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Posts tagged with: Why

Trajectory – Shift Happens

One decision, one person, one integrity problem, one accident, one encounter…and your entire life trajectory can be altered for eternity. We are all just one decision from having our entire life trajectory being altered for eternity. I have never in my life imagined living in Orlando Florida. I planted a church in Phoenix Arizona and dreamed to be the Lead Pastor of that Church for 40 years and then retire and pass the baton to one of my sons and ask to have the Church broom so I could be the Church Janitor and best cheerleader the new pastor could dream of. To be perfectly honest I hate the phrase, ‘If you want to make God laugh just tell Him your plans.” I hate it, but I get it.

I am completely dumbfounded, flabbergasted, blown away, that I now live in Orlando Florida. My family’s trajectory change has moments of thrill and moments of chill…yah…the bad kind of chill. One decision… has me living 2,180 miles from anything I have ever known and facing giants and obstacles that make my skin crawl, my heart ache, my blood pressure to rise, and my heart to beat faster for the thrill of the challenge. One decision led to this. One decision that I know I was supposed to make. How do I know that I was supposed to make it? Because God told me to. It was so clear that, if I had to make the decision again, knowing what I know now, I would have to make the same decision because God was that clear. Steve Jobs said that we can never connect the dots looking forward, only looking back. Others say we all have 20/20 hindsight.

So the average comfy Christian would reply to my paragraph above, “Its okay, Trent…God must have wanted you to live in Orlando Florida and have you doing what you are doing now…or… what happened wouldn’t have happened, its all God’s plan…so let go and let God.” Isn’t that convenient. I’m not a Calvanist and I think that answer is a copout. Its wrong to place all the blame or responsibility on God. Its easy to blame God for the disasters/trajectory changes going on in your life. When you blame God nobody else has to accept responsibility. The phrase, “God’s Got This” is true but that is different than saying God caused this. Want an example?

Adam and Eve. Did God plan and intend for them to break His rules of not eating of the specific trees in the Garden of Eden? Did God tell Himself before He created Adam and Eve….”Hey I’m going to create this thing called people and I am going to love them because I made them in my image to be like me…but in my plan I’ve got this little fun twist I want to play around with…I’m going to cause them to screw it all up. I am going to watch them become ashamed of each other and then I plan on watching them kill each other and then I’m going to kill my own Son to pay the price for their screw ups and how fun it will be…because I”m gonna blow them all away by raising my son from the dead after I kill Him! God leans to His right and asks His Son…”Sound Cool, Jesus?” “You up for this great plan, Son?” Jesus says, “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, Dad.” God replies, “Oh, Jesus…don’t be a bad sport. You can do it! Think of the adventure!” So God proceeds with his “will” and for thousands of years orchestrates rapes, gangster murder, divorce and hate, suicide bombers, as He leans back into His memory foam love-sac and from His game room in His gated community called Heaven, xbox 360 controller in hand, intensely playing through His favorite game called Life. Press X for Jump, Y to knife, UP arrow to receive prayer, DOWN arrow for eternal punishment…

Too cynical for you? Yah…me too…I’m in a sassy mood. Its been a rough week. It all makes we want to scream from my roof top that Life was never intended to be this way. If you can read through my cynicism there’s actually a good lesson here.

Trajectory Shift. Your’s might shift tomorrow. Everything you’ve been doing for the past 13/20/60 years could be completely annihilated before your very eyes…tomorrow. If it happens you’ll be put in a trajectory change that will make you question everything you thought you knew about life, the people around you and leave you screaming, Why?!” Ask yourself… Do you trust that person you are about to make the deal with? Do you trust your spouse? Do you trust your dad? Do you trust that taxi driver as you jump in the back seat. Do you trust the engineer who just built the bridge. Do you trust the man who put the bolt in the truss hanging over your head in that giant football stadium? Do you trust the driver on the other side of the dotted yellow line? Do you trust the councelor who is meeting behind closed doors with your child? Do you trust the guy working under you as he sees the rungs of the ladder above you? Do you trust the spiritual mentor you’ve had in your life for the past 20 plus years? Do you trust your preacher and how he handles the church finances? Do you trust the man dressed up in a SWAT uniform carrying a gun across the parking lot of the movie theater? Trust and Trajectory shifts…they go hand in hand.

Its tough to walk the fine line of trusting someone, something, and at the same time making sure everybody signs the dotted line of security.

