Busy Kills…Thoughts From a Dead Man

Hello friends.  I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  Why?  Well there are lots of reasons.  Like my growing business.  Things have really been talking off, and within the past couple months it’s been common for me to have work just about every day.  It’s been exciting to see this thing grow and take form.  I’ve had lots of opportunity for ministry, and to connect with new friends, old friends and friends that seem to not fit in any demographics.  But all of that to say I’ve been too busy to blog.  Which is a problem isn’t it?

I feel like one of the postures that I default to in life is busyness.  Now when I say busy, know that there is a difference between being busy and being productive.  I believe that God wants us to be productive.  I believe that it is the will of God for us to be aware of our calling and be productive with our purpose and calling in mind.  Busy, on the other hand, is not as intentional as being productive.

Busy sneaks up on you.  Busy starts innocently.  But it kills…

…it kills joy

…it kills creativity

…it kills worship

…it kills intimacy

…it kills productivity

…it just kills.

I live with this tension inside of me.  Because knowing everything I just typed, whenever someone asks what I’ve been up to it always brings a swell of pride when I can talk about how busy I’ve been.  Similarly, if that same question is asked and I just spent the day watching Person of Interest.  This wave of embarrassment and guilt creeps over me.  Like I just lost some cosmic trial.

In my experience busyness is fed by insecurity and the need for control, which is why busyness always leads to weariness and death.  But in the times that I’ve been productive, I can see how confidence and vision were at the forefront.  Not to mention the fissure that separate busyness from productivity, which is, rest.  There is no room in busyness for rest, but productivity is so powerful because rest is at its foundation.

Over the last couple years my perspective of rest has been broadened from a day off, to a posture of living life.  If busyness is a posture fed by insecurity and the need to self-medicate with control then rest is a posture that has nothing to prove, no one to impress and fully realizes that control is overrated.  Rest knows acceptance not of this world and trusts that a God that is better, stronger and smarter is in control.

I want to break this deep seeded lie that says my value is somehow tied to my workload, so that I can rest.  Not just when I’m watching Person of Interest.  But when I’m working, and driving and in the grocery store.  I want to walk around in rest.

It’s Almost Time!

First off, I want to thank you all.  We’ve received a huge amount of supplies to fill the van with.  You all have also given $2,451 to date.  This is more then we need to pay for gas, registration and plane tickets so we’ll be using the rest to buy more supplies for the van!  Your prayers have also been felt.  This has been a seamless operation with very little resistance.  You all are rock stars!

But please keep the prayers coming!  We’re hitting the road Sunday morning the 19th so we can be at the border on Wednesday.  We’re excited because giving the van and supplies is not our only ministry.  When I pray about this trip, I get overcome by excitement.  Because I believe we’re supposed to approach this road trip with an expectation that God is going to show up.  I believe that God is going to rock our world and use us to rock others worlds on the way there.  So pray for encounters with the Lord, and for encounters with people.  Pray that we’ll be sensitive to what God is leading us to do in the midst of this trip.

We’ll be clocking about 8 hours a day so we’ll be driving a lot but there should be plenty of time in the day to…not drive and do whatever is in front of us.  Also if any of you look at our route below and know of anything awesome to do or see on our route throw me a line.  I’d love to hear it.  Stay tuned for updates and pictures once we hit the road.

A Change of Plans

First off, thank you so much to everyone that has responded with so much passion and excitement to my last blog about our trip to Mexico City.  We spoke with our contact today and found out that we’re going to have to push back our trip to August 19th. 

This is great news!

Nothing has changed other then our departure date.  This means that now we have a few more weeks to raise the money we need and to collect supplies for the women’s shelter.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can get caught up here.

I’m very excited to see how God’s going to continue to bless this and provide for these people.  So like I said before if you want to give money, it will go towards gas to get down there, the vans Mexican registration, and our flight back home from Texas.  And extra funds raised above this will go towards buying more supplies for the women’s shelter.  You can give here:

http://www.gofundme.com/v8urk

We’re also still wanting to fill that 15 passenger van with supplies for the women’s shelter.  We’re looking for women’s underwear, socks, adult diapers and feminine hygiene products.  Feel free to get in touch with me at tdixon0486@gmail.com if you have any questions.

You all rock!

(How You Can Take Part In…) The Story God is Writing About Mexico City

This is the continuation of a story God began in 2008.  For the most recent chapter in this story, you can read here.

