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thanksgiving

Why my family is givng away nearly everything we own; lunacy or liberty?

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I’m writing this blog in response to a spirit of bewilderment among my community and people who know me. I’ve been asked if I’ve lost my mind. Why? Because I’m giving away most of what I own. On the surface, that seems like lunacy. Even the thought of it makes me chuckle. Yet, with the proper backstory there may be some explanation, though, I can’t insure any more understanding.

My wife and I have been married for 15 years. For 15 years we’ve lived under the remorseful and shameful position of debt. Some of it was not our fault, most of it was. We pay our bills and survive and call that living. We have come to the conclusion that that is not living. We’re missing out on freedom. Freedom is living. We’re missing out on life experiences. Experiencing life is living. We’re missing out on the opportunity to bless others. Blessing others is living. And so, we took a huge leap of faith and decided to sell our home of about 1900 sq ft and down size into a 250 sq ft space. Even with this adjustment, we will still have running water, electricity, heat, air, fridge, stove, and satellite television! We’ll still be living better that 2/3 of the rest of the world. With this move we CANNOT take all our stuff. Stuff…that’s the point of this blog.

Our stuff has never brought us happiness. We’ve accumulated it, piled it up, shoved it in storage, tripped over it, and regretted it. Our treasure is just not in our stuff. Now, I’m not against having stuff. That’s just not where our sense of happiness is derived. So we made the decision to give it away. And this decision has caused so many to question us and even criticize us.

Our reasons

1. We don’t need it. What need do we have for 3 bedroom suites in a camper? Why would we hang on to things that we would only have to pay someone to store for us? THAT, to us, is lunacy.

2. Others have a need for it. Aaron is a young man. He’s a recovering heroin addict with a wife and a baby on the way. He is working hard at his recovery and finding his little family a house. The baby is due any day now. Aaron and his family had a need for our stuff. As he drove off with a pickup truck and tailer full of our stuff, he was teary eyed at the way God had generously provided for him.

3. I am raising world changers. My sons are 12 and 10. What they see in their mother and I are considered Gospel truth in their eyes. At this moment in their lives, we are making indelible marks that will shape their character and life choices forever. It’s important to us that they learn charity, love, grace, mercy and hospitality now, and to see that in us (the way that I saw it in my parents). We want them to see that we live by faith not by sight.

4. We our now investors- not spenders. Jesus warned against laying up treasure on earth where rust and moth corrupt or thieves steal, but to ‘store up for yourselves treasure in Heaven.’ We wake up every day considering how we might make eternal investments. As Emperor Titus would exclaim at the end of the day, “I have wasted today!”, if he felt he’d not blessed someone that day…we count our days, and lives a loss if we’ve ended it still full of out “stuff” and have not blessed someone else. Our treasure is on Heaven.

5. We are followers of Jesus. We read the red letters in our Bible and take Him at His Word. We follow Him, not American consumerism and aquire-ism.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38

… freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

Where is the confusion and how can that be misinterpreted to mean only things of little value? So, it’s ok to give little, but things of value? Lots of things of value? Big things? Well, yes, all of it.

I’m not monastic. I don’t believe any holiness or righteousness is accredited to me for living modestly or giving things away.

Why not sell you stuff? (I’m asked this a lot.)

For what? To buy more stuff? 

Well you’re going to have needs of your own.

My God has met every need I’ve ever had, He continues to do so daily. Why would He stop? My debt is from the moments that I failed to trust Him and got ahead of Him.

I think what people don’t understand is that THIS makes my family happy and fulfilled. Hard to believe for some, but actually we find immense joy in being able to meet needs of others, knowing that God has blessed with the ability to do so. Do we WANT to live in a camper while we slay the debt dragon? Well, no. But we’ve prayed long and hard for God to relieve our sin and debt and we don’t expect Him to send black birds with $10 bills paper clipped to their beaks (though He could) to pay off our debt…we believe we have a responsibility to the Lord in putting forth some effort. ‘If we pray for rain, we need to plow the field.’

Don’t worry, if it was up to me we’d live in a yurt, tucked away in the Cascades where we’d hunt and fish, smoke my pipe by a fire, play my banjo, and count the stars every night. What we’re doing isn’t THAT hard for homesteading hippies who love Jesus and others. 🙂

Our devotion to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings has created in us very personal convictions. These convictions lead us to do very odd things as far as Western Civilization is concerned, which sort of out of congruency with what Scripture actually teaches.

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:14-18

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. Proverbs 3:27

9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

Perhaps I’ve lost my mind. I feel like I’ve gained my heart…and freedom. 

Never meet your hero. They’re messed up more than you are.