In God We Trust…everybody else pays cash and signs the agreement.
I’ve learned in the past year about trust and security and trajectory shift. God is the only one we can fully trust without thinking much about it, without worry, without stress. He always has our best interest in mind, even if it doesn’t feel good. Everybody else…you will have to choose to trust, it will require some security backup like contracts and waivers. Even then its a finicky trust. Its a trust that if all parties aren’t seeking the best interest of each other it will end up in a trajectory shift in your life that will take your breath away and you will be bothered by it the rest of your life. Shift Happens!

I chose to trust. 20/20 hindsight proves that it was a blind and naive trust. I didn’t have anybody sign the agreement that I wrote up. I didn’t get perfect clarity before I committed. I feel like a dummy. I trusted. I quietly pulled back the paperwork, folded it in half and slid it in my back pocket. Oh…I’d like that 20 seconds of time back. I believed in the idealistic dream that everybody has everybody else’s benefit in mind. You see…it takes two to make a plan work right. It takes all parties listening to God and behaving like God to make God’s plan work. Even one entity thinking only for themselves and the deal is bust. Trajectory Shift starting in 10…9…8…

I do not blame anyone, but myself. I don’t blame the other party. I most definitely do not blame God. I’m just heart broken over all the shift! Its a load of shift. I’m sick to my stomach…frequently…about it all. What does a man do now? I know the answer to that question!

You get up, shake the dust off your clothes and put your feet on the ground and start over. What else can you do? It doesn’t work to keep laying in the dirt bloodied and pathetic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of the critic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of one who is celebrating as you suffer the shift. You get up! Tomorrow arrives consistently everyday. Time keeps ticking whether I want it to stop or not. I must choose to fully grasp the shift and make the most of it. Shifts make for new beginnings, new places, new plans. Pain and trajectory shifts are twins. Pain doesn’t mean its bad, its just reality. Trajectory shifts means somebody didn’t get what they hoped for. That causes agony, but new beginnings too. My trajectory shift has landed me in another part of the country and feels like another part of the world. My trajectory shift has me realizing that everybody is the same whether you live in Arizona or in Florida…Uganda or Peru…Jerusalem or Paris.

I am truly understanding for the first time in my life what the Bible means by all Creation groans for the return of the King, Jesus Christ. I used to think only weak people groaned for the return of Jesus. I’ve realized its just the opposite. People who really haven’t faced a crushing trajectory shift in their life, who sit under the umbrella of false security and false contentment are the soft ones who don’t understand why people groan for the return of Jesus. If you aren’t groaning for the return of Jesus you have the “blessed” position of comfort and a life truly unaltered. You’ve gotten your way for too long. To this type of person, it is alarming to think of Jesus returning, for life is too good to have it all end now. Death terrifies this type of person because life is too good. What a crazy, wild, out of control world we live in…its quite thrilling if you think about it. I guess its all how you view life.

I am astonished at the patience and love that Jesus carried with Him every minute of the short time He lived here as one of us. He encountered such selfish people. On rare occasions we can see when He encountered a person that “inspired” Him. It was usually a person who had faced incredible hardship and trajectory shifts in their life. It takes my breath away when I think about how much restraint, that God the Father must have, to NOT send His Son back down here to settle the score once and for all and end the nonsense, the selfishness, the clamoring for power and privilege and position. Fighting for who answers to who. Scheming to get what they want when they want it. I want to scream…Jesus…please stop the madness! God’s patience is maddening to me and at the same time a beautiful gift to me. And you!

Its enough to make a pastor throw in the towel of ministry to go work at Home Depot. But…

No chance.
I’ll never quit.
Yes…I said it…Never.

I have been crushed. The crushing has made me smarter, harder, more aware. I’m not sure if all of those things are good or not? I assume it depends on how I use those knew weapons from this day forward.

Time tells all things. Trajectory shift changes all things.
For now…the trajectory has shifted. Shift happens. I can handle it. It just makes me weary. I must rest…for tomorrow is guaranteed to begin. The sun will rise. The Son will return. In the mean time….
I’ll try not to screw it up. If I do…that’ll change the trajectory again. Trajectory change wouldn’t be so bad if it was just me that it affected. The trajectory shift I experienced a year ago…because of one decision,…affected more than 20,000 people. Their trajectory was altered, even though multitudes of them will never know. I wish it would have just affected me. I faced an incredibly scary decision just a few nights ago that I had to make. I made it and my trajectory has shifted again. This trajectory shift has affected nearly 1000 people. In the next few days and weeks all involved with experience more trajectory shift because of the choices of a few.

