a prisoner of hope

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i’ve been a prisoner to a lot of different things. and people, in a sense.

i’ve been a prisoner to acceptance and validation.
a prisoner to performance and accolades.
a prisoner to your perception of me.
i’ve been a prisoner to ideals and dreams. some have come to fruition. many have not.
i’m usually a prisoner to my past, my sins and shortcomings.
a prisoner to fear. loneliness. never being good enough.
and a prisoner to not feeling loveable.

but i have never been a prisoner of hope.

hope has always been a faithful friend. someone i can come back to whenever i have nowhere else to turn. and in a sense, hope oftentimes is all we have left.

but i don’t want hope to be simply my friend.
i want to be its prisoner.
i want to be unable to escape hope’s reality.
to have it chained around my ankle, carrying it wherever i may limp.

hope is more than a wish. it’s more than a dream that things will get better someday.
it’s an assurance. a promise. a place to hang your hat.
as real as any prison cell.
except this prison is filled with light.
and laughter.
and joy.
and something unswerving, like an anchor.

being a prisoner of hope sets me free.

“return to the stronghold, O prisoners of hope…”
zechariah 9:12

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a confession and www.mynameisbrandon.me

157507122it’s been an insane 6 months.

resignation from ministry.
temporary jobs.
moving to a new city.
new school for my kids.
new school  for me.
trying to sell a house.
deciding to rent the house.
the death of dreams.
the birth of new seasons.

the last six months have been about survival. sometimes you simply need to withdraw in order to make it. it makes me think of my cat growing up. vortex (his name…the coolest pet name ever…) had surgery once and when he came home, he immediately went to hide under my bed. no amount of coaxing or kitty treats would bring him out of hiding. he was wounded. and healing. and needing space. and when he was ready, he emerged. he wasn’t 100%, but he felt the call to re-enter.

similarly, i am ready to emerge. i am ready to write and create and share. i’ve got thoughts and ideas and stories and lessons learned.

if you’d care to keep up with the journey, here are a few things to know:

new address: you can now access this blog at: http://www.mynameisbrandon.me
(someone pilfered my old website address.)

new attitude: i used to write to build a platform. it made me feel dirty. no longer. the things i plan on writing will be more honest. i have no board of directors or elders to fire me if i say something out of line. this will be a space for me to clarify and voice my thoughts. in doing so, i think (and hope) it will benefit you, the reader. i know i am not blazing any trails. the benefit is in our journey together.

new content: i’ve made a painful realization over the last several months. so, here is my confession: my faith was dependent upon my role as a minister. i have no idea how to be a follower of Christ as a “non-professional.”

and so, much of what i write will be under the banner of my finding my sea legs. i hope this will be an encouragement to other “recovering ministers” and a help to those of you struggling to find or own your faith while still in ministry.

if you’d like to connect, there are a few ways we can do that:

you can find me on facebook here.

you can find me on twitter here.

you can subscribe to receive emails of my blog post by filling in that little box on the right side of your screen and clicking “subscribe.”

you can email me by filling this little form out.

confession: i’m an ichthus out of water

[this post has not been edited for anything. it’s 12:30am and my brain is in gear. thus, a collection of thoughts.]

“i’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints; the sinners are much more fun.” —billy joel in “only the good die young”

this week i started a new job. in a new town. in a new world.

my old world was full-time vocational ministry. a paid preacher. a professional Christian.

in my old world i talked about the necessity; nay, the command to be missional followers of Jesus…to live a life of intentionally engaging and being in relationship with those who do not yet follow Christ. of being in their world. of loving and earning the right to hear and be heard.

apparently, if i was a professional Christian…i wasn’t a very good one.

because for the life of me, i cannot recall a single, significant friendship i have had in the last 5 years with someone outside of the faith.

shame on me.

and now i find myself in a new world. a world where i sell iPhones and take collegiate courses and am surrounded by people who do not know my Lord.

and i’m not really sure what to do.

oh, i know the right answers (paid professionals always know the right answers).

talk with them. be engaged. hear their story. share a drink. serve them. meet their needs. be alert. love them. extend the grace that cannot be resisted.

but…how? what does this look like at work? in the classroom? in my neighborhood? i don’t know, because i’ve never done it. i’ve only talked about it.

i’m excited and terrified in this new world. you know those “Jesus fish” you see on the back of vehicles? (it’s call an “ichthus”). i feel like an ichthus out of water. i am firmly outside the confines of my safe and sanitized Christian world.

and it seems to be a good thing.

it seems to be where Jesus spent most of his time.