#Identity: New Wine Podcast #018 Ronda Rousey and Dealing with Loss

In what or whom should we find our identity and why?

Ronda Rousey’s latest interview on the Ellen Show has gotten me thinking about this.

I answer this question in my latest podcast.  You can listen to it on the bottom of this post, on iTunes, or on Stitcher.

If you like it, would you please rate it and even leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher?  That would be super cool!

Also, if you’d like to help support the creative process that helps bring this podcast to life, then please check out my Patreon page (http://patreon.com/JMatthewBarnes).  There are some fun rewards there for folks who pledge support although any level support will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

 

Here are a few links from this podcast:

FOX Sports article: http://www.foxsports.com/ufc/story/ufc-ronda-rousey-had-suicidal-thoughts-after-suffering-loss-to-holly-holm-021616

Ellen Appearance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwCdv9iR8P8

#DecisionMaking: New Wine Podcast #009

This is podcast number nine and here’s the question we’ll try to answer this time: How should a follower of Jesus make decisions?

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you need to make a decision but you have many options, most of which seem quite good?  What did you do?  How did you choose between the options?

I have recently found myself in this very position.  The future direction of my professional life could go many different directions and I’m at a place in my personal life where I need to choose which way to go.  And I can tell you without equivocation that making a decision in circumstances like these is extremely difficult!

How do we proceed?  And does being a follower of Jesus cause things to change?

 

I answer this question in my latest podcast.  You can listen to it on the bottom of this post, on iTunes, or on Stitcher.

If you like it, would you please rate it and even leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher?  That would be super cool!

Thanks!

 

Waiting for the Drop

The Drop in Dubstep

Dub-what?  If you’ve not heard of dubstep, don’t worry.  It might not be for you.  Or it might.  Who knows?

But if you want to know what it is, well here’s the best way I can describe it: It’s a genre of electronic dance music which generally starts out slow but after a short while a large bass sound hits and the song’s aggressiveness increases.  Dubstep’s is chiefly characterized by its 140 or 70 beats per minute pace, its use of lots of “wub” and “wah” sounds, its sampling of vocal tracks (rapping or singing), and its “the drop” (that big bass sound at the beginning).

And it’s the drop that I want to talk about here.  Why you ask?  For one reason: the way some people dance to dubstep.  (Note: I rarely dance and never to dubstep, at least not to date.  All of my dubstep dance knowledge is due to So You Think You Can Dance? and YouTube.)

So when people dance to dubstep they typically do what is called “waiting for the drop.”  What this means is that the dancer does some light and slow moves prior to the drop.  But when the drop hits, well, things generally get crazy!  There’s lots of flailing, locking and popping, and general silliness!

Sometimes dubstep dance instructions are even given like this: 1. Wait for the drop; 2. Go nuts!

But what if the drop never came or took a long time to come?

Waiting for the Drop in Life

There’s something that I have done in my life from time to time that maybe you can relate with.  I wait for the drop.  What do I mean by that?  Well, let me unpack it a bit.

A lot of us who follow Jesus are convinced that at some point in our lives we’ll get some sort of a uber-clear directive from God (AKA “the drop”), after which we’ll get busy following Jesus for real.  So what do we do in the mean time?  Well, we try to be good by not doing things that we’re told are wrong.  We go about life like everyone else, working, dating, getting married, retiring, etc. (all good things!).  Sometimes we’re in a holding pattern until the drop comes.

But what if it doesn’t come?  What if we never get that uber-clear directive from God, that be-a-pastor, go-to-southeast-asia, lead-a-revolution-for-the-sake-of-the-kingdom directive?  Will we just continue doing what seems right to us, what we think pleases God?  Will we just simply continue to do what everyone in the culture around us is doing?

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been guilty of this many times.  I’ve wanted to hear that call to a BIG obedience and missed out on all the things God might have for me day-to-day.  While waiting for the drop, life passes me by.

Can you relate?

The Drop Can Wait

Let me share with you something I’ve learned during my 25+ years of following Jesus — the drop can wait.  Can you or I control when God might want to call us to some sort of a BIG obedience?  No!?  But what we can control, with the help of the Holy Spirit, is what we do when we aren’t experiencing the drop.

And what does that look like?  How should we dance before (or after!) the drop hits?  Let’s turn to Scripture for some help…

He has told you, mortals, what is good in His sight.
    What else does the Eternal ask of you
But to live justly and to love kindness
    and to walk with your True God in all humility?”

(Micah 6.8 in The Voice translation)

So while waiting for the drop (or the second, third, fourth, etc. drop), let’s do these three things that are good in God’s sight:

1. Live justly.

Translated literally, this phrases says something like this “diligently seek justice.”  But the way the The Voice puts it is great — “live justly.”  Justice is not just something that we pursue only when we feel some super-obvious call from God (“the drop”).  No!  It’s something we live, something we seek with all we are.

And the justice that we are to live out it not our personal version of justice, American justice, Democratic or Republican justice, ethnic justice, or any other sort of justice.  It’s God’s justice — defined by him and his Word and sought after in ways that he sees fit.

So what might God’s justice and the pursuit thereof look like?  There’s one best place to look — Jesus’ life!  Read through the Gospels.  See how Jesus sought God’s justice for people, especially people who had been written off, like sinners, tax collector, religious zealots, work-a-day people, etc.  Then imitate Jesus in your life.  Live Jesus’ human life in your human life.

2. Love kindness.

Things get more sticky with this second idea.  Why?  Because I can try to live justly in an unkind manner.  But we aren’t given that option in Micah 6.8.  We are told to also love kindness.  So while we’re waiting for the drop, not only should we live justly, but we should love kindness.

The word for “kindness” here is one you may recognize: hesed.  It is often translated as follows: “mercy,” “loving kindness,” “unfailing love,” and/or “loyalty.”  The ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, which is called the Septuagint, translates this word as eleos, which means “mercy” or “compassion.”  So the idea seems pretty clear — hesed is not a one-off kind of word.  It means to show mercy or compassion consistently.

And not just to show kindness to others…but to love it!  How many of us love showing kindness?  I don’t always!  But that’s our instruction.  We are to love having compassion on others.

And what does this look like?  Well, again, look at Jesus’ life and words.  He said “love your neighbor as yourself” and he did just that, giving away his time, his sleep, his comfort, and ultimately his life.

3. Walk with God in all humility.  

Sometimes the best way to understand something is to think of the opposite.  So, what would it look like to walk with God in all pride?  Perhaps you would walk with God only to get out of him what you think is best.  Maybe you would walk with God, pretending like you are an equal with him.  Perhaps you would walk with God in such a way to improve your reputation and not his.

So a good start with walking with God in all humility might be NOT doing those things!  Instead let’s follow God in order to serve him and his will in this world.  Let’s follow God while keeping in mind an honest appraisal of ourselves as sinners desperately in need of his grace and forgiveness.  And let’s follow God in such a way to make ourselves less and to increase his fame.

So while we are waiting for the drop we should walk with God humbly.  Walk.  That implies action, movement, and consistency.  Walking humbly with God is not a one-time decision.  It’s a lifestyle.

 

So let’s stop waiting for the drop.  Let’s start living for God now!  And when the drop comes, when he asks us to something specific and “big,” then we’ll be ready.

 

What do you think?  How should we live as we wait for the drop?  Let me know in the comments below.