Bandwagon

Bandwagon fans don’t bother me so much.

The statement above will be seen as the most blasphemous thing I’ve ever said by some of my friends.  And I’m fine with that.

Actually in reality, bandwagon fans do bother me but only really at the moment.  I guess you could say I have done it in the past so I’m okay with it.  I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan when Jordan played.  D Rose can’t play without getting hurt so boo.  Or LeBron James went to Miami and I loved them but now that he’s in Cleveland, go Warriors.

This may be a little hypocritical but ultimately I was really bandwagon about certain teams in the past but I don’t care about those teams anymore so it doesn’t bother me.  I am even thinking of stopping to cheer on certain teams and just enjoy the games whenever they come on.  I love the game of basketball and the game of football so it is easy for me to sometimes not care about who’s playing.

This whole topic of bandwagon fans has struck me recently because of all those who have been cheering for the Tarheels recently.   There’s no way you are all Carolina Blue do or die.   But I’m willing to allow you to join my team.  I have certain teams that I love and have loved for a long time but you can read about those later*.

But back to this whole bandwagon phenomenon.  Urban Dictionary gives this definition for being bandwagon:  “When someone adopts a popular point of view for the primary purpose of recognition and/or acceptance by others.” 

Yes, the Urban Dictionary lays it all out and I concede to this idea of being a bandwagon fan and the bad ramifications that come with it.  Mainly because it is for the primary purpose of getting recognized and not because you are cheering for my team.  I don’t hate on you for liking something, especially when it is my team.

Also allow me this side tangent:  I hate it when certain fans become jerks to other people about liking their team when they’ve just liked them longer.  Who cares because ultimately we are all fickle when it comes to what we like.  And please stop the arguments about liking your local team.   When did geography become the most important thing in deciding what to like?  Haven’t you heard of globalization?  Since when did people choose Pepsi because it is based in NC?  I’m not writing this blog on a computer made by the closest computer company to me. It is an Apple from California.  Why?  Because I believe it’s the best there is.  It impacted me the most at the crucial age I needed and I will not go back.  Don’t hate things far away because you only want local.  I digress…

After all, as a fan of the Tarheels, I want you to support my team and cheer for them (yes there are spiritual implications here but I’ll leave those for you to consider).  But don’t go for a certain team because it is popular.  I won’t care either way and neither will most people (except for the jerks above).

Do it because you’re excited about what’s happening.  What Steph Curry is doing right now is unbelievable and I’m cheering him on 1) because he played in NC (I guess it goes against my whole local argument but hey I’m a hypocrite sometimes) and I saw him devour my alma mater multiple times in college, and 2) because I love dynasties and would love to see them take the Bulls regular season record.  Don’t do it for praise on the other fans’ end because that’s dumb and you won’t get it. Do it because you love what you’re seeing.

That being said, I invite as many bandwagon fans to join me in cheering on my Tarheels in the Final Four.

Ok, one spiritual thought to end – Jesus had many people follow Him for a little bit and then they left Him behind.  Probably because He was either too hard on them or He didn’t answer things the way they wanted.  So they left Him.  Spiritual application if you didn’t catch it:  Don’t be a bandwagon fan when it comes to Jesus.  Follow Him wholeheartedly all the way through victory and suffering (there, my Jesus Juke is over).

Go cheer whoever you want.  I will make fun of you in many cases but you can for me also when we lose (if that ever happens because I pick winners).
*I have been a huge Tarheel fan all my life (you can’t be bandwagon if you’re born into it).  Once I saw Brett Favre play, I became a Green Bay Packers fan and I have loved them every since.  One of my favorite NBA players was Magic Johnson and then Kobe and I still consider myself a Lakers fan but they suck right now, so I keep it quiet.  And I love nostalgia and my grandparents were Braves fans so I became a…..Cubs fan because they came on before Bulls games and Harry Carey fascinated me as well as the great shortstop Ryne Sandberg but baseball is too boring and lasts too long so I don’t follow it that well.  This fandom has lasted a long time for me so I don’t consider myself a bandwagon fan since I still pull for those teams.

 

Hope

Hope is a tough thing sometimes.

Because our circumstances can be extremely $h*tty.

Honestly, it is hard to live life when hope seems to run away every time you approach.

No amount of change can bring you hope.

Which is why

You need to change your perspective.

Don’t focus so much on what’s to come.

