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Loneliness and Birthdays

I struggle a great deal with loneliness. There are some people in my life who know this, but it’s not common knowledge. I started struggling with this on a very deep level in high school. It has caused me so much pain throughout the years. There have been many sleepless nights/mornings like this one that I could not stop thinking… that I could not shake the loneliness and feelings of not belonging or being loved.

Loneliness makes us feel alone and abandoned in our endeavors and leaves us in a spiral of consuming thoughts. Loneliness tells us that we’re worth only so much — that even those that love us can only possibly love a certain amount. Loneliness can feel infinite, it can feel impossibly overwhelming, and in moments of desolation, it can feel like it’ll never leave us. – Andre Bohrer​

My birthday was five days ago (please don’t send me messages wishing me happy birthday). I hardly did anything to celebrate it. I didn’t make a big deal about it. I didn’t even respond to the “happy birthday!” posts on my Facebook wall – many of them superficial and random. I cringed inside anytime wished me a happy birthday. Why? It’s complicated to explain, but I will try.

I used to really enjoy celebrating my birthday. I used to enjoy people taking the time to plan some kind of event, receiving meaningful gifts, having a good time, and knowing (and feeling) that these people were celebrating my life because they loved me.

That changed at some point through the years.

I dread my birthday now. I can’t stand the superficial birthday wishes from people who could care less about what’s going on in my life and how I’m truly feeling. I don’t like the idea of having a whole day to celebrate my life. What is there to celebrate anyways?

This is where it gets even more personal. I read that post by Andre a long time ago where he was answering someone’s question about this same thing. I resonated so much with what he was feeling that I sent him a long message. He wrote something that day that helped me pinpoint one major reason why I don’t like celebrating my birthday.

I don’t show myself enough love, (which translates into), I don’t think I’m worth the love.

This one sentence wrecked me. The reality of this statement brought me to tears and self-reflection. Allow me to quickly expound on this. I enjoy celebrating my friends’ birthdays. I enjoy planning events for them, getting them gifts, and having a good time with them. I will go out of my way to make sure someone else knows they are loved and appreciated most of the time. I tell my close friends (probably too much) how much I truly appreciate them. I want people to know how amazing they are and that their life is truly worth celebrating!

But not mine. I don’t think people should waste their time and efforts into celebrating my life, because I don’t believe I’m worth celebrating. It’s extremely hard for me to love myself much of the time, so it is hard for me to accept other people’s love. And, most of the time, even when I do accept someone else’s love, it’s hard for me to believe it’s genuine (I’ll write on that soon enough) because of past experiences.

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

This is something that is a continual work in progress. Each year it seems to be harder, but each year I learn more about myself. It’s hard to admit these things, but I can’t truly deal with them without getting it out in the open. This is the real me.

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Who I Am and Why I’m Here

Good evening!

My name is Rod, and this is a blog about my journey through life.

This blog has been in existence for quite a while, but I have not been consistently active in sharing here. I am here to revive my blog yet again. I have lost inspiration over the years to share my journey with you, but I have recently been inspired to begin again. For my readers who have been with me for quite a while – thank you so much for reading and interacting with me along this journey; I hope you will continue to do so. For new readers who are just starting – welcome to my blog!

Why do I continue to write here despite quitting time after time? This quote by Anne Lamott explains exactly why I continue to write:

Good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. […] Hope, as Chesterton said, is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate. Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong.

This is why I share my journey; it helps me makes sense of my own life while being inspired by the journey of others that I connect with.

After all is said and done and my journey has ended, I hope that I would be known as a guy who made an impact on the lives of those I knew – one by one.

Advance 2013 Conference Notes

I was able to attend the Advance 2013 Conference via live-stream this weekend.

The link to my notes are below.

Speakers: John Piper, Matt Chandler, David Platt, J.D. Greear, Tyler Jones, and others

About: What’s more important, making disciples or reaching the lost? Faithfulness or effectiveness? Width or depth? We tend to prioritize one or the other. Churches that prioritize depth place a great emphasis on discipleship, but are often ineffective at reaching the lost. Churches that prioritize width reach the lost, but are often shallow and fail to produce mature disciples.

But faithfulness and fruitfulness are not at odds. It is the Father’s desire that we bear much fruit AND pass on to faithful men what we have heard. The early church both devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching AND saw the Lord add to their number daily. If we want to build and plant healthy churches, we need to embrace the tension of faithfulness and effectiveness.

