The Risk Hangover Pt I.

Part I. We’ve Reached For The Stars . . . Now What?

 
Ride the ski-lift to the top and you will feel it. Lock yourself into the roller coaster car and you will feel it. Walk up to the podium and adjust the microphone and you will feel it. It is the feeling of “what did I just get myself into”? Add in a few PG expletives as beads of sweat trickle down your forehead and you have some of the many moments I have had in the months following my application and acceptance to become a full-time missionary with The World Race.
 
First off, I am a member of Generation Y, or now more commonly referred to as  “Millennials.” I was a part of the group where our schools proudly exclaimed “Reach for the Stars,” and where you always ended up with a prize or reward no matter the effort or lack there of. I was a part of counseling programs that focused on self-improvement. In fact, most all of my education I was taught only about the betterment of my self and rarely about sacrifice and giving to others. Stepping out of your comfort zone was giving a project presentation in front of the class, which to some is the equivalent of death. You would think the risks would get greater over time, and in some ways they do, but self-comfort has always come first. (more…)

I Know That I Don’t Know

Tap. Tap. Tap.
Ugh!
Click. Click. Click.
Argh!

 
Anxious. Impatient. Troubled. Frustrated. These words barely describe my life right now. I am having to change, let go, and give up things I have spent years building up. Systems, projects, resources, methods, traditions. Boom! They’ve got to go.
I know, I know. House built on the sand gets tossed to sea. I know. But it is going deeper than that. My identity is changing. I can no longer live for me, myself and I. I’m narrowing in on one thing and one thing alone . . . Christ.
You are a Christian, Trent, ya know . . . I know, I know. But my needs come first, ya know! I mean, I do it unknowingly most of the time: flip on the TV, play a game, search Netflix, eat a box of Cheese-Its in one sitting. BAH! What a wreck!
Have you seen my room? Do you know my sleeping pattern? Did I just eat 5 cookies? Is this my fifth cup of coffee? Are my eyes still glazed over. Has my breathing become short and quick?
I know one thing. It is the not knowing that has got me. I am about to cut ties with family, friends a job to die for, and  leave the good ‘ole US of A for 11 months.
No, I was not always this troubled. You would never believe me now if I told you one of my strengths is “Adaptability.” And 99% of the time I am very adaptive, very easy-going and extremely chill. But this is straight-up obedience, and straight up what God has called me to do. I do believe that if you are scared out of your wits about what lies ahead and what decisions you have and will have to make it is because you are right in the middle of God’s Will for your life.
So, the next breath will hopefully be a little less heavy and maybe my nights will be filled with rest when I just make the decision to know that I don’t know about what lies ahead and trust that God knows what’s up. I’m scared, but I’ve got some big arms to rest in. I think it’s time I ran towards them.
I’m running.

Ohana

Growing up my Mom and Dad have always told me to “Enjoy your youth!” or “Take advantage of every moment in your college years, son! They’ll be the best ones ever!” There is so much truth in what they have said, but something has always not settled right in my heart about this ideology that these are the only best years. Do we have to give in to the 9-to-5 once we graduate? Does the tie become our go-to accessory when choosing our daily wardrobe? Am I supposed to be raising a family before I am 30? Where do these cultural norms come from and why do I have to make them my own?
I’ve aways seen Christianity as an adventure. Honestly, that is how God got me to believe in Him. He promised me a life better than one I could ever create by myself. I’ll elaborate more on that story some other time, but for now I will simply say that He promised me no ordinary life. So who is to say that I have to settle for the American Dream? Isn’t that a materialistic and egotistical ideal anyway?
I think why my parent’s eyes always light up when they talk about their young adult years is because of the community they had around them. It was tight-knit, fun, and they always had friends to hang out with. There were no commitments, sports practices, piano lessons, tutoring or parent-teacher meetings. Life was simple. But somewhere along the way people moved, children were born, new commitments were made and community took the back-burner.
Sure there is Sunday school, small groups and retreats, but sometimes these are more commitments and not community. I am not saying that my parents don’t have authentic community, they actually have paved the way for so many people to discover how to read the bible, share life’s deepest secrets, pray honestly and love unconditionally. But there are people who are being fooled by shallow community. You know, the ones who poke their head to small group in every once in awhile, whose prayer requests are always self-centered, who come to church only when it is convenient. This is what I think of as cultural Christianity. It is a faith that is built around you and your comfort zones. It is there only to help ease the ache when your heart is crying out for someone to listen, love and guide you in your walk.
In the book, Kingdom Journeys, by Seth Barnes, he says:
“Community and vulnerability are essential for the church of the broken. We must authentically share both our pain and joy. As one body, we will deeply experience one another’s hurts, as well as their honor. As Paul says, ‘If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it’” (1 Corinthians 12:26). 
We are meant for rich community and that is what I am looking forward to in the coming years. Not just in my youth, but forever. The fun times I have had in my youth do not have to end, you know why? Because the Bible shows us through both Jesus’ disciples and Paul how to live in authentic community. There was no college, no youth group or greek life (and I don’t mean ancient greek life) back then. These people came from all ages and all walks of life.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9-10 (ESV)
I urge everyone, no matter how old you are to seek community like they did in the Bible. One of the best words that describes what community is to me, is “Ohana.” If you have ever watched the movie Lilo and Stitch, you will understand that it means “family.” That is what community is. I long for Ohana, and when I don’t have it, my heart begins to harden and my focus goes to self and away from God. I want the real deal and not the fake stuff.  So for many who ask why I am doing the World Race, I will tell them, “I am doing it for Ohana!” I am doing it to learn how to love, give, serve, grow and be the me God created me to be.
Some of my Ohana:
Support me on my World Race! Visit http://trenthope.theworldrace.org