Faith in Fear

This is a pretty scary time to be alive. From a little over a week ago where there were scattered stories of this virus, it was easy to distance ourselves from the reality of it, and now, it’s here. We’re in self-quarantines, learning to social distance, and being extra careful about the need to go out and how to operate in the world. It’s a pretty giant shift to culture. While it has been a blessing to many, to have time to unplug and press pause on the constant of work, many of us have the fear in the back of our minds. To be honest, I was not too worried at the start. It was a virus, I just had to be mindful of washing my hands more and not touch my face. Then more and more reports started coming in, it wasn’t just deadly for the elderly, but for people my age as well. Then Disneyland shut down, and we knew it was only a matter of time before Disney World would close as well.

The voice of fear started to get a foothold in my mind.

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Traverse the Fog

I really love a foggy day. There’s just something about the way light dissipates and creates a haze around everything. It makes me think of chilly autumn days, somethings I didn’t really get to experience down here in Florida. You can see in a general sense of where you are headed, but the details get murky. It’s a fun thing to experience, but only in nature. When it comes to our minds, mental fog can really dishearten and muddle your sense of purpose.

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Wanted: Have a Seat at the Table

I think one of the biggest things I have observed and learned about people is that we all have the desire to be wanted. Social science, psychology, even medical science shows us time and time again that we need to have people in our lies. As humans we crave relationship, but when we are without it, we struggle. We begin to feel outcast, our mental health declines, and our well-being starts to fade. We want to be wanted, but the opposite of being wanted is rejected, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

I’m starting this off because I think this is an important concept to understand, it’s one that I struggle with, but I was reminded of the power that relationship has. Moving down to Florida was a big change for my dear Danielle and I; we knew about one person, but other than that, we were completely alone. Being an adult has challenges, making friends is about a million times harder and awkward. In school and as a kid, you just see people and say, “we’re friends now,” and it happens. As an adult, you have work, contrasting schedules, differing stages of life, and a myriad of complications that hinder building relationships. It takes more intentional steps to build relationships.

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i may not know what’s next, but i choose to trust the adventure.

The first month of the year has now finished. It feels pretty wild already; I’m not sure about you, but it feels like so much has happened. Yes, the world has had some crazy things, but in my own life, it feels as if a million things have happened all at once. I started a new position at my job, which is requiring me to have some very late nights, so my head feels off. I do well with consistency, things I can plan on happening in a certain order, but when your work schedule is new every week and you don’t have advance notice of those times, it starts to drain on you. My dear Danielle was in a state of flux since her program ended, getting random shifts and then finally, getting confirmation of a part time position. We’ve dealt with drastic Florida weather changes that has been creating lovely sickness, weird neighbors getting mad at how loud we are (cause those early morning toilet flushes are just us being so mean), and a sense of unknowingness about the future.

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Remember the Victories

Corn mazes are a blast to do in the fall season. Back in North Carolina, there was a place that every year, would make a massive maze in some silly picture with corn. It’s fun, but also strange. Dear Danielle and I did one a couple years back; it was a cold rainy day, so it was perfect for a spooky maze all to ourselves. The goal was simple, go in, find the stamp stations, and get out. Easy! Well, not really. Since it was a rainy day, there was a ton of fog and lots and lots or mud. We started out strong, but halfway into it, started running into mud puddles and were getting turned around. We only needed one more stamp, but we started losing it just a little. Not with each other, but with this labyrinth that we couldn’t seem to find one little area. As we are both completionists, we had to get that last stamp, no cheating for us! I started to lose hope, but Danielle reminded me, in a pep talk that would rival any Disney Channel original movie, that we could do it, we hit all the other areas, we are not letting one stamp stop us!

