Pride’s Not a Problem and I’m Proud of It

The Bible has a lot to say about pride. The verse that comes to mind says that pride goes before a fall.

It does. I learned my lesson the hard way.

I’ll never forget visiting my tenth grade friend Bud and talking to his sister, who was a year older than I was and someone I wanted to impress, even though she was far out of my league. And what better way than by showing off the Spanish I’d been studying for a year or two at that time. I could certainly impress her with my linguistic abilities.

So I started reading aloud from the Spanish textbook I had with me.

She was impressed all right. But not the way I’d wanted or expected.

How was I to know she’d lived in Puerto Rico or some other Spanish-speaking place for years while her dad was stationed there in the navy? Or that her Spanish was far superior to the best I would ever be able to do?

Talk about red-faced…

I wish I could say that was the only time pride got the better of me. Sometimes it wasn’t even my fault–like the time an aunt of my mother’s took my mom and a cousin of mine and me out for a meal at a nice restaurant. Of course, none of realized this place would have a dress code or that what they kept on hand to give naive young men who weren’t properly attired would not only be as ugly as sin, but horribly mismatched.

So much for pride in my appearance. At least I can look back at that now and laugh, but I sure couldn’t at the time.

I must’ve learned my lesson from that. Several times in my adult life I’ve gone to Halloween parties dressed with a sheet folded into a triangle and worn as if it were a diaper. I dragged a blanket behind me and periodically drank milk from a baby bottle. If that had embarrassed me, I never would’ve done it more than once. I just wish I knew what had happened to the picture.

People frequently tell me what a good writer I am. And what a good guitarist. Yes, of course those compliments make me feel good, but I’ve read better writers and listened to better guitarists. So I don’t let it go to my head.

That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my accomplishments, though. I really am. But I know better than to compare my talents to those of other people. I’ve learned that being myself my way is quite an accomplishment in and of itself.

Years ago I read an article in Guitar Player magazine about guitarist Phil Keaggy. (I’ve been a Keaggy fan for MANY years and still wouldn’t begin to know how to play like him.) But I was really impressed by something super-guitarist Eric Clapton said in the article (I hope I’m quoting him correctly): “I’d like be able to play like Phil Keaggy–and then not do so.”

Amen! to the idea of having talent equal to someone else’s but still being oneself rather than a copycat. I can truthfully say I’ve never tried to play or write the way someone else does, no matter how much I appreciate and enjoy their work. In fact, that’s what makes my songs and novels legitimate: they’re mine and no one else’s.

One thing that keeps me humble about my music is the fact that I normally only get to use my guitar playing and original songs at our church’s weekly nursing home ministry. Those nice old folks would probably love my music, no matter how good or bad. I doubt they would know the difference. And neither would they care. They seem to love and appreciate me–and that carries over to my music.

What are you proud of? Is it a problem or a reasonable pride? Please leave a comment.

<>

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

My latest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. Look for it HERE if you’re interested.

Best regards,
Roger

 

 

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

My wife and I don’t subscribe to the local newspaper. Or to any newspaper, for that matter. Although Fox News is one of the default windows on each of our computers and I check it several times daily–as well as receiving breaking news in email–I tend to agree with something Paul Simon said a number of years back: “I get all the news I need from the weather report.

Why do I feel that way? Am I unconcerned about the world around me? Am I so immersed in thoughts of eternity in Heaven that I want to ignore what’s going on here on earth?

I don’t think so. Over the last three or four years, I’ve begun paying more attention both to politics and to events around the world than ever before.

But it’s so depressing. The names and places may change, but the evil taking place worldwide sounds the same as always. The Bible says, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” and I think that applies to the depravity of humankind as well as to numerous other things.

Jesus preached a gospel of love–love for God and for one’s fellowman. But the news makes me believe that the world in general hasn’t become one bit more civilized than it was in Jesus’ day.

I don’t recall many of the conversations I had with my mother, but this one stands out. I was probably an upper teen when I said, “Why do people even have children nowadays with so much evil in the world?”

