Chapter 1 Assigned Sunday, January 31st.
In ‘The Good and Beautiful God,” the author describes how many people want to live a fuller Christian life but they often give up on trying to make it happen. He recalls how he begged for God to change him and he worried about everything on his heart. He learned through his mentors that change happens to a person through training their soul, and that most people only struggle to change because they have never been taught a reliable pattern of transformation.
The book gives an example of a man who was transformed. The man was stuck at the airport with his business partner after their flight was cancelled and everyone was being very abusive towards the woman at the desk. He told her he wasn’t going to be angry and took care of booking a new flight. He did not use to handle situations that calmly.
“When new ideas, new practices and new social settings are adopted, change happens.” It is said that Jesus knew how to effectively change people through narratives, soul training exercises, participating in community, and through the Holy Spirit. The Soul Training exercise for the chapter suggests we are living beyond our means, and asks us to sleep as many hours as we can that week.
“”What are you looking for?” Jesus simply asks what they are seeking. This is such an important question, one we should ask ourselves over and over. What is it that you really want? What we truly desire, what we are most passionate about, will determine how we organize our lives.”
I did not search for God as much after I left high school and went off to college. I lost most of the things I was familiar with. I made new friends. I also fell in with a crowd that always hit me up to hang out, but there was the worst drama and they were not truly Christians. I got away from them and found a large community of Christians that operated at my college, and I knew that was where I wanted to be. A friend of mine took over as the youth director at my church while he finished college and became the youth pastor. His wife started our young adult group. Four years later we are studying a good book every week.
I went searching for things that did not bring me happiness, but I always found greatness in the connections I made with people. It’s the week of my 22nd birthday in March and I’m on break from college. It always upset me that I never found love before. I had a few relationships in high school, but at the very least I don’t think anyone ever actually fell in love with me, which would make it a mutual love. I experienced an emotional moment in worship with my college group a few months ago where I asked God if it be for my benefit that he would just help me along with that, and a few days later I had a girl contact me online who was interested in getting to know me and we talked a lot and even went on some dates.
I truly grew to care for that person over those months and even if we didn’t like exactly the same things, she changed me in a positive way. The last time we had a chance to see each other, we agreed that we didn’t know each other well enough and we were worried about college. If anything we needed to work on building a friendship that could last a lifetime, and a relationship would come later if we wanted it. Everything changed once the semester started; she found a life for herself which left her without the free time, so I didn’t get to talk to her much after that. I went through a series of bad dreams which woke me up in the middle of the night. I let my fears and my anxieties occupy my thoughts and my actions, and after a while I couldn’t do it anymore. I eventually found the courage to say something, and she told me she didn’t care to continue conversation with me anymore, and that was the end of our friendship.
We both had a lot of fears that kept us from living life, and I don’t know what she was searching for or what she planned to do once she found that. I lost someone important to me, and I can’t say anyone is doing something bad because I don’t know what she is going through. I don’t know if she has time to sleep enough every night.
I have not been in a good mood lately between work and college. I write to get the thoughts out of my head so I can focus. I can request friendship at a later time, but for now I think everyone needs a break from their distractions. I’m searching for only good things. I celebrated a good 22nd birthday this week. Many people wished me happy birthday. I studied hard for that tough midterm that is out to get me on Monday.
– James –