To The One Searching

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To the one who’s searching,

I see you. I know you. I empathize with your pain and the deep inner longing that you have for something more. I’m telling you this because I was you. I see the Instagram posts and Snapchat stories filled with alcohol, loud music, and the rooms filled with other like-minded people looking to have a good time. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with having a good time, but if I had to bet, I’d bet that the alcohol, partying, and sex that almost always follows are all placebos in your search for true meaning and belonging. We all want fulfillment and go through different ways of trying to find that fulfillment. I was you. I remember the feeling of desperately wanting love, attention, and a sense of fulfillment that nothing from this earth could quench.

You wake up from your hangover and possibly in a stranger’s bed with the stark realization that nothing you did the night prior propelled you forward in your quest for fulfillment in belonging. If anything, you’re still stuck at square one.

The answer to your search and your brokenness is Jesus.

You may have heard about him through church or your Christian friends, but I want to challenge you to personally make the first move and ask Him to reveal himself to you.

When Jesus does reveal himself to you, I promise you that you’ll be blown away at what you discover. He was here for you all along. He didn’t judge you for your past mistakes, but instead waited while you tried every other thing besides Him. He doesn’t love you less because of your sins, he loves you in spite of them.

He doesn’t want to be a Sunday thing, he wants to be your everything.

The thing about Christians are that we are just as broken as anyone else. The difference is that we have the answer to our brokenness.

Revelation 3:20 says this,

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

What’s stopping you from answering the door?

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The Danger of Substitution

Lately, I’ve been confronted with the fact that I have often used other things and people for a true sense of meaning, joy, and purpose that can only be found in Christ. I’ve been confronted with the fact that without Him I am nothing and any attempt at substituting Christ for some worldly pleasure will result in pain and a never-ending cycle of nothingness.

This may sound extreme, but any attempt to find true lasting happiness and a sense of purpose and belonging in some worldly concoction will lead one to discover that there is nothing that is of this world that can bring a lasting sense of fulfillment and hope. In order to find the love and sense of purpose you’ve been waiting for, it is important to first acknowledge that the things of this world are merely temporary distractions designed to be a temporary relief for our permanent problems and struggles. How many times have we bought something or did something due to the belief that it would relieve a gaping desire only to discover that the core desire for love, purpose, and meaning remains the same?

I’ve come to the realization that everyone who does not personally know the Jesus of the Bible is merely searching for a substitution that cannot and will not satisfy our hardwired desires.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

What desire are you trying to fulfill that only Jesus can?

Imperfectly Perfect

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I think there’s a certain beauty that comes from brokenness, an ascertainment of what’s important and what’s not that very often comes from a place of pain and brokenness. To a certain extent, we’re all broken to varying degrees. It’s to be expected, after all. I mean we are merely humans. However, that doesn’t stop some people from trying their best to tell themselves otherwise. I’m convinced that one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is: that person has it all together. No, nobody has it all together. What you’re seeing is somebody who’s frantically trying their best to act like they have it all together. We’ve become masters at this balancing act. We tell ourselves that something must be wrong with us if we have an off day. We love to compare achievements and accomplishments, seemingly neglecting to realize that we are all individuals who were each made with our own unique gifts, talents, and purposes. We’re not going to succeed at everything we put our mind to, but it still helps to give a decent effort and to at least try before resorting to giving up. I refuse to subscribe to the idea that there are accidents in life, that some things are just the result of some random process completely and entirely out of our control. Yes, sometimes terrible things happen to good people, and it is useless to try and derive some meaning or explanation as to why it happened. However, by and large, life operates by individual choices and decisions. There may be some things that are out of our control, but it doesn’t mean that we should just give up and go wherever the wind blows. This life was made with no do-overs or second chance opportunities. The tragedy of life lies in not being intentional in one’s time and interactions with other people. The nature of this life leads to no guarantee of a tomorrow, no assurance that we will be able to tell the people we care about how we honestly feel about them. Instead of resolutions for 2019, I’ve been meditating on a few words that I want to define the year. Intentional is definitely a leader on that list.

How would your life look different if you were intentional about every interaction/moment in your life?

—- B

This Christmas Season: Lessons in Retail and Uber

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I was at the Target I used to work at the other day returning various items, and I could not help but notice some familiar faces in the check-out lanes. The recognizable faces were few and far between, as the nature of the retail business often lends itself to high turnover rates. However, I couldn’t help but think of the completely obvious yet often forgotten thought that these people are human beings too. I forget that sometimes. Maybe it’s consumerism and a culture that pushes products and material goods over intrinsic value and connection. Or perhaps it’s just the fact that we’re all too busy doing whatever it is that we deem important to take time out of our day and recognize that the retail worker, just like everyone else, is a human being too. On similar lines, I’ve been driving Uber for the past couple of months as a way to bring in some income while on a hiatus away from Chapel Hill. I enjoy the people, for the most part, however, there are some who clearly just see me as there Uber driver and not as Brooks- a human being with likes and interest just like everyone else. I guess what I’m saying is that small gestures matter. The simple, “Hey, how are you?” Or just not being impatient and showing kindness truly does go a long way. The longer I drive for Uber the more I realize just how much the small things really matter. The trip could be five minutes or forty, but regardless gestures of gratitude and kindness are always appreciated, perhaps even more so than the cash tip. This Christmas, let us remember that most everyone is fighting an unknown battle and has their own set of struggles and worries.