The Ragamuffin Journal: The End is the Process
The Two Things I Desire in Life
There are really only two things I desire in my walk with God and I think they will sum up my desires concerning my relationship with the Creator. The first is to see the glory of God. I want to see Him glorified in everything I do and say, and in all that I am. I also want others to see His glory through me, the Church, creation. It breaks my heart that so many people are so blind to God, especially when He has shown Himself in many ways throughout history, through time and space. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, and He will be glorified. The second is to have the heart of God. I want o have His heart for people, to love people as a way of demonstrating His great passionate love for them.
Donald Miller Talks
My Desk of Destiny
I was an intern at a church once, about a decade ago. Back in those days I thought I could have the world! I was sure that Jesus and I could conquer anything! I swore I was invincible. While I didn’t do anything I wanted, everything I did was extreme. Extreme zeal. Extreme vision. Extreme love. Extreme devotion. Extreme intensity, passion, conviction. Extreme Abandonment! Extreme desire to change the world, to start a revolution of some sort. I am confident that every young adult out there at some point thinks he/she is invincible.
In one of my intern classes I was asked the question, “If there is one thing in the world that you want to do, and money wasn’t an issue in accomplishing that one thing, what would it be?” I wrote up my response, two pages total, and I titled it, “My Desk of Destiny.” It was filled with the things in my heart that I was most passionate about. The list included: passionate prayer and intercession for the church and for the unbeliever, speaking and teaching crowds of millions of unbelievers about Jesus’ love, traveling all over the world and attracting young people to the gospel, raising up a new generation of nameless, faceless people who would be willing to live their lives in total and utter abandonment for Jesus. I remember sitting at My Desk of Destiny a few days later and reading it to my classmates. They also were reading their own response to the prompt. A box of tissue was passed from person to person. Without them we would have been swimming in ponds of warm, clear, saltwater around our tables. That morning was intense and encouraging. I found it very difficult to share My Desk of Destiny with my classmates. I felt vulnerable. At the time, these were the biggest things in my heart and mind. I struggled with two things concerning My Desk of Destiny looking back. First, I wanted to see the church rise up out of its comfortable pew and begin making impact and change in the world while another part of me wanted to be in the glory-light. I wanted a nameless, faceless generation; yet, I so desperately wanted to have a name and face in it. Second was that while its great to dream big, write it down, and even share it all, I knew that it wouldn’t matter unless I actually found a way to make the dream a reality, and how could I do that. As I read My Desk of Destiny that morning, I felt as though I had eyes to see the dream, but I lacked the wings I need to get there. This, I have called the Eyes & Wings Syndrome and it has been one I struggled with for several years of my life.
Time and Space
Not too long ago I remembered something about life. I, and every other being on the planet, was trapped within the hourglass known as time and space. Gravity takes hold, time begins to tick, and we can't get out. We think money is the biggest thing preventing us from fulfilling our dreams. I realized that it’s not money at all. There will always be times we have money, and times we don’t. Some are more frugal and fiscally responsible than others, but the money is always there to be had. The biggest thing preventing us from fulfilling our dreams is time and space. Time because life has a beginning and an end for everyone. When we are young we think we are invincible. As we grow older, life begins to settle in on us. I have come to learn that as miraculous as life may be, it is not extreme. Life takes things at a slow pace. We often like to speed it up by packing a million things into a single 24-hour frame. We rush through meals and we forget to sleep and we complain about the aging process thinking that it’s our climax and the only part of the story left is the resolution. Because we think money is the real problem, we miss out on life, and life is about relationships. We get stuck at the office where we do a variety of things in an attempt to convince our boss that we deserve a raise. Space because although we have a region we might claim as our own, our home, we are largely affected by the society in which we live. Society often molds us, our perceptions on life, people, and relationships, even our ideologies concerning education, politics, economy, and career choice. The truth is that the vast majority of people will only impact the small world in which they live. Very few will actually have an impact that reaches global proportions. Even fewer will actually have an impact that becomes a legacy passed from one generation to the next.
Because of this, I realize that the most important things in life are not those things I wrote in my Desk of Destiny. Instead, it is as simple as the relationships I have with others. Rather than dreaming big about those things that only a lucky, brightly shining star might fulfill, I should be dreaming about the relationships in my life and how I can impact those people I interact with everyday. I realize I don't need to scream at people anymore to be heard, (speaking figuratively). I don’t need a pulpit and a million young people staring up at me with journal in hand eager to take notes on all that I have to teach them. I don’t need a million converts in a single 45-minute message. I am always communicating, and people will always be watching. I don't have to cram information into anyone’s brain, or my own for that matter, so that we can all be all-knowing. I am always learning and teaching. I can simply say/do what I believe necessary, and let those around me determine in their hearts and minds whether they will respond, and how.
www.donmilleris.com/conference Visit Donald Millers blog where you can learn about and register for his seminar on writing yourself as the protagonist of your own life story.
