Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Soul Has Been Lifted!


So much has happened over the past week and half it has been hard to keep up with them. Of course, I have kept you up to date on the prayer event from last week. I still don't think I have recovered from that whole thing. However, I have found myself being very contemplative. Over the past five months I have asked you to come along as I share with you my journey home. Today, I ask the same of you. So, join me as I share with you some things I have been touched by in the recent past.

If you have followed my blog you know that I have made a huge deal about the books written by Andy Andrews. I have blogged about The Traveler's Gift, I have alerted you to the fact that you, absolutely, have to read The Noticer, and I have encouraged you to be looking for and sharing The Lost Choice. The past few months my blog has been filled with Andy Andrews! I want to take a moment and let you know why that has been the case.

For those who have read the books you will know what I am talking about. For those of you haven't I will do my best to explain. When I found The Traveler's Gift in the library it wasn't because I was looking for it. I had no idea who Andy Andrews was and I wasn't trying to find out. I just happened to be trying to pull another book off of the shelf and his book fell onto the floor. Before returning it to the shelf I read the back cover. I thought that the premise sounded interesting and I knew some of the people who had reviewed it and, trusting their judgment, I took it home to read. Since then I have found power in words again. I have realized that there is thought and importance in what people read and what they can write. I am sure many of you are thinking to yourself, "What is the big deal about these books?". Let me tell you why they are a big deal to me.

The Traveler's Gift, The Noticer, and The Lost Choice are all books that asks the same question, "How do we become a better person?". In itself that is a subject that many authors have tried very hard to sell to people. Let me tell you this, right now, I am not a big fan of motivational speakers, feel good psycho babble, or "21 ways to do this or that"! That is why I enjoyed these books so much. In their pages I didn't read how to become a better person I read about people who are, or could be, me. In the words that I read I didn't hear someone telling me how bad I was I heard about how good I could be! Save the Bible I haven't read that many books that inspire me, but I was inspired by these. I was inspired to become a better person simply because I believed that I could do the things the characters in these books did. These books made me want to be a better person!

Surely, you are sitting there and thinking to yourself, "OK Derek, I believe you but how can a book do that?". My answer would be simple, books do it all the time! What we read is just another way that we process the world around us. For good or for bad the books that we choose to busy our time with makes an impact on us. Whether it be romantic novels or presidential biographies, US News and World Report or Playboy magazine, John Grisham or Stephen King, what we read shapes us. That is why I think it so important to read my Bible! But when I am not reading scripture don't I owe it to myself and to my fellow man to be reading something that lifts my soul. That's what these three books have done for me...they have lifted my soul.

My journey home has been a rough road for me. That doesn't me that it would have been a rough road for you. It simply means that I have struggled finding my way back home. Through trials of surgery, through unending nights of pain, through peaks and valleys as a pastor, as husband, as a father, as a son, I have had my fair share of struggles. I don't say that because I want you to feel sorry for me. I say that because I want you to know that, for all that I have gone through, I have read something that has lifted my soul again. I have had the opportunity to challenge myself to be a better person. I have had the great opportunity to share great writing with my father and he with me. I have taken the 7 statements of success that Andrews speaks about in The Traveler's Gift and make them my own. I have read of "Jones" in The Noticer and challenged myself to look at my life from a different perspective. I have read The Lost Choice and committed myself to something great in my life. Through these past few months and through these three books I have found that I am a traveler and I do have gifts. I am a person that "notices" things and gives people a moment to catch their breathe and begin life again. And I have dedicated my life to encouraging myself and others not to have the "lost choices" of life.

Because I have done these things I am a better person and the world is better for it because the one thing that was made clear to me in these books is that everyone makes a difference. Whether for good or for evil everything we do makes difference in our world and in the lives of those who live on this world. From now on I refuse to accept mediocrity, I choose to act and not react. From this day forward my journey home will be better, brighter, and full of the confidence that my God has placed inside me. I will choose to be happy and I will seek wisdom. I will make a difference in my life and in the life other's because I can. I will be a better husband, better father, son and brother. I will not have any lost choices in my life because I choose to do something. My journey home begins again this day!

I do not believe that Andy Andrews is an angel sent from heaven. Andy Andrews is just a guy who wrote some books. But the words that I needed he wrote. I am not a better person today because of Andy Andrews but I am sure that God had a hand in his writing. I am a different person today because I choose to be! My God wants that for me and from me...a gift from a father to a son!

If you get a chance read his books, start with God's and move on to Andy's! Until next time I will see you on the journey!



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