I wonder if there is a viewing room in Heaven where we can someday go to see what should have been or what could have been if all parties would have just acted like Jesus. I don’t think an actual room exists, though, because the Bible says there will be no tears. Sitting in the viewing room of what should have been, would make any viewer watching their “should have been life” flash before their eyes, cry. If there was such a room, it would have a no vacancy sign on because it would be full of those who insisted that their life stay the same. It will be full of people who clawed and fought for only what they want. The video playing in that room will terrify those who refused to change, stretch, grow, give and risk. If you haven’t faced tremendous trajectory shift in your life, it will only be a matter of time. I think there are two kinds of people in the world. Those coming out of a crushing trajectory shift and those who are getting ready to enter a crushing trajectory shift.

As hard as the trajectory shift is…the shift is actually a gift from God. This wasn’t all in God’s plan. I will never know what God had planned in the plan before this trajectory shift. I will be thought provoked for the rest of my life wondering what could have been if everybody would have stayed in God’s will.
The things that happened has caused God to have to change His plan. It has caused God to pick up the ashes
What does a man do in this situation?

It makes him simply say…What now Lord? Here I am use me.

Trust God that He didn’t cause this trajectory change. Man did.
Trust God at His word that He’ll make beauty from ashes. He will.

The Shift is a Gift!

May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

Trent


When life throws you a nasty curve ball…


When was the last time you went for it and all you had to say when it was over was, “Ouch…that’s not what I had in mind.” Did you notice that I didn’t ask IF it has ever happened? Its happened to every one of us. The picture above is a perfect representation on what I’m stating here. Just minutes before the moment this picture was taken, this player stepped out of the dugout. He envisioned hitting the ball. Let’s just say he envisioned stepping up and hitting a simple base hit to bring in the winning run to end the game. As you can tell by the picture, he ended his at bat with, “Ouch, that’s not what I had in mind.” He ended the game lying on the ground groaning and in the world’s eyes, a loser. And this happens to every one of us. Every one. Some of you might try to argue with me and push back and say that some people just seem to have a silver spoon in their mouth all their lives and everything just seems to go there way. I would like to believe that, but I know, without a single doubt, that is just not the case. Some seem to just be lucky…but really…all the time? Some just always land on their feet all the time, right? The answer again is no. That’s not the case. That seems to only work with cats. They always land on their feet. I grew up on the farm and actually tested if cats always land on their feet. I have done a “clinical trial” on this and its not a myth! LOL. Sorry…back to point.

Here’s the deal. NOBODY! Is the answer to the question of, “Who does life always go well for?”

The wisest man in the world was Solomon of the Old Testament. In the early part of Solomon’s reign as King, he lived such a pleasing life to God that God told Solomon He would give him anything he asked for. What would you ask for? That is the only time in the Bible where we see God playing a role that we’ve all wished would happen to us. The Genie in a bottle wish!!! But this is not a blue Genie…this is God. What a moment for Solomon. I don’t know what you would ask for, but Solomon asked for Wisdom to lead the people that God put him in charge of. What a humble and wise choice. God granted it and was so pleased with Solomon’s request He went ahead and gave him riches and long life to go with it! I tell this story to illustrate that even such a pleasing and wise man like Solomon had a rough life ahead of him. The Old Testament is loaded with stories where things started going really bad for Solomon. Life has bad moments for EVERYBODY.

Why am I writing about this right now? Simply because I have had the most “hellashish” year of my life of the 41 years so far. You know what is really scary? There is never a guarantee that it will get better. I’m not writing this desiring to seek your sympathy. Writing is how I vent. I hope that by writing this, some of you might actually be encouraged by my venting. Sick isn’t it? Some people, in their effort to make you feel better when things are going bad for you, will throw out the cliche of, “hang in there…it always gets better.” or “When God gives you lemons, make lemonade.” or they share the Bible verse Romans 8:28, “And God causes everything to work for good.” or 1 Corinthians 10:13, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” If you are like me, you just want to say to them, thanks, but shut up!” Okay…maybe I’m the only one that wants to say that. I’ll try to only speak for myself. But really…there is a time for those phrases to be thought of, brought up, spoken and studied. But none of them help on the spot or make you feel better when you’ve just been hit in the nuts by a curve ball from life itself. If you are women reading this, I’m not sure what body part is comparable to the pain I refer to for men when we get hit “there.” I think I can speak for all men by asking you ladies to let us know. Don’t play around with us on this one. We really mean it when we say it hurts. I’m not sure you have anything comparable.

