Why We Do It
Candice and I started this blog a few years ago as a way to show friends and family how the kids are doing and to chronicle the events in the Kramer household. For those of you who have read from the beginning, you will notice that the frequency of our posts has been building over time and becoming a little more “spiritual”. Every so often we have someone ask us how we get the motivation to blog on such a regular basis.
A few years ago Candice and I felt we needed to figure things out. We were living our lives somewhat aimlessly. We didn’t have any financial, career, or ministry goals. When we look back on it now, we wonder what we did with all the free time because we didn’t have 3 kids. At around the same time, we were invited to a prayer group of some close friends. I had also begun to really start diving into theology and trying to find answers to the questions I was having. I remember praying for guidance. I knew God had gifted us with certain things and that He had a great plan for Candice and I. I can’t describe to you that feeling. It’s not egotistical. It’s a real understanding that we possessed qualities that could be used for great good. We just didn’t know what that was and I had this feeling like I was wasting it.
It’s like when you buy a new gadget and it’s just sitting in the box begging to be used. If you leave it in the box, there is a lingering feeling that its being wasted. Plus, the anticipation of getting to use it was overwhelming. Now, excuse me if any of what I am typing sounds narcissistic in any way. But I have the feeling that many who are reading this may know what I am talking about and are either letting the box sit unwrapped in the corner, or you have opened it up and used it for your own benefit and the benefit of others. We all have gifts.
What I loved about prayer group is that I was able to comfortably share with others what I was going through. To verbally state what is going on in your life is a sobering thing to consider. If you have little to talk about then perhaps things aren’t moving in your life. But there were times when it really felt like we were working through it and gaining valuable understanding of who we were, the mistakes we were making, and the things God was blessing us with. Prayer is a time of reflection. In today’s busyness of life you don’t have a lot of time for that except for the few waking minutes at night after your head hits the pillow.
As a result of prayer and being in the Word, something changed. What I knew was that if I did the will of God, then things would be right. But, what was the will of God? Those things can be found in prayer, counsel of wise men and women, and being in God’s Word. I remember taking certain characteristics of who I should be and I would take a week or two to really reflect on the practical side of those things. What is humility? What is unconditional love? What is endurance? What is forgiveness? How do those characteristics fit into
I noticed that my attitude began to change. I interacted differently with Candice. We began to have different conversations. Our goals in how we would raise our kids changed. Our desire for ministry and involvement in the church changed. We made it a high priority to stop desiring material things and to begin desiring things that bring continual happiness. But most importantly to me, the guidance that I desired so much for was becoming more clear.
What I have recognized for myself over the past few years is that I have a gift for planning. That may sound a bit weird but what I mean by this is that I have an innate desire inside of me to foresee future outcomes based on the decisions that are on the table in my everyday life. Some of you may have witnessed my love for Excel Spreadsheets. I love planning. Because of my love planning I do it often. Because I plan often, I get better at it. The more I get better at it, the more I love it. It’s an upward spiral.
So, the question is, how can I use that desire or gift to do the will of God? I found that I was using it for things that weren’t necessarily bad (Fantasy Football usually) but that didn’t feel fruitful. So, I asked myself what are the resources that I have been given and how can I use those resources to maximize what I do for God (if you are laughing now, remember that I was an economics major). What I discovered was that all of us have been given two basic things in life: Time and Energy.
I also needed something to direct my time and energy toward that was worthy of using these resources. I want to pause for a second now and ask you this question. What are you using your time and energy on? Should you be? I took a look at my life and realized that despite having a wife, 3 young kids, a full time job, a 45 minute drive to work, and other things, I still had a lot of time left in the week. My life wasn’t too busy and even now I am trying to fill it with more things.
So, I looked at my weekly schedule and saw how much time was devoted to certain things. Were these things really making me happy? Does watching a certain TV show make me happy or is it just a means to pass time? Does Facebook make me happy? Do video games make me happy? Does the pursuit of money make me happy? This was a bit of a shock to me. They don’t. In fact, they depressed me because there continues to be that feeling that there is something better I can be doing but I didn’t know what.
How could I live my life in order to feel a sense of purpose? That’s what I wanted all along. I felt a conviction to re-prioritize things in my life. If I say I love Christ but only acknowledge Him once a week on Sunday morning then I am delusional. If I say I love my kids but when I get home want to play video games instead of playing with them then I am delusional.
So, I wiped the slate clean on my schedule and filled in what I know I need to be doing in order to ensure I am doing what is right for me. This was going to require discipline. I decided to read more books that built my knowledge of things I could really use in my life. I also decided that I would step out in ministry. Candice was already helping with the youth group. So, I decided I would get involved. This was a hard decision because teenagers intimidate me. They ask you personal questions. They are touchy-feely. They are drama and I don’t enjoy drama! But by stepping out, I discovered something wonderful. It was the guidance I had been seeking
and praying for. I was now doing something I knew was the will of God. There was no question that God was moving in the hearts of the youth as well as ours.
What I have discovered in the past week is that even in the ministry with our church youth group, I wasn’t giving it my all. I have all these ideas in my head about how the youth could grow, how they could be more involved in the community, ideas for teaching in ways that make more sense to them, etc. I kept one foot in the door and the other one in the room just to make sure that there wasn’t possibly something else I was missing. But what I realized last week as the realities of the situations of these young kids I am working with became so evident, I have discovered my calling and will pursue it with all my time and energy. I will also use my God-given gift for planning to be effective and meaningful in how I lead.
So, that brings me back to the question: Why do we blog?
We blog, and do it at an increasing rate because we know we have a message worthy of sharing. We are excited about it because we have seen first-hand the power that is behind it. It’s a joyful experience to put to words what has been going through our minds the entire week. Our hope is that you, the reader will get a sense that this great power we speak of is hidden in a jar of clay. It can’t be revealed to you visually or in an instant. It comes through experience. It’s a power that has led others before us to set captives free, bring hope to a hopeless world, alleviate suffering, and at the same time, enjoy fellowship with other like-minded believers who will live and die for the advancement of the message.
I conclude with this question: Why don’t you do it?