Monday, November 30, 2009

When God Threw Me a Bone

My heart has been on a journey for the last several weeks. On this journey I have had to let go of many of my expectations of God pertaining to his plans for me. Of course, now that I'm technically in my late 20s, and still alone in a big city (for the most part), I don't feel I had any other recourse unless I wanted to continue writhing in self-pity.

So I chose the former. I threw my pre-conceived notions of my future (or at least my desires for my future) out the window. I have spent a lot of time singing songs about it ("To God my deepest heart...You have all my heart"; "In Your freedom I will live...I offer devotion") that it was time to worship in a Romans 12 way and live my empty words out. I knew full well this wouldn't happen in a day, so I took the one-day-at-a-time approach.

Before I knew it, I was finding my ample opportunities to be alone very welcoming. I knew nothing & no one else could fill me, and for once, I didn't want anything else. To let God & God alone fill my life has been a daily conscious goal for me, and in that I've found myself distracted from the source of my self-pity: myself.

The next thing I knew, God was throwing me a bone. This didn't happen in the sense that He snapped His fingers to my exact specifications. Instead, He gave me an opportunity to step up & step out in faith so that He too could show Himself faithful. Now I find myself on a brand new journey of sorts that is due to last an indeterminable amount of time.

The journey tastes sweet and I'm looking forward to new challenges & growth opportunities ahead. I now know that apart from the Lord, though, this part of my life cannot live up to its fullest potential...and I don't think I want it any other way. Therefore, I will continue to wait patiently each day and strive to walk in the freedom to become more like Jesus.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Life is moving and things are changing whether I want them to or not. God is a big God and He is giving me big things to think about.

More to come.

P.S. Where is my "blogging community" these days?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Realizations of an Easy Life

Almost 3 months I've put this off. It's time for words to be vomited. This could be disastrous, considering I have no idea what I'm going to write...a "stream of consciousness", if you will. Summer has come and gone. It is characteristic of summer to be set apart as a time of changes or events...neither of which have been the case for me. Rather, for me it has been a season of realization...the realization that my "norm" is no longer the norm for me, and it never will be.

You see, most of my life I have been dependent on other people, places, & things to keep my life eventful & interesting, to keep my character developing, and to keep my faith growing. This went on for long enough that I first got used to it, and later became dependent on it. The problem with this is that for me and most people, the world shifts from a constant state of flux to a constant state of beige, much like the colors of my tiny cubicle. Coincidence? I think not.

Realization #1: I am now a grown-up. Or, perhaps more accurately, I neither think or feel that I am, nor do I want to be, yet life circumstances are forcing me to play the part. So, as far as anyone else is concerned, I am a grown-up. As a grown-up, I can no longer be spoon fed. I can no longer depend on collegiate Christian bubbles or other people's time & money. I have been handed the reigns. While I continue to be watched by eyes above, what happens from here on out is entirely up to me. I can inevitably benefit somehow from any choice that I make. I have to be careful, though, because even worse than certain choices having adverse consequences, certain choices made can result in the losing out of favorable, life-changing benefits. So there you have it. I am allowed to make this life count for something. I am the only one who can. I can choose to capitalize on every interaction and opportunity that comes my way, and as a result, I can leave a legacy, or if nothing else, have some great stories to tell when I'm old & degenerate. My world may never again be black & white. Gray was never my favorite color, but I'll have to learn to live with that. I've experienced enough in my short life thus far that I would never wish for the worst person in the world to have to experience, so whatever wrong choices I make, I know I'll survive.

But survival is not the point!

I'm not as concerned with bad things happening as I am with missing out on the good in life. The training wheels have come off. Now I have to live very intentionally as if to create the good in my life. If you've mastered this, please stand up so we can acknowledge you. (This is the part where there's an awkward silence in a large auditorium, and the speaker makes the point that there's not a soul on the planet who has succeeded without some measure of difficulty & hard work.) I'm still on track. Not only am I familiar with difficulty & hard work, my life has been marked by it.

Realization #2: As much change & flux as there has been in my life thus far, this is the one thing that hasn't changed. I love change so much that I want the one constant in my life to be no more. I want things to be easy for a while...maybe even for good. The pulse within me that longs to seize each moment and make it mine is now being overshadowed by an even deeper, more resonant desire to stop working. Stop struggling. Stop fighting. Stop (insert other synonyms). I want this so much that I'm willing to let life pass me by, to bear the remorse of this decision, and to simply exist - nothing more.

Here we go again - the spirit v. the flesh. Is anyone else as tired of this as I am? As part of this realization, all I can do is delay the inevitable reconciliation of this "stream of consciousness" with the knowledge that there is a God who is at work in every right or wrong choice I make, as well as the umbrella that holds it all. And that's exactly what I've been doing.