Quietly Changing the World
In the last couple years, I have been spending more time with people. I have been learning to invest in the lives of others in simple, seemingly small ways. I have served others, volunteered at after school programs, volunteered at church helping the middle school girls learn about God and truth, and themselves. I am pretty quiet about the work I am doing these days. I have learned that it’s not about me at all. It’s about loving Jesus and demonstrating that by loving others in a way that shows them what love looks like. I don’t need a pat on the back, acknowledgment, or a payment. This is the kind of life I want to live, a quiet life that enables me to make change in the community around me. This is the best way I can think of to see the glory of God and to have the heart of God.
Instilling Morals, Golden Nuggets, and Entertaining Children
With all that said, I still have a great passion for young people. I am recently in the middle of a career transition. Less than a year ago I was pushing product, working for a high tech company in Silicon Valley selling storage. I realized that I wasn’t having the impact I wanted to have on people. I realized that, if I were the protagonist in a novel, the book would hardly sell; it would never be a best seller. It would certainly not ever become a classic. I still have a need to impact people, to change lives. I also have a great need to utilize those skills that I believe I have and that, in the corporate world I was not using at all. Therefore, I decided to go back to school to get a secondary education teaching credential.
My subject will be English. I may have a slight bias toward the subject but in my opinion English is one of the few subjects that is most valuable, and not just for those who will continue studying the subject in college, and become English professors. English is a necessary discipline in every subject, every industry. Regardless of degree, or career, it is necessary to know how to read documents critically and analytically, organize thoughts appropriately on paper, speak in a public setting, and use proper syntax and grammar when speaking and writing. English is the only subject that teaches each of these. I would say History might be a close second. Aside from that, I strongly believe that I can instill morals through teaching English. After all, one cannot read a story, whether it be a classic or a post-modern novel, a short story, or a poem, an expository essay, or a personal narrative without catching a glimpse of some moral theme that relates to life.
Secondly, while I am serving God by serving others, and I am doing it without shouting it out to the world, I still have a lot to say about a lot of things. Much of what I have to say pertains to relationships and their various forms. I have some things to say about education, about people and psychology, and God and his great love for humanity. I want to write. I have a blog already, but I want to find my audience and begin to write. I am currently working on putting together a memoir about my personal struggles with relationships, rejection I have encountered and how it has tainted my perception of those relationships, and even how I have perceived God. I have grown a lot, especially in the last couple years. I have talked with a friend of mine about writing another book about freedom in Christ. Freedom comes from knowing how loved and accepted one is. Our book would be about the love and acceptance Jesus offers at the cross. We both have some golden nuggets we are eager to share in that book. I have tried writing some short stories in a Gogolian style. I had a few people read them but they didn’t get the humor. Gogol is pretty complex and I think one needs to be familiar with him to really understand the humor and some of the other subtle nuances in my short stories. Lastly, I have two great children’s stories I am eager to put onto paper. They both have fantastic elements. I have already told a few children the story orally and they were captivated. In fact, one of the kids is constantly begging me to tell her more stories. My biggest two dilemmas with writing are time, again the problem of time, and the fact that I feel as though I need more training.
The following link is to Donald Miller's blog. Donald Miller is the author of New York Times Bestseller, Blue Like Jazz. He has also written several other books including, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Searching for God Knows What. I believe Donald Miller also has a lot to say about a lot of things. He is living a story that publishers have felt worthy of copyrighting and publishing. I want to do to the same. I believe the Living a Better Story Seminar in Portland will provide me with some great insights into how I can turn these dreams I am sharing with you into my reality through teaching and writing. You can read more about the Seminar by following the link below.
The End is the Process
Again, there are really only two things I desire in my walk with God and I think they will sum up my desires concerning my relationship with the Creator. The first is to see the glory of God. I want to see Him glorified in everything I do and say, and in all that I am. I also want others to see His glory through me, the Church, creation. It breaks my heart that so many people are so blind to God, especially when He has shown Himself in many ways throughout history, through time and space. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, and He will be glorified. The second is to have the heart of God. I want to have His heart for people, to love people as a way of demonstrating His great passionate love for them.
This is the story I want to tell with my life. An old pastor I had used to say, “The end is the process”. Therefore, it is too difficult to determine what the climax will be. Perhaps there will be many of them. The resolution…well, that might just be the day I get to meet my Creator face to face, and walk with Him just as Adam walked with Him in the garden.
Perhaps I am not as extreme/intense as I was back in my early twenties. But I am still passionate. And more importantly, the world will change! I may have a tiny portion of influence to direct that change, and will choose to distribute it where it will be most fruitful.