Over the last few days, I've been thinking.
Specifically, I've been thinking about what my life's purpose is. There's plenty of things tied into this, but the majority of it boils down to this:
If you had to define your existence with one driving statement of purpose, what would it be?
If you don't know, what are you waiting for?
And this is where I found myself after years of floating, like a leaf in the wind. I realized I had no real, solid purpose. I mean, sure, I had "purpose" but I couldn't tell you exactly what it was. "Following God" only gets you so far, as that could look like any number of things. "Loving your neighbor" could be me, sitting on my couch, invisibly loving people from afar. What does "helping people" look like? Specifically, for me? What does "Love the Lord your God with all your heart" look like, for me?
Took my day off to fix the fuel line leak on the Rambler Marlin. I also discovered it's leaking brake fluid from the right front caliper, but that's for another day. Here's the before and after:
It of course needs to have the tailpipe wrapped in heat-resistant header wrap. That was part of the problem in the first place: the heat helped the floor rot out right above it rather quickly, and the rusty floor wore through the hard line. The fuel line being so close to the tailpipe also caused it to leave me stranded on at least one occasion, from boiling the gasoline right in the fuel line! But at least it's driveable again.
What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? What does it mean, what does it require? I spent some time this weekend contemplating on what I needed to do, at the very least, to say I'm actively living out my faith.
What are the basic tenets of Christian Faith? What is non-negotiable? Your mind may be swimming with ideas of charity, piety, prayers, who knows.
The first place we should be looking for an example of living out the Christian Faith is Christ Himself.
I've narrowed down the most crucial responsibilities of the Believer to these three things:
Now, we're supposed to act out our faith in deeds as well, but for building the foundation of our faith, these three are it. The "Building Blocks," as it were.
In a few weeks, I'll be unemployed, and I will finally get the chance to go back to being self-employed. This is a big risk for me, of course, because there's always the possibility that I'll just not find enough work, and will have to go back working for a big company to pay the bills.
I do not want to go back to work for someone else. This means I'm going to have to do my best to scrape up work on my own, for various things.
What kind of "Living Outside The Box" guy would I be if I didn't though, right?
I'm offering my services as a freelancer in several areas:
- Book/general copy editing (Have edited/formatted my own book, and a few for others)
- Article writing (I write here, and several other blogs on a regular basis)
- Music lessons (I majored in theory, instrumental performance, etc. in college)
- Background music for Youtube videos and podcasts (Have several satisfied customers already)
- Computer tech work (20 years experience, and HP certified)
Plus I'm going to work on finishing more novels and music projects for my own income. I may even branch out into other areas as time permits. I'm flexible, and in about 3 weeks, I'll be able to start adding jobs to my schedule.
There are tons of websites, books, and shows about self-improvement. It's a billion-dollar business. Everywhere you look, there's ads for someone offering to help you become a better person.
Is this what God really wants of us?
We know that God can use the weak things of the world to defeat the strong. We know he uses the simple things to confound the world's wisdom. So where is there room for us to want to become stronger, wiser, and better?
I know it sounds preposterous at first. "Why would God not want us to become stronger?" But there are people who, by their actions, believe exactly that. They have become so weak, that they fear any kind of strength.
David, the second King of Israel, was a strong, fighting man. And yet, we see how God used not David's strength, but his devotion, to defeat his enemies. Does that mean it was wrong for him to be a strong fighter? Certainly not! It is who God intended David to be. David's strength was useful in all areas of his life, not just the battlefield. And in the end, he still had to fight battles.
One of the interesting things about training to become stronger is that you have to come to grips with how weak you currently are. You can't focus on eliminating weakness unless you can spot it. This applies to mental and spiritual weakness as well! And everyone- everyone- has weakness.
Is Weakness Bad?
At one point, I actually had a topic schedule here at Outside The Box. I had different topic categories to write about for each day of the week. I did that for a couple of months actually, until work got the best of me, and I had to drop a few of the balls I was juggling.
Through no fault of my own, I'm going to end up with quite a few more hours of time to write in the very near future. The question remains: What should I do with this unexpected windfall of time?
I think this will be an excellent opportunity to write about some topics I've been itching to dig into. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep politics out of it- I have no interest in discussing the current elections. I will however cover things like projects I'm working on, culture shifts (and how that affects us), and movements in the tech industry.
I will also be working on setting up ways to sell my work, so I can keep bringing quality content to you, my loyal readers and friends!
Besides writing fiction and blogging, I'll be working on publishing non-fiction e-books and making music (under Creative Commons) for people to use in Podcasts or Youtube videos. I'll also be working on projects at home, for business.
If you're interested in letting me help you with my creative talents, let me know!
In the last few weeks, there's been quite a bit of news going on with the Presidential campaign (which I won't talk about) and how the media covers it. Specifically, there's been a LOT of people complaining that social media platforms are censoring honest criticism, and mostly on one side.
This of course is a problem if you live in the United States, where we (supposedly) have protection of free speech under the First Amendment. If you post something that someone doesn't like- you could be censored, suspended, or in extreme cases, have your account terminated or even be personally attacked, without actually violating the site's TOS.
With the recent craziness going on at Facebook and Twitter, defenders of free speech have been getting banned from the social media platforms, and are looking for alternatives (and they're out there). The most recent I'd heard of is Gab.ai, which isn't even in full production yet, but is already garnering a huge influx of users migrating from Twitter and Facebook because of its staunch "no-censorship" policy. Users are welcome to filter anything they don't want to see for themselves, but they won't be able to get other users censored for saying something they don't like (illegal activity is still addressed, of course).
But from the looks of it, the Social Media giants are slowly showing cracks at the seams. Twitter's stock is declining steadily after a failed attempt to sell the company, and Facebook's insistence on becoming "all things to all people" is bordering on anti-trust territory.
You could almost say... they're ready to croak.
Nevertheless, I am overjoyed there's someone stepping up to fight for free speech. And with Gab.ai's user count exploding, I can't be the only one!
It's snowball time- in more ways than one.
As I mentioned yesterday, I've been ridiculously busy. After seriously considering my schedule, and piles of unfinished projects, I've decided to to a "Project Purge." And like Dave Ramsey teaches when trying to crush overwhelming obstacles, I'm going to use the "snowball method" to make it happen.
This means I'm going to look at my entire list of projects, and do two things:
- Determine if I really need to do it at all
- Prioritize the smallest projects first, to knock them out
This will let me systematically minimize what I'm doing. There are some projects that will either take a very long time (home remodeling) or last indefinitely (restoring the Rambler). But other things I can "finish" and take them off my plate.
I've also decided to quit caffeine again. No, I'm not going to enjoy it. But my face started breaking out again, and I'm not getting enough sleep. So "rest" will be one of those projects I'm working on.
Bike riding will have to be scaled back some, as will working on music equipment, building/collecting things, and so on. I need to get rid of piles of things I'm never going to finish. Do I really need a pile of guitar effect pedals, when I can do everything I need with just one? Do I need to keep R/C car parts "just in case" I get around to using them? Probably not.
I still have buckets of computer parts and networking stuff, which I'll never use again... those need to go to a good home. 15-year-old computer CD's? Gone. Stuff I bought to do with my kids, who never showed interest? Don't need it.
The next few months are going to be hard, because those are all things I want to have time to do. But ultimately, I don't need to do them all, and holding on to that "stuff" associated with them is clutter in the house, and in my mind.