Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Here and Nouwen

     To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of the majority of this book. I guess I just wasn't feeling the connection between the author's experiences and my own. He was, or is, a far more emotional person than I am. But with that being said, the idea of living in the present has been weighing on me lately(as my last blog mentioned). And although Nouwen only really focused on that for one chapter, it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time I needed to hear it.
     My life has no direction. This consumes my thoughts. I've been going to college off and on for the last four years without any real purpose. It feels like I'm spinning my wheels. So, to continue the metaphor, I find myself worried about when I'll finally get traction and take off. At the moment I'm unemployed, I dropped out of school again, and I've lost the ability to do the one thing that has always been a constant in my life, sports. There really isn't anything about the present I care to focus on; I'm just waiting for a job, waiting to heal, waiting to move out, waiting for motivation to set in.
     So it's been a struggle to focus on where I am instead of where I want to be. But in doing so I've been more driven to make the most of the little things that happen throughout the day. That's what I've taken away from Nouwen's book more than anything.
     But, unless I missed it, Nouwen forgot one crucial part to living in the moment: where that moment lies in eternity. We were made to last forever. And while Today is all we have, if Today is not viewed in the backdrop of Forever then we've missed the point. I've only ever been motivated by the temporal rewards to what I'm doing. I want a job because I have bills to pay. I want to play volleyball to win and have fun doing it. I want to move out for the freedom. What I should be focusing on is the eternal implications are of my activities. I need to work because My Master says I need to be productive to the society He put me in. I need to play sports to bring glory to The One who gave me the ability to excel at them; my joy  in playing brings Him joy. Every day I have, and every thing I do in that day must be for the right reasons--the everlasting reasons. Unfortunately I'm a bit of an idiot, so God had to physically break me to get me to slow down and realize I had it all wrong.


  1. I loved that part of Nouwen's book too! I am realizing how hard it is to live in the moment! I love what you added about living though with the Eternal view in mind. I know this is probably a hard place right now but I actually think God is doing a beautiful work. He will teach you to have your identity in Him and not in the things you do or accomplish. He loves you for who you are and has a special plan for you. I'll be praying for your brother :)

  2. love this, ryan. thanks for sharing it with us. your last paragraph definitely stands true. "And while Today is all we have, if Today is not viewed in the backdrop of Forever then we've missed the point." i love that a lot. i'll definitely be thinking about it for quite a while.

  3. i really like what you said about living in the moment, but for eternal purposes. that is a really great idea and a wonderful reminder. thank you. i'll be praying for you, praying that God will be your director and stay so close to your steps and that you will not lose joy despite all of the challenging circumstances. you seem like you are very strong and level headed ryan.

  4. yeah man i totally agree about living today in light of eternity. but at least for me, when i live in the backdrop of eternity, it leaves me nowhere to go but the present. eternal life is now & the victory is ours so it is usless to live in the past or future. i think eternity is the present. if that makes sense? like we will be living in the present, for eternity.

  5. Ryan, I hear you brother. Im in a similar situation, currently unemployed, and battling wasteful use of my time.
    Remember that slow times in schedules can spiritually be the most productive ones. And when we're in situations where the world goes, "What are you doing with your life?" - I like to say, "not getting caught up in business, thats for sure;)"
    Praying for God's awesome guidance during this season.
    Seek Him

  6. For me as well this was not necessarily my favorite book. Parts of it like you experienced were real good, but I also felt they were too short. Other parts I did feel I wanted to write off, but so ya know you were not the only one with those thoughts. I wish every book or every reading we did in life had an amazing impact on our lives the whole way through, from the first to last word, but sadly there are instances where it is either not the right time in our life or just simply not meant for us.

  7. I completely agree with your first paragraph and Robert's comment. I also totally appreciate your last paragraph. If I had read THAT in Nouwen's book, reading it wouldn't have felt like such a chore. Thank you for your insight and for this Truth.