The Hiatus

I haven’t written since May 10. That’s 17 days with no post to my blog.

When I started the year, my goal was to post something – anything – once a day. I enjoy working on my ‘traditional’ blog posts; 500 – 1000 word entries that read as editorials and run the gamut of topics, from sports to parenting to faith to politics, etc. As much as I enjoy these posts, they are time intensive. In addition to the writing, there’s the editing and re-writing that’s required. For presentation purposes, I usually add an image to the post (which can be time consuming when I can’t find an image that’s just right). And then, of course, there’s the sharing of the post across various social media.

When I’m not in the mood to invest and hour or so into a post, I’ve gotten away with posting just a picture (see my Serenity Saturday posts) or sharing a funny video from YouTube. Yes, it’s basically cheating, but in the grand scheme of blogging, it’s sharing content and helps keep traffic flowing to my page. So when I think about the past seventeen days and the fact I haven’t done squat, I cringe.

Did I lose readers? Did I plummet on some non-existent ranking of relevant bloggers (from 16,548 to 18,231)? Did anyone care?

I care.

As much as the break was nice, I missed the writing process. I missed the sharing process. I missed being an active part of this virtual community. And it’s not so much a personal, ego thing as it is a matter of active learning. In writing, I often force myself to deal with challenges of word choice or argument structure. I learn from the little bit of research I am sometimes forced to complete. I also learn a lot from the feedback I receive. Having been away for travel, I am eager to jump back in the saddle and share some of my new experiences through my blog. I’m eager to get writing again, even if it’s just a little at a time.

XL Commitment

I still get a kick out of going into Starbucks and ordering coffee with their crazy names for sizes. Venti this and Grande that. I just recently found out they have a new, even bigger size called Trenta. It’s pretentious and awesome all at the same time.

So when I title this post ‘XL Commitment’, I wish I could say it had something to do with and extra-large sense of dedication. I guess in a way it does, but the real meaning behind the XL is not linguistic but, rather, numerical.

The number 40 is mentioned 146 times in the Bible, and it is of significant importance with regards to its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. Having just turned 40 myself, I feel there is a spiritual symbolism that’s calling me to make a change.

I’ve written before about my vocation and how I feel I am called to be the best dad I can possibly be. I’ve even done so while patting myself on the back. Even though I still take pride in my kids and my parental abilities, I also feel there’s not a whole lot for me to celebrate about myself.

My high school English teacher loved to break down literature, and he’d challenge us to determine the tragic flaw of the main character. The idea that everyone has a tragic flaw fascinated me, and it has me thinking of what mine may be. Upon reflection and introspection, I believe my tragic flaw is complacency. It’s a laziness that has rationalized the comfort of ‘good enough’ as success.

What I’ve come to realize is that in surrendering to my complacency, I am failing God in terms of what He has destined for me. Much like the book by Steven Furtick I am currently studying through my growth group at church, I believe God wants greater things for my life. I heard once that good is the opposite of great, and as I keep embracing the safety of good enough, I won’t be able to achieve great things in my life.

So the real question is do I have what it takes to let go of good enough? This translates to do I have the discipline to allow myself to become greater? Can I be faithful in my destiny?

It’s no surprise then both the words discipline and disciple share the same Latin root, one that refers to instruction given, teaching, learning, and knowledge. The disciples followed Jesus to learn from his teachings and model their lives after His. Similarly, being disciplined, to me, means not so much having to sacrifice as it does learning ways to be better and more effective. In short, being disciplined leads to becoming greater.

I’ve struggled with a lot of behavioral traits that result in negative consequences in my relationship with my wife and kids. Particularly, managing my anger and frustration has been quite the challenge. I am sometimes left feeling like Dr. Bruce Banner in the Avengers, except I don’t have the luxury of being able to smash alien life forms that are attacking Earth.

So instead I’ll start with a simple premise: K.I.S.S. >> “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

And one way I know I can simplify my life is by unplugging from the medium that I feel helps contribute to my inner rage. So as Lent arrives and we begin another 40 day period of probation and atonement, I have decided to take a hiatus from Facebook. I know that most people may see this as a small sacrifice, but for this self-proclaimed social media junkie, stepping away from Facebook is an extra-large leap for me. It is something I do with painful trepidation, yet it’s something I know I must do in order to quiet my mind and better prepare myself to hear what God is asking me to do.

Steven Furtick’s first book, Sun Stand Still, calls for us to live with audacious faith. It is centered around the story of Joshua asking God to stop the sun from setting so he could complete his battle against the Amorites. It was an audacious prayer and God delivered Joshua’s request. The key, however, is not so much the audacious faith Joshua displayed at that moment in battle. Rather, it was the work Joshua did before hand, marching his troops all night long to be in position to fight. To borrow a quote from the book, “If you’re going to pray for God to make the sun stand still, you’d better be ready to march all night!”

Over the next forty days, I hope to be “marching all night long” in preparation for whatever God has in store for me. It’s my own little sabbatical, and I know that through it all, the experience will be great(er).