Friday, March 25, 2011

Presidential Review

I was informed today by a dear friend that today marks the 100th day since we left FLI. Upon her recommendation I will do a 100 day review of my life since Focus.

There is no single word that can even come close to describing the past 100 days. They have been filled with joy, bondage, freedom, pain, growth, molding, and purification. There are many more words I would like to put in here, but I could go forever. As you can tell, many of these words contradict each other, but isn't that reflective of life. Leaving FLI I was on top of the mountain and slowly have descended, climbed, and descended. Life is up and down, and for so long I feared the valleys, and allowed Satan to make me feel defeated in these times, but as Dr. Thomason would say, "Battles are fought in valleys." I have taken his words of wisdom to help me feel strong in the valley, and to remember that we are to "Consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, because the testing of our faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (This brings me back to our running group, those early morning runs, quoting scripture and being vulnerable. I miss those days) This semester has been so incredible for me, due in large part to the wisdom of my professors last semester and also my wise roommate, AK.

The largest part of my growth is recognizing who I am, who God created me to be, and living in MY strengths and not in anyone else's strengths. It's been about daily dying to self and recognizing my real purpose on earth, which is to bring glory to El Qanna! Learning is a continual process, and God has shown me so much in the past 100 days. Most recently I have learned a little more about what it means to be a man, through a painful experience. My number two strength is harmony, and I hate conflict, I hate hurting others, and I hate the risk that God sometimes demands us to take. I learned that trusting God is many times not waiting around to the risk lessens and we can avoid conflict, but so many times trusting God is going into a moment of high risk and saying "God, I know this is going to be painful, I really don't want to do this, but I'm trusting You to give me the strength, and to be my shepherd!"

I have grown in the belief of myself. I have downgraded myself over the past year in my ability to teach. I have allowed myself to buy into these lies that I can not teach and that I do not possess what the stereotypical teacher possesses. Why yes this is true that I do not possess the skills that most teachers have, but I have my own strengths, maybe not the strength to be a great presenter and to present new material, but I have the strength to guide students to their own discovery, to make students believe in themselves, and the incredible ability to build strong bonds with any student quickly. I no longer define myself by others, but I know who I am, and I know the incredible man God has created me to be. Even now this brings tears to my eyes. I lived in the bondage of doubt for so long and it is so freeing to finally recognize who I am!

I have been so blessed over the past 100 days, and now Katelyn has sent my mind reeling trying to explain everything that has happened over this period. I have been put through the refiners fire this semester, and although extremely painful at times, I'm becoming purer and slowly becoming more like God. My desire? To be a man after God's own heart, to fully trust in Him (which is the most freeing thing ever), and to continually display the joy of all that God has done in me, never forgetting the blessings of God, and never losing the AWE for who He is! May all recognize the greatness of God, the splendor of being able to meet the creator in an intimate setting, and the incredibleness of being drawn into the Trinity with Him, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

FLI Alum - You have been such an encouragement to me and have taught me so much. I will never forget any of you and the journey I have shared with you. I truly was transformed by my time there, and each one of you had a part in that. Thanks for the journey!

I love all of you so much!!!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being a man!

What does it mean to be a man? This has been the question over the past three days. During my counseling session on Friday I was presented with a lot of deep questions about where I'm at and what I want from my future. The question that struck me the most in regards to where I'm at in my life was, "What does it mean to be a man in this situation?" I had no answer, several ideas, but no answer. I have grown so much in the past six months, learning what it means to be a leader in society, learning how to lead a family, learning how to be a husband, and most importantly learning how to be a man of God and seeking to be a man after God's own heart. But after several questions going deeper into the issue, I have seen how I have failed to be a man, how I have failed to step up and be the man I need to be. I have been striving so hard for this level of perfection, which is impossible because after all, I'm a man, fallen and in need of wisdom from above. I have become scared to be vulnerable and to make mistakes, because I feel that this somehow will make me less of a man. What a stupid lie! We will make mistakes and at points we have to make ourselves vulnerable and step-up and be a true man, being a leader, and not holding back.
Now, onto a different topic of manhood, Mr. Matthew Yoder turned sixteen yesterday, introduction into manhood. We had all the men of the church get together and share our wisdom with Matt on what it means to be a man and how to be the men God desires us to be. This generation has become so confused on what it really means to be a man, due in large part to the movies and shows that are on television. Watch almost any new television show and you will see how society has demasculinited men. It shows men as incompetent, to stupid to do anything. It shows men as lazy, allowing the women to do the work. It shows women running the household, running the family, but men, this is not how God created it. God created us to be leaders, to protect women, to make them feel beautiful, and to be a spiritual leader and warrior. Our society, and especially young boys, need to see what it means to be a man, and how this is to be lived out. Young boys have no idea what it truly means to be a man, they need an example to follow, and men it is our responsibility to display for them the true meaning of being a man.