Focus on right now.

The joy you experience playing with your kids. The feeling of exhilaration when the clocks strikes 5 and you get to leave.  The end of a semester.  The simple presence of a child.  The fact that YouTube and standup comedy exists.  Your favorite superhero.  The chance to take a moment and see what Frank Underwood will do to his foes.

Focus on right now.

That’s one key to living that I have found over the years.  Yes, life gets thrown all out of whack and there is no clear way out of stuff sometimes but ultimately, at least you have a breath to breathe.  More than likely right at this moment, air just entered your lungs.

And if that is the only gift you get, there’s hope for another day.

And that’s enough to keep going.

See-through

I feel like I am an open book.  Probably too much.  I mean honestly I am not the most blunt person around but I am open about what I’m going through.  What the struggle is in my life.  What I am most excited about.

Whether that could be the pain of dealing with a job that I don’t feel completely satisfied with or the things that my son can build with his Legos all by himself.

I share it.

But I realize that there are a ton of people who don’t open themselves up to others.  This could be because of shame or it could be because of laziness.

Either way, in my opinion, it is a terrible way to live.

And there’s a better way.

I threw my wife a surprise birthday party a couple years ago and I was discussing it with some people I knew and they were shocked that I had to cut down my list because it was getting a little too big to handle.

They asked me how many did I picture coming to the surprise party who knew both me and my wife decently and I said that I was trying to limit it to about 30 people.  They were shocked because they said that they only knew like 2 other couples close enough to share this experience with.

This saddens me.  Not because I feel that you need numbers to celebrate something.  But because they are limiting their impact into the lives of others and limiting the impact of others in their life.  I’m sure that they are very close with those 2 couples but what if those 2 couples aren’t available?  What if those other 4 people are out of town on vacation?   Does their life just get put on hold till their friends are back?  No.  They’ll just have no one to battle life with during those times.

I have heard that sociologists say that as we get older, we get less friends and that’s fine but what about all those people who can be those on-the-surface types of friends.  Yes, these are not the ones you will do battle with.  But you need them just the same.  Because some of these friends/acquaintances/associates/co-workers/fellow students will be the greatest friends you will ever have if you just pour a little more time into the relationship.

All I am saying is that I think if you do not limit those who can see through and into your life, you will be the better for it.  Your life will be enriched in direct proportion to the openness you allow yourself to be.  So here are some reasons I think you should be more open (on top of the above blabber):

1) It will provide safety.
When you are alone, you are the most vulnerable and having others around you will help you be safe and give you great protection through any trial that you face.

2) It will lead you to be a person of greater depth.
You can only get down into the depths of your soul if you allow someone else in to help point out the flaws.  And if you believe there are no flaws, be prepared for a rude awakening.  This will be someone who can ask you the deep questions so that you can gain a better hold of your identity and therefore become the best person you can be.

3) It will bring freedom and liberty for you to be yourself.
Without knowing who you are deep down, you can’t be who you are all around.  So others can help you do more of the things you are made to do and focus on the relationships that you should focus on.  This will open you to stop doing certain things so that you can do the essential things more.

4) It will become necessary.
The Bible says that just as “iron sharpens iron, so one man must sharpen another.”  This is why you need people who will not disappear and can stand by you through all of your life.  I love taking on things with friends better than alone and I think it is because I’m consoled through it and can be encouraged throughout that time.

I hope you find people that you can be close to.  Whether it is one or 50.  Just find someone whom you can be you around because we need you.  The world needs you so let’s open our lives and let other see through it.  And if you don’t have anyone, I’m right here.

If nothing else, at least make a bunch more friends so your parties are more kick-ass.

 

What updates teach me about doubt

 Doubt is a constant struggle for some people and I recently came across a quote that got me thinking more about it. Here is the quote:  

“How can I be so sure of my beliefs when the next book on the shelf could completely change my perspective?” – Brian Regan (yes the standup)    

People are sometimes afraid to dive in because they don’t know what may occur to them later on that could change their mind about what they’ve thought. But think of all the things we’d not have done or accomplished if we didn’t just take the plunge and dive in now. What would life be like if all of us just waited till our stuff was perfect before releasing it out in the world?     

Take a second and look at some of the discoveries of the past 10 years. Facebook. Twitter. iPhones. Quesalupas. Continuous variable transmissions. Pluto not being a planet. That new pixie hairdo women love. The Internet. Angry Birds. Halo.   