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There’s an old adage that says “never meet you heroes”. Everyone has heroes, right? I mean, sort of? Isn’t there a person or persona that we all look up to and idolize? As a kid my hero was Bruce Lee. (If you’re a guy) don’t act like he wasn’t yours too. Or perhaps yours was someone like John Wayne or Wonder Woman. We can idolize these larger than life figures, well, because we will never meet them. Fictional characters can be perpetuated into whatever we like them to be and dead characters, like wine, only get better with time. Then there’s the real to life, seemingly large than life figures that we’ve spent time trying to emulate in our own lives. We see these people as who we want to be or be like. They’re successful, they have it all together, why, they are untouchable! If it were ok with our spouse, maybe we’d even hang a poster of them over our bed and dream up the perfect scenario of what we would do if we ever met them.

(I once wrote Paula Abdul a letter when I was 10. I lied and said I was very sick and hoped she’d visit me. She didn’t)

So, what if we could meet them? What is it about the afore mentioned adage that beckons a warning to prevent this disastrous occasion? What’s wrong with meeting our heroes? The answer… “There is none righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10 In our eyes, they only seem so.

I’ve met many of my heroes. Over the course of the years, I’ve developed an odd knack for connecting with larger than life individuals. I have no idea how, it just happens. I’ve hung out with professional athletes, mega-pastors, internet celebrities, best selling authors, CEO’s of million, and billion dollar corporations, you name it. Many of which Ive found myself idolizing and emulating. Here’s the one take away from my experiences…they’re all flawed. This is the thing we don’t want to have to face. It destroys our image of them. I’ve found most of them to be narcissistic, neurotic, having tendencies to lie and over exaggerate, and possessing severe emotional or mental handicaps. I’m not saying they’re fake. I’m saying, I focussed on or was only allowed to see that which was impressive to me and others. However the truth is this, these men are screwed up, flawed men, who have crafted one thing very well. They got good enough at something, that it took the attention off of the bad things. Our heroes are not really deserving of that title. And, better yet, they don’t want it. They’d more readily eschew such attention than be clothed in it.

I’m not saying not to have heroes or people that you look up to. Remember, though, that they are your hero for a reason, their craft; not because they have it all together or are even a good person. Babe Ruth had a drinking problem, Bruce Wayne was bat feces crazy at times, my musical hero Tom Petty smokes too much weed, and every one of the Apostles that Jesus called to be His world changers had deep seeded issues each to their own. Peter was impulsive. James and John had indignant tempers. Judas…so yeah. So, my advise is to admire, but do so from a distance. If given the chance to finally meet your hero, DON’T. Just settle for an autograph.

and P.S.

Meeting your hero will not make you best friends. Your hero meets their fans everyday. In reality, you’re just another one and that doesn’t make them stuck up.

 

How to survive Thanksgiving as a (keto, paleo, vegetarian, bulletproof, etc)

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This is a tough time of year for those who follow a strict diet regimen that lies even somewhat outside the norm. Keto people can’t have carbs. Paleo can’t have dairy. Vegetarians can’t eat the turkey! With a myriad of family dinners and holiday food traditions, it can be downright treacherous! Afterwards, were left either feeling guilty for abstaining or feeling guilty for giving in, whereby sabotaging ourselves, right? Well it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are my holiday suggestions

Some of you won’t believe I’m saying this, BUT give yourself permission to go off your diet for a day. The reason you feel so guilty afterwards, is that you didn’t give yourself permission to indulge, you failed to resist and succumbed to the pressure. Then take down the pressure! If you go in to it with the mindset that you are allowed, you will relieve the pressure that’s self-imposed, as well as the awkward resistance in front of your family.

1. you’re not going to undo everything you’ve accomplished for however long you’ve been faithful to your diet. If you’ve been keto long enough, you’ll be able to slip back into ketosis within a day a two.

2. you won’t offend your family and needlessly hurt the feelings of those who’ve put so much work and joy into their holiday creations. Dear Aunt Gertrude poured all her love into that pound cake.

So, you’ve given yourself permission to de-rail for a day, great. Here’s my next suggestion. De-rail, but not too far. You have to set limits here. Once you de-rail it can become very easy to go how wild on a binge. Permission to indulge does not give justification for gluttony. You want sweet potato pie? Great! But do you need half of it? Exercise self-control and you won’t have far to come back to the rails that you de-railed from.

Now, put in some work to compensate and bounce back. Perhaps, do some intermittent fasting before the meal and a little after. Give yourself a little more exhausting workout that will place your body is a position that is conducive to using up those extra carbs or calories.

The holiday’s shouldn’t be a time of stress. Spending time with loved ones, gathered around the table and being thankful for our blessings should be our priority, not our diet. If you follow these suggestions, you should be able to more easily create a stress free environment to enjoy with your loved ones, and maintain a healthy eating habit as a long-term protocol.

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