colleagues

It’s weird growing up. At some point, you hit a threshold where the people who you always respected as your elders become your colleagues. I would use the word “equals” instead, but that’s not what I mean to imply. Whether younger or older, I’ve always seen those people who I respect as my equals, but I have always considered myself subservient to them (when I say subservient, I really do mean, servant – not in the sense of a housemaid but in the sense of a person who serves others). Like it says in Phillipians 2:1-4, we treat others as better than ourselves because we are of one mind, one mold. 

On orientation day for optometry school, one of the speakers talked about how he really wanted to see us O1/first years really get involved with the political arena of optometry. Another professor mentioned “One day, you will no longer be our students. In four years, you will be MY colleague.” Yes, I meant to capitalize the word MY. Somewhere between graduating from college and starting graduate school, the world shifted its view of me and its expectations. This past week, O1/first years were invited to attend a TSO sponsored dinner where we were able to converse and mingle with Houston area private practice owners. Before attending, I had a friend who said, “I don’t really like small talk.” On many counts, I can say the same for myself – it feels shallow, and networking is a necessary evil. However, I don’t really have a choice, because all these super successful people who have made it through the trenches of optometry school and somehow managed to open up their own practice, braving the storms of taking out massive loans and sacrificing any semblance of free time for the next 10 years… <insert transition from a run on sentence> These people treat me as their colleague, and they have and will continue to maintain expectations of me about my posture, character, dedication, and communication. And to be honest, it’s joyfully overwhelming. 

Small group at church takes small spin; all the guys are older I am (as are the girls), but I’m slowly simmering into the community. At church, it’s not so much about being the youngest one as much as it is about figuring out if and how I fit with this group of guys. They game a lot more than I do, have more free time, and spend more time with their significant others. Did I also mention they also all work? That’ doesn’t bother me much though. I just feel unsettled knowing they’re in a different stage of life than I am, but everything shared is also insightful because I always have a lot to learn from them. Personally, I feel like because I am the youngest one there, I have the most to prove (I don’t think they actually think of me this way, but I think of myself this way). I have potential that is uncorked and unknown by the community around me (probably just my pride talking) because no one who I’m at church with currently knows my past and what I’ve accomplished. In contrast to the perceived expectations from my “colleagues” I at school, the expectations from people at church seems peacefully underwhelming. 

Tomorrow, I will be attending the wedding of two people who I respect dearly. One is my discipler in college and the other was a camp counselor who I met as a high schooler. I’ve lost touch with my discipler since moving to Houston mostly because of the busyness of life, but this man guided me for the better part of the last 3 years of my life. I owe him a lot, starting with that verse I referenced earlier. I’ll post it for you here.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

He taught me how to care for others by treating me as his equal, lifting me up for my sake. Our dis-skype-pleships were never focused solely on Epic, but instead on me. He modeled for me what it meant to do life with your disciples because he walks in the footsteps of Jesus. My debt to him is worth more than any wedding gift. He always treated me as his equal, but somehow my relationship with him feels the most weird. More so than the relationship I have with my small group and even more so than the ones I have with my colleagues. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I don’t really know what he expects of me. The rest of my life has transitioned dramatically (setting, community, profession, education, finances) but somehow things with him don’t seem to have lost a step. I mean, losing touch with someone you care about is never preferred, but when I see him tomorrow, i will feel like we will converse like nothing’s changed. The weird thing is i feel like if I only saw him once a year for the next 20 years, things still wouldn’t change. I would still respect him just as much as much (if not more) as I do right now, looking forward to meeting up with my equal. I would seek opportunities to serve him, support him, and pray for him. 

My relationship with my discipler is special. Or it was, depends on your preferred tense. While the rest of my life is moving swiftly along, this one part of my life seems to be exactly where it’s supposed to be. I still don’t know what he expects of him, but for whatever reason, I don’t really think expectations matter with him. He has done exactly what scripture dictates should be our manner of servitude. At least for one person in my life, I hope that area doesn’t change. 

Thanks Jonathan.

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Some of the things I’m thankful for

Well, this could be a thankfulness post, but to be honest, it’s more of post of things I’ve been learning. Of course, we can always be thankful for things we’re learning, right?

I’m thankful for community. I don’t say it often. Most of the time, I’ll never admit its importance. I’ll normally think less of people who seemingly depend on having friends or community probably because I yearn and seek it less. Tonight, I got to hang out with a bunch of epic guys; Ryan, Justin, Jonathan, William, Stephen, and even Daniel were all there. I enjoyed seeing Daniel in my life. It made me realize how much I do miss having him around. But yeah, I’m thankful for community that I’ve received and generally take for granted. I don’t know how Fall 2013 will be without all of them. 

I’m thankful for the money that I have, even though I’m a “poor college student”. I gave my first tithe about 5 years ago. I gave my first missions support to a friend this summer. At the time, what I thought was very little (because she had to raise over 6000 dollars) was actually a lot to her. In the summer, I struggled with the concept of money – what it was worth (purchasing power), what it’s true value was in light of eternity, what it can and should be used for. And today, I decided to financially support someone very close to me on a monthly basis for the better part of the next year. I feel like God is opening me up to understand that idols such as money/school/profession can be things intended for good. I have an opportunity to partner with someone and their ministry, and I will dutifully do so with my money as well. So, yeah God’s been teaching me about money, and I’m thankful. 

I’ve been driven to an understanding about myself. I used to think the most God-glorifying thing you could do in life was to go to a third-world country, life there long term, and devote your life to starting a church there and sharing about Jesus with people. I thought to myself,  “Man, those people must be really holy because they’re willing to leave everything behind to serve God. That’s awesome.” The truth is, I still think that’s awesome, but what I realized today while externally processing with Jonathan was I think it’s even more awesome to do it in the United States. Here, the struggle isn’t having enough; it’s having too much. Here in the United States, money and success things that can cloud us serving God. While we can walk into church and give willingly, our security rests with the bank accounts that we know are filled with our retirement fund. I don’t think anything is wrong with spending our money wisely, but there’s an intangible line between doing that and storing our treasures on earth instead of heaven. When I was talking to Jonathan, these words slipped out, but they say more about my ambition than anything else.

I think the coolest thing anyone could do would be to live like Jesus in the most money-centric industries among people who work in the richest professions. 

As I thought about it, I realized that I’ve always wanted to distract status quos. Think about it… a radical Christian who makes it into the big time. President, congressman, heart surgeon, lawyers, judges, business owners, managers. People who earn respect in the world with their worldly status only to tear down the expectations of others because they’re living by Jesus’ standard. The Holy Spirit can manifest himself through these people and reach those people who have much but know little. To me, that has become, in the past few years, something that’s driven me deeply. I want so badly to be someone who makes a lot of money and has enough courage to live by Christ in this money-idol culture because I think I’m crazy, bold, audacious enough to try it. I don’t know if God’s telling me to do that, but to be honest, I wouldn’t mind if that was the path of sanctification He’s set out for me. Does that make me sound crazy? 

Musical Therapy

Instructions:
1. Turn off the lights.
2. Pray, asking God to open your heart.
3. Click Play.
4. Meditate on the words.
5. Note when the tears start flowing…

EX: http://www.youtube.com/comment?lc=EKAxoL7YFAEO2fUIELNirpbSLcxd6Oef66xPZYDHE1c

God, I’m just so tired. I just want to leave this world.