Today I got a call that rocked my world…yep…I feel like the picture above. Hence the “hint” of cynicism in this blog post. The call didn’t go the way I planned. The call didn’t go the way I prepared. Maybe it hurts so bad because I literally felt “clarity” from God as to what His will was. So I committed. I went all in. I stepped up to the plate and intended to hit a grand slam. I was so confident that I put all my eggs in one basket. Then came the call. Weird…I had a gut feeling the call was coming today. It did. But when the call was over, my wife left the room because she knew I was going to weep. And I did. The eggs, all in one basket, were mine and this curve ball hit me right in the eggs! When I hung up, all I could do was bend over and cry.

It sucks. I’m writing this blog now, exactly 8 hours after the call that knocked the wind out of me. Its kind of strange. I’m okay. I think this past year and the curve balls that have been thrown at me and I swung and missed….swung and missed…but the ball kept hitting me. Over and over…it has actually toughened me up. I am better from it all. I am wiser. I am smarter. I am more experienced. I am more mature. I am more aware. I am less naive. I am a bit hardened. The hits seem to hurt less and less. I am a bit more sly. I will not let it make me bitter! I actually have landed on my feet!

You see, I am convinced that the world’s perspective says that I failed because the phone call didn’t go my way. I failed because I struck out. I failed because my plans didn’t go the way I dreamed they would. So, the world says that everybody fails. But here is the deal. God does work everything out for good. God does turn things that were intended to harm and He uses them for good. You can make lemonade from lemons. Those phrases have a lot of truth. I still wish people would time the speaking of the phrases with more common sense.

I suppose all of this is about attitude. My identity is not founded in my daily circumstances. The phone call that didn’t go the way I dreamed it would does not define me. That person who betrayed you and you never saw it coming, does not define who you are. Day after day and year after year, the struggles you face do not define you. You are not lucky or unlucky. You are living life. I am living life. And life is daily.

God never intended it all…life…to go this way.

There is some real depth in what Jesus says in Matthew 5 verse 1 and following.

Blessed are the poor.
Blessed are those who mourn.
Blessed are the humble.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the pure.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Blessed are the persecuted.

Verse 12 says…Be happy about those things.

I say…WHAT? Are you out of your mind God?! Happy about the curve ball that landed where I never dreamed it would? Are you crazy!?

This year has been a year of getting hit…over and over. Yet, above, I just listed a lot of positive traits that have been formed in me. The reality is this. They would not have formed in me had I not gone through some very trying and hard circumstances.

Back to the Bible list above. If I don’t need God then I think I have it all and thus am not POOR. But I recognize that I deeply need God. I am so poor in so many ways without him. In life, poor is rarely about money. I am simply not able without God. The world would see that as poor. God says I am blessed because I know I am poor and need Him. The list says, MOURN. How could I mourn if I didn’t have bad things happen to me or go through tough times? Dreams broken, relationships fractured, plans destroyed. God never intended for the world to be like this. God planned a perfect world. I recognize this now with more clarity than ever. I long for the Heaven that God describes because it will be like God planned in the Garden when He first created it all. Because I know that life will never be perfect until Jesus comes back…it causes me to mourn the loss of what was supposed to be. “Blessed are those who mourn.”
HUMBLE. How could I ever be humble if I have never been humbled. Humility doesn’t come when things always go well. Humility is formed through pain and brokenness. No…the ones that should worry are the ones who are so proud and confident in themselves that they are never humble. Blessed are the humble. HUNGER & THIRST FOR JUSTICE How could you ever desire justice if nothing ever went wrong? MERCIFULOnly those who have been through hardship and experienced pain can have true mercy for others going through what they have experienced. PURE Purity comes through fire. Think of diamonds, gold, sharpening swords. The purity they contain comes from heat, grinding and friction.

You get the point?

Why do bad things happen to good people? That’s such a dumb question! With the fallen world we live in…the real question is…How does anything good ever happen?

So…when we feel like the guy in the picture. The only thing we can do is crawl to God grasping our groin and trying to catch our breath. I want to ask why the bad happened…but it never helps. All I can do is cling to God who loves me. All I can do is think about the good that I have in my life. Dwell on those things that are beautiful. Think about the things that make me smile. Focus on the joy that is around me if I look for it.

Go ahead….Throw me another curve ball. I will never stop swinging. No matter what.

I am blessed.
You are too!
Keep stepping up to the plate and dreaming that you’re gonna connect. The odds are that you will sooner or later connect.
What is your other option?
Trent