Notes: You may find all my notes here.

To All The Single Ladies

Don’t let your longing for a godly man become your idol. Keep your eyes focused on Christ and maximize your singleness for His glory.

And don’t fool yourself; constantly talking about guys and being single does not mean that you have “given it to the Lord.” That’s just you trying to convince yourself that you have.

I understand that this is a real struggle for many ladies. You pray, read all these singleness & dating articles, read couples’ blogs, read romance novels, watch a million romance movies, hoping that one day you will have something like that. Then years pass and you still don’t have that man. You’re still waiting.

Am I doing something wrong?
Am I ugly?
Is it because of __________?
Why don’t any of the nice guys notice me?
What do I need to change?

STOP. Stop trying to do all the right things. Be you. God doesn’t work in your time frame. Trust Him. What’s wrong is that you have made this issue your idol. You have filled your mind with romance, coveted the godly relationships around you, and put your hope in a man pursuing you (whom will nevermeet all the qualifications of those romance novels & movies).

Okay… so what? Repent. Stop looking to this issue as your hope. Dating and marrying a godly man has become your idol. Yes it is a God-given longing, but you have taken that longing and have begun to serve and worship it.

You are single right now for a purpose, and that purpose is to serve and worship Christ with all your being. Stop waiting around for a guy to pursue you.Live your life. Serve Christ. Serve others. Proclaim the gospel. You’ll meet a guy along the way. If you don’t, God will still be the object of your attention and you will be content serving Him.

FREE Reformation Day Downloads:

Luther’s 95 Theses (LOGOS)

Nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church in October, 1517 to provoke a discussion concerning papal indulgences, this is one of the most significant documents in Christian history. Luther simply wanted to debate the practice of granting indulgences (allowing people to pay money to receive forgiveness for their sins instead of doing penance), but his list of 95 topics of debate was soon published and distributed across Europe. The debate in Wittenberg never took place, but these 95 Theses have surely made their impact on Christianity as many believe this particular document to be the spark that gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. The Logos edition provides the text of the 95 Theses in parallel English and Latin translations.

R.C. Sproul’s “Luther and the Reformation”

Many people are unaware of the events of Martin Luther’s life that led him to make a courageous stand for the gospel in the sixteenth century. This series introduces the life and thought of Luther while exploring the lessons we can learn today.

“Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther” by Roland Bainton

“I cannot.. I will not… recant! Here I stand.” This authoritative and inspiring story paints a vivid portrait of the crusader who spearheaded the Reformation. Considered one of the most readable biographies of Martin Luther, this volume is an illustrated look at the German religious reformer and his influence on Western civilization.

“Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians” by Martin Luther

The importance of this Commentary on Galatians for the history of Protestantism is very great. It presents like no other of Luther’s writings the central thought of Christianity, the justification of the sinner for the sake of Christ’s merits alone.

“Concerning Christian Liberty” by Martin Luther

Concerning Christian Liberty is a great statement of the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone. In two main sections, Luther expounds his paradoxical opening statement that “a Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.” The two sections correspond to faith and works respectively.

“A Treatise on Good Works” by Martin Luther

Luther’s transformational idea of justification by faith alone was often misunderstood and misrepresented in the early years of the Reformation. In 1520, with his Wittenberg congregation in mind, Luther set out to clarify the biblical foundation of good works. In doing so he recast the very definitions of “sacred”and “secular” both for his own generation and ours.

“Martin Luther: Lessons From His Life And Labor” by John Piper

John Piper says we have much to learn from Luther. Originally delivered as the biographical message at the 1996 Conference for Pastors, this new ebook features five chapters that present a sketch of Luther’s life and distill relevant lessons for all Christians, epecially pastors and leaders.

“The Joy of Calvinism” by Greg Forster (not just for Calvinists)

The Joy of Calvinism is an important addition to the conversation surrounding Calvinism and its advocates. Skeptics and those who have had negative perceptions of Calvinism, as well as Calvinists themselves, will find this a helpful resource for clearing up the controversies and grasping the winsomeness of the doctrines of grace. This book will show you how Calvinism can transform your everyday walk with God by unlocking the purpose of the Christian life, and how you can have the joy of God in spite of trials and suffering. It’s time we rediscovered the joy of Calvinism.