heart yearned for more.  His intentions were right, the vehicles were, at first, wrong.  God finally removed him from those vehicles and placed him into full-time ministry.  And He has made good on His promise of Philippians 4:19, where Paul wrote “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  Dan is living out his bloody-tail passion.  With a passion!

Jesus said to His disciples, “’Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:24-27 NIV).  Are you forfeiting your soul?  Or worse, are you ignoring your calling, trading it in for a life of comfort and security rather than excitement, purposefulness, and joy?  For the sake of pure joy, it is your imperative to seek God’s will, find His calling on your life, and dare to step out and live it with all your heart.  Because life’s all about bloody-tail passion, and I want to have the bloodiest!

 

Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes

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