This week we face a Fight Club challenge that I found gave me an opportunity. If you’re not sure what Fight Club is, please go back and read my blog about Fight Club. The challenge was to answer a few questions that were reflected in the book “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” by Jim Cymbala. I’ve answered questions before, mostly for Culinary students that need to interview a chef for a class assignment. In my answers I find myself brutally honest, trying not to hold back and mask the truth. That’s the approach I took to this challenge. Not only to just answer the questions but to be brutally honest with you and myself. So, here we go.
- What disappoints you?
I have two answers to that. One in which use to disappoint me and one which currently disappoints me. I use to be disappointed I did not have the financial means to do things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them. Investing time and money in experiences not in relationships. I thought, only if I had more money than I could do, fill in the blank. When I started to attend church with my family things started to change for me. I found myself not longing for materials but longing for a closer relationship with the ones I loved.
Today I’m mostly disappointed that I am not connecting with my brother who I feel doesn’t fully understand my relationship with God. He lives half way around the world, in China, and we don’t talk. He comes and visits but I feel distant from him. I can’t share with him the changes that have gone on in my life, I feel he would judge me. I don’t know why that bothers me so much, but I know I want to make it better.
- What do you complain about the most?
That’s easy, YELP REVIEWS. That’s also the easy answer. The longer answer is time. I complain that I don’t have enough time. I also complain if something is taking too long or taking up too much of my time. I can’t seem to balance time. I do know one thing, every morning on the way to work I turn on K-Love and listen to music about Jesus. I think about the lyrics and it relaxes me. That first part of my day, I spend with God, that makes the rest of the day fall into place. No matter how much time I do or do not have I have to remember that God longs for my time. He pursues me and no matter where I’m at, how stressed I get, how late I’m running or how far in the weeds I am, God is there and all he wants is just a little bit of my time every day.
- Where do you make financial sacrifices?
Tough one. Last year I made a financial sacrifice. For 1 year I cut my own hair, yes, I cut my own hair to save on going to Sports Clips. I estimated that saved our family over $500. My wife also made a sacrifice, she went natural with her hair instead of relaxing it. That saved another $500 at least. So in 1 year we saved over $1000 by not caring about our hair. This year I cut out our lawn service and taught my 11-year-old how to mow. That saved us $600 this year alone. Later this year when my Direct TV contact runs out we’re dropping cable. I can watch most of my shows on Netflix or Amazon anyways. That will save us $4000 a year. But I didn’t get it. I looked at my giving statement from our church, all that savings and none of it mattered because none of it was prioritized to God.
In a meeting with a couple other Christian business leaders one of the guys brought up tithings. He said “bring the whole tithe to the storehouse, not just some of it, not just after taxes, but the whole tithe.” That stuck with me. I was making sacrifices for me, not for God. I was saving money so I could do more not so God could do more. I went home that day and looked at my bank account. Even with a business that does well, sometimes at least, my bank account was suffering. My response was, I need to put my trust in God to provide. I figured out what my tithe should be according to my salary and started that day to bring the whole thing to God. It was his anyways, I trust in you Lord.
- What worries you?
Again, the simple answer, getting to Heaven and not seeing people I should have helped save. I also worry about my family; I hope that they don’t stray far from God. I want to stay in control so badly, but I know God has a plan for them just like he has for me. Sometimes I have to trust that I did, said, showed the right things so my kids know what a good Christian looks like. I worry that my past will interfere with the future. That things I did or said will be held against me when trying to tell someone about Jesus and what he did for us. I worry about my business, knowing that I’ve hired people that might still be far from God. I trust them, but know that the enemy doesn’t have a stone wall to knock down to get to them. I worry about my health. I’ve always been a big guy and with high blood pressure I know I need to be better at what I eat and how I exercise. I want to be around to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren. And I worry about this world, I used to think that I couldn’t do anything about it, but I know now, it starts with me. If I change “me” first, then anything is possible.
- Where is your sanctuary?
My sanctuary is in the kitchen. I go there to be in my own head, think about problems, it’s my meditation. When I was younger I had a friend commit suicide. He was afraid to tell his parents he was gay and took his own life. I was 17 at the time and was working at a small mom and pop restaurant in Florida. I remember being emotional all day, feeling helpless, feeling pain and anger. I went to work that night and cooked. The act of cooking helped my emotions get in check. It helped my mind clear. It helped my heart start to heal. I think back at all the times I went through a struggle in my life, I turned to the kitchen to find clarity. Now I turn to God, knowing he has always been there, even in the kitchen.
- What infuriates you?
People who walk around saying they live for God and then turn around and do things against his teachings. Wow, I just described myself. I’m not perfect in any way shape or form. I know this, but I also know that Jesus died for my sins and I believe in him with all my heart. I mess up, I know I do, but God knows my heart and he knows at the end of the day I love him and I feel loved by him.
- What are your dreams?
I’ll try to keep this simple. My dream is to get to Heaven one day and be greeted by my loved ones who went before me and to stand and wait for the love ones who are still to come. Not as big as that? Well, I dream that my son and my daughter grow up to be honest, respectful and good parents to their children. I dream that they won’t make the same mistakes I did when I was younger. I dream that my wife and I grow old together and love each other until the day one of us goes. I dream that my brother and I will find a way to talk about my passion for Jesus and how I feel about my church. I dream that when my son gets older that he won’t have to deal with racial injustices that plague this country right now. And I dream that I can share my life with others so they can know God in the way I know him.
Hope you guys enjoyed my insight on this. I highly recommend “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire”. I seriously can’t put it down. God bless you and thank you for reading.