Josh Brunet sent me this illustration. He’s a TREMENDOUSLY gifted visual artist and I wanted to make sure I gave him props for sharing this with me. He’s done a series of these on spec for a children’s book. I not only wish I could draw this well, but wish I could somehow write a post today with this as my inspiration or starting point. But I can’t. Or won’t. I respect Josh’s abilities too much! You could, however, right-click and save it for your desktop! Thanks, Josh. I’m sorry it’s taken me more than a month to upload it.Which goes to show you–I am a procrastinator. In fact, I’m convinced I’ll eventually need to postpone my death because I’ll have things to finish that I had put off. Lately, I’ve felt the frustration of my procrastination from my wife who has been regularly writing on [her blog](http://kimberlynentrup.com) whereas I have slacked off. Oh, it’s definitely NOT her fault. You’d have to understand the relational dynamic of how a procrastinator often marries a person who is QUITE the opposite. Kim and I are NO different from that stereotype. She is typically quite diligent with her work regardless if its writing or cleaning the house. And the grace she gives me for being so lazy when it’s my turn to wash the dishes is amazing. I should also say that God teaches me about urgency, timeliness, and NOT being lazy through my relationship with Kim. I can’t imagine how awful I’d be without her influence and motivation.Truth is, I’m afraid of writing. It seems like each time I write here, the stakes raise. Part of it’s exhilarating, part scares the crap out of me. And the latter often eclipses the former. Kim and I talk about it a fair share, but it’s usually her that’s more honest about it than me. I put on my poker face and blame my pseudo-busy schedule for not writing more frequently.Last night, I was reading in Don Miller’s [“Searching For God Knows What”](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0785263713/qid=1117634449/sr=8-…). He had a great comment on Original Sin, The Fall, and what really happened in the Garden of Eden. One splinter of thought that’s connecting other fragments of ideas for me right now are Miller’s words about us being wired to receive our sense of identity from OUTSIDE of ourselves. And on THIS side of the Garden, we’re going to first look to other people to do that for us. And this isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s simply God’s intent in His design. Of course, the problem is that with our freedom to choose, thereby our freedom to BETRAY, we are in a constant war with the unseen to keep God as the source for our need to know who we are in lieu of something else. To subvert a popular analogy, it’s not so much that we all have a God-shaped hole inside of ourselves, as much as it is that WE ARE God-Shaped holes. Made in His image, containers for His “glory.”Yesterday, CNN played a story on [U2](http://u2.com) and rolled a clip of Bono talking about his role as an activist. I mean, who HASN’T seen some of these clips of him in Africa, or meeting the Pope, etc.? But the clip that caught my attention was the one where he talks about his dual roles as Celebrity and Activist. He said the first role came easy for him (as it would for MOST of us). And then he said he HAD to do the second role. He didn’t want to make those visits to Africa, lobby world leaders for various causes, etc. but that he HAD to. And for him the bridge between these two worlds was that Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest potential was to CHANGE THE WORLD. To affect change. And on my best day, that’s why I write. When I don’t feel like I CAN affect change, I’m scared to write. I’m afraid I’m just another soap-boxer wasting my time and breath. So here I am realizing my extrinsic need for things outside me to tell me who I am, and my wannabe-rockstar-ambition to affect change in the world.Twice now I’ve used the word AFFECT and have intentionally done so. I find it interesting how we typically use the word “effect” when we mean “affect”. I’m mulling over this notion that we live an “Affectable Existence.” And I know that “affectable” isn’t really a word (yet). But as I’ve watched the past season of movement in my own heart, and in the lives of others around me, I’ve been very aware of our tendency to be changed. So, I like the word I’ve frankensteined together to express that. We’re affectable. The weather, people, and all sorts of stuff mishmash everyday and AFFECT change to our plans, intents, agendas, and whimsies. And I know from experience that plain old probability will make a portion of these changes in our lives experiences of pain and suffering. It’s just a matter of time. I have yet to meet someone who has completely lucked out and not had to deal with some make or measure of pain and suffering. Hopefully there’s more peaks than valleys, but so far in life, I’m guessing that at the end of my time on Earth, it all comes out awash. I’m tempted to go on talking about pain and suffering. They’re quite a duo. And they’re also something I’m quite efficient at avoiding. EVEN KNOWING the good and true and real things that can come out of them, I’ll go to great lengths to avoid them. But more importantly, today, I’m interested in just acknowledging that that’s on one extreme and peace, happiness, and shiny things are on the other end of the continuum.You’ve recently watched me celebrate the end of a LONG LONG LONG desert-like chapter of my life where I was experiencing pain and suffering. Not an intense, acute pang, but a dull, chronic sense of hurt that is only bad enough to remind you it’s there. And as only God’s timing would have it, this season has ended for me while others around me have dealt with some of the most excruciating circumstances. I’ve watched my two closest friends deal with broken relationships simultaneously. I’ve seen them suffer and question their loss. I’ve cried with them, expressed my frustration for how the other person hurt my loved one. I’ve taken sides, meddled, and had to apologize for letting my anger get the better of me when I should’ve been listening to my hurting friends. I was truly amazed at the way how the relationships my friends had lost even affected me. And I wrongly felt like I deserved a say in the matter because of that.Then I realized I’ve done the same thing to others. Being the selfish human I am, when it hits the fan in my life, I’m most apt to run away from it or deny it or use my super powers of procrastination to avoid it. I get pissy, I have even steered clear of people whom I associate with whatever that center of frustration is in my life. Only after this passes have I seen my mistake and how foolish I was to ransom those relationships because I didn’t FEEL like they were relevant or helpful or useful to me. Stupid. I’ve been very fortunate. I can think of specific times when I’ve done this to some of my dearest friends and they’ve taken me back. I can’t believe it. Lonnie, Chris, even Rudy, and of course, MY PARENTS, I thank you guys for your grace to ME when I’ve completely thrown our relationship out the window. Thank you.But, the pain I’ve felt and continue to feel for both my wife and friend seems like it’s not enough. And I wish I could promise, expect, or wave a magic wand and fix broken relationships for Kim, Rudy, and pretty much everybody else I know. To rewind, erase, even REWRITE those scