relationships

Parent Thought and "Oh my word!"

A Quick Parent Thought...

Today is a big day in the Puentes house. My son will be graduating high school today!

TP Grad pics

It doesn’t seem that long ago when my oldest daughter graduated high school, and now she is turning twenty-one years old later this year.

In a phrase that my wife uses sometimes, “Oh my word!”

Time sure does fly when your having fun.

Isn’t this true with most things? Before we know it, the things we felt were permanent, slip away and dissipate—it’s a thing of beauty and a curse.

I ramble, but in all honesty so many things in this world are temporal.

Even our relationships with our kids to some extent.

These, these relationships don’t have to be!

Make every effort to show grace and love to your kids before they move out—love your neighbor to Jesus. All of us are made in the image of God.

"Let this be your wish: That whether in life or in death God may be glorified in you." — Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

That time when no one but a homeless man said hello to me...

Photo Credit: Pixabay I have this set route that I take when I walk to the office in the morning (Occasionally, I add some diversity to my route for zombie apocalypse reasons...).

Sometimes there are people along the way, and sometimes no one is within eyesight This morning the path was especially full—people were everywhere.

As I walked by them, no one said hi in response to my good morning and almost no one made eye contact.

I believe in many ways that I'm an unassuming fellow. So there should have been no sense of them being threatened by me when I said a pleasant, "how do you do."

I even tried the universal how's it going meaning I don't really want to have a lengthy conversation, but want to be polite sort of greeting.

No.

Most of the people I walked by were looking at the cell phones, listening to music, or just completely ignored me—not even a head-nod.

Except for this one guy. He's a homeless guy who I pass by occasionally—sometimes he's not there in his spot... He said hello to me and commented on what a nice morning it was.

 

The video below has been making it's way around the internet. I know many of you have seen it—I felt it was applicable for the situation I experienced the other day.

http://youtu.be/Z7dLU6fk9QY

Look Up

A little transparency never hurt anyone... Right...

Before you read the next paragraph and freakout, just know I still love Jesus and I love His kingdom and His church...

A little transparency never hurt anyone... Right...

I'm just not sure if I love Jesus like I use to... Let me qualify this statement—it doesn't mean that I don't love Jesus and neither does it  mean that I don't want to love Jesus nor that I'm losing my faith in Him.

What I mean is at one time I had a laser focus and desire to follow Jesus with all my heart—no questions asked. Jesus was all that I needed. Back then things didn't distract me like they do now and I wasn't so focused on things I don't have.

Money, worries, my family, a some notoriety, the perfect living situation, dream job or dream vacation, everything on my wishlist at Amazon.com, sinful desires, and etc... There are times I want these things more than Jesus—I love these things more than Jesus.

Sometimes I find my lack of faith or lack of love in Jesus disturbing—I become my own worst enemy.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

And that's just it—sometimes I focus to much on what I don't have in this world or what I am not—this dissatisfaction becomes the lens on how I view God, and this affects my relationship with Him.

I allow these things to get in the way of me just spending time with Jesus. I sometimes get the feeling I'm about to say Jesus isn't enough for me.

So often I forget I already have everything I will ever need from God.

God really is worthy of our worship and our love. Yesterday was a great reminder of this fact! The resurrection of Jesus helps us realize life has a whole new meaning and it changes our view of everything.

Jesus reminds us there is more beyond this world.

I know that if this life were to end at any moment, I'd be moving on to something far greater than I could ever image. Things would become just how they should be—just how God desires them to be.

Hope is found beyond this fragile life—we should never be mislead to believe this life is all there is.

Wake Up...

Sometimes I need a WAKE UP like Easter Sunday to strengthen what remains and is about to die (Revelation 3:2).

We don't need to try harder, get busier, or accomplish more. We just need to focus and get back to what really matters—we need to spend time with Jesus and love Him.

To be honest, its not easy—there are strong temptations to want more and be more, but we must be diligent and persevere in loving Jesus and becoming more like Him.

There is no fancy way or magical formulas to spending time with Jesus—just be yourself... Seriously. And if you don't know how to be yourself, then ask God to help you be yourself.

Jesus is all we need.

Jesus is something bigger and something better than anything the world has to offer. Do you believe it?

Simpler = Richer Experience

Photo Credit: Charlie Foster, Unsplash  

"The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes." - Steve House (Alpinist/Mountain Guide)

I wonder why so many times I make things so complicated, especially relationships. Don't get me wrong, I know there is nothing simplistic about people and relationships. That's not the point I'm trying to make. What I'm thinking about is my response to the complexity in relationships.

I have moments when I want to avoid people and relationships and just retreat into my introverted-self and avoid the world. However, it is inevitable I will interact with people.

Like a lot of you, I have a tendency to make the complexity of relationships well, more complex. Some ways I do this—there are times I want avoid people, and I can react negatively to people who don't agree with me. Sometimes I only want to be with people I like, and I can have a tendency to unite with people who agree with me or hold a position that I hold. When I do these things, I create a tension that complicates things and is unnecessary.