I think I'm finally about to break.

To Be Continued/Determined

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dangerous Ties

I've realized this much: it seems that in many ways I am living for the world (things that pass away) v. living for eternity (things that do not pass away), which I suppose is a part of the situation in which I am trapped. I know I do not want to be tied to this world but if someone gave me a check for $x0,000, I do not know if it would be that easy to let go of the things of this world I have grown accustomed to. However, I know I have made more difficult decisions than this, and I have never felt less obsolete than when I have devoted my world to serving someone other than myself.

I know there is a way out. I do not want it to take 10 years or more, but even if it does, there is a way out, and it will be worth it. I just have to find it. My soul depends on it.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I'm trying something new.

What that is exactly is not as important as the fact that it is new.

I could very well not succeed, but luckily, success is not the point.

Things have been unchanging for far too long.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I find it interesting that in the Bible, the first time God refers to himself as "the LORD" (YHWH) is after he delivers the Israelites from slavery to the Egyptians. He then spends an entire book & a half reading them the specifics of His law. In doing so, He is sure to state his reasoning as "because I am the LORD" or "because I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians". He asks them to follow His law and to follow it to the letter for this reason, but also because that is what is most pleasing to Him.

I am not going to pretend to be a Bible scholar or a super Christian - not even for a second. However, by connecting the dots, one could come to the conclusion that the name YHWH signifies a two-fold element of God's character: (1) He is holy, and as such, He takes his holiness very seriously; (2) nevertheless, He still cares for His people and will fight for them by whatever means necessary, knowing full well they are incapable of keeping His law and will rebel.

After several more cycles of restoration & rebellion between God & God's people, plus 400 years of silence, He chose to put an end to that law and establish a new covenant by sacrificing His Son in the flesh, thus ending our separation from the Holy of Holies. It is only in God's character to do only what is pleasing to Him. He could've accomplished this in any way He wanted, but instead chose to do this in our favor.

We can't keep His law on our own. He knows this. But, not only did He choose to be pleased with us, He chose to do so in our favor. Nothing we can do is worthy of earning God's love, grace, & forgiveness, nor is it necessary.

"In God we trust...even when He looks like the enemy."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Here's a quick thought I have:

Easter is not over.

Yes, it may only be designated on the calendar for one Sunday per year dependent on the vernal equinox (or something like that), but Biblically, it is here and now. Christ is alive & risen here and now. May we swallow our Cadbury bunnies and let this impact our lives everyday. Though I struggle to find how this should look in my life, I long to live in the power of His resurrection.

On an entirely separate note, be looking for my EP in late 2009 (title to be determined). Maybe if I start saying this to people, I'll start working towards this and it will actually become true.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Current Location: Uncle Sassafras (car); parking lot at my apartment complex office
Currently Listening: Brooke Fraser
Currently Wanting: More

After another month-long hiatus, I'm afraid yet again I have very little to bring to the table.

This word has been very intriguing to me for the last several years - ever since the day I finally realized that I (and everyone else) am fallen, broken, and in desperate need of grace & mercy. The Bible says that for those who trust in Jesus to do so, they will be rescued from these bodies of sin & death. Until that day comes, for those who believe, Jesus asks us to live our lives in spite of this, reflecting the glory of the One who delivered us by living so much unlike who we are in our nature. He knows that until we leave these bodies, and until He comes to rule this earth, our flesh & spirit will war against each other for the balance of power in our lives. Far too often, that balance in my lives is shifted in the wrong direction. In a roundabout way, I think this is God's goal for me as I wait for Christ's return - balance. Balance between facing the truth of who I came into this world as, and eradicating that with the truth of who I am in Christ, and who God created me to be. I must confess:

This body cannot take much more.

We are an unbalanced people, of whom I am chief.

I'm ready for this power struggle to end.

I long for balance.

I long for Home.

God, help me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What Would You Do?

Starting this week I have added a second job to my weekly routine. Between roughly 5:30 & 6 Sunday-Thursday evenings I can be found making my way about the city amongst a plethora of other drivers who are anxious to get home. Each night this week, while in traffic at West Pennway & Southwest Boulevard, the same homeless man has been standing there with a sign that reads something like "Homeless...Help...Anything" (my memory is a little fuzzy due to an extreme lack of sleep this week).

Each time my heart breaks for this man, though I have no way of knowing who's really to blame for his state. If you know me, you know I've been given a heart for hospitality - more specifically, to practice Kingdom living by helping those in need in very practical ways; in fact, that is why I am doing everything possible to get out of debt as fast as I possibly can - ergo, why I am working 80 hours a week.

