I've been meaning to write about the present tense for a while. I'm in a season where its much easier to look upon the past with endearing fondness, or the future with anticipation. The writing feels less intrusive when it's about lofty concepts that don't have those intimate, personal details that would leave me vulnerable. Nonetheless here is the struggle to convey what is current and on my heart. To steal the words from a musican who I've grown fond of.... there is a problem when we only focus on the past and the future- The present is all we got. We can never go back. We will never actually "be" in the future. We will only be in the now, in the present.
Perhaps you have been in a city or season that you struggle with. Perhaps you too could stand up and walk away from where you are right now with little regard or loss. That you could walk out that door, never to look back, completely indifferent? That is where I find myself unfortunately. I could just walk away from it all and very few roots would untangle from beneath the soil and uproot. I feel as if I've just been living a season that I want to die, to go away.
My sister told me recently that she is excited to see just how I'll look back on this season when it's finally over. Perhaps I will actually look back on it with endearment even? It is an interesting proposition to consider I could look back upon a time with endearment that includes very few of the things that I enjoy most. Where did the stars go? I remember when I used to have friends. How is it that we've only gotten to go camping once this summer? I spend 8 hours a day working for a water company which is hard for someone who is always stuck in existential pondering. Kathryn and I both felt led to be involved in a church community that lacks (wait for it...) Community.
I feel that I am left with those feeling stated earlier....nostalgia from the past, and excitement for the future. I'm learning that in the sucky present tense, all we can really do is take steps in what we feel or believe to be the right direction. Sometimes we even end up with what feels like nothing, and that just has to be okay. We have to continue to live and to look at the PRESENT tense as optimistic, to look at every day as new. I'm confident if we become jaded to believe that everything sucks, we become saturated in a disgusting self consuming pride.
Alright friends, this season in Charlotte, North Carolina has been tough. So what have I learned to devote my time to? Well, I'm learning that time is the most valuable thing we have. We can choose to invest our time on band-aids or on cures; trajectories that will lead us to a fulfilling life. I have always been okay with playing video games. When I wrote about the struggle of our culture, I wrote about how I just didn't see myself throwing them away. Well, when I realized I was really walking the fence of feeling depressed, I realized that there was a battle to be fought. I felt things were genuinely missing from my life... Contentment, time with the Lord, community, skills that I want to learn.
I realized that it was time to stop talking about wanting all of those things, and to actually make a move. On a whim, I made a few hundred bucks by selling all my games to a guy from FB marketplace, and I went out and bought a kindle. Let's be honest, there are many things to learn from books. I have always felt, Man I really wish I read more. But yet I spent 30-60 minutes a day doing what was entirely fake. I decided to start reading books about missionaries traveling to dark places and living as one of the community. I wanted to see examples of those who have gone before us, to read the documented miracles and acts of God that none can deny. I first read Voice in the Night, and am currently reading Chasing the Dragon. I recommend getting a kindle yourself, and looking those books up... amazing.
The never ending, time snatching "fake things" in this culture really became the frustration that continued to brew inside of me, and what really caught my attention when Kathryn and I wrote Chasing The Wind. There are big battles to be fought in this life, BIG BATTLES.
Are we going to be the ones making a difference in this world by influencing the culture, and our generation, or am I going to be stuck in the same cultural road blocks that prevent us from making a difference in the real world?
I also have been trying to be more consistent in reading the Bible, as it is the Book of books. I have been reading the One Year Bible in the New Living Translation. This has made reading it a lot easier and the language is less old fashioned and easier to follow along with. I am confident that the Lord has been wanting to meet me in this dry season of my life. Kathryn has always reminded me that when all of my other "Go To's" aren't there, He is the best person to go to and that is sometimes the best time to meet Him. When we are cranking on all cylinders, feeling like life is the absolute best, it is so easy to be distracted and to not seek Him out.
I was extremely tired of talking about finally making working out a habit, and living a healthy lifestyle. I mean, it is so hard to work full time, spend time with your spouse, and have any kind of hobbies, let alone spend time working out. Finally I let go of the excuse of not wanting to wake up at 5am and just went for it. For the last 2 months I've worked out with F3 doing workouts in my neighborhood with other awesome men. It has been a very fulfilling experience! Kathryn has been doing Orange Theory and loving that.
As you probably know, Kathryn and I are currently living on a very tight budget and are saving up big for our next big trip. While we are traveling, I want to be able to sustain us in some way financially in order to provide and keep us traveling longer. We want to eventually come up with a game plan as to what we are going to go towards in the future, but in the mean time I need be able to make some guaranteed cash. In this season, I have occasionally been teaching English online to folks around the world, for $10 an hour. It hasn't been so much about the money, but rather about the experience. Now I can have the peace of mind of knowing that I can make some money, as I've spent hours teaching to students from S. Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in last few months! I also have been doing some freelance work doing simple data entry tasks for companies online. Let me tell you, considering it is our dream for me to be able to sustain us financially while being location independent, it has been SUPER exciting to make a few bucks from this laptop. I cannot wait to make more money on my own, away from the 9-5 work grind.
We also have been brainstorming a lot lately on various types of content we are SO EXCITED to create for this brand. We cannot wait to have more time to devote to what we have been talking about... and we hope to have some big announcements coming up!
Since it has been a while since our last blog post, I just really wanted to make this one honest. I wanted to share everything that we have been up to, and share the struggles that come along with it. It is through this fire and pressure of the present tense struggle that these diamonds are starting to be revealed. Some of the things I listed above are things I've been wanting to do for a very very long time, but have just now been more consistent with, especially since everything else feels like it is missing. Our next post is going to be even more about embracing the dreams that we have inside of us, as I feel like some seasons (like this one) can bring us down. As I have heard, sometimes we experience these prolonged dry seasons just because we aren't able to figure out what it is that God is trying to tell us and get through to us. It seems like when we have that AHA moment, our perspective, or our experience changes, and we are finally out of that dry spell.
Perhaps you can relate? Perhaps you find yourself in a season where you find you have less time for the things you actually love to do. Maybe you have lost yourself in the present tense, or even don't know what the future holds.
Let's just not forget, the present is all we have, what opportunities have been given to us right now?
In our next post we are excited to talk more about never letting those dang dreams of ours die.