Archive for February, 2007

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Missing the Little Kid & Most of My Heart

February 27, 2007

This past weekend, I wrote a blog about the start, or pre-start, to my dealing with the bitterness in my life. Saturday night I began the workbook “homework” and while writing out and praying about the specific areas of my past, I came to realize something: Most of my heart is/was rock-heart because of bitterness.

At least that is what it felt like. After praying about just the first of the two broad areas of my life, I felt like most of my heart was gone; like there was a hole inside of me, specifically where my heart was. It felt like over half my heart was missing. On Sunday when I finished up the workbook exercise (by writing down and praying for the second broad area of my life), I am not sure if I even felt a heart left, just a big hole where a heart should be.

Also after praying, I felt different, but in a different way. The little kid I wrote about in a blog a few weeks ago, the one inside of me that made me feel like a big liar or that I was going to be found out, was gone, or at least I couldn’t feel him anymore, and so far, he hasn’t returned. It’s like something in my prayer scared him away.

Maybe I was trapped semi-mentally at an age around when some of the earliest emotional drama I can remember happened, and when I cleared it up (by forgiving from the heart for good, and taking responsibility for the feelings I had), it freed the little kid inside of me to grow up. How much will he grow up? I am not sure, since I don’t feel him inside anymore. If he comes back, it’s likely that he will be much older, or maybe even about the age I really am. 🙂

The workbook instructions say that I should pray over my two sheets (one for each broad area of issues) for 30 days. I am currently on day two or three. I am not sure if I feel a heart reforming/healing inside of me yet, aside from knowing that the black-hole feeling in my chest is where my heart should be. It will probably take all thirty days to heal. That would definitely stretch my patience, but it wouldn’t be unrealistic, since a good portion of the core bitterness that was locking my heart up, I have carried for over half my life.

So now, if you happen to see me in the next week or two, you will probably be looking at a mostly “heartless” Cam. You will also be looking at a Cam who really has no clue how old he is inside.

In closing, and in praise, I will say that so far, I have not felt any bitterness about any of my past experiences, and while a few things today at work are aggravating at times, I am not resorting to bitterness towards them like I use to. Maybe all this specific prayer is helping to change me and my attitude towards my life. 🙂

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Efficiency: The H in my Shape

February 25, 2007

For the past few weeks, The Experience has been doing a series on discovering your shape, which, to define in a few words, means discovering how God wired each of us. It involves more than just looking at what spiritual gifts and talents he has given, but also looking at what the vision or passion I have is. It is trying to find out what brings me alive inside, because in part, that the things that make me feel alive should be what I should be doing.

“H” stands for Heart, or as some would define it passion. This is the second element in understanding where I should focus my energy. Most people would agree, in fact, I doubt anyone would disagree with me when I say that someone working outside of his/her passion would be unfulfilled and not be very happy. At the very least, for me, when I have been working outside of my passion, I have felt empty, or kinda like a piece of me is not clicking right with what I am doing, and rarely if ever am I excited about it.

There are two different types of passion according to this study: Innate passions, which are the things that excite us naturally and come easy to us; and Spiritual passions, which is basically the call God has placed within us and is almost ludicrous in nature. Often times these two types of passion are combined in one way or another, or sometimes by looking at our Innate passion, we can sometimes glimpse what our Spiritual passion might be. The broad types of Spiritual passions are passions for people, passions for roles or functions, and passions for a cause. (Let me know if you are interested in learning more, I can write it up in a separate blog with more details or reply directly to you.)

This series, particularly this piece, has revolutionized how I view me. I looked at many of the things that I have been passionate about in the past, and they all seem kinda disjointed, ranging anywhere from trying to get two virtually opposite churches to work together in focus (which didn’t work, but for other reasons which I won’t go into here) to working in a computer lab that was cut off from Internet access, by my choice and significant vote; from building a custom database that would manage employees and customers to working with sound equipment and behind the scenes tech stuff in drama productions, concerts, and church services. This all looks rather broad and unrelated, until you look at it through the eye of effeciency; until you can see that in all these areas, a good degree of efficiency is needed to be successful, and in my case, almost everything has been.

