Eating healthier always seems like a good idea until the moment I have to put carrots into my shopping cart instead of potato chips.
If following Jesus meant that I could avoid the consequences for my dumb, selfish actions, I bet everybody would follow Jesus.
It doesn’t.
I’m going to help you stop losing those arguments. You ready? Here you go: stop having them.
Anybody can say that they hold another viewpoint, but without the ability to intellectually defend a position using respectable grounds (logic, philosophy, theology, science, etc), you’re demonstrating ignorance. On the internet, we call this ‘trolling’.

Stuff gets broken: cell phone screens, cars, furniture, etc.

But people don’t get broken. They get wounded.

So we don’t need a fixer. We need a healer.

That’s one of the aspects of God - He is a healer.

35@35 #12: Being Wounded

TC’s Principles and Guidelines for Life #12: “Imperfect situations do not have perfect solutions.”

Sometimes, I wish I had magic prayer words. Or fairy dust. Or silver bullets.

I run into people on a fairly regular basis who find themselves in tough circumstances.

They have a loved one who is struggling with addiction; or their finances are a mess due to un/under employment; or they are struggling with serious illness.

And in those moments, I want to fix what’s wrong.

I hate looking them in the eye and knowing that when our conversation ends and they walk away, that problem is still going to exist.

I offer genuine words of encouragement, I pray with them, I give advice if it’s asked for, and I truly empathize. 

But I can’t fix it.

They are in pain, and I can’t make them better.

Instead, I point to the one who is healer.

See stuff gets broken: cell phone screens, cars, furniture, etc.

But people don’t get broken. They get wounded.

So we don’t need a fixer. We need a healer.

That’s one of the aspects of God - He is a healer.

Wounds will normally heal on their own. But if it’s a big injury, it needs help to heal. A bone may need to be set. Stitches may be needed. Infection may need to be cut out.

Broken things stay broken if they aren’t fixed. Wounded things may not heal properly if not treated.

So I spend most of my time in these conversations pointing to the healer. Offering scriptures and prayer that remind us to trust in God.

But it’s the same thing as telling somebody to go to the doctor: I can’t force them to go. They may decide not to.

And if they do go, there’s no guarantee they will follow the prescription.

If a doctor tells you to take medicine, if you fail to go to the pharmacy, or fail to take the pills as instructed, you’re not going to get the benefit.

Healing takes time. We have to follow the instructions of the healer in order to see the process occur, and we have to be patient.

Engage with the cure and give it time to work.

This is the formula for healing.

And if the first approach doesn’t complete the process (not that God is wrong, but sometimes there may be more than one issue), we must be willing to return and submit to further instructions.

And cure is often painful. Have you ever read the side effects of medicine? It’s nuts! For a temporary period of time, you’re going to hurt yourself in order to get healthy.

This is why I say imperfect situations do not have perfect solutions. Because healing will involve pain. 

Setting a broken bone is not fun, but it’s incredibly important. 

It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best one we’ve got.

Trusting ourselves to the care of a capable healer is essential to life.

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35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.

35@35 #11: Tactical

TC’s Guidelines and Principles for life #11: “When searching for a product, to see the best version of that product, search for the word ‘tactical’.”

Look, normally my posts have some kind of spiritual and emotional value associated with them. 

This one? Not so much.

Here’s how I started to learn about this life hack: when I needed good gloves for an adventure race I was about to join, I had a ton of trouble finding ones that could handle adverse conditions. 

Until I added one little word in front of my searches: ‘tactical’.

And that’s how I found the blackhawk gloves that are marketed to special forces troops.

Need a good flashlight? Get a tactical flashlight?

Backpack? Boots? Raincoat?

Getting something designed for military use is a great way to get a product that can handle a lot of rough and tumble use.

I still have those gloves years later. I still have my Maxpedition sling backpack as well.

Any anytime I need a product that can stand up to harsh use, I only need to remember one simple little word.

"Tactical".

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35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.