 

The First Plot:

Our American friend in Mexico City had spent the last three years of her life going to beautician school.  Today she has a salon in one of the most dangerous parts of Mexico City.

Poor business decision?  Maybe.  But the business isn’t the point.  The point is to bring in women who are in prostitution who need to get their hair and nails done at a fair price.  The point is also to provide a place where they can come when they don’t need to get their hair and nails done.  A place where they can relax, be with friends, and maybe here some truth.

Truth like, “you’re loved, you matter, you’re not alone, there’s hope for you, there’s a God that has plans for you…”

These women need hope, love, and safety.  And these women need a vehicle to get there…

The Second Plot:

There is a place in Mexico City where women are taken when their story is supposedly over, or at least deemed not important enough to see through.  Where women can be legally discarded when they become too much of a burden.  This place is not a nursing home or even a hospital by our standards though.

These women live out their days malnourished, unkempt, and unloved.  Words can’t paint an adequate picture for all the women who live without clothes, cushions for their wheelchairs, who sit in their feces and have basic medical needs that can’t be met.

These women are living in powerful lies that tell them that they aren’t important, lovable or acceptable.  These women need truth, love and underwear…

The Twist:

Next Sunday the 22nd my friend Mike and I will be leaving to meet our American friend at the Mexican border to give her a van that she can use to safely transport the girls who want out of sex slavery to freedom.  She’ll also be using it to transport short term teams that come in to help her and other contacts down there so they won’t be confined to the metro and buses.  This van means freedomFreedom for the women on the streets and freedom for teams that need to get around the city.

Before we hit the road with this van we hope to fill it with socks, underwear, adult diapers and feminine hygiene products.  When the van reaches Mexico City, these supplies will be distributed during ministry outreaches at the women’s shelter to show these women that they’re loved.  Not just by the church in Mexico City, but also by people around the world.

In order to make this happen we need your help.  If you’d like to help fill the van please go to the Connect with Me page on my blog and send me a message.  If you’d like to give money it will go towards gas to get the van down there, the registration of the van in Mexico and flights to get home from Texas.  Any extra money that we receive above this will go towards buying more supplies for the women’s shelter.  You can donate here:

http://www.gofundme.com/v8urk

As always prayer is crucial.  We’re excited to join God is what He’s already do here, and it’s our desire to be helpful in his desire for this and not harmful.  So prayers for wisdom, protection and favor on this trip would be much appreciated.

We’ll also be posting updates here and on Facebook so stay tuned!

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

Bigger is better and the more the better is the way I would assume most middle to upper class Americans evaluate the value of things.  I mean look at buffets, up sized value meals, SUV’s, houses, TV’s and even chairs?

But the more I learn about the heart of God the more I learn that God’s economy is actually rarely determined by size or quantity.  And even though I would have agreed with that statement years ago, I found my mind and spirit being renewed by that truth in new ways.  Take for example Matthew 17:14.

Here, the boys fail to deliver a little girl from a demon and so Jesus has to do it himself.  When his disciples approach him in private about it he gives the answer “Because of your little faith.  For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and nothing will be impossible for you.”

I always assumed that because Jesus illustrated faith to a mustard seed…and, well, he said “little faith”, he was chastising his disciples on their lack of faith.  But if you look in the original greek, the word he used for little faith was “oligopistia” which means “littleness of faith” or imperfect or immature.

And if you look into the value of a mustard seed during Jesus’ time you’ll see that it’s much more than just a small seed that grows into a big plant.

  • Economically it was one of highest traded spices, second only to pepper.  People dealt in trading mustard and thus had based most of their wealth on the value of the mustard seed.
  • Medicinally it was used to sanitize due to its anti-bacterial properties.  It was also used for a stomach and digestive aid as well as a topical pain reliever.
  • In the preparation of food it was used in most dishes to bring flavor to bland or flavorless foods.  In some dishes mustard was one of the key ingredient.

So then, where we hear “if you had more faith nothing would be impossible for you”, Jesus’ disciples probably heard “if your faith was more dependable, valuable, potent, steadfast and appetizing then nothing would be impossible for you”.

If Romans 12:3 is correct, and we don’t even provide our own faith.  Then walking around saying we don’t have enough faith is just an insult to God, the generous provider of our faith.  It just says that God’s gift of faith to you wasn’t good enough.

James, in his letter to the church, talks about how we should actually be joyful in the face of trials and hardships because it’s in those times that we see the under developed areas of our faith.  I think about hardship, deaths, job loss, sickness, sorrow, divorce, war, persecution, etc…and if we’re to look at these with joy, because it’s a chance to grow our faith.  Then how important must our faith be?