So what great plans are there before me with my new-found passion? I really don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead. I am sure God will lead me where he wants me to go. I still have three letters in my shape left to discover. I do know that God has placed me in the perfect place to practice and grow in efficiency, in work but probably more likely within church. I don’t know why, but I do know that God placed me with The Experience, and as those of you who have visited or attend there, it is stretching almost every preconceived idea about how church should be—especially within our denomination.

One idea that has come from this passion I have discovered is to become a sort of consultant type of person towards ministries in the church, or to be a temporary background mentor/helper for people who are struggling within their ministry. This falls under the ‘freaky’ God-sized angle of passion for me. I am not really sure why. Perhaps it has to do with me knowing that I don’t have all the answers, and coming up on a problem that I can’t solve, or one that I only know as much as the current leader and therefore are doing no good. I really have no idea, but this is a journey and I am excited, with a little sense of uneasiness, about where I might end up with it.

God has gifted me with an ability to very quickly see improvements to systems that I come across, whether it be ways to streamline the sound-system at church (I ended up offending a seasoned veteran of sound because I came in with a different, but much better, method than he had been using) or ways of streamlining the work-flow at work (although my main ideas that I have presented have had little, if any, serious time given to them outside of my hands [because of conservative thinking I believe]).

I have three letters left in my shape. Perhaps they will show me something new, something that I had not seen before when I went through my shape discovery. Maybe they will end up showing me a new road, a road which I haven’t discovered yet. Time will tell, and it’s up to God to reveal to me the what when his time is right.

Where is your heart? What is your passion? Have you been living your passion? What obstacles are in your way that might be keeping you from living it?

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How having a best friend when I was young didn’t screw me up for life.

February 24, 2007

A select few of you have followed my blogging back to close to the beginning, and if you remember, a while ago I wrote a blog about how having a best friend when I was young screwed me up for life. (This was during my myspace blogging days and so it isn’t in the wordpress archive.)

Well I was wrong.

I did have a friend, a best friend, who ended up stabbing me in the back. While at camp one summer, my whole cabin of campers (which included him) decided that I would be the one to harass, and while I won’t go into specifics (which included some pretty twisted stuff), I will say that I was very hurt that he joined in some of the hurting, and just did nothing for the rest of it. He openly made it clear to me that here at camp, he would be my friend, but only as long as it was apart from the rest of the cabin of bullies. I am not sure where the counselor was at the time, but needless to say, no correction happened. It ruined my week and I ended up calling home to have my dad come and pick me up on Friday instead of Sunday.

Tonight marks a changing point in my life. I feel that this event is one of the things that has caused feelings of bitterness inside, bitterness that I may pass off to other sources, but very likely a bitterness that kept me from having many close friends ever since than.

In fact, if I have had a close guy friend since that point, it has only been one guy, maybe two, but our lives have drifted us apart. I have some great friends from high school and college that I am meeting again via myspace, but I am now beginning to see more clearly how this rooted bitterness lead up and contributed to not really being able to open up towards guys ever since that point.

I also remember that shortly afterwards, while testing the waters of trust and friendship, another potential guy-friend openly blabbed a “secret” to the whole school, and so in part, that closed me up even further.

There is no way for either of these two individuals to even come close to repaying the emotional debt that I feel they might owe me, but it doesn’t matter anymore because I am assuming their debt. Here in this blog (and in the workbook) I am stating that from this point onward, they don’t owe me anything. I won’t state their names here, because I know and God knows who they are.

To add another group to this, I also forgive and will assume the debt for a small group of “friends” who during my freshman year of college came to me and told me that they no longer wanted to be my friend. That event stabbed me hard and in the same place as when I was younger, perhaps maybe even harder. From this point on, I am releasing and assuming any debt I feel that this group owes me and no apology is necessary. Like before, I won’t state their names, but God and I both know who they are.

I encourage any of you who are reading this, that if there is any unresolved bitterness or resentment in your heart towards someone, stop feeling like they owe you something, because once you can give up a little pride and forgive them of their debt, those feelings will vanish.

This is the first step in a process that I am going through to help clean up any emotional baggage I might be dragging around from the past. I don’t know if I’ll write blogs about all of it, but for those of you who know me, this process will most likely revolutionize me as a person.

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At Least Today Wasn’t Yesterday

February 22, 2007

Ever had a really, really, really bad day?