Instead of finding things we hate about other people (which leads us to want to change them), let’s instead find the areas we love about them and build community around that.
from 35@35 #10: Loving Others by Thomas Christianson
35@35 #10: Loving Others

TC’s Guidelines and Principles for Life #10: “God doesn’t call us to change people, he calls us to love people.”

I was listening to Nadia Bolz-Weber the other day and she said something that impacted me. She said that, as a minister, she doesn’t feel responsible for what people in her faith community believe. But she does feel incredibly responsible for what they hear coming from the pulpit.

In other words, she is only responsible for what she can actually control.

To share a similar concept from an entirely different realm, I head Tyson Chandler (center for the New York Knicks) share some advice he got early in his playing career: that some nights, his offense was just going to stink.

Some nights, the ball just won’t go through the hoop, and there’s nothing you’re going to be able to do about it in that moment. But that there is no reason why his defense should ever have an off game. Because defense is about hustle - and that’s a choice rather than luck.

We have been given freedom of choice by the God who created us.

We can choose to have faith and follow his calling in our lives, or to ignore it.

God shares, broadcasts, announces his love - through his scriptures; through his sacrifice in Jesus; through faith communities that are called by his name - and he allows us to decide if we will accept that love and allow it to change us.

Jesus, in his ministry, doesn’t spend most of his time telling people to stop doing this or that, but instead pointing to what we miss out on if we neglect a relationship with God: love and peace and joy and community and true fulfillment, etc.

Why should our purpose be different?

Martin Luther King Jr said that hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

Instead of finding things we hate about other people (which leads us to want to change them), let’s instead find the areas we love about them and build community around that.

When we live in a place of sincere acceptance for others, we truly become agents of God’s good news - that the God who made us and knows everything about us, loves us - and wants to help us become the version of ourselves that God intends for us. A person filled with love, peace, joy, etc.

You can’t control people, but you can chose whether or not you will love them.

Like hustle on a basketball court, there’s no reason why we can’t love people in any given situation, because while what they do isn’t in our control, how we respond to them is.

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35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.

35@35 #9: Self Awareness

TC’s Guidelines and Principles for Life #9: “Don’t send an email response while angry.  Put it in the draft folder first.”

This is a pretty specific guideline, and maybe you don’t have the problem of sometimes over reacting to mean emails like I do, but the principle of this statement actually goes beyond just getting a frustrating email/facebook reply/rude text.

Psalm 4:4 says this: “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. “

Other translations start that verse even more bluntly: “Be angry and do not sin.”

Here’s what I get out of that: God knows we are going to get angry sometimes. The scripture doesn’t say ‘Don’t get angry.’ It says ‘When you get angry, don’t sin.’

Then, it gives a specific instruction: think about it overnight before you say anything. 

I don’t think we’re supposed to spend that interlude stewing and thinking of how we can say the most hurtful, hateful thing we can thing of.

It seems more like we’re supposed to calm down before we respond to whatever has made us angry.

For me, a rude or obnoxious email can send me to that place of being angry. A lot faster than it probably should. I’m working on that.

But because I’m not a robot and I can’t flip a switch to be better at handling that part of my emotions, I need a way to handle them while I’m also trying to get better at it.

So for me, it means that if I am replying to a rude email, I put the message in a draft folder before sending it. I give myself time to cool down, then I go re-read it (and usually change it) prior to sending it.

Maybe for you, it’s not a rude email. Maybe your weakness is dealing with change. Maybe it’s when people are condescending to you. Or it’s a tendency to over react to people based on self esteem issues. It could be anything.

Whatever it is that puts you in a place of angry responses: first, be aware of your trigger.

When somebody hits your trigger (like sending you an angry email), recognize it.

Create the space to calm down. For me, it’s a draft folder. Maybe you just need to go breathe deeply for 10 minutes. Maybe you need to just smile and say you’ll talk to them later. 

Whatever it is, put healthy guidelines in your life that will help you not to sin when you are angry.

We all get angry, but we can all learn how to respond to that emotion in healthy ways. 

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35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.