Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Discernment, Dischmerment

I'm so happy to be back here! 

Friends, I do apologize for my absence, but I hope my absence has made your heart grow fonder for my blogging verbal diarrhea.

I kept visiting my own blog hoping that it would churn out some posts on its own. Unfortunately, technology is not advance enough to read my mind. Maybe there's an iPhone app somewhere for that, but I wouldn't know that since my cellphone only makes phone calls. I know, I'm so 2000 and late.

Zack's more 1990 and late.

Anywho, so I've had quite the emotional roller coaster lately. No, it's not just from crazy female hormones. There was just so much that happened in the past two weeks that made me feel overjoyed and overwhelmed at the same time. There have been days when I feel incredibly sad and lost and then an hour or so later felt immense gratitude and affirming love.

For part of my week in Louisville, we had what we call our Placement Event. Around 35 dewy eyed young adults arrived, excited to go through the process of deciding where they were going to serve as Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) for the year. At times the interviewing and discerning were really intense for these guys and gals who were putting so much of themselves and futures out there with a lot of uncertainty as to where that would lead them. 

Back in the day, before I even arrived at Pepperdine, I was mailed a book about hearing God's call, which is basically what we refer to as discernment - figuring out exactly what I was put earth to do and how I am supposed to live given this crazy environment. My relationship with discernment is so much like my relationship with exercising. I know it's incredibly beneficial and the healthiest thing to do, but sometimes I'd rather just be lazy and not even think about it. [There are DVRed shows to be watched instead.]

So as these YAVs were in the midst of their discernment process, I couldn't help but to get sucked into the whole atmosphere of feeling I need to be doing something really important and constantly life-altering for me and the rest of the planet. There was a YAV alum there that I really admire, and he asked me, "What's your dream?"

With the confused look of half-raised eyebrows and gnarled lip on my face, I didn't have an answer. My dream would to eat bacon, biscuits and cheese grits every day while always having the body of swim suit model. Yes, that is how shallow I am.

So how do you discern what it is you're supposed to be and/or do?

You'll have to become one my YAVs to find out. JK... I would hate to have to work with you. Again, I joke [maybe].

Even Kathy Freston, yes we're not done with her yet, talks about connecting with your own spirituality in whatever shape or form that takes on if your life. She has a pretty good PC way of putting it:
Whether we choose to attend services at a formal house of worship, study with a teacher, join a meditation group, or read intently to learn more of a particular tradition or philosophy, through spiritual practice we increase our capacity to love and be kind, both to ourselves and to others. We learn to think and act out of love rather than fear. We move from indifference to compassion. 
And as we lend ourselves to the shift that comes with spiritual practice, we nurture the light inherent within us so that we can then shine that light out into the world. We are aided immeasurably by putting ourselves in the atmosphere of constant coaching.

This is all very nice, Kathy Freston, but it still doesn't quite answer how the heck am I supposed to be compassionate and light-shining to others? I feel I am a pretty spiritual person and I can certainly use the increase in love for others. What are my next steps, Kathy Freston?

God was all over this one. So a few days ago, I just happened to play a podcast from Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love, and he totally put things into perspective. Essentially he reminded me that it's not often that God shows someone their entire life's plan to them. God always shows people one or a few steps at a time. Rather then asking what is God's will for my life, the better question is what is God's will for today?

For today, it was time for me to blog again. And to make a very long blog post even longer, on my flight home from Louisville, I came up with the best and only Venn Diagram I've ever conceived.

[Note: I feel worried that I may have taken this from somewhere because I never have original ideas, but I truly believe I haven't plagiarized this one. If you've seen it somewhere else, let me know and I will be happy to cite and link and try not to feel lame.]
This is all I've come up with so far, and I still haven't figured out exactly how I'll flesh this out in my mind. But it's a relatively good start for someone like me.

Figuring out life is hard but also essential to making the most out of our short existence. However, instead of being overwhelmed by the bigger picture, let's be overjoyed by the small victories and blessings we experience each day.

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love." -mother theresa 

It's good to be back, friends.  

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