What if these things weren’t released until they were perfect? What if they made sure to answer every single question before releasing? If that were the case, we wouldn’t have an iPhone 6 or any social media site. It would still be in the lab being tweaked or they would have moved on from them and found something else to not complete.  

Perfection will never be attained and neither will perfect knowledge. But the ideas that are presented are infinitely better than the ideas still being studied. Or said another way, ideas on the market are better than the ideas in the lab. Or simply, faith lived out with a little bit of knowledge is better than faith thought all alone in an ivory tower.   

Yes, some things will come out that will change your whole perspective and may make you question your product or your execution of your idea or even your faith. But that’s okay. That’s why computer apps and programs have updates.  

Take doubt for instance. Yes, sometimes, you have faulty beliefs that just aren’t mature enough to handle all the things thrown its way but don’t throw it out completely. Update your faith based on what you’ve learned. Car companies tend to release products before all the tweaks have been worked out as well. They call them safety recalls. And they are excepted by almost everyone.  

Your faith is best lived out at whatever stage it is at. Don’t hold it back because you can’t answer every doubt or question that comes your way.  

And please, please don’t stop questioning when an idea strikes you that is outside your normal experience. I know many people have left the faith of Christianity they were brought up with because of a professor or book that shattered their previous experiences with faith. This new thing definitely made them question everything about God. But the problem was they stopped questioning the new things they were learning. They just assumed all the new things they were learning were truth. They simply presupposed all the new ideas and let it define them and ignored their previous faith and all that they had known. If your parent taught you one thing and then a professor taught you something else differently on that subject, you would be a fool to stop listening to your parents entirely based on the one truth that professor taught you. But you’d also be a fool to not take the truth that was presented to you.  

I’m all for truth. I’m not saying hold onto Christianity because I grew up with it and don’t want it to be changed. I didn’t really grow up in the church. I came upon its truth later on and honestly it has evolved and deepened over the years. Jason 10 years ago was an idiot. Jason 10 years from now will be a genius compared to Jason in the present.  

I’m just saying that because you learned something from a secular teacher who hates Christianity, or whatever faith you hold to, doesn’t mean you have to accept all his views. Take what is good and honorable and true and let it update your faith. Consider it a faith recall. Not a doubt overhaul.  

If your doubts cannot stand up to your faith, then you have a still-developing faith. And that’s okay. Get surrounded by people stronger than you and smarter than you. Find people who will take you under their wing and show you the way. If you’re not being challenged, you are not growing. I don’t think God is as honored by those who think the same as they did 10 years as those whose faith has deepened and understanding has blossomed to new heights.  

And know this: Doubt is okay. God never told us to not doubt. But at a certain point, you have to just take truth wherever you find it. But use it to update your faith.    

One in a million

This phrase has been uttered all over. You are one in a million. I used to think it was special to say that but then I realized how wrong that thinking was. It truly limits who we are to just be one in a million because you are so much more than this.  

I don’t know if it stems from a lack of understanding as to how big the universe really is and how many people really exist because if you truly are one in a million that would mean that there are 6,000 other you’s living right now. And that’s just not true. 

We take things and we say them. But we don’t truly mean them.  

Sounds a lot like our lives doesn’t it?  

What if I were to tell you that “you” have never existed before?  

No one has ever had your exact interests. Or your exact upbringing. Or grew up in the place you did or with the family you grew up with. No one has married your spouse at the exact same time as you did. No one ever had your kids or your job at the time that you did. No one who has ever lived is exactly like you. And this may sound dumb but it can be revolutionary for your soul.  

Yes this can be scary but ultimately, it should be refreshing. Because you are you and no one else can be you. They can try but ultimately they will fall short. You are the original and everyone else is a copy. And for anyone who has ever used a copy machine, the copies do not line up to the original. They get the picture at a glance but they don’t get the down and dirty. They miss some key details.  

This should also be freeing because it lets you determine your success or failure. You don’t have to have a 9-5 job to appease the Man. You can work every day or every other week. Or whenever inspiration strikes you. This day and age is also the best time for these types of people because these people are the ones who are willing to embrace who they are and live and change the world from that standpoint.  

We don’t have to go through hoops anymore to be who we are.  

So today, don’t settle to be one in a million. Strive to be the original. Or the one and only. You.