Last bits on my time in Madrid, as well as reflections on the importance of Christians coming together.Read More
A day late because pictures like to take a long time to load onto this platform, but it's here! My update on the last two weeks!Read More
Musings on something that I was reminded about two weeks ago, on my way back from Salamanca on a rainy day: that a conversation can do more for seeing the humanity in someone than almost anything else you can do.Read More
A long hiatus broken by this post, for reasons also explained in this post, making more reasons why you should check out my second blog post from Madrid :)Read More
I'm in Madrid. Here's the first of weekly blogs, hope you enjoy! :)Read More
T&D's Nathan Henderson goes deep for a moment into the inadequacies that all that the world has to offer when it comes to satisfying our deepest needs.Read More
A reflection on Hillsong United's tour stop in Toronto at the ACC of their EMPIRES tour, talking about humility in worship, and using our God-given gifts to the best of our abilities.Read More
Have you heard this song? Probably, it's been on the radio a bunch and it's pretty good but like all songs that play on the radio a bunch it gets really annoying and now you just wanna punch Lorde in her face and say NO WE'RE NOT ON YOUR TEAM.
Then you see her dance like this and it's all forgiven and you love her all over again.
Like she lost an earring. LOL.
But, in actuality, there's a good reason as to why I've gotten stuck on the word 'team' for today's post.
Do you remember a time when you accomplished something?
Like, really accomplished something big?
Like, gotten into med school? Or gotten all 90s in university? Or married to the girl of your dreams? Achieved the job of your dreams?
Was it because you decided to do something, and by the strength of your own iron will, you managed to achieve said thing?
Sure, that's what you'll probably tell everyone, and it probably often feels like you've done it all yourself when you've accomplished something great. But I think it goes gravely, gravely overlooked just how much influence other people have in our lives and in how we do things, especially important milestones in our lives.
Our accomplishments, our dreams, they can't be achieved by ourselves and ourselves only.
When we accomplish things, it's because we have been shaped and groomed by the people and circumstances around us to accomplish these things. Now this isn't a capitalist critique or a even a critique against the idea that you can lift yourself out of your circumstances and accomplish something wonderful.
Okay, perhaps it's a bit of a critique against the second part of it. Here's the list of why I think you specifically need other people to achieve things that are often your greatest dreams.
1) We doubt ourselves and our ideas.
This is one of the major 'duh' points that nonetheless needs to get hammered into our own minds. Think of it, you're awake one night, unable to sleep, and you think of this grand idea. It's going to be big, it's something crazy, say like: a new amusement park ride. You think of the technology involved and how it's plausible, how you can market it to youths looking for a new type of thrill, and how you can manufacture it, you think of everything. Then you go to sleep with your head still buzzing. Then, when you wake up, you realize how dumb you were. Or rather, you poke holes in everything you've ever thought of until you forget about it. Because you don't tell anyone about it.
When you don't tell anyone about the ideas or dreams that you have, you leave it to yourself to doubt them and poke holes in them. We're always going to be our worst critic, and when you don't have other people to bounce ideas off of, then your dreams and ideas never get liftoff. And sure, maybe other people will poke holes in your ideas too, but if you're sharing them with people who actually care about what you have to say, it's going to be a helpful critique that will help you move forward and into something new.
2) From the head to the world
Speaking your ideas, and what you hope and dream about, is also incredibly important. If you just keep the things you want to yourself, then how do you expect it to feel real to you? It may sound trite, and maybe this whole article may seem a like a whole lot of cheese (BUT WHATEVER MY WEBSITE I DO WHAT I WANT), but just speaking out what's in your head to the world is so important to making it real. It's real because now other people, people that you hopefully trust know what it is that is on your heart and in your head. They can hold you to it, ask you about it, or sadly, more often than not, they can forget about it. But hopefully not. The point is that it's out there, and that's more real than letting it swim around in your head.
Also, it helps you to fully form these ideas. When it's in your head, especially mine, it's in a state of constant disarray, of flitting thoughts and images that come together for a bit, then disappear again, then come together in a different way. I mean, let's be real, whose brain is organized enough to keep everything that we think about a subject in an organized neuron journal? Bet yours can't. That's why even writing it down it important. It's an organization and formation step, and it's vital.
3) We're made to be in community with other people.
There's probably more points I could use, but these are the three that kind of put all these random thoughts in my head onto paper. Digitally. I digress. But this I think is the most important thing.
God made us to be in community with other people.
Simple. As. That.
Being in community people means laughing with them, crying with them (not me though, because I'm tough), sharing with them and caring about them. It means being vulnerable too, which is dangerous, but so very rewarding.
We are hardwired, from introvert to extrovert to the popular one to the outcast, for human contact and human relation. We are meant to share and be with one another. That's why as Christians we're called to be a part of a church; we are never meant to walk alone. It's all over the Bible. Heck, even people who aren't Christians can tell you this.
