Mind Games

This morning, I left home around 7:15 to drive three and a half excruciatingly long hours to Lafayette, IN, the Tippecanoe County Seat and home of the Purdue Boilermakers.  I was headed to a “Crescent Project Gathering”, an event that the ministry I work for was putting on in Lafayette.  I went for two reasons:  1. I am co-teaching a seminar with the President and Founder of Crescent Project in Lafayette next month and wanted to check out the town beforehand.  2. I wanted to see what we are communicating at these “Gatherings”.  I am skeptical often of my organization, and I can’t help it.  Our role as a ministry is to teach/train churches about Islam and how to build bridges with Muslims in our communities, helping Christians replace uneducated fear with love.  However, sometimes Fouad, the Founder, when he is talking with Christians, uses fear first to establish a “need” for the ministry that we do.  I don’t like that.  I think that’s warranted.

So, since Fouad was presenting at this “Gathering”, I chose to go to check out what we say we are as a ministry when I am not around (because, as usual, my way of communicating is the best way, right?).  There were about 30 people in the room at the Vinton Hills Country Club in Lafayette.  Imagine a Country Club, and then subtract all of the nice things you see there, replace them with a run-down camp cafeteria building, and you are now imagining the Vinton Hills Country Club.  9 churches were represented by the 30 people in attendance, ranging from Pentecostal to Reformed Presbyterian.  As I sat listening to Fouad’s presentation, I felt like he did a great job of avoiding fear-based motivational techniques and spoke mostly of replacing fear with love.  It was completely not what I thought it was going to be.

This afternoon, I found out that one of my previous blogs was published on “The Good Men Project” website.  I knew this was going to happen, and I was pretty self-satisfied when I saw my article published on a website other than my own.  My friend, Ross, works for “The Good Men Project” and told me he would like to use my blog on the website.  I imagined that being published on another website would boost traffic on this blog and lead to minor fame or something like that.  As of this writing, a total of 40 people have visited/read my blog today.  Not exactly a high-volume day.  What’s funny is, I really didn’t set out to get published or get quasi-famous when I started this daily blog.  But this prospect warped my mind a bit.  And it turns out nothing ultimately has changed.  I’m still simply me.

This evening we took Obi, my son, to his first “Happy Feet Soccer” experience.  If you recall, last week I wrote about how pre-proud I am of him being involved in a sport.  I imagined a bunch of 2-3 year-olds running around chasing a ball in a sort of disorganized chaos.  What I didn’t take into account in my imagination was that this was likely the first experience each of these kids would be having with “organized” sports.  And, they acted like, well, 2 year-olds.  Obi, like most of the other kids, was clingy and skittish and not as excited as I dreamed he would be at playing soccer.  He had moments where he became independent, not needing us, but periodically had freak-out moments in which he refused to even touch the ball, let alone have fun.  It was fun-ish, but definitely not as awesome as I had played it up in my mind.

Things in life rarely live up to our expectations.  I think that’s true across the board, whether they are good events we are looking forward to or negative ones, they rarely turn out as good or as bad as we played them up in our minds.  So why do we do this?  Why do we live out the future in our minds, only to be slightly or deeply disappointed with the outcome in reality?  I don’t want to do this. I want to live in the moment, and experience things as they happen.  I’m glad my fears are dashed by better outcomes, but I hate it when my hopes are also dashed.  Even so, I am sitting here, playing out tomorrow in my head, wondering what tomorrow will bring.

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