Her response was something like “Don’t you trust that everything is still in God’s hands?”

That’s been what’s kept me from turning into a total pessimist.

Back in the days when folk music was popular (1960s, as I recall), I played a lot of it, including what were called “Negro spirituals.” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” was one of my favorites, and it sums up what Christians ought to remind themselves of when they start feeling pessimistic about the state of the world.

And this verse from Philippians 4 in the Bible says it all: “Do not worry about anything. Pray instead about everything and don’t forget to thank God for His answers.” I don’t think God would object if we substitute the word “fret” for “worry” when the state of the world starts getting to us.

Does God have YOUR world in His hands? How about sharing with a comment?

<>

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus–I think of it as “the novel the Devil hates”–released on November 25. Check it out on Amazon if you’re interested.

Tentative-Front-Cover

Best regards,
Roger

Spiritual Warfare?

Let me begin by saying that  spiritual warfare is a biblical concept. So is the Devil, although the Bible doesn’t describe him in the stereotypical way we often think of him. I believe the Devil has a great deal of power.

At the same time, I’ve long marveled at the number of Christians who accuse the Devil (don’t ask me if he’s one person or many) of being responsible for all of the hard times they’re going through. Yes, he was responsible for Job’s woes and God permits him to do evil even to good people, but many of our most serious problems result from our own mistakes and bad choices–and sometimes from those  of other people.

And let’s not ignore original sin. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God couldn’t allow them to remain in His perfect Garden, Eden,  and continue to live perfect, carefree lives.  So He expelled them into a world that was–and continues to be–filled with trouble. And death. Those things are to be expected. So why blame the Devil for all of them?

All of that to help you understand the rest of this post more easily…

On Tuesday the 25th, my novel–The Devil and Pastor Gus–releases. Of the eleven novels I’ve written (this will be the third one published), this is one of my favorites. If you read my recent post about legacies, you already understand that.

Martin Luther made this observation, quoted by C. S. Lewis in Screwtape Letters: “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”

And that’s exactly what The Devil and Pastor Gus intends to do–make fun of the Devil.

But how does Satan feel about The Devil and Pastor Gus? Does it so anger him that he would attack the publication of the book? What can he do–if anything–to express his resentment?

Here’s where I’m just thinking aloud. My book’s publisher, Lighthouse Publisher of the Carolinas (LPC), is small. But they do a great job. However, by oversight–certainly not intentional–some steps in the publication process got behind schedule.

Hmm. Human error. Understandable. Can’t blame the Devil for that.

But then my author representative–the person I could ask all of my questions about the publication process–cut her foot, and the resulting infection went to her heart. Her condition was life-threatening, and she’s been out of commission ever since.

I was assigned a new author rep, one who already had her own caseload. And she ended up in a car accident. She’s recovering, but not back at work yet.

Another LPC employee–I don’t know if her work had any direct connection with my book–lost her husband in an accident.

And then my marketing representative lost a family member she had been very close to. Very unexpectedly in a horrible accident. Understandably, that has affected her ability to help.

Spiritual warfare? I don’t know. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?

If you have anything to share on this subject, please leave a comment.

<>

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases this Tuesday. Here’s the link on Amazon.

Best regards,
Roger

My Legacy

Tentative-Front-Cover

Some years ago I wrote a song called “What Will You Leave Behind?” While I don’t dwell on the subject of legacies constantly, I do think about it fairly often. Especially as I advance in age.

One thing for sure. Unless something drastic happens, my financial legacy won’t be measured in millions of dollars. Or even in the upper thousands. My wife and I have everything we need, but we’re in no way well-to-do in earthly terms. So, girls, you’d best earn your own money, since you’re not going to get rich on your mom and me.

But financial legacies are only a small part of what we leave behind. Often the least important part.

I’ve long since concluded that my most important legacy as a Christian is the books and songs I’ve written. And will continue to write as long as God permits me to.

I pray nightly for my readers–past, present, and future. I pray for God’s help in writing what He wants others to read, and I pray that His message will be clear to my readers in their individual needs and circumstances. And I pray that I will continue to improve in my writing and in writing about only what God wants me to write about.