We're meant to share and be with other people. Sure, we can share with God our hopes and dreams. But we're meant to live our lives as Christ followers and as people in general, regardless of beliefs, with other people. God isn't a tangible human, and He doesn't expect us to share our hopes and dreams with Him and Him only.
We're meant to be, as Lorde's catchy team reminds us, on each other's team. It's cheesy. It may sound dumb.
But maybe listen to it.
You might achieve something you never thought you'd be able to before.
You know what's really easy?
Doing what's easy. Duh.
It's easy to live life easily. I can imagine lots of people who look at how I live my life, perhaps disapprovingly, and say those exact words to me. I take life easily. I laugh easily. I care about people easily. I give easily, of time, and of money, and to new people that I meet.
And that's easy for me. I don't really have to try. In fact, it's not even hard for me to work hard. I work hard because in part because I don't want to disappoint others, but I think more truthfully, I don't want to disappoint myself and what I think I'm capable of doing, whether I'm washing dishes at Starbucks or writing an essay on global governance.
You know what I also used to find easy? Writing.
Part of growing up in an apartment building in a sketchy part of town was that I was stuck inside, without the benefit of a brother whose mental capacity was at my level (sorry bro you were a fetus when I started writing so you can't really fight me for this). So I wrote stories, stories usually in a fantasy world very different from our own. I think that's because I've always valued thinking of worlds beyond my own, more than you can ever know. There's this quote by the famed Dr. Seuss:
You know you're in a love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
Well, yes, I'm in love that is true, with a girl named Sarah Marshall, and yes, the reality of that is more wonderful, and for that fact, more authentic and full than in my dreams, but that's besides the point. What has always struck me about that quote is the last bit, where reality is finally better than my dreams.
My reality has never been better than my dreams. And to be honest, I don't think it ever should be, because then why would I want to make my life, and anybody else's life any better than it is now?
There is a stagnation that is always there in reality if you look at it as your pinnacle. And I realize now that I've allowed it to become stagnant. I've taken where I am as my place in life. Because it's easier to do that.
I feel like I'm at a place where I've stopped looking beyond my reality and just decided to lay down. Or, to accurately describe what I feel like is happening in my reality, I feel like I've decided to lay in the ground in the coffin and the hole that life has dug for me, waiting patiently for the shovelfuls of dirt to continue piling up on me. Until I die.
Ha, now that's fairly dramatic. But I think that's what feelings always are. If they're tempered to be a little more reader friendly, they become less of what they actually are meant to be in words: visceral and provocative.
Anyways, so how does reaching beyond my reality connect at all to 'what's easy' you may ask? Don't worry I swear I have the ability to make you believe any tangent I go off on has connection to my original theme.
Getting stuck, and doing what's easy I think have a frightening amount in common. Because it's easy to not move.
So, for a while in my life, writing was easy. I did it all the time. I didn't care about much else besides doing well in school, reading books, and writing, and watching movies from the library. As a result, I didn't do anything else that was out of my comfort zone, that wasn't easy.
For the past few years, actually, for almost the whole of the past decade, writing became more difficult. Because I tried new things and they became easy to invest in, and took up more of my time. Sports, performing on stage or through a mic, or leading in various positions have become my niche. And those things weren't easy at first, but they became easy, because I wanted to become great at them so bad that I spent time on them As a result writing was pushed to the side. The only reason I started writing much again was when I had to blog for class.
And someone told me something that I don't think I'll ever forget. This person is my beautiful friend Liza Klassen, who, perhaps as an afterthought, told me after reading one of my blog posts to "never stop writing :)"
Yah she even added a smiley face because she's lovely like that.
She's actually one of my many friends who has explicitly told me that I should keep writing, and that what I write matters.
But I just haven't. Because it's hard, because I can never think of something interesting enough that people will read, because every time I write something I look it over and think that it's crap BLAH BLAH BLAH NATHAN YOU ARE SO FULL OF EXCUSES.
There are even articles online talking about how hard it is to write and how difficult it is to write well, effectively pouring more water over the dying fire within me that wants to put my fingers to the keys and type out words.
And now I kind of realize, I'm stuck. I've been feeling stagnant for a while, and now I realize a big part of that is my alarmingly growing tendency to give up when I think things are too hard. And I've never believed that about myself. And I think I need to stop. I think I need to start doing what difficult again.
So what was the first step? Spending more time with God actually.
After that? Writing.
Just freaking writing. The amount of people who've told me to keep writing is proof that when I write stuff, people are interested in what I have to say. For some strange reason, that I truly believe doesn't have much to do with me. Words and all that they are able to encompass have the power to mean so much to many different people for so many different reasons.
So maybe, hopefully these words mean something to somebody else.
Maybe writing isn't what you've got to get back to, or start doing. Maybe it's spending more time with family. Maybe it'll committing yourself to work harder at work or school. Or whatever. Do what's hard. Don't let yourself become stagnant.
Reality is never going to be better than your dreams.
And if you think it is, then start dreaming again.