Extraordinarily Selfish

“”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 19:45) […] They [the disciples] soon learned that servant leadership ultimately means giving up yourself so that others can have the life God desires for them.”
— C.Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership

I’ve done this terribly.

Like many of us, I’ve spent the latter half of this week intentionally diving deep into the story and life of Nelson Mandela, desiring to know who he was, what he was motivated by, how he accomplished what he did, and generally desiring to know what life looked like through his eyes.

What moved me most was simple; a handful of letters he had written to his wife during his 27 year long political imprisonment. What was immediately apparent was that he loved her deeply. What also quickly became apparent was that he detested the fact that in many ways, the movement had to come before his family. He hated that.

But he did it willingly.

That is leadership.

That is why I fail at being a leader. I serve as long as it is convenient or beneficial for me. I serve people all the time, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t lay my life down. I do a little bit, give some encouragement, share some knowledge, but I don’t get all the way in and suffer, cry, and love people with all of me. I don’t give until it hurts consistently. I boast in my freedom and I love it so much it keeps me from pursuing my mission. Yeah, I serve, but I don’t live to do it, my life doesn’t revolve around it, and it isn’t what I’m all about. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t tell you what my life revolves around… Well, I guess that means it revolves around me, doesn’t it? I guess I’m just being selfish.

I’m not discouraged though. I’m excited because all of the difficult discussions I’ve been finding myself in recently are adding up to this moment. Every person that has told me that I’m not where I need to be, that I’m capable of more, that I have so much more to give than I currently am. I’m ready.

Wild as the Wind

She speaks like silence is full-bodied and unashamed of its thickness
And moves as if we invented symphonies simply to explain her
She even stirs the trees!
They swoon as she passes through

She’s fair enough to launch a thousand ships and strong enough to sink them
She may be full of hot air but don’t dare speak it,
Raise her temper and she’s bound to start a storm

There’s no way to hold her, just let her be and if you find yourself all alone outside she might just find you quiet and keep you company

Most people take her at face value,
Call her syncopated song chaotic because it can’t be conquered
But like all passionate women, she has her own sense of rythm
So there’s no winning unless you go with her
Wild as the wind ain’t exaggeratin’
Just let her be who she is.
Hang your chimes and build mills high as you dare
And without a care, she’ll share
Everything that makes her sexy and strong will always be for your benefit and goals—
There is no owning her.
Only reverence and synergy will reveal her “inner-me”
Like all passionate women.

The Audacity of Hope

“Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. It is not about the right attitude or peace of mind.

Hope is action.

Hope is doing something.

Hope never makes sense.
Hope is weak, unorganized, and absurd.

Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes, in its powerlessness, the lies, the fraud, and coercion.
Hope posits that people are drawn to the good, by the good.

This is the secret to hope’s power.

Hope does not separate us from them, hope sees in our enemies our own face.”

— From a speech given by American journalist Chris Hedges at an anti-war demonstration in front of the White House on Dec. 17, 2010

Boundless. [Be Humble.]


Our impudence is limitless; standing at the shores of the infinite attempting to catch it in split-second images, like God can be fully understood by reading a book.

Sometimes we think that by reading a Bible, studying philosophy or theology, and memorizing a scripture or quote will give us full knowledge of God or the universe, but common sense should tell us to be more humble because even if the infinite could be contained, there’d not be such an easy way to explain it.

Gain knowledge, become wise, but know that living what you have learned is far more important. Once you try that, you realize that it’s all more complex than you than you first thought, and that you don’t really understand it after all.

#62 Doesn’t Being Broken Bring Us Closer?

I figured out to change the clearance lights and turning signals on my car! And when I say “figured out” I mean “figured out”! My Owner’s Manual was no help and I couldn’t find any tips on the internet, so I just grabbed some screwdrivers and went at it myself!

I tried checking the outside and underside of my bumper, the inside o my hood, and then did them both again before I figured out what parts I had to unattach. It took a few minutes but I found everything! Before I knew it, I was discovering ways to other parts I hadn’t known before and genuinely having a good time disassembling my car in general! I learn so much about my car when I’m working on it! Maybe more than I’ve learned in 6 years of driving it.

I’ve always had a connection with my car and an affection for it. Over these years, we’ve been through a lot together (over 110,000 mile’s worth!) whether it’s road-tripping or commuting, hydroplaning or off-roading, whether I’m rushing to work or just sitting in my driver’s seat napping or just stealing some quiet time, I’ve become quite intimate with my car. The trick is, I’ve never felt so intimate as I have repairing it’s dented body, or changing its tires, trying to fix my radiator, changing headlights, and everything else I’ve done on it. Through all the experiences I’ve shared with it, the deepest and most fulfilling have been learning its system/ make-up/ inner-workings and learning how to solve any problems it has. Doesn’t it work the same way with people? You don’t really know a person until you’ve seen them at their worst, right? And it’s not until you’ve accepted them at their worst that you can help them be their best. And it’s not until you’ve helped a person be their best that you reach the richest levels of your relationship.

#59 Shut Up and Submit

I always have a damn answer for everything. If someone asks me a one word question, I have an extensive answer to offer, if they point out an alternate way of doing something, I tell them why I do it the way I already do, if they point out a quality I have, I show them the reasoning behind my actions.

I’m starting to realize that no one cares about that crap. Sometimes I need to shut my mouth and listen, accept, shape up, submit, and just let it be. It’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to have a different approach, to disagree, not understand, or whatever; just try to see things differently, Michael. Leave your presuppositions at the door. Quit trying to be right, accepted, or understood, there is a time and place for that. Learn instead to let other people be right, accept what they’re saying without arguing, try your best to understand them and their viewpoint completely.

Kill that pride.

Be a man.

#58 Broken Promises

What started as an everyday writing commitment has turned into a desire to “write when I actually get around to it”. I’m not sure how I feel about that…

After neglecting to return his phone calls for two weeks, I told a friend that I’d give him a call after work today. When I got off of work, I went to return my rental car, went to Walmart, looked at some parts for my car, dropped it off at my parents’s house, and fell asleep for four hours, woke up for dinner, washed dishes, and helped my parents move some furniture before coming home and climbing in bed before realizing that I never called him. Well, I guess I left some things out: I read the new chapter of the Bleach manga, posted two pictures to Facebook/ Instagram, watched an episode of The Cosby Show at dinner and watched a movie called Black Roots as I washed dishes and helped my parents.
Obviously, I’m capable of multi-tasking, I’m just bad at prioritizing, I suppose. Anyway, that was another broken commitment.

Three months ago, I told the internet that I wasn’t going to kiss my girlfriend, and despite all of the bravado, I broke that commitment a couple weeks ago and now I’m breaking it regularly. I don’t feel like I’ve let anybody down or like I’m doing something terrible, but I just know that I made another commitment I failed to keep. (I’ll be devoting a post to the issue soon, look out for it)

I’m sorry if I’ve made a commitment to you that I didn’t keep, I really am. You aren’t the only person I’ve hurt that way. I take full responsibility for my lapse and I am working at becoming more dependable.

I’ve read somewhere that men are supposed to make bold promises and deliver on them.

But I’ve also read that wisdom is making small promises and over-delivering on them.

And that the only promise I should ever make is never to promise anything because I can’t even guarantee that I’ll wake up in the morning.

It has also been said that all a man has is his word…

One way or the other, I need to reevaluate the way I make promises. Either way it goes, I know what type of man I want to be:

Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain? The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart — who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord , who keeps his word whatever the cost, who does not lend his money at interest or take a bribe against the innocent — the one who does these things will never be moved. (Psalms 15 HCSB)