That’s why the release of my third novel on Tuesday, November 23, is so important to me. The Devil and Pastor Gus (see the tentative cover at the top of the page) tells the story of a middle aged man determined to leave a Christian legacy in the form of a novel ridiculing the Devil for his foolish pride.

In the process of feigning friendship with Satan to get back story for his novel, Gus’s prologue is unwittingly published in a popular Christian magazine. Aware now that Pastor Gus has played him for a fool, the Devil sets out to destroy Gus’s life in every way possible. As if killing Gus’s wife and unborn baby aren’t enough, Satan tricks Gus into thinking that signing a contract for his soul is the only way he can save his church.

I won’t tell you the rest of the story, but suffice it to say that Gus knows he’s made a terrible mistake. He can’t undo it, though. The question is whether he can beat the Devil at his own game…or whether God’s mercy is greater than Gus can imagine.

Uh, let’s see…where was I? Oh, yes. Talking about my novels and songs as my legacies.

I can’t say that I have any personal experience with the Devil, but Gus and I are a lot alike in wanting to leave a legacy that will affect Christians in profound ways for years to come. I’ll write other novels if God permits me to. But The Devil and Pastor Gus is what I tend to view as my ultimate legacy. Not necessarily my best book. Not necessarily my most popular one. But the one God will use to make a difference in a number of lives.

What better legacy could I want than that?

What legacy are you leaving to your survivors? Please share a comment.

<>

Please come back again on Sunday for another post. If you prefer to receive my blog posts by email, sign up at the lower right corner.

I have another blog, “As I Come Singing.” I use it to share the lyrics of the almost 200 songs I’ve written over the past fifty years. You may see it HERE. You’ll also find free lead sheets (music, lyrics, chords) for many of them HERE.

If you’re interested in seeing more about The Devil and Pastor Gus or pre-ordering the book, GO HERE.

Best regards,
Roger

Time, Mine or God’s?

pocketWatch

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been quite time-oriented. Sometimes obsessively so.

When I was in my early twenties, I planned every activity of the day in fifteen minute increments. I was so tied to my scheduling that I got pretty upset if, for example, I didn’t leave on a trip at the exact time I’d planned to. Good thing I wasn’t married then. I would’ve driven anyone nuts.

I outgrew that quirk, but never quit thinking of time as something to be possessive of. I resented anyone or anything that intruded on my time needlessly. As much as I liked the kids when I was teaching school, the fact that it ate into too much of what should have been my free time was a major factor in changing careers.

I was fortunate. My next two careers rarely required time beyond the “8:00 to 4:00.” But the most serious work problem I ever had took place when I foolishly insisted too much on sticking to regular work hours. Although I’ve forgiven myself for it, I can’t seem to forget about it.

Now that I’m officially retired, time should be mine to do with as I please. Right?

How I wish. Although I’m free to decline certain activities–my low energy level is a factor, too–I still live by the clock to some extent. I get up at 6:30 on weekdays to fix breakfast for my wife. But that’s voluntary, and she doesn’t mind if I choose to sleep late occasionally. “Late” typically means 7:00 or 7:15.

Even though I retired to write full-time, I don’t. When I have a project going, yes, I can spend eight or nine hours a day at it–whether it’s writing the rough draft or editing and revising it for the twentieth time. But I’m also conscious of the need for variety, especially since I spend most of my day at home alone with the cat and the dog.

None of us knows how much time God will give him. In my time-consciousness, I’m well aware that I could die while writing the next book, no matter what my age. Yet I can look back at times in my life when I could have died and didn’t and can only be thankful that God didn’t consider that my time yet. I believe He kept me alive because He had more things He wanted to do through me.

In truth, my time–like my possessions–really belongs to God. The important thing for me to remember daily is the need to use my time in ways that honor Him. When death comes, I ought to be satisfied, knowing that it’s His choice of time, not mine.

What are your thoughts on time? Please leave a comment.