I’d say God isn’t pleased by a large faith as much as a faith that’s been weathered, and stretched and strained and tested by obedience and desire to live a holy life.  A faith that’s experienced the Lords goodness and love, but has gone through the desert with nothing but memories of those past experiences.  A faith that is always being renewed, checked and worked over.  Because faith in anything short of God and founded in anything less than the truth will fail.

So to whoever is reading this.  I speak to your spirit and bless you with a faith like a mustard seed.  A faith that’s outcome in your life makes you valuable, steadfast, hopeful, joyful, and appetizing to the world.  And that you would come to a new revelation of the value of your faith, so that you would treat it with the care and attention that it’s due.

The Psalms Like Brussel Sprouts

Over the last few weeks, I’ve issued the challenge to myself to hang out in the book of Psalms. I don’t like to share this with too many people but I don’t really like the book of Psalms. I know it’s good stuff, I just don’t really enjoy it…kind of like brussel sprouts.

The Psalms are the brussel sprouts of the Bible to me.

But it’s part of the Bible, so I figured I’d hang out and see what The Psalms had to offer. And being only 20 Psalms in, I’ve already made an observation. The Psalms aren’t a text book of wisdom like Proverbs, or a historical account of the messiah like the Gospels.

It’s real.

It’s one guy being totally honest about how screwed up his life is. One song and he’s on top of the world. The next song and he’s screwed his neighbor’s wife and feels like a failure. The next song he’s blaming God for it. The next song he’s apologizing to God for it…

And it got me thinking about how much I respect someone who’s real. You know what I mean. Someone who’s comfortable in their own skin, who has such a deep seeded sense of belonging and acceptance that their free to truly be themselves.

I think our generation is dehydrated, and is craving a cold glass of realness. I think our generation can see right through fake and we don’t want any part of it.

But how do you practice being real? Some people have been hiding who they are for so long that they’ve forgotten how to be real.

Vulnerability

I remember a truth that I learned on my World Race, and it’s that there is strength in vulnerability.

Because when you’re vulnerable, I mean seriously vulnerable, I mean so vulnerable it hurts. You’re tapping into yourself. You’re reaching past the masks and facades and choosing to walk out of your house naked.

And even though you may not feel accepted or acceptable, you’re walking in faith into a divine acceptance and grace that trumps any rejection you could ever face. And that’s empowering!

I don’t know how David did it. I don’t know if they sang those songs during worship in David’s lifetime or not. But David put himself out there. Because secrets left in the dark keep us weak. The more we’re in the light the stronger we are, kind of like plants…or Superman.

So yeah, I guess the Psalms are pretty cool…whether you like brussel sprouts or not.

What is FOMO?

So I’m sure some of you are familiar with the new social media craze called Instagram.  It’s like Twitter for pictures.  So if you’re like me and can’t always think of something witty to say, well then just take a picture and show the world the book you’re reading in Starbucks or your naked legs on a lawn chair near the pool.  If you’re also like me, then occasionally you’ll issue yourself the challenge of finding something awesome to take a picture of so that people will be impressed with your life.  That’s when I have to reign in my FOMO.

What?  You haven’t heard of FOMO?  FOMO or (Fear Of Missing Out) is a very real thing according to Urban Dictionary.  Symptoms include paranoia, night sweats, chronic texting, inability to remove smartphone from hand, showing up uninvited, putting off committing to plans until you’re sure nothing better will come up, stalking, and/or Facebooking on the can.

Don’t feel bad, with the rise of social media, the ability of others to make your life seem boring and uneventful is getting easier and easier (especially if you think your life is actually boring and uneventful).  But you’re not alone in this.  Don’t believe me?  Well thinking that everyone is having a good time without you is another symptom of FOMO.

The good news is that you can beat this!  You’re not a victim of life! (if you’d like to be a victim you can learn how to here)  Here are some suggestions on how to beat FOMO:

Always plan everything, so you always have something to do.

Manipulate, guilt, or coerce people into coming to events.

Buy a fake moustache, or download an app that’ll do it for you.

Don’t grow a moustache.

Get over it, because people probably don’t think about how boring/exciting your life is as much as you do.

So you can do this!  You can win the fight against FOMO.  And when you do maybe you can throw a party.  And I’m invited…right?  Right?  Right?

Right?