I know I am painting myself as a bad person. If you know me then you know that I am a likeable guy. Most people genuinely like being around me and enjoy my company. I am just being honest with how I sometimes approach people and relationships... Not straight forward or simple, but with layers of complexity...

And because of the comlexity of layers I bring to the people in my life and relationships I am involved with, I can miss out on the richness of the experience of being around people.

 

Basic definition of Simple... 1sim·ple adjective \ˈsim-pəl\ : not hard to understand or do : having few parts : not complex or fancy : not special or unusual

Three Important Relationships To Jesus...

I heard this the other day and have blogged about it in the past. Jesus had three important relationships that he invested his time and energy into—His relationship with the Father, with the disciples, and with the least and lost.

We see this all throughout the gospels. Jesus was purposeful in letting people know they were important to him. In fact, when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment his answer was people and relationships...

"One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-41)

People and relationships matter to Jesus and they should matter to me.

If I can allow my heart to be cultivated by the Holy Spirit to love Jesus and love like him; then my response to God, fellow sojouners, and people I'm not relationally connect to will be with love.

Loving people unconditionally and uninhibitedly is as simple as it gets. It doesn't mean its not hard, but it is definitely not complex. Seeing people for who they are and meeting them at the current state in life with unconditional and uninhibited love is simple. Having no unrealistic expectations or pretenses on people is liberating and fulfilling.

The simpler I approach and interact with people it is likely I will experience the richness of people and relationships.

Simpler = Richer Experience.

Look Beyond The Surface

Photo Credit: Nicholas Swanson, Unsplash Today when you interact with someone, whether its new person or an old acquaintance; look beyond the surface. Don't make snap judgements on what use they can be to you or you to them.

Be the person that isn't looking to use someone. Take the time to get to know them, look beyond the surface.

For many of us our struggles and triumphs are internal rather that external. Get to know their inner life, whats deepest within them. If you recognize an inner tribulation or inner tranquility, don't exploit them, but give them words of encouragement and confirm them.

Be a friend.

In doing so you might help them to continue on or persevere.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

In John 15:13-16, Jesus empowers his followers by giving them words encouragement and confirmation. He no longer calls his followers servants, but friends.

He encourages and confirms their inner life by uniting with them to the covenant of friendship which moves them to the deeper covenant purposes of God.

Jesus gives his friends purpose, dignity, and meaning to the glory of God.

Eugene Peterson in his book "Leap Over A Wall" states,

"Evil doesn't stand a chance against goodness... Hostility is picayune compared to friendship."

When we take the time to look beyond the surface of a person, we demonstrate God's goodness, love, and friendship to them—and in so doing it renders evil powerless and incapable.

Look beyond the surface and be a friend.

Yep, this is me...

My mom and me. Maybe 1979 or 1980.

Yep, this is me...

Yep, this is me... I complain about sensitive people, but really I am just as sensitive. Yep, this is me... I hate having pictures taking of me, because I hate seeing how fat I am. Yep, this is me... I really want to be healthy, but I can't wait to have the new Twinkies (It's a go: Operation Twinkie-gluttony with secret agent Elle).

Yep, this is me... I struggle being comfortable with who I really am with God, others, and myself. Yep, this is me... I think I'm a really awkward/nerdy person, and don't really know how to have one on one conversations.

Yep, this is me... I love laughing and having a good time, but I struggle with enjoying the moment. Yep, this is me... I still am trying to figure out who I am, and I'm 40 years old. Yep, this is me... I struggle with getting older, even though I told myself I never would. Yep, this is me... I am pissed off that some people think being 40 and older makes you unmarketable and unemployable.

Yep, this is me... I call people out for being selfish, but I am the most selfish person I know. Yep, this is me... I almost blew it with my wife many years ago, and have done this several times since. Yep, this is me... I wish I could be a romantic person, but I think being romantic is weird. Yep, this is me... I tell people that I don't care what they think of me, and get really worried that I don't care.

Yep, this is me... I can have a tendency to not let people into my trust circle. Yep, this is me... I can also have the tendency to let the wrong people into my trust circle. Yep, this is me... I can over promise and under deliver. Which makes me work even harder in the end, with the result of burnout. Yep, this is me... I am a lazy person, but cover up my laziness with over working.

Yep, this is me... I struggle with the American church, but I'm afraid to voice my opinion too loud. I have too much to lose. Yep, this is me... I struggle with consistently reading the Bible and praying. Yep, this is me... I more often than not live in fear of man, instead of the fear of God.

Yep, this is me... I am worried about people reading this and using what I have posted here against me.

You know what though... Despite all my failures, weaknesses, and insecurities; God will continue to use me. God isn't finished with me; he is only just beginning.

We all need to get over ourselves.

We'll never be good enough, perfect enough, or having things exactly the way we want them to be. AND that is okay. God has extended grace to us through Jesus, so that we can live life to it's fullest.

Life is too short to not enjoy it; so Enjoy it!

Joe (Submitted to the Weekly Writing Challenge: A Pinch of You)