<>

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive these posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25. I’ll be talking about it this Wednesday, but please check it out at Amazon if you’re interested.

Best regards,
Roger

So You Want to Be a Writer?

RogerBook    writingBooks

Few things are as fulfilling as spending a number of months writing a book–in my case a novel–and finally seeing it in print. And not just in my own hands. But on Amazon. And in bookstores. Local bookstores where people you know–and who know you–shop. And knowing it may be in bookstores all over the country–maybe even the world–in places you’ll never know about, much less see in person.

Ever since writing my first novel, I’ve had a stream of people come up to me and say, “I’m working on a book” or “I really want to write a book.”

Understandable. They say (although I’ve never known who “they” are) each of us has a book in him or her. For better or worse, that’s where most novels remain–inside the well intended dreamer.

No wonder. Writing is hard work.

Some would-be writers have a sufficiently firm grip on their story that they can sit down at a computer and peck away for hours at a time. Some real writers can do that, too. But real writers also know there’s a huge difference between having a completed draft and a manuscript that’s worthy of being accepted by a publisher–one who will spend countless thousands of dollars putting it into print.

Most people never even start that book that’s in their head. Whether they don’t know where to start, fear failure, or simply can’t commit the necessary time to a writing project, I can’t say. But at least those people will never face the heartbreaking challenge of trying to find an agent and a publisher and endure the grueling process of seeing their babies birthed.

Ah, you say? But anyone can self-publish now. Kindle Direct and CreateSpace (also an Amazon program) allow anyone with the patience to follow the directions to publish their works at no upfront cost. So why worry about traditional publishers?

I’ll tell you a secret. I self-published my first novel. As an English major who’d won the English Department’s honors award as a senior, I thought I could write well enough to bypass the trauma of becoming published by a traditional publisher. What I wrote–and spent hundreds of dollars just to get into print–was correctly spelled and grammatically correct. My cover was imaginative; I may not be a graphics design expert, but I have fun doing my best at it.

But I didn’t realize that my novel wasn’t that well written. Fiction had changed since my student days, and I didn’t have a clue that I had written and published something that wasn’t worth reading.

Not until I started attending writers conferences and studying writing books by the dozen; I have well over a hundred writing books in my library now. Print copies. (See the right hand picture above.) I have several dozen others on my Kindle.

Learning how horrible my first novel was served as a necessary first step towards writing two novels that have been published and a third that’s due out at the end of this month. Years of learning and practicing separated my first effort from my first real success.

Yet how many of those self-published books have been written by people who don’t even have the background I did just by my having been an English major in college?

Let me give you an example of what seems all too typical. I know of a certain novelist who also writes writing books and gives seminars about writing. He is self-published. When one of his novels went on sale for $.99, I decided to give it a try. Although the story was somewhat engrossing, I kept tripping over mistakes a competent editor wouldn’t have missed. So was I going to spend even a few dollars for this same guy’s book about effective editing?

Writing is hard work, and editing is even harder. Talent cannot be learned, but better writing and editing can. Producing a book that’s worth reading is a lengthy and complicated project, and becoming a good writer means constantly desiring–and working towards–being a better one.

I’ve been blessed with knowing a number of “successful” novelists. None of them is satisfied that (s)he can’t do better next time.

That’s my goal, too.

What about you? Do you have a novel–or perhaps a non-fiction book–just burning to be written? Have you started it? How far have you gotten? Etc.? Please leave a comment.

<>

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger

From the Mountain to the Desert

I’ve shared several posts about our recent vacation in San Diego, California, and I’m sure I could write a number more. You’d probably tire of them long before I would.

But let me share one more–for now.

One day, our friends Tom and Genean took us for a ride east from San Diego (actually Carlsbad) for a day in the mountains. I’m quite used to mountains in the eastern part of the United States–the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains–but what we saw was quite different. Much rockier, as you can see. The mountains are bare of trees, unless they’ve been planted. And even a rocky mountainside may have graffiti. And when I say rocky, I mean BIG rocks.

