So, a couple weeks ago I asked my good friend Aaron Avery to write an article for my blog. He’s one dope human being, on fire for the Lord, and has been a great friend and profound influence in my life. I am so thankful for his heart and to have a Kingdom-servant like him by my side.
He just started blogging himself, and wanted me to share his first post with you all. It is titled “Stand. Run. Repeat.”
If you want to stay up-to-date on all the happenings on his site, make sure to check out www.mynineveh.com!
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of running. Don’t get me wrong, we’re built to run, and we live in a culture built to run, but our running fundamentals are quite broken. We live in a society maintaining the mindset that being busy is being successful, that not having a full plate is like not having a plate at all, that moving up the ladder, earning more money, and constantly outdoing ourselves and others around us in some facet or another is how we are to gauge our own measures of success. Many of us have become uncomfortably busy. Many of us have either purposely or inadvertently submitted to the ideas that taking time to rest isn’t productive, that quiet is complacent, and that stillness is weakness. This is all crap. I want to take a moment to share with you a few things. I want to pause for a moment in order to illuminate a few realizations I’ve had over the last few years. Take a moment, hit the “pause” button on your to do list, read for a moment, and then get back to work. If you do, you may return to your work to find yourself a bit more productive…or you might not return at all…
I quit my well paying, secure, practical job last week. Amongst the many reasons why, the reason I’d like to chat about right now regards a disturbing statistic. I read the other day that one third of our nation’s “youth” is being raised without the presence of biological fathers in the home. The age and specifics of this particular statistic didn’t concern me, mostly because the thought of over one hundred million kids being raised without dads made me sick to my stomach. Why did this hit me so hard? Because just a few years ago, I was amongst that population. Though I wouldn’t change it for the world, I was one of the kids raised without the presence of my biological father. I am also one of the kids raised by a teen mother who had been abused as a child, who’s father was addicted to drugs and would end up bailing on the many families he’d create, who’s family tree showed little hope…or so one would think. I quit my job in order to have a conversation with those hundred-and-some million others who were brought up in a similar manner. Not to have done so would have made my soul’s greatest concern my part-time job, and this just wouldn’t do.
At the time of reading this alarming statistic, it had been a matter of coincidence that I was contemplating transitioning my career from business development and contracting to…well…something else. In contemplating career fields, I tended to ask myself, “What is something I could devote my life to?” I also asked myself, “What work could I possibly do in such a way as to maintain a hunger, a fire, and a passion while allowing me to be fully present with my wife, my family, and my community”? To make an incredibly long story short, that statistic was the last straw. See, I had been running from ministry my whole life. I had been running from sharing my story due to the idea that no one would care to hear it, that no one would be positively impacted by it, and that my valuable time would be wasted in telling it. I had suppressed a long time passion to write about certain things because I had become accustomed to thinking that things like passion, sincerity, “a fire in one’s bones” so to speak, was all nonsense, and that no family was ever supported by someone “doing their own thing”. The responsible man would grow up, go to school, graduate, go to school some more, graduate again, get a job to pay back the debt he had incurred in school, find a lady somewhere along the way, marry her, have kids, raise them with the money earned at the traditional 9-5, and send them off to college at some point in order for them to repeat the same cycle. Why? Don’t get me wrong, it is a downright blessing to live in a country where we are able, given education of some sort and the development of a skill or two, to get a job or employ ourselves in order to support a family, but where is the pause? Where do we stop and contemplate doing something different? Often times we don’t. We are comfortable with what we can count on. We are often comfortable with the false sense of security our money offers us. We are comfortable being able to predict our future, plot our own fate, and control our destiny. What if we were built for something else? What if we were build to depend a bit more on a thing called faith? What if we were built to run, but so built to run differently than we’ve been taught? You see, having hit the pause button in my life has opened my eyes to the fact that there’s a natural sequence to the way we ought to be running our courses. In order for one to run, one must first stand. The idea of standing is an amazing thought.
The idea of standing is the “pause” button. It is the time spent resolving and establishing the position, or the platform from which we will launch into movement. Where we stand, how we stand, and what we stand for most certainly effects the direction, the magnitude, and the way we run. I find it to be no coincidence that we have all become fantastic runners. We have become experts of “busy”. We are running after things, running from things, and running in place. The question though, is what do you stand for? Have you been running having not yet established your platform? Are you feeling as if you’re running in vain somehow, regardless of how successful your peers may see you as being, regardless of how educated you are, or regardless of how productive your busy days tend to be? Many of us tend to run in the exact ways we’ve been taught, but if we ask ourselves a few hard questions, if we concentrate more on what we stand for, I’m sure many trajectories would be changed for the better. What are you running after? What are you trying to escape? What kind of legacy do you wish to leave? Are you fully engaged with your occupation? Do you have a vocation, or a specific reason you are motivated to get out of bed in the morning? It could be the case that keeping busy is distracting you from refining your calling. The day job isn’t our enemy here, rather the idea that it is possible for us to run without first establishing what it is that we stand for. Take a moment to stop. Take a moment to search yourself. I beg of you not to take another step without having reflected on an idea of what you’d like to stand for. After truly developing an idea of what we’d like to stand for, and intentionally investing ourselves in that idea, our actions tend to follow suit. Your life is valuable, your testimony is yours alone, and the world needs to be impacted in a way that only you can impact it. Are you living, or just running?
Stand. Run. Repeat.