Perfect Lives

Photography, is an amazing art form.  It amazes me how someone can take something that is seemingly ordinary, and capture it in such a way that makes it astounding and magnificient.  I have tried to take nice pictures, and regardless of the equipment, they just turn out ok… I’m certain it has something to do with the operator.  Since many photos are selfies, I suppose it’s fair to assume it has something to do with the subject too.
Perhaps, I just lack the commitment to the art to go through the hassle of staging something to photograph.  Maybe this is also why I am torn between wanting to sell my house, but not wanting to go through the hassle of staging, and keeping it clean during the process.  There is an entire industry that helps to stage your home for selling.  Those with enough funds even have public relations advisers to stage their lives for selling an ideal to the masses.  
If you look at any of my social media profiles, you just might think that I have it all together…  Never in a bad mood, always dressed to kill, kids are getting along, my wife and I never fight, our house is clean and the lawn and flower beds are perfectly manicured.
It’s hard work ensuring that image is kept up, but to what end?  Man was never created to be alone, so why do we create these images that ultimately isolate us from others.
Here are a couple of reasons why I believe this isolates us.
We’re afraid to let people in:
Deep down we all know the person we portray is not really all that great.  Despite some of the spectacular things we post, we’re all just human.  I understand completely the fear of being so real and vulnerable with others.  
I’ve had some tough struggles, but until I was willing to let go of my image and confide in others, I was trapped in a ‘perfect life’ all alone.
The funny thing is, that when you become real with people, the fear of not being good enough quickly goes away.  For me, I have discovered that when I was willing to open up to others I found there were hidden abilities and giftings within me that could only be exposed through vulnerability.  
The potential to help others far outweighs the fear of not being good enough, so I encourage you to give it a try.
People feel unable to be real with you:
      
There have been times in my life where I was in agony of being so alone in my struggles.  Many of the people in my life were perfect, and would completely reject me had I confided in them.  Or at least I had thought.
I remember sitting in church and watching the preacher talk the talk, knowing full well that I could never live up to the perfect live he was espousing that he was living.  I remember the Sunday it was announced the pastor had fallen into sin, and here I sat with my already imperfect  life, and not even he could live a perfect life.  What hope did I have.
I’m not saying we all need to get up on a pedestal and confess every issue we’ve dealt with, but can’t we stop pretending?  Some days are seriously just crappy, and sometimes we just realize our humanity is still present. 
We don’t always have it all together, and that’s ok, so why don’t we try a little vulnerability to encourage others that it’s ok to be broken once in awhile.  It’s only in our brokenness where Christ can make things new.
I’m reminded of this passage from Ecclesiastes.  We all need someone to help us through this life, and we all need to be that person to help someone else…

I have noticed something else in life that is useless. Here is someone who lives alone. He has no son, no brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard and denying himself any pleasure? This is useless, too—and a miserable way to live. Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break. (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4‬:‭7-12‬ GNT)

For some of us(myself included), it can be difficult to expose the real me, but in an effort to help someone else in their journey, I’ll do it.  Will you?
There’s been a big jump in readership on my blog in the last couple of weeks.  Not viral by any means, but I appreciate everyone that’s taken the time to read, and to send me notes of encouragement.
Thank you all.
Till next time 

Jason.

My Take on #FiftyShades

Fifty Shades of Grey…  I’m getting a little tired of seeing article, after article about this movie.  It seems like this is the only news worthy item since it’s release this week.  Since everyone else is writing about this movie and expressing their opinions, I thought it’s about time to share mine.
My opinion on the subject…  Enough is enough already.  Seriously though,  there has to be something more worthy to talk about.
I have not seen the movie, and most likely will not, so I will not speak to the content of the movie, or the quality of the production.  What strikes me funny, is that the major opponents to the movie are those who have not read the books, or intend to watch the movie.  I don’t disagree that the movie is going to be raunchy, and very graphic, but people are going to be watching it whether or not you publicly voice your opposition or disgust.
As every christian would know it’s very difficult at times to be like Christ, but after seeing and reading some of the articles posted by Christians on the matter, I see nothing but judgmental pharisees.  The people Jesus has commissioned us to reach are watching this movie and reading these books.  Our judgement on their preferences is doing the exact opposite of building relationship.
I’m not saying we all need to buy tickets and sit through something that goes against our personal convictions, but perhaps we should avoid public judgement and reserve it for those times when we’re asked for our opinion.
As Christians, we have an opportunity with this movie to have meaningful dialogue with our spouses, children, friends, etc.  If we continue to be harsh and judgmental about something as trivial as this, we may lose those opportunities to build relationship.  
So I will not discuss my opinions on this movie here, but will gladly have the conversation with anyone.
If you’re looking for a humorous read on the subject, Scott Dannemiller wrote an article that made me laugh…
This is a very hot topic, so I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Bite your tongue

I’m a firm believer that God speaks to us in some very creative/unique ways.

I remember one time praying to God before going to bed that he would do whatever it took to get me to wake up in the morning to spend time in his word.  Five minutes before my alarm was to go off, inevitably to go through an almost endless snooze cycle, my son starts peeing on me…  At some point in the night he crawled in bed with my wife and I.  Needless to say I jumped out of bed pretty quickly.



Last night I woke up in the middle of the night having just bit the tip of my tongue…  I have no idea what I was dreaming about, but it either involved eating something very tasty, or perhaps I was in a situation that required me to figuratively bite my tongue.


I could be reading something into it, but I’ll take it to mean that God intends to show me something today…  As I go through the day, hopefully I’ll remember the pain in my tongue and decide to keep my mouth shut when necessary.


Today Carey Nieuwhof posted an interesting blog about One Simple Question That Can Move You From Regret to Relief.  The context of the post is around facing change and how it’s important to ask yourself: 

“Five years from now, will the change I’m considering today result in relief or regret? ”  


I challenge us to ask ourselves the following question…

“Five minutes from now, will the words I’m considering result in relief or regret? “

I don’t expect this to be an easy thing to do, but even if it’s the greatest accomplishment of my day, I will keep my mouth shut when necessary.

I would love to hear your thoughts… Feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment below.

Till next time.

Jason