For me, that day was yesterday (Wednesday). I am not really sure why, but I was in a aggravated mood before going in to work, and then when I got to work, I found out I got to run back and forth between two equally boring tasks. Normally I will be doing three or four tasks at once, but it amounts to being efficient by keeping all the machines running.

These two tasks were more time intensive, and it didn’t help that one task (filling a printer up with paper) had the printer jamming up about every 10-20 minutes.

Today is going much better, since the only task I have right now is the filling of the paper, and the fixing of the paper jams. I am now able to actually sit down (the other task from yesterday filled all but the least fragments of time in a standing position) when the printer is full and running smoothly.

Spring has finally started for me. What this means is that I am generally in a more sour and anti-social mood than normal. This also means that I might not keep up as frequent a blog since I would like my posts to remain somewhat positive and optimistic in theme.

So today is better than yesterday. Tomorrow will hopefully be better than today, and then it’ll be the weekend, which 9 out of 10 times is better than the average week.

Have a great weekend.

~Cam

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Christ on Earth

February 19, 2007

I will have to admit that I found this little nugget over at my cousin Justin’s blog, and I felt like I had to share it because it is so ludicrous.

There are so many things I could pull out of this video that are un-Christlike it isn’t even funny, but I will limit myself to two:

1. When Christ was here on earth he shunned earthly wealth and posessions, and so if our friend in question really was our Lord and Savior returned, I doubt he would accept such highly valued gifts as a several thousand dollar ring (make that three of them) for the reason that you can’t refuse gifts from your congragation. If Christ were alive today, he would thank the giver for the offer of the gift, and then refer him/her to instead use the money to help others.

2. Also in this clip, an expert on cults gives an assessment of this congregation, and in fact, labels them a cult. (Way to go! Tell it like it is.) A members weak rebuttal to the news, “. . . we don’t even have documentation of who our members are, and so how can we be a cult?” Let me clue you in to something: By discrediting the Old Testament and by claiming your leader is Christ returned (or at the very least better than Jesus) are two blatent clues to you being a cult. Who cares if you don’t care how many members you have. Not all cults are bent on killing their members.

Bonus 3: Our friend in question makes the statement that he is better than Jesus because he speaks wisdom and revelation whereas Jesus only spoke in parables.

I guess I am not looking at the same sermons of Jesus as he is, but just earlier this month I opened my Bible to the sermon on the mount, which is as plain and simple as sermons come. It begins with its most famous section, known as the Beatitudes, which speaks pretty plainly in my mind. It doesn’t make alot of sense looking at it as a backdrop for today’s world, but if given the chance, it stands true. It then moves into witnessing and personal relationships, where he challanges his listeners to live above the letter of the law and not just to it. It goes on for two chapters and wherever there is something remotely vague, an example follows it to help clarify.

In fact, just re-reading the two chapters of the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-6) clearly expose this group of “believers in something” to not being everything they claim to be.

Sadly, I doubt this will be the last time I hear about this group of people. He’s out to “change the whole world” but I guarantee you he won’t be changing it for the better.

Anything to add?

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I’m Boring: (I’m Out—pt 2)

February 17, 2007

After the experiences surrounding the blog entitled I’m Out, God lead me to pick up a book that I have had in my possession for a while, but had never read. This was the second book that I decided to read while being super angry and frustrated, but it ended up being the one that had what I needed to read. The book was Wild At Heart.

I received it as a gift, along with whoever else in the guys dorm at Union wanted a copy, and so without thinking much of, I decided to get one because it was free and it might be a good, or at least worthwhile read. For some reason or another, probably a combination of my laziness, unmotivatedness, and the fact that I didn’t need to read it to earn a grade, I left it on the shelf, or in a box, collecting dust.

After receiving it, I had a few opportunities to read it, but the circumstances were never right, and so two Wednesdays ago, while the machines were running at work, I picked it up and started it.

Long story short, I finished soon after (would have been the next night, but I didn’t realize that I stopped short a chapter and so it was read over 48 hours instead of 24) and it was exactly what I needed to hear. The only downside is that I read it over too short of a period of time for it to really be effective, but it did give me an idea about why I don’t feel how I think I should. (I am now re-reading it, but slower and in smaller chunks this time.)

