Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Am I free?

Are you free? Another thought provoking question that came out of my prison class yesterday.

The topic was in regards to a story about Victor Frankl a Jewish man who was tormented and endured a Nazi death camp where he saw many of his family and friends die.

He realized that although he didn't have any physical freedom he still had the ability to think, imagine, and have self will. He excercised these freedoms and as able to influence many of those around him and guards for good.

So in the context of the question asked of me, there are many people who have liberties. But freedom comes in many different shapes and sizes.

For instance finacial freedom- if we make choices that include running up credit cards, over spend, and push ourselves to the max finacially do we have freedom? We have liberties to do all of those things, but hat does that do to us? We become slaves to work and money. We have to work ourselves ragged to pay off those things, and the stress that accompanies those choices.

We are free to make any choices we want in life- but what about choices that we make that are not for the better? Many people walk around with the guilt of these choices. They walk around with so much fear that they will be found out. That if they are found out what will people think?

So the question was a loaded one, yes I am free in the sense that I am physically not incarcerated. Yes I have the liberty to walk wherever and whenever I want to. But does that make me free? Are there people that have less freedom outside of the walls of a physical prision than those inside? I firmly believe yes.

I am not sure I can answer that question 100% yes. The fear of the future grips me quite a bit. Kyle's future, a life of pain and hardship surrounding that. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matt 6:34. This is a verse I try and hold onto each day.

Life can be extremely overwhelming and many times we live in dread and fear over what will come next. But does that paralyze us? Does it keep us from being free?

I want the answer to the question of am I free to be yes, but there are areas of fear that need to be constantly confronted.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I am constantly struggling with hindsight. Lost in thoughts of wondering did I do the right thing, was that the right decision, was that the right move? Sometimes the thoughts can be paralyzing from moving forward.

A few years ago I read a book called Wisdom of crowds. Basically it was a book about studies asking the question are the majority of people right and should you base your decisions on what everyone else is doing? In short the answer is no.

The spiritual side of decisions is am I walking God's will, what is God's will for my life? In short many people are paralyzed by those thoughts also. With the worry that I am going to do something out of God's will that many people do nothing.

I will be the first to say not every decision in my life has been the most calculated, or even the wisest move. I have made a lot of decisions that I regret, not only from a right or wrong standpoint but also from a this was a huge waste of time standpoint.

The decisions that we make with Kyle on a daily basis is extremely tough and we may see the confirmation of right or wrong now but the full effect is going to be in a few years.

As I think through past, present, and future decisions I think not only about outcome but also character. In essence I believe that I represent what it means to follow God, and in some ways give a glimpse into God's character.

So what am I looking for in regards to confirmation? If the wisdom isn't in what the majority of the people say. What about the few?

One of my prayers each day is God allow me to have the courage to follow you even when I want to think only of my self.

It is easy to make decisions based on what will perserve me, my money, my selfishness etc. I realistically desire to make a few decisions each day that aren't based on that.

A couple days ago I was selling some dvds on craigslist. They for a minor amount of money but I was feeling extremely stingy that day and extremely selfish. A person offered me less money and I almost let them have it.  I looked at the text I sent him and it was much nicer than the mood I was in.

I begrudgingly accepted the amount and was hoping he wouldn't show up so I could sell them somewhere else for $20 more. The selfishness was creeping in for $20. (I am easy to pay off).

The young man showed up at my house, as I opened the door I knew I knew him but couldn't place him. We began talking and he shared how he was going to a show in Milwaukee. I asked him show like concert? His response was yea. I then asked him if he use to go to shows in Portage? You mean at Real Life was the answer.

(Long story short, I use to host concerts for heathen teens ( I say that in an affectionate loving way) of Portage back when  I was a youth pastor. I recieved so much flack and killed my desire to ever work with teens again. I regreted for a while ever doing those shows.)

He got excited when he found out I was the one who hosted them. He remembered me and told me I was driving by that church the other day and me and friend said "That is the church that loved teenagers."

I am not sure if there is better confirmation. Of all the words that can be said or used to describe a church or followers of Christ that is it.

As we all make decisions what is our confirmation going to be that we are doing what is right?