Unfortunately, I face myself with a dilemma each time in the American-ness of my ways, or a conflict of interest, if you will: I want to stop and talk to this man (even though I'm scared to) or at least give him money for food (even though he could spend it on drugs, alcohol, or something else stereotypical), but given the fact that I walk 3 football fields' length from my car to my workstation, plus have to stop to get a temporary badge until I'm issued my permanent badge for employee parking, I have to be sure I'm extra early for my shift. As I'm sure you've guessed, I've been choosing the latter, but this has been eating at me.

I keep coming back to the mid-90's mantra of "What Would Jesus Do?". Would he help the homeless man even beyond simply giving a handout and being on his way? Or, would he try and remain a good steward of his time & responsibilities for the sake of later freeing himself up for more Kingdom responsibility?

Reply to this post and tell me: what would you do v. your perception of what Jesus would do?

Friday, February 6, 2009


This morning when I got into work I received a call on my cell phone from a 417 area code. I was intrigued, so I decided to stop what I was doing and take the call from my patient account rep at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, MO, whom I spoke with the day before regarding my patient account balance (which will be paid off once I receive my severance check next week). The following is a paraphrase of our conversation:

Me: Hello, this is Tim.

CMH: Hello, this is Renee calling from Patient Accounting at Citizens Memorial. I was calling to let you know that we did get your account balance updated in our system, and we do show a remaining balance of $4,....

Me: Excuse me?! Are ya SURE about that?!

CMH: This is regarding 3 doctors' visits and a hospital visit from 2006.

Me: Right, and I've been making payments on that SINCE 2006! We spoke yesterday and you told me my account balance was under $900. My most recent billing statement does not reflect any $4,000 amount!

CMH: I'd be happy to send you a copy of the bill for those services to 7575 W....

Me: That is my correct address but that is not my correct balance! You must have something crossed in your system. My original bill was over $4,000 for an ER visit in August 2006 but I've been paying on that since 2006!

CMH: Wait a second...who is this?

Me: This is Tim Sowards. We spoke yesterday regarding my account balance.

CMH: Ohhhh yeahhh....hang on a second.

CMH: Ok, I think I put your contact info into the account for another Tim who had these services. I'm showing your balance as $818.66.

Me: Ok...that sounds more correct! I'm sorry if I came across as rude, but you really scared me!

And that, my friends, was today's heart attack. I never thought I could envoke such emotion! Other than that, God is good, and life is slowly getting better.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Please See Below...

This was the entry that I thought I had lost, but fortunately, I just discovered it autosaved near the end! Please give it a read and share your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

02.17.09 - "Blow It Out Your Earrrrrrrrr"

So far 2009 is bringing about some changes in my life...some which I am not ok with. Lucky for you all, I'm not intending to write about myself this time, so we'll just have to save this for later.

This last year the media has continued to bombard us with ads reminding us of the DTV transition for analog to all-digital, second only to the 2008 election. Starting February 17, 2009, if you use an antenna to watch your favorite programs on local TV, you're going to be very disappointed because at midnight all full-power television stations in the U.S. will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. However, we have options such as connecting to cable, satellite, or another pay-TV service, or purchasing a TV with a built-in digital tuner. Or, for my fellow white trash friends, the government offers the TV Converter Box Coupon Program which can save you $40 on a TV converter box, valued at $50-70.

My opinion: once was enough.

It irks me to see what we've become as a society and the rapid movement in that same direction (and my involvement in that), and I think the DTV transition is a great example. Once the transition is complete, some television channels will be turned over to fire and police departments for emergency communication and others are being auctioned to companies to provide new wireless services. You'd think if there wasn't enough room in the air for each of us to be constantly glued to our cell phones and wrapped up in ourselves, we'd rethink the value of the simpler things in life. Instead, our "me" attitude has once again led Congress to extremes such as mandating this transition.

Also, if you do choose to apply for the Coupon Program, you will see this message: "The TV Converter Box Coupon Program has reached its funding ceiling. However, coupon requests from eligible households will be filled as funds from expiring coupons become available. If you would like to apply for a coupon today and are eligible, you will be placed on a waiting list and will receive coupons on a first-come-first-served basis as funds from expiring coupons become available." Are we really so desperate that the government does not have enough available funding for everyone to use this program, and that over 100,000 people have been placed on this waiting list?

Don't mistake this as a "holier than thou" stance. I look forward to clearer pictures without having to pay for cable or satellite, and I very much support the increase in emergency communication & broadcast space. Heck, I may even purchase an antenna for my converter box. :-) But a much larger part of me has to look at this and say "What have we become?"

Now is your chance to share your opinions, insights, & research on the DTV 2009 transition. I want to know what each of you have to say on the subject, and hopefully we can generate some semi-decent discussion. Annnnndddd....go!