02 June 2008

Thoughts become words, words become actions...

Actions become habits. Habits become your character. And you character becomes your destiny.

- Frank Outlaw

That quote has resonated with me, at the foundation of my being, since the first time I heard it more than a decade ago. I really, truly believe it. It's foundational for the hope and optimism with which I try to live. (Emphasis on try.)

I really do count myself as an optimistic person. I'm certainly not pessimistic or cynical (I've got enough liberal friends that have the "everything is wrong with ______" world view covered). I do use sarcasm on a regular basis, at times with a dose of cynicism, but its more a part of the smack-talking athlete in me, than the lens through which I see the world.

In fact, the more I've thought about it, the more I realize that the lens of hope and optimism through which I generally see the world and my life, is one of the great distinguishers of "what makes Jared tick". I have always believed in my ability, the opportunity to do and achieve anything, and the limitless success into which I was walking. I have believed in the Broncos every summer, and every Sunday afternoon in the fall. I believed in Michael Jordan every time the ball was in his hands, and every time he was playing the passing lanes on defense. I have believed in our Republican Presidents and Congress. And even when I lost hope in them, I believe in the party of Conservatives to eventually take back the mantle of Reagan and lead this country back into greatness, through goodness. I believe in second chances, and once-idiots like Kobe Bryant making the most of them. I believe in the absolute perfect joy of children, and that we don't have to lose it. Ever. I believe in the human mind and the ability at any age to teach anything, learn anything, and re-think anything save that that has been divinely given by our gracious God. I believe in the word of God being timeless and timely. And I believe it to be the perfect source of instruction. I believe Truth always prevailing, love conquering, right becoming self-evident and evil meeting eternal demise. In God's maturation of me, I realize that I believe these things because of the foundation of faith I have placed in Him.

When I became a Christian (read: Born-again, Jesus-loving, relationship-with-Christ-having, whoa-Jesus-is-transforming-me-constantly-and-its-not-easy kinda Christian), I realized that this confidence was in fact just a Biblical acknowledgement of God's power, ability and desire to accomplish anything through me, that He so chooses to do so. What I mean, is that I started to realize that God had written hope into the fabric of my being, God is the source of the hope and optimism that I hold so dear. And with God, I hope in Him...not myself. In Jesus, I hope in His power & love, not my own. In Christ, I trust in Him to align my heart, blessings, talents, desires with timing and opportunity...and as such, I don't have to 'force it' any more. In Jesus, I trust and hope for the power of the Holy Spirit to be there when I've got a law & grace Dad moment in front of me. Or when I need the emotional reinforcement to fight all of the lies in my head that are constantly running counter to everything I believe and hope in. See, I am totally susceptible to depression, doubt, a lack of faith, belief and hope. The Spirit gets attacked in me all the time. As Mark Driscoll so brilliantly outlines in his sermon on Grace from Mars Hill Church's 9 question series It is the type of God's grace that I struggle with the most; the grace of God's future provision.

So, last week when I used the really cool service (ya'll know how I love really cool web services, stats, data and charts) tweetscan, built for twitter (the micro-blogging, social networking site I use most), I was so excited to see that in my "tweet cloud", or visual weighted, representation of the words I use most commonly on twitter, the results were overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the most dominant word in my vernacular? Love. LOVE! Love. Just take a look at the tweet cloud and you'll see why, by the Grace of God alone, I am so pumped-up!

Amazing. Awesome. Beautiful. Best. Bro. Freaking :) Friends. Friend. God. Great. Jillstill. Happy. Heart. Really. Thanks. Think. Time. And of course, my all-time favorite simple-superlative: WOW!

I just had to share. God truly gets and deserves all of the glory for this reflection, because it is only that which He has deeply planted in me. But I am truly thankful for this Spirit GOd has put in me. It's a daily battle, but with Him, one that I know is having an impact on my life--and certainly those around me--most importantly, the lives of Jill, Emma, Laura, Taylor, Caroline and Brooke.

As Jill and I always say when we're blown away by each other and the mere fact that we're so in love and so blessed to have each other; "Thank you God!"