To celebrate the holiday the other day (Presidents’ Day), Samantha and I played our favorite game, Scrabble. It was especially exciting because we got the deluxe version, which has grooves to keep the pieces in place and spins so that you don’t have to slide the board around to see it. We worked on words and formulated strategies (such as blocking the other person from getting the good spaces; if it weren’t for my sneaky fiancĂ©, I would have had a 42 point word!), trying to get the advantage.

As we played, I had a depressing thought. Scrabble can be a lot like life. You have tons of possibilities… letters/talents of all kinds, opportunities, different things that will help you on your way. The problem, though, is that as things unfold, you have to make exceptions. Maybe things could work out perfectly… but then someone blocks you. Perhaps this terrific situation will happen and protect your lead… but then you find that the spelling is not quite right. Maybe you’ll get one great word and jump back into the lead… but then you draw four one-point vowels, and find that you’re doomed to failure (I’m well acquainted with these feelings, as Samantha usually wins. She once got 62 points on the word “sexy.” For those of you who don’t know, that’s absolutely insane.)

Lately I’ve been struggling with fears that my life will turn out that way. Instead of being able to do great and exciting things, I fear that I could end up just getting by for the rest of my life. Rather than being passionate about what I do, it’s very possible that I could lose my fire and just do the best I can with what I’m given, never fighting for more.

So often I see adults weighed down by life, frustrated and unhappy. I don’t want to end up like that. How do I avoid it?

More and more I see that the frustration people feel doesn’t come so much from their position in life… it comes from their feelings ABOUT their position in life. The happy ones are not the ones who reach the highest… they are the ones who are most content with the position they have reached. Rather than seeing themselves as a failure, they see themselves as a part of something good. On the flip side, those who think they are better than their position in life would suggest have a hard time liking themselves. They feel that they have either A) been cheated or B) failed. From that point on, they lose any sense of self-worth, and lose with it the ability to fight on.

This is a personal struggle for me because I tend to think too highly of myself. It still surprises me when I am turned down for a job, or when someone suggests that I cannot do what I feel I am supposed to do. On one hand, I need this training because it is important for me to become more humble than I am currently. On the other… is there hope?

Of course there is. God has a plan for each of us, and we fulfill a place in His Master Scheme. My job is not to have great accomplishments or to do amazing things that the world will praise me for. My job is to do what He asks of me so that the world will praise HIM for it.

I must confess, I really want to be a pastor. I mean, I REALLY want to be a pastor. I love God’s word and what it represents, I love the people it was sent for, and above all I love the God who gave it to us. I love studying what he says to us, knowing it, feeling connected to Him. I love sharing it with others. I love it when someone (be it myself or someone else) who is crying in the night finally hears the sweet words that help them out, finally receives the encouragement they’ve been so in need of. I love the idea of serving and leading a group of people to a deeper knowledge of our Redeemer.

As Samantha has been pointing out to me, though, that dream and desire is nothing if it is not of God. I am to be a Piece of His Puzzle, a carrier of His message, and servant in His house. My job in life is not to accomplish great things for God… it is to accomplish the things God asks me to accomplish. It is not for me to say where I will be 5 years from now… that choice is God’s.

That is scary for me sometimes, but I have to remember the examples I see around me. The people who do what God asks of them are happy and fulfilled. They go about their daily lives with joy and energy, and the qualities and strengths that God has given them are fully displayed. They are content, because they fit the puzzle. I can fight God, or I can accept his plan whatever it may be. The latter is the better choice, because those who do are fulfilled, while those who do not are unhappy. God’s will for us glorifies Him AND makes us happy… is he a great planner or what?

I’ve been reading a wonderful book of late called, “The Shoes of the Fisherman,” and I think this quote is pertinent:

“A man could walk only the path he saw at his own feet or that which was pointed out to him by a lawful superior. After that he was in the hands of God… And their compass was more generous, their hold more reassuring, than the hands of any man.”

Of course, finding His will is still a struggle. Even so, knowing that His plan is present and His plan will work is enough to foster trust. I need that trust, because I cannot see the entire Scrabble board of life yet. God can, though, and I need to trust that when he is done, a 62 point word will be a piece of cake.


Here are a few fun things that made me laugh today. Keep smiling! Hopefully I'll find time soon to be a little more interesting.


Marxists are people whose insides are torn up day after day because they want to rule the world and no one will even publish their letter to the editor.
-Mark Helprin

The Old Explorer
A young reporter went to a retirement home to interview an aged but legendary explorer. The reporter asked the old man to tell him the most frightening experience he had ever had.
The old explorer said, "Once I was hunting Bengal tigers in the jungles of India. I was on a narrow path and my faithful native gunbearer was behind me. Suddenly the largest tiger I have ever seen leaped onto the path in front of us. I turned to get my weapon only to find the native had fled. The tiger leapt toward me with a mighty ROARRRR! I soiled myself."
The reporter said, "Under those circumstances anyone would have done the same."
The old explorer said, "No, not then - just now when I went ''''ROARRRR!''''"

New Words
Each year, the Washington Post's "Style Invitational" asks readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the 2001 winners:

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

Prisoner’s Letters
A prisoner in jail receives a letter from his wife: "Dear Husband, I have decided to plant some lettuce in the back garden. When is the best time to plant them?"

The prisoner, knowing that the prison guards read all mail, replied in a letter: "Dear Wife, whatever you do, do not touch the back garden. That is where I hid all the money."

A week or so later, he received another letter from his wife: "Dear Husband, You wouldn't believe what happened, some men came with shovels to the house, and dug up all the back garden."

The prisoner wrote another letter back: "Dear wife, now is the best time to plant the lettuce."


There's this thought I have every few days or so, and today I thought I'd share it.

I win.

Ha! In the midst of all the frustration and worries of life and career choices, friendships, family, whatever else... I win!

Why, you ask? Because I'm marrying Samantha, of course!

Ok, so this is pretty sappy, I know. But I really am excited. Think about it. Wouldn't you be? You wait your whole life to find out if you can be that special to someone, to find out if you have what it takes. You dream about what they'll be like... and then one day, you realize someone even better than that cares about you too.

Samantha is the yin to my yang (or is it the other way around?), the sweet jam to my sticky peanut butter, the offensive line to my quarterback, the smile when I frown, the infastructure to my society (ok, so that impresses only me, but hey, it's my blog). She's a warm spot in front of the fire, a strong shoulder to lean against, a big hug when you're lonely, and (most importantly) a person who will bring you closer to God whether you want to know Him better or not. Heh, metaphors are fun.

She's adorable, and you know what? I win, cause she's mine (and I'm hers, for all you PC junkies out there).

Now, I'm not saying other people CAN'T win. Dave and Lindsay, Stevo and Jan, Brian and Sara, etc... these people all won, as well.

So did Aunt Ellen and Big Bob, two of my favorite single people in the world.

"Winning", really, isn't so much about getting the great girl, though I did do that. Winning is about becoming who God wants you to be. What's MOST exciting about Samantha, besides her heart-stealing smile, is that she represents a milestone in my life of choosing to follow God. Only a few times in my life have I been absolutely, 100% certain about God's will for a non-moral question in my life. High School choice, tennis vs. Bible study, college choice, fellowship choice, ending a relationship... these are the few times I've known without a doubt. Samantha is the most recent (and biggest) of these decisions.

A lot of times, we're afraid of seeking God's will, because we think he'll give us something we don't want, or that we'll be unhappy if we lose control. However, time and time again I've found that regardless of the material impact of our choices, choosing God's way always is the happier decision.

Follow God. You, too, can win.