Authentic Joy

Friday morning on my way to work I got stuck in some construction traffic and noticed a man waiting for a bus on a street corner. Though it wasn’t obvious at first, I noticed that this guy was somewhat developmentally challenged. He was about my age, but I could tell from his next action that he didn’t carry all the baggage on his back that I do.

As the traffic started to flow I saw this guy start thrusting his fist into the air and pumping it down. It caught me off guard for a second till I noticed the semi truck traveling toward him. This guy was so excited to see the semi and it was going to make his morning if this semi driver would blast his air horn. I started to feel sorry for the guy as the semi began to pass quietly, but then at the last second the driver let out a short horn blast. The man on the corner had a huge grin on his face as the semi rolled away.

That got me thinking about why I don’t get noticeably excited by life very often. Why don’t I find joy in the simpler things of daily life?

It’s easy to look at people like this guy on the corner and feel sorry for them, but we can learn about joy from them. I think one secret to the joy I see in people like this is simply their innocence or lack of what I’d call more worldly concerns. They’re not focused at impressing people, climbing the corporate ladder, or ashamed of their failures. They’re authentic. I want to live my life more like this!

How about you? What robs you of joy in your life?

Life is an Epic Adventure

Occasionally I can step back from my life and take a look at it from a bigger picture.  Normally I’m experiencing it one day at time and I lose perspective of how the story of my life fits together.  In reality my life is like an epic novel or movie with many different plots and adventures that all weave together in a loose pattern to help me make a difference in my world.

Sometimes one chapter or book comes to a dramatic end and it’s hard to imagine how the next section could continue.  Recently I’ve been feeling a bit abandoned.  The woman I loved walked out.  My job could end anytime.  Another job opportunity that looked exciting never developed.  My close friend, mentor, and pastor has decided to quit his job and move away.  A couple close friends are drifting away.  Sometimes a chapter or book ends on an exciting cliff hanger.  Other times, they end without a sense of resolution and it’s hard to imagine how the next section can continue.

But, I know the writer of my story.  He’s the greatest author ever.  Why wouldn’t I expect the next section to move forward and the epic adventure to continue?  Is my author less skilled at writing a great epic than J.R. Tolkien or George Lucas?  Heck no!  Those are novice authors compared to my God.

While it’s a disappointing time in my story, I’m confident the next book will be even more exciting.  I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds!

Sharing Things I Like

I read almost all of my news and blog content via Google Reader.  And now with a newer feature in Google Reader, I’ve started sharing news that I think others might like.  So, rather than pasting content from other blogs or news sites, I simply add them to my shared news feed.

If you share any similar interests with me, you might find that subscribing to my shared news feed is useful:

Let me know if you find this useful.

Life Lessons from 2007 – Part 1

This past year has definitely been the hardest year of my life. At the same time it’s been my most defining and best year. Today I begin a series of posts to help me look at the past year and document what I’ve been learning through various hardships.

It actually started over a year ago. In October 2006 God really started challenging my faith and belief.

“Bill, if you believe that faith in Jesus is key to people finding hope, forgiveness and eternal life, why don’t you seem to care? Why don’t you care about people? People who are far from God? People you work with? People from church? Family? Bill, what have I called you to? Didn’t I say love me and love the people around you? I didn’t call you to some other mission.”

I never heard an audible voice or anything, but God started putting that burden on my heart last fall.

So, life lesson number 1: Relationships matter everything. God’s core desire for us is to know Him and share our lives with people around us (see: Greatest Commandment). If those relationships aren’t at the core of what I’m doing, I’m not really in the game. This wasn’t really new to me, but the newness was an understanding and appreciation that God sets this as the top priority.

So, in October 2006 I started to move toward investing in relationships as a core focus. There are times when I’ve gotten off track and sat on the bench, forgetting how to play the game, but this new passion for relationships has been the basis for making the past year incredible. You’ll hear about some of these new relationships in future parts of this post.

What about you? Do you really let the value of relationships be the top priority in your life?

Do you have any advice for keeping this a core focus in your life?