Wild at Heart basically pointed out to my mind’s eye that I am a boring person. I have kinda known this for a little while now, but the book made a case for some of the reasons for why I would be angry at myself for being bored. The book also made a case for one possible reason for God not having revealed a significant other for me by this point in my life, namely that, while I have a career and a means to support a wife, I don’t have the adventure in my life that I need to have. It is either that, or the other idea, which is because I have just been too lazy to actually fight for any of the girls I have liked in the past few years. (Perhaps it is the downside of a really bad breakup from a few years ago.)

I really don’t know though. God could have an entirely different reason for keeping her identity hidden from me. I can really only speculate at this point. I can say that I won’t try to put on a facade to make myself more adventurous or crazy with the hopes that it would attract a girl for me. I am not sure how much I will actually go “wild” at least initially, because I am trying to be as cheap as possible while I work to break free of debt.

To give my readers a little idea of my debt hole, it amounts to around $37,000, and I am realistically giving myself four years to pay it off. So to give all of you a heads up, I probably will avoid fun if it costs money for the next few years. In my mind, the more diligent and frugal/cheap I am now, the less I will end up paying in interest and the shorter the cheap part of my life will be. (My ambitious goal is to have it all gone in three years instead of the realistic four.)

After the debt is gone, then I will give myself more room for fun. Maybe God is holding off my girl while I get my life sorted out and debts paid. I really don’t know. All I can really do is trust in Him and try and not go crazy with loneliness.

Wild at Heart may not be the reason why I don’t have a girl. Maybe I need to get back to the place where I don’t feel like I need a significant other. That would be nice. I miss those days. Maybe I am really not ready to love someone right now as a significant other. What if I am in the right place for me but she isn’t in the right place for her?

Lots of random rambling thoughts. Sorry if I am boring you, but I did give you a warning to that effect: “I’m Boring.”

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Admin / Server / Giver: The S in my Shape

February 14, 2007

I recently took part in a mostly church-wide assessment of spiritual gifts. I say mostly because while it was open for everyone, I am sure there were some who, for some reason or another, chose not to participate. This survey told me that of the seven possible gifts that we are born with, I ranked highest in the Administrator category, followed extremely closely by the Server and Giver attributes. In fact, I scored equal to both of these (which were only one point below the Admin) and had to run my scores through the tie-breaker area to distinguish where I stood.

So yes, I am an administrator-server-giver.

Why is this significant to me? I guess this particular spiritual gift assessment and definition process is different than the others that I have come across. Instead of grouping what might seem like a definitive list of spiritual gifts all into one group and then creating a survey, this process takes the spiritual gifts and sorts them into three categories: Motivational Gifts (listed in Romans 12:6-8) that we are born with, Ministry Gifts (listed in Ephesians 4:11) that are roles within the body, and Manifestation/Spiritual Warfare Gifts (listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10) that we are given temporarily when we need them.

The survey identifies which Motivational gift we have been given among the following:

The Perceiver (also called prophet in some translations) is the person who sees in black and white. He meets the spiritual needs of the church and helps us keep centered on spiritual principles.

The Server is the person who is always ready to help out with a practical need. He meets the practical needs of the church and he helps keep the ministry moving.

The Teacher is the person who researches into God’s Word. He is the one who will research a passage to make sure it has been used in context and will point out when it isn’t. He meets the mental needs of the church and he helps keep us studying and learning from God’s Word.

The Exhorter is the person who encourages us in personal growth. He meets the psychological needs of the church by helping us apply spiritual truths in a practical manner.

The Giver is the person who shares material assistance and support. He meets the material needs of the church by sharing and providing for specific needs.

The Administrator is the person who gives leadership and direction. He meets the functional needs of the church by helping us stay organized and focused on a vision.

The Compassionate person is the person who provides personal and emotional support for others. He meets the emotional needs of the church and helps us keep the right attitude.

For a more detailed explanation of each motivational gift and the subject, the book “Discover Your God Given Gifts” by Don & Katie Fortune is where I believe most of this information came from (their website is www.thefoundationonline.com), or you could do a search on-line for Spiritual Gift tests and probably pull up a bunch of info.

Have you taken a spiritual gift analysis? If so, what did you score as? Do you agree with the presented spiritual gift break-down?