Thursday, August 27, 2015

God delights in pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows

Weird title, but you need to understand something first, watch this YouTube video, all of it, now.

Now, I've seen only two reactions to this "Oh my goodness this is the greatest thing ever!!!1111 lolz"

However, I fall into the other reactionary camp of "Has someone slipped me LSD?!". It feels like my brain is leaking out of my ears and I'm really not having a good experience.

But, who am I to actually judge this... Creative output? I know from experience that animation and video editing are difficult skills, the last time I did any serious animation I actually wrote computer programs to do most of the animation work! Whatever reaction you have, someone used their creativity and hours of work to present the internet with that little animation.

I have literally written thousands of lines of computer code, almost no one ever sees what I create, my reward is knowing that if I've done my job right no one will ever see what I've done. I take a great amount of pride in this, in fact. It is my job, indeed my joy to write code that is never seen.

See I'm a programmer, I don't work as a programmer, I am one, I just happen to be lucky enough to be paid to do it. Outside work I maintain websites, build little games, write little utilities to make my life easier. I was programming before I had my job, I program outside of my job and no doubt I'll program once I eventually change jobs or retire.

It should be obvious that I have a big passion here, I love finding a way to make code run blisteringly fast. In my current work projects I am rewriting a ten year old system and updating its core, in place. It's slow and used to take several minutes to load, I've got several minutes down to ten seconds at its slowest. I thought that was so cool!

You might not find it cool, but I do and this is my corner of the Internet so, it's cool here in this part.

My point is though we all have things that bring us joy, it might be tea, baking, knitting, cats, swimming, cricket, curling, code or adventure time. It doesn't matter, we were each created to be a unique expression of God's creative output in this world.

Some things we are to bring into the world, some things we are just to appreciate.

Going back to my code for a moment, when I write something fast, elegant and concise I sit back and think "Damn that's cool!" And you know what? So does God!

I went a walk around the village I grew up in last week, it was so still and peaceful that you could hear the maize popping open in the sun. It was as if the world itself was holding its breath, it was amazing. I was delighting in it and I really felt that God was delighting in me delighting in it.

I really believe that God delights in the things we delight in, for instance, if God loves everyone, and we have great relationships with people, does God not too delight in the fact that we do life with each other? Does God not look down upon us and our respective relationships with people, and delight in our time spent together?

If I remark how beautiful or attractive someone is, does God not think "Of course they are! I made them beautiful in my sight! I made your eyes so that you can appreciate their beauty!" if I see beauty in something or someone, God sees in a million times greater than I ever could.

I felt challenged recently in my life, I was reading a book given to me about how God met LA gang members where they’re at and for all their faults God delighted in them and the priests working in the heart of the gang district found something amazing in those involved in shooting others and those in and out of correctional institutions. If God can see something delightful in the most hardened of criminals, if God can take delight in that individual and see something that no-one else can see, some element of goodness, then maybe, just maybe, God can also delight in me.

God says I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, and while I’m not exactly sure what elements of fear were put into me, it’s nice to know I was wonderfully made. I was made to have the friends I do, to enjoy the things I do and to see the world in the way that I do.

I find myself constantly overwhelmed by how delighted God is in me, my friends and my interests. I stop and wonder to myself “What about programming? That’s kinda dull, right?” and I feel as if I’m told “You dummy, I made you to enjoy it, programming is cool, you should try Lisp (XKCD 224)!”, then I watch Adventure Time and get inspired by all the Heroics and adventuring and want to go off on my own adventures and feel nervous and I feel encouraged to “Go and have your own adventure, go! Enjoy!” I’ll text my best friend and I’ll wonder if I talk too much or, perhaps say too much and I’ll feel a reassurance “Didn’t I bring the right people into your life? Go, talk, do life, enjoy!” and I find that I can’t think of something that is good in my life that God doesn’t delight in too.

God delights in all the things I take delight in, even if those things are stupid internet videos about Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows.

God delights in me.

God delights in you!

Monday, August 3, 2015

3.0 - One whopper of a change.

"I'm phoning you from Trenzalore, from before I changed. I mean, it's all still to happen for me, it's coming... Oh it's a-coming. Not long now, I can feel it."

