It began when the Kansas City Royals made their World Series winning playoff run. During that run the Royals were at the center of attention for the entire Kansas City metro area, especially for me. When Wade Davis K'd the final out of the World Series I was in a hotel room in Hoover, Alabama. That weekend I was visiting Godspeed to see if I wanted to accept their job offer.
I next week I officially accepted the job offer and began to prepare for my move. I moved from Kansas City to Hoover the day after Thanksgiving. Two weeks after I moved I flew back to KC to give a presentation at a NSCA conference. That same week I wrapped up my first semester of grad school.
While all these big events have been happening there have simultaneously been little things thrown in that just seemed to make life a little harder. I've been having trouble getting my car registered in Alabama and have been to the DMV on 4 separate occasions since I've been here, and I still don't have everything all squared away there. I ordered furniture for my living room and they gave me the wrong set so I had to go back and get the right one that I ordered. There have been other small things but borderline complaining is lame so I'll move on.
To be honest I have always been good at keeping calm and collected. I hardly ever consider myself stressed out. These last few months, however, I'll admit that I've been stressed. I understand that it's typical to get stressed with so many things happening at once, but this is somewhat uncharted territory for me.
Ok so why am I writing this blog? Why is it such a big deal that I'm stressed out? Why do I feel the need to tell you about the troubles with my living room furniture? Just as a means to vent? No that's not it.
I'm writing this because for months I've been extremely happy and extremely empty at the same time.
In the recent months I have had several events and accomplishments worth celebrating. Getting all A's for my first semester of grad school is a great accomplishment. Nailing my NSCA presentation is an accomplishment. Getting an amazing job offer is a great accomplishment. It was so cool to see the response I got from my athletes and clients in KC when I told them I was leaving them. They made it known to me how much I had impacted them which was another thing worth celebrating. Every once in awhile I will take pause and just look around my new gym, Godspeed, and just take it all in.
Until recently I wasn't able to fully grasp why I've been feeling empty in the midst of all this awesome stuff happening around me.
The truth is I'm fake. I talk a big game about how God has blessed me, and He most definitely has, but I have not been fulfilling my side of the deal. I have hardly been spending time reading my Bible. I have been giving into lustful temptations and letting distractions come into my life way too easily. My prayer life has taken a big hit. Basically I've been treating purposeful time with God as a burden, another thing I have to fit into my schedule, rather than the most important part of my day. Rather than the most important thing in my life.
The truth is I love Jesus but I don't love him as much as I used to.
Tonight I had one of those moments where God clearly and coherently spoke to me.
As I was prepping my meals for the week I was listening to a Francis Chan sermon. Usually I listen to music when I meal prep but tonight I decided to find a random sermon to engage in. In the sermon Chan references Revelation chapter 3, "I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."
Dang this hit me hard. I have been so focused on my reputation and on my personal success that I have completely missed the most important aspect of my life: keeping Jesus at the center. From the outside I'm sure it looks great. I'm sure it looks like I'm having a blast here in Alabama. And, well, that's not entirely false. I am loving Alabama so far and I'm having a great time, but while I make look alive I don't feel like it. I need to "wake up" just like it says in God's Word.
He also references John chapter 15, which is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, "5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
The truth is I have not been abiding in the Lord. I have not been faithful in my attempt to know Him more. I have not been faithful in making Him the boss of every aspect of my life. I've been trying to do it all on my own, and you could say I've been doing a good job but I know that there is limited fruit with that mindset. Eventually that mindset will lead to withering. In verse 1 God says that He is the "true" vine. There are many vines that you can attach yourself to but none of the will produce fruit like He will. Verse 8 stuck out to me because I have been doing a terrible job of discipling myself, yet my hope is to disciple others here in Alabama. How can God trust me to teach others how to abide in Him if I'm not abiding in Him myself? It doesn't make sense.
Let me finish my answering my question from earlier: why am I writing this blog. I'm writing this blog more for myself than anything else as a public confession of sin. I also want you the reader to understand that while on the outside someone might look like they have it all together they might be struggling. I also want you to understand that there is a difference between worldly joy and Godly joy. For the last few months I have experienced worldly joy and many different forms, but it has never and will never compare to the joy I can get from having a genuine and fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you can learn anything from me learn to take pause and reevaluate your level of commitment to Jesus. It's saving me and it might save you too.