“I have about 10 pages of inspirational chicken scratch, maybe I’ll pick my favorite points and expand on them. an advice column. yeah, that would be live.”
Turns out it was 12 pages.
I don’t know if this counts as an advice column (not sure if I’ve ever read one tbh), but more reflections started as 2 pages and turned into almost 2,000 words. To avoid turning my YED notes into a dissertation, I made a game plan.
If I stick to it, there will be four volumes. Each one is focused on a specific topic, but they’ll flow into each other (think of more reflections as the intro to all of this):
II. before you start
IV. as you’re going
The main points from the Summit are underlined, bolded, and numbered. They’re also bigger. If you just want some takeaway points from YED, there you go. But for everything else, assume I took the messages and ran with them.
I’ve been doing this long enough for y’all to know what to expect, but I hope you’re ready for a lot of intricate analogies and Bible verses!
1. Building relationships takes time
This one sounds like a no brainer, but like I said in my intro, we really struggle at this:
“we’re at a point where a lot of value has been put into quick and easy information, but building a relationship, especially when our judge has deemed someone as hopelessly not cool, takes time, which we never seem to have enough of. I’ll save the rest of that thought for another post.”
And here’s the rest.
You cannot microwave yourself a 5-star meal. You cannot sit at a piano for a day and expect to stand up playing better than Beethoven. You cannot tone your tummy in a week (I’ve tried).
We’ve managed to simplify our lives a lot, but some things have no substitute, not if you want them to be substantial. A relationship built on funny gifs and the occasional “how are you?” is probably gonna feel lacking, unless neither party is all that invested anyway. I’m sitting in a library right now, so I’ll use reading as an example:
I could start with Everything but the Coffee, reading through a chapter or two, but I’d also want to read Crazy Rich Asians (even though I’ve already read the whole trilogy and seen the movie), so the Coffee book gets put down and eventually CRA lands on top of it because I walk by Healing and the Mind, which is right next to Hard Choices, and before long I have 7 books I’ve started and neglected. 7 “Once upon a time”s and 0 “happily ever after”s.
Not every relationship will be a fairy tale, but there’s no way to know the plot if you don’t sit down and read. As a chronic speed reader, I reiterate;
these good quality things take time. Breezing through a book can be like running to the bus stop with the half-frozen Hot Pocket you tried to microwave before school; you get something out of it, but it could’ve been better. If you want your relationships to have roots that dig deep and branches that bear good fruit, you need to put in the time and care to help them grow.
‘How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord , And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.’
2. “Do you make me feel like I’m expanding or contracting?”
I remember having a “go ‘head pastor” moment when I heard this, because there’s a whole lot to unpack right there. It’s easy enough to understand that what hinders you will make you contract, pull you into yourself, make you smaller. Seeing as that’s pretty backwards, you would/should want to be in environments that will stretch you out so you can grow into the shoes you’ve been given to fill.
‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ‘
The gag is, change is involved either way. You may not want to go backwards, but you’re also not ready to move forward, so you slip into stagnancy. You stay in the jobs, classes, relationships, that allow you to be who you are. They don’t seem to ask too much or too little, because who you are today is who they want you to be tomorrow, and the next day.
You can create environments for yourself that don’t require you to grow, but there’s a big fish waiting for you. Jonah knew what he had to do, where he had to be, and he ran from it. It got him thrown into the sea, but before the crew threw him, they threw their own cargo overboard to try to make their ship lighter, hoping they’d be able to beat the storm that had now befallen them because Jonah was avoiding what would ultimately result in his growth. And this is just Chapter 1 of his story. Is your being out of place disrupting those around you? Are you hiding from what will humble you? Growth is a dynamic journey, but it can be seen throughout Jonah’s story that God was there through the ups and the downs. Sometimes, that knowledge has to be enough to keep you going.
That’s essentially my whole testimony, but I’ll save that for another time.
(I taught about Jonah in children’s church this morning, so if you’re not familiar with the story here’s a quick summary we showed the kids)
3. When you first meet someone, don’t ask for anything
- Ask “how can I help you?”, if anything
‘Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. ‘
‘And a leper *came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” ‘
‘And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” ‘
Don’t get me wrong, I got the gist of this point when it was given. We can be self-serving to a fault, looking to maximize from the moment we’ve made a first good impression. I agree that we should avoiding letting all of our interactions with each other become transactions, but I still noted that I felt like Jesus did a lot of “hi and bye” healing and told myself I’d come back to the thought later.
