In the Zone

Have you ever lost yourself in a moment? A place or time or person in which that was your sole and driving focus? You didn’t think about how you smelled or looked or sounded, and you were just absorbed into that song or scene or play?

I have. It is a great feeling. Some people call it being in the zone.

I was talking to my good friend Josh about this (residuals from our previous conversation). He shared with me a quote from Vin Diesel (of all people), something which his character said in The Fast and the Furious. “I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters […] For those 10 seconds or less—I’m free.” He feels unrestrained and lost in the moment when he’s on the road. That’s kind of how I feel sometimes when I’m playing basketball. Or writing some inspired poetry or prose. Or when I’m engrossed in a great film.

Then it made sense to me how that applies to the idea of worship.

When you are truly worshiping, in that divine moment, you lose any hint of self and shed yourself from any worldly distraction–you become free. You wrap your mind and heart around something greater. In the ocean-like depths and grandeur of a gigantic God, your entire being just becomes so consumed with the Spirit that nothing else matters. Not your job. Not your health. Not your bills. It’s only God then. It’s only God…and it’s sublime.

It’s funny (in a twisted sort of way) how the gifts we were given by God to enjoy and worship Him end up being measuring sticks for ourselves. Our talents and passions by which we can give of ourselves to God somehow get bent to reflect our worth and value onto others. They become twisted by our pride and greed for glory. And it is never enough.

But when you stand before a huge canyon or stand atop lofty mountain splendor, you don’t think about yourself. You literally feel really small, and you are lost in the vast surrounding of God’s creation. It is at this point that you have decreased, so that the telescope of your heart is able to magnify the grandness of God.

Ironically, it’s moments like these when I feel the “biggest”–the most joyful and satisfied.

So whether you eat or drink or climb a mountain–whatever it is–lose yourself in it. Once you have lost yourself, you gain freedom. Once you have freedom, you are drawing closer to the heart of worship.

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Passion For The Nations 2010

So…here’s my entry. It’s been delayed about a week, I know. It looks like I wasn’t able to keep up with my ambitious goal of 365 days. It was a mix of apathy and discouragement, just not feeling like I was saying anything worth reading anymore. Sorry if I failed you, reader. I just want to make sure I give you a reason to keep coming back–quality and not so much quantity. Anyway, here’s an entry about a conference I attended this past weekend.

*****

It was Friday evening. I had just finished co-leading a small group Bible study of about 20 adults at a house in Diamond Bar, when the oldest gentleman in our group, George, approaches me.

We made small talk about life, though to be honest, I didn’t know how much I had to offer. The man had years of wisdom and experience. It was apparent in the slow and prodding, yet careful way he spoke. He had several notches on his belt. I have yet to own a belt–my life is still sagging.

Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, upon learning of my desire for church and the ministry, George mentioned an all-day missions conference happening the next day at a well-known Asian-American church called Evergreen SGV. I had heard of the conference being promoted on the side at my very own church, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. My desire for missions is at the very best weak, and all-day (9am-9pm) sounded like a long and grueling way to spend an entire Saturday. But he said I should go because it would be a good conference and a great opportunity for me to not only learn more but network.

When he mentioned “network,” girls immediately popped into mind. I was interested. I called Betty, who had previously expressed interest in the conference, and asked her if she was still willing to go. She said yes, and I now had a partner-in-crime.

It is a horrible reason to attend anything ministry-related, let alone an all-day conference about reaching out to other nations; I would be reminded of that later in the day. But as I pulled into the parking lot, I was excited. It is quite a sight to see so many Asian-Americans, and Christians at that, gathered together in one building. I believed the figures were about 700 for the day.

The conference featured three plenary speakers, two workshop sessions, two meals, and an exhibition room full of booths from various organizations. It was refreshing to worship and sing praise in such a large, packed place.

Throughout the messages, I was constantly challenged to look beyond myself and reconsider the way I have been living life. The first speaker shared about the meaning and impact of the Gospel and how it affects our culture today. The second speaker reminded me of what it means to give your life for the sake of others, to immerse yourself in another person’s world–whether it be dark or poor–to win them over to love and truth.  The last speaker ended it in perhaps no better fashion. He addressed the fears and concerns of Asian-Americans, and how they can work against our dreams and plans for the kingdom of God.

It was hard to hear all this, because I knew deep down what they were saying was true. I don’t truly value and desire the Good News. Perhaps I don’t even believe it is good anymore–if I do, why don’t I ever share it with others? I like to be comfortable and safe. I like to be liked and respected by everybody. And to be honest, I don’t care about other people most of the time; I always look after my own wants and needs. And the list went on…

But somewhere in the middle of all this I was broken. I was reminded that there is only one thing that is needed. To do something great, I don’t need to be a master of many things. I just need to be mastered by one thing and be totally sold out for it.

God is saying “I have a better story to give you.” It doesn’t have anything to do with me, but it has everything to do with God and His people. I vowed on that day to give up my story, and to live and look for the better story.

It’s a funny thing when you realize that your life is not about you. A sort of deep peace settles over you.

My thoughts are kinda all over the page right now. I’m still trying to process everything. All I know is that I don’t want to live for me anymore. I want to be like Jesus, and care for others and live in obedience to God.

Everyday will be a battle, but I look forward to how my relationship with God will evolve in these upcoming months.

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Special shout-out to my friend and devoted reader, Lucy T. I bumped into her at the conference, and she expressed her disappointment when I wasn’t able to keep up with my 365 days of blogging. She encouraged me to get back on, as always. Thank you!