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Trust, Even When It’s Hard

My dear Danielle is so much more of a daredevil than I am. She’s the skydiving, dirt bike racing, spooky forest, adrenaline junkie; and I’m super jealous. She somehow tricked me onto the “Fury 325,” which is a fitting name for Carowinds’ roller coaster, one that is called a giga coaster and the fifth tallest, seventh fastest, and fourth longest roller coaster in the world. Yes, I had to look all of that up, and I hope it lets you know how terrified I was to get on this. I figured I could chicken out, but her dad was there, and of course I had to show I was a brave guy for his daughter. I remember feeling so sick as we waited in line, and I said, I’ll be fine as long as I’m not in the front row. We then got the front row. I remember the hot sun beating down on me, and Danielle yelling, “look it’s Charlotte!” I turned my head and saw the entire city of Charlotte, North Carolina. I then remember the coaster being a jerk and stopping for a little bit at the peak, then we dropped. I thought my skin was going to peel off of my face, certain that even though I have never had a bad heart, that it would then burst out of my chest.

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Be Present

We are officially in a new year. It’s a great time; we all are thinking about the past and now thinking about what we want the future to be. I know for my dear Danielle and I, we have been looking at what we want this year. Habits we want to begin, things we need to cut out, vision casting for the future. I love looking to the future, but often, I get caught up in the future and end up missing right now. There have been many moments where I want to do something, but ended up getting held back because I was not “experienced” enough. So, I strived in the past to get to the next level, do whatever it takes to gain influence. Now, for me, this never meant being a bully to get ahead, but it did mean I would get so focused on who I needed to impress and which boxes to check to move up. I was trying to speed through a game, without taking time to have fun.

What I’ve been learning is that I need to stop rushing into what’s next and enjoy where I am. I need to be present.

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Journey Update: The New Year & Loving More

This past year has been one of the busiest and chaotic years to date. As you might know, my monthly posting schedule has been completely thrown out during December. Working a theme park is fun, but working during the holidays and as a new ride opens, it started to become more like hell for a few weeks. Kind of a fitting way to end a chaotic year with a bit more chaos on top. I’ve learned to adapt very quick over this year. It began with me not having my main youth pastor job, and my dearest Danielle and I searching for what was next. With an open door and a need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, we made the move down to Orlando for Danielle’s Disney College Program. While job searching, I found myself processing a lot of hurts, my pastoring position wasn’t just a job; I had invested in the lives of a ton of students, so when I was let go, I didn’t really know what to do.

I didn’t belong, and I felt like I was letting those students down or abandoning them.

It felt like my purpose was pulled away, I had gotten wrapped up in a place and lost sight that no matter where God had me, I had purpose.

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My Star Wars Story

Personal Journal entry 1:

Bright suns to whomever may be reading this! It’s another especially bright, and hot day here in Galma, my wife Danielle finally convinced me to sit down and actually start this whole journal entry thing. Not sure where this will end up one day, for all I know Dok will have it archived somewhere in his collection long after I’m gone. I suppose I should back up just a bit, give you some context as to who exactly is writing this.

My name’s Joshua and I’ve pretty much been stuck here on Batuu for all my life. Now, don’t get me wrong, this place has a certain beauty to it, it’s just hard to stay here when the whole galaxy is just waiting to be explored. My parents grew up on Corellia, but decided the life of living in slums and getting addicted to spice was not the best fit to raise children, so they came to this little planet called Batuu. My sister and I would drive our mother crazy running all over the sandy deserts of Galma, getting into trouble, while my dad made shipping runs for Dok Ondar. Dok’s an old collector of fine antiquities and pays handsomely for rare objects he sees as valuable.

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Call Out the Greatness in Others

I’ve been talking about love a lot recently. Most of my posts have centered around the idea of how to love others and how to love ourselves the way Jesus loves. The idea for me was sparked during a conference I went to over the spring of last year, the Orange Conference, its’ main theme being “it’s personal.” One of the speakers was Bob Goff, and of course, if you know anything about him, he’s all about loving people. This spark made me look at the way I live. How do I love others like Jesus? What does that look like? What steps can I take towards loving in his radical ways? The answer seems to be right in front of me, in front of all of us. We want to be better people. We want to make positive changes and influence in the lives of the people we come across. So, what do we do?

We do what Jesus did, we call out the greatness in others.

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