These verses all follow a pattern: people come, people ask, Jesus gives. There are also times when Jesus asks people what they want and they go from there, but I had to remind myself that this kind of mindset (not asking for anything) won’t really work in our relationship with God. It’d be like going to the ER with a gash in your forehead, asking the nurse how their kids are, offering to babysit (you’re still bleeding, mind you), and then going home. You won’t get treated without your consent, so you need to give the nurse, give God, permission to care for you. You need to acknowledge what’s wrong and ask for help, because you couldn’t thread a needle if your life depended on it, and in that moment, it does.
When you’re the one being asked, when someone extends that sincere “how can I help you?”, respond. They chose to say it, and in doing so they made themselves available to you. They’re asking for your burdens. There are times to put the needs aside and let His presence be more than enough, but don’t overlook how important it is to voice your needs (in any relationship).
4. Intrapreneurship: Add value to where you are
‘So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.’
When I was thinking of a passage to relate to this point, I intended to speak on chapters 40-42. They relate more directly, but to sum them up: Joseph got lied on and locked up, interprets some dreams for some prisoners, asks the prisoner who’s getting released to vouch for him (AH HA HA. you’ll get why this is funny by the end of the post) and is forgotten. Two years later, Pharaoh has a dream and Joseph’s jail buddy finally remembers him, so Joseph is freed and gets promoted from working for one of Pharaoh’s workers to being his right hand man.
But I really like this passage.
Like I don’t even feel like expanding on it, it’s all right there. The point given at the Summit was to maximize the opportunities around you (learning from people at other departments at work, etc etc), but this passage really hits so imma just let it rock.
5. Don’t be a crutch for dead weight
I wrote this point in all caps when I heard it.
I know what you’re thinking,
‘Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. ‘
‘For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.’
but what about
‘“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.’
I’m gonna dedicate this point to all the pillar friends, because I know y’all. I am y’all. The mom friend, the group therapist, the never misses a call or SOS text. It can be hard to say no to others and their needs, but you need those boundaries. I read a 300-page book on this and I still wasn’t tryna hear it, because it’s dissonant. There’s the way you’ve been living and the way that makes sense, but they’re not lining up properly. So if this isn’t sitting right with you yet, try giving yourself a heart check. What’s motivating you? Does your worth, sense of purpose, come from being that helper friend? Do you ever feel resentful or taken advantage of as you do what you can to help someone else?
And this is not to say that you should only support the people who are supporting you, because as we’ve seen, some things are “hi and bye”. But it is not on you to support the whole world. A corpse doesn’t need crutches, because it’s dead. Lose the unnecessary burden and bury it.
6. Don’t count on anyone to vouch for you
- know your character and portray it, always
assert or confirm as a result of one’s own experience that something is true or accurately so described.
This is why I was laughing during my Joseph summary.
A lot of the points we “live by” are pretty situational. There are times when you need to hear something along these lines, but there are times when you need to remember that Joseph got out of that prison because he had someone vouching for him.
I knew this was gonna be my last point, and it’s more about your relationship with yourself. Do you know who you are? Why you do what you do? Can you market yourself, advocate for yourself? No one has more experience with you, than you (besides God, but that circumscribes the point)((I couldn’t think of a simpler word for that, but what I mean is: that point goes around this point but I’m focused on this point. That’s the outside circle of a donut and this is the inside circle. yes.))
Knowing yourself means knowing what you’re capable of. Actually, insert an “intimately” before those “knowing”s, because the confidence that comes from intimacy is the fuel that will keep you going when the world says stop.
Knowing yourself means knowing Who made you. Without the outer circle, the inner circle is just a circle, and there’s no guiding boundary to its donuty existence.
And I guess that’s all I have to say, because I literally out-analogied myself. Wow.
This is just volume I, and besides 2-4, there are 5 other posts I have on my mind right now. I know that number will grow before I get to the end of this series, but I’ll get to the end. Finally bought my domain (hence the absence of weird ads and the .wordpress), partially as a reminder to myself (and my wallet) how important writing is to me, so here’s to more “I’ll save that for another time”s!
be blessed bbys ✨