The thing about starting and ending

Summertime. I write this on the last weekend of July 2018. Summer of 2018 is coming to a close in a few more weeks.

This prayer blog experience and experiment is also coming to a close with one more blog post in the queue. I might squeeze in another, but I haven’t shown much consistency since the experiment has gone on longer than I had first anticipated. For those of you keeping score at home, this was initially going to be a 30-week prayer blog experiment. Well, we are now on week #50 or so. Remember to give grace to myself.

Consistency is not a personality trait of mine. I am much more on the irratic and random side of the spectrum. I’m learning to accept the default tendencies that I have. And I also know that I can choose a different action when or if I set my mind to do that. Prayer helps me to gain a little more energy and focus to do that alternative action.

Random Moments in Life Could be Divine

Bumped into an old seminary friend at Starbucks this week. It was a place that he usually doesn’t go to. I happened to be in that part of the 626 and needed a place to park for a while before my lunch meetup later that day.

I recognized him as someone that was in my preaching class and still remember his illustration about how worrying was like a rocking chair going nowhere. And we went over to his office nearby and roamed around campus, briefly caught up in my broken Chinese and he with his second-language English.

So grateful to have this surprise moment in the middle of my long day. It takes noticeably more energy for me to spend a day up there in the 626 instead of my usual environment in the OC. Or, maybe it takes me the same amount of energy as it always has, but I don’t have as much energy as when I was younger.

Dare I say that planning is over-rated? Oh, yeah, I like to say that. Again, that is another personality trait that I don’t have. I don’t like planning. But it is a necessary part of life, a better life, a meaningful life, an intentional life. To increase my quality of life as a meaning-making human being, planning has to be part of the equation.

You know what—it’s either I make my own plans, or someone else will make plans for me. If someone else makes plans for me, there’s a good chance I won’t like those plans. Or, another way to look at it, if I don’t make plans, no one else will either, and I’ll be so bored out of my mind and body.

Starting Stronger Than Finishing

That was the other thought that surfaced as we caught up on life since seminary days. (that was almost 25 years ago.) My pastor friend remembered one of my illustrations, one that started off my sermon strong. I didn’t remember that one.

What I do know is my default mode for starting out my sermons with a strong illustration. That I work pretty diligently on. And I do my Bible study because I want to be faithful to God’s Word. Then the rest of the sermon plateaus and goes downhilll from there. I’ve always had a difficult time landing the plane and finishing a sermon strong. Now that I’m not pastoring and only being invited to speak once in a blue moon, I’ve had less opportunity to practice or get better on my closing.

To me, that is okay. I am okay with my speaking ability as it is. I am not motivated to put more discipline or practice into making my speaking skills better or more polished. God can change my motivations and desires. I know I don’t have it on my own. So if it comes, it has to be divine intervention.