"Why? Why did you do this?"

"Because I think it's going to be a whopper!"

This was quite an emotional moment, I'll admit, a beautiful emotional moment.

Ok, back track. This was a moment from the TV show "Doctor Who". For the uninitiated, the titular Doctor is an alien who changes his appearance and personality upon his death. Kinda a way to cheat it really, but there's rules you see, these aliens can do it only 12 times and the Doctor had used them all up. He was a goner, except, for the sudden intervention of his people, they broke the rules and allowed him to change again. Indeed maybe forever more.

He changed from a charming, if a little absent minded professor type character, into a badass, Scottish, 100% pure rebel time lord. Quite a whopper of a change.

Why do I bring this up though?

Cos... While it's easy to feel sad that the person you've watched on a journey for several years suddenly not be there anymore, there's the excitement of a new doctor, a new adventure, new possibilities

Life can be like that, sometimes things inside us die, but also... Sometimes new things are born inside us too, and that’s epic.

I bought my own home in December last year, I thought I was sorted, I have a good job, my own home, by all societal values I am very successful. I thought I knew what I wanted from life.

I was wrong. I don't feel successful.

I have spent the last six months having parts of me die inside. I was a very homely, quiet, reserved individual. I had my job and my home, I had no dreams, no hopes, no vision for the future. I'd been hurt too often to dare dream.

No more.

I know what I want, it ain't here yet. I won't be here yet for a time, I ain't ready now, but it's a-coming. Gods perfect timing, not mine, but it's a-coming.

I've been finding life hard, not in a depressing way, just in a daily slog, like all the conventional things in life that society demands we have to be considered successful aren't what I want.

High flying career? Boring.

Big flashy car? Not interested.

Kids? Just... No. Cats not kids.

I want to live a unique, adventurous life, I want to experience moments in time and space that never will be again.

Just like my hero, the Doctor, I wish to break the rules, but even that isn't enough for me... I wish to rewrite the rules.

Yes, I'm that audacious. Apparently.

Thing is, the dreams I have are legitimately crazy, the things I hope for do not make sense naturally, but as I learned at conference God cannot lie, if the facts are one way and God says it will be another, then the facts will change. They can't not change when faced with the awesome power of God.

I have been getting a very clear vision of what I want for the future and in the natural it doesn't look like it will happen, but Hebrews 11:1 states that "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

I have a hope, I have a vision for a preferable future outcome. More than one, in fact, I have lots of hopes and lots of dreams now.

This is new for me. This is my whopper of a change!

I stand on the brink of something new and I've been clearly told to wait, not to turn around, not to come back later, but to wait, like a parent would tell a child to wait until a road was clear before crossing. I'm going somewhere I've never been before, it's all going to be new and different and I'm going to adapt to an entirely new way of living and doing things and I can't wait.

But I must.

Just as the Israelites walked out of the desert after forty years and waited on the banks of the Jordan river, so too must I wait. I can see the other side, I can see all sorts of wondrous things, but it's on the other side and it's not yet time to cross over.

It'll come, I'm exactly where I am supposed to be, positioned to cross over when it is time, unsure how or when it'll happen, but having faith that it will.

Prior to conference I have three very specific words.

"You are where I have put you."
"I have given you a gift, just enjoy it."
"It might feel like you're scaling a mountain, but when you get to the top the view will be amazing."

I'm not one for waiting around, I never have been, if there's a task that needs doing and I've asked someone to do it and they don't get on with it quickly, I do it myself. So to be placed in a position of just waiting for God to give me the next step is hard... I don't want to wait, but I must.

I must trust that God knows what he is doing and that it has to happen in his time and if I run off ahead too quick I risk encountering something unpleasant.

It's hard, but if God has truly given me a hope for the future and said that I'm to wait... Then how could I do anything else, what I see, what I hope, is so far beyond what I could have imagined that I have to wait, because what I see now, is just epic.

Just like my hero however, I need to grow into this new me, find how all this new stuff works. Mark 11:24 says this: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” I know what I’m asking for in prayer and I’m believing that it is already here. I just have to follow God's’ way and wait for him to give me the next step.