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For the Love of Blog: Being Ready by Michael Nichols

Preparedness is a difficult thing for me. I'm distractible, which leads to the disorganization of things that need to have been organized prior to a given moment. At the same time, because I don't rigidly organize my world, I have much freedom to move with the current of life. That having been said, am I a fish in the current, or am I the riverbed finding itself daily eroded?

I've always wanted to be on top of things when it comes to this blog. I want to be free to move with the current, but then I also want to know that the current I'm surrendering to is taking me somewhere good. I don't want to be at the mercy of my environment, which can be merciless, interestingly enough. I don't like to half-do things, but because of my tendency toward minimal rigidity, I find myself doing exactly what I don't want to do. (This must be how Paul felt while writing Romans 7.) Unfortunately, that affects my blogging by making my posting frequency inconsistent despite a mile-high stack of drafts.

I recently discovered this magical little feature called "scheduled posting." Now that I know about this, I don't really have an excuse. I can keep writing drafts, but when I finish them, I can schedule them to publish as far in advance as I decide. I don't have to worry about setting deadlines for myself if I just set things up ahead of schedule, then stick to that schedule. I can take writing breaks when I need to take them without worrying about falling too far behind the flow. What that means for you, reader, is that I'm going to be working behind the scenes, planning ahead, and though you might not see much out of this blog for the next few weeks, when you finally start seeing me post again, expect much.

It's not just the blog that frustrates me, though. Unfortunately, this chaos tends to invade many area of my life--yes, my bedroom is a total mess--but by knowing ahead of time what should be happening, maybe this chaos will be brought into check. This cannot happen without God's help, though. Ultimately, the fact that I don't plan ahead, which leads to unpreparedness, tells me that I don't trust God to help me if those plans fail. After all, how can I be disappointed by failed plans if I don't make them? But then how can I truly say I trust God unless I step out on that limb? I don't know the future. For all I know, I could lose everything and it not even be because of anything I've done... but why should I do nothing? Why not take risks? Why not make investments? Why not build relationships? Why not ask for God to build His kingdom in me?

If I don't make myself ready for things to come, when they come, they will either pass me by or knock me down. It's time to brace myself. It's a big future in a big world with a big God.

Update: Pause by Michael Nichols

As you guys know, I've been testing the waters with regular posts, specifically "Entering Rest" and "Renewed Life" which sort of go hand-in-hand with each other. It's been fun, and it's also been brief, but I'm going to put those two on [see title of this post] for a bit. The only reason is that it's difficult and frankly droll to write about basically the same thing week after week after week.

So what's going to happen is you'll see these titles [or rather not see them] disappear from the routine, but you'll still be able to access them from the "Categories" hierarchy widget on this site's right sidebar. This way, if you enjoyed them, you can revisit them.

As a result, this change will also allow me to devote more time and thought and genuineness into the "Unhindered" series. It's not that these regular articles haven't been genuine or thought-through, but the way that life ebbs and flows-- well, it's the furthest thing from rigid, and it can't really be put into a box. Sometimes to rest, you need to just rest, and sometimes to renew your life, you just have to renew it. You just have to choose, and that is a constant. Anything is a variable, subject to change, not the foundation for life.

Thanks, as always, for reading. God bless, and I'll see you soon. Happy writing. :)

-- Michael N.

Entering Rest (1): In Exchange by Michael Nichols

The included video is fan-made, from the film X-Men: First ClassI thought it to be particularly relevant. If you've watched the movie, you know the setup. If you haven't, watch it. It's worth renting/purchase in my own opinion. The scene I'm dropping you into shows you Erik (aka Magneto) drowning in an attempt to take revenge on the people who wronged him and his family as a child. Because he held onto their submarine with such determination to sink it, he couldn't hold himself above water. That's when Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) tries to reach out to him telepathically (oh, wait, this movie is about mutants, which I didn't mention). The phrase he used that always jumped out at me was, "Calm your mind."

Revenge meant so much to him that he was willing to die to administer it. To Charles, however, the life of this complete stranger meant more. Somewhere along the way today, I realized how well this scene represents this passage in the Bible. Matthew 16:24-27 has this to say to all of us: "Then 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.'"

Magneto was willing to die for a revenge that would never have brought him peace in his life. In relating that scene to these words of Jesus, I realize that there are things that without thinking I sometimes seek out in life with a level of precedence that may not bode very well for my soul. I don't say that we should never seek out things in life, but the real question is whether or not they can save us and whether or not they will bring us the truest definition of peace like what Jesus can bring when we follow Him with priority above all else. After all, just like with Erik, that moment of revenge (or whatever good or bad thing you desire) would have only been for a moment. He thought he was alone, and so do we many time, but we are not alone. Jesus goes before us.

Do you think you're alone? Have you been hunting for things that cannot truly bring you peace? What are you willing to risk/lose to acquire those things? What is it that makes it difficult to "calm your mind"?

(CLICK HERE to jump directly to the scene, or watch the full video below.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpI6lHuzhwo&feature=youtu.be&t=1m31s]

Entering Rest (0): Issue ZERO by Michael Nichols

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Being the first issue of Entering Rest, I want start it well. I don't have much to say, and that's good. When you find yourself deprived of rest, the last thing you want to do is keep up the chatter and clamour... or is it really?

I've found that most times I've found myself unable to sleep or nap is this haunting feeling of unfinished business, some item I've left unattended, a task I've left undone. It seems almost appropriate that this year has basically been the year of re-s. I've been rebuilding relationships, reevaluating the way I'm going about my career, revisiting old memories that I've ignores, rethinking how my faith works, even remodeled two entire rooms (actually mostly done by our contractor). At the end of the day, though, doesn't something always feel unfinished? Doesn't it make your body cringe and twist?

While this feeling of restlessness can be powerful, I want you to think about this one thing: no matter where you are, you aren't where you were. Even if everything isn't how you want it to be, take comfort in the fact that you're getting there. Jesus is always at work changing something about you to be more like Him. Sometimes that means you work hard. Sometimes it means you don't get it all done. It can mean realizing some things are out of your control, or that you've done all you can, or that change doesn't all happen overnight, or that we are not gods and cannot expect everything to work out perfectly anyway.

Everyone wants something to change, and the best place to witness that change is at the center of the storm, the place of calm where God is. He is constant, and in His presence, you will witness revolution happen around you and in you. It may be slow or sudden, and it may clear or cloudy, but you won't miss it.