Dsc_9210    Dsc_9217    Dsc_9231

Along the way, we passed a number of orchards. Quite a contrast to the rest of the terrain. We never did find out what the worker on the tall ladder was doing.

Dsc_9204    Dsc_9207

We off-roaded down the mountainside. Quite a bumpy experience, but there was only one place–maybe two–where we were actually VERY near a steep drop. Not good for my acrophobia, but we survived.

Dsc_9234     Dsc_9238

The vegetation was pretty desert-like even in the mountains. Check out the cactus my wife is standing by and the tumbleweed.

Dsc_9249    Dsc_9248

Our goal for the day was a town called Julian, famous for apple pies made from local apples. But wouldn’t you know everything there (practically) closed at 5:00 and we were too late for the place we really wanted to go to for a slice each. So we went to the grocery and bought a whole local pie to take home and gorge twice as much on. Sorry my pictures don’t include the pie.

Dsc_9253    Dsc_9254

On the drive home, we stopped to enjoy the sunset.

Dsc_9257

No way I could do our visit to the mountains and desert justice with these pictures, but it should give you a flavor of the day. More of these pictures are available HERE.

Any comments? I’d love to hear ’em. Please share.

<>

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger

I Finally Did It!

I finally did it! What an intriguing title. At least I hope it grabbed your attention.

I could be talking about a number of things that have never happened before… Like having a novel on the New York Times bestseller list. Or getting a recording contract–or even just having some famous musician record one of my songs. Or being able to quit taking all of the medicines that keep me in such good health. Or having a member of my family come to live in the same city we live in.

All interesting possibilities, none of which has happened…or is likely to happen. And I’m okay with that. Mostly.

This accomplishment–if you’ll permit me to call it that–is a little closer to home. I attended my first meeting of the Young at Heart (senior adults) group at church yesterday.

Humph! you say? All of that buildup for something so simple?

If it sounds that way, maybe that’s because it wouldn’t be a big deal for you. But it was for me.

You see, I’ve kept watching myself get older year by year–I turned sixty-eight in September–and yet I’ve always felt at home with a younger crowd. I’m the oldest person in our Sunday School class and in our Wednesday night Bible study as well, and I don’t feel old being among those younger people. Well, not usually.

My fear the past few years has been that I might begin feeling older if I started hanging out with an older crowd. Although I know and really like some of the folks in the Young at Heart group, those are people I don’t really think of as “old”–just “older than me.” So I’ve kept putting off attending any of the Young at Heart meetings to avoid taking the chance the other members might make me feel I was aging faster than I want to. (Okay, so who really wants to get older once they reach a certain age?)

What made me bold enough to attend this group…finally? Did I feel less self-conscious about aging? Did I want to enjoy the abundance of fattening food? All reasonable questions.

So I’ll answer with a reasonable (but polite) no. I wanted to hear the speaker, someone who had been a friend of my parents and had helped us clean out my parents’ attic after my mother’s death in 1994.

Dr. Fred Anderson is a professional historian, and he was speaking to the Young at Hearts about Baptists’ 300th anniversary in Virginia. Not a topic of interest to everyone, but I knew it would be good. Plus I hadn’t really had any contact with him in twenty years and thought seeing him again was way overdue.

So attending the meeting of a group I’d felt hesitant about previously not only gave me a chance to reconnect with Dr. Anderson–he remembered our time in the attic very clearly–and to enjoy his talk, but to discover that being among people older than me wasn’t that intimidating after all.

Who knows? I just might attend next month’s meeting, too. Without even caring what the program is.

Do you have any hangups about aging? How about leaving a comment?

<>

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger

On Being Remembered

waxMusLastSupper

(Leonardo’s “Last Supper” as portrayed in the Wax Museum at Luray Caverns;
click on thumbnail to see a larger picture)

We all know we’re going to die some day. Right?

Wouldn’t it be neat if we could know exactly when so we could gather our friends and family around the night before for one last special meal? A real celebration. All of our favorite foods–no counting calories–and we’d get to talk all we wanted to about everything we wanted to talk about because this would be the last time we knew people would be listening to us.

And to make the occasion even more special, we would make this request: whenever this group of special people eats together again, let it be in remembrance of us.

If you’re a Christian–maybe even if you’re simply familiar with the New Testament–you might think this idea sounds familiar.

And well it should. It’s my best effort at describing “The Lord’s Supper”–also known as “Communion” and “The Last Supper.”

Jesus’s death was eminent. And even though he’d been teaching these disciples for three years, He realized that they hadn’t caught on to some of His most important teachings. Like the fact He would be raised from the grave again.

This was His last chance to speak to them and try to prepare them for what He was about to experience. And what they could ultimately expect.

But it wasn’t just a time of teaching. It was a time of fellowship. The Bible doesn’t say anything about the lighter side of the Last Supper, but I’ll bet there was some cutting up before things turned serious. After all, this was a celebration of the Passover, and the Passover was a joyous time, because it celebrated the Children of Israel’s survival when the Angel of Death killed the firstborn of all other living creatures in Egypt.

But the Last Supper turned serious. And when Jesus told his followers to think about Him whenever they ate that kind of meal together in the future, they probably didn’t understand that He wouldn’t be with them…not physically.

The things Jesus told His disciples would happen all came true, and when He rose from the grave and ultimately ascended to Heaven, that gave a whole new significance to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper through the ages.

In my church, it’s a very reverent time. And that’s appropriate in some ways.

But it should be joyous as well.

Please share a comment.

<>

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger

The Me I Want to Be

Last night, our Bible Study group started a new series of lessons using a DVD and print materials from John Ortberg. It’s called The Me I Want to Be. Fascinating topic. And so very relevant.

Some people might wonder why I–at sixty-eight–would find that topic so relevant. After all, I’m not only growing older day by day, but have reached the point where change that isn’t forced on me isn’t likely to happen. So, doesn’t that mean I’m already as much “the me I want to be” as I’m ever going to be?

Now that’s a scary thought. Although I can see progress in many areas of my life–I’m much more patient, kind, and thoughtful than I used to be–I still haven’t reached all of my life’s goals. Furthermore, I don’t expect to.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be satisfied with myself and stop growing.

Mr. Ortberg lists some counterfeit versions of me:

  • The “me” I pretend to be
  • The “me” I think I should be
  • The “me” other people want me to be
  • The “me” I’m afraid God wants
  • The “me” that fails to be

But then he concludes that the best version of me is…

  • The “me” I’m meant to be.

You might want to check out his book  for more of an in-depth look at this whole idea.

I’d like to believe I’ve passed the point of pretending to be someone I’m not or trying to live up to other people’s expectations. I much prefer just being myself. If I’m slow at times, if I’m overly careful about some things and careless about others, if I’m a million-and-one other ways that fail to meet my own expectations, why fret about it?

That doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with myself, however. I’m declining physically–maybe even mentally at times–but “the ‘me’ I’m meant to be” still gives me something to shoot for. Not unrealistic goals. I’m not apt to turn from a super-quiet introvert into the life of the party, for example. Or to become a well-known singer/songwriter.

I don’t believe God ever intended for me to be either of those things. According to the Bible, He knew what I would be like long before my birth. He gave me strengths and weaknesses and inclinations–everything that makes me me.

But He also gave me the desire to love Him and want to become the person He wants me to be. That doesn’t mean following a set of rules.

Yes, there are things a Christian should do–and some he shouldn’t do. But the important thing is trusting God enough to place my life fully in His hands. Not just when things are going wrong, but when they’re going well and I might be tempted to think I’ responsible for my success.

Being “the ‘me’ I’m meant to be” requires walking daily with God. Not trying to walk ahead of Him as if I think so highly of myself that I think I don’t have to let things happen in His time. And not falling behind as if I’m fearful that He isn’t able to bring me safely through every valley.

What are your thoughts about this subject? Are you the “me” God means for you to be, or are you one of the counterfeit versions of “me”? Please share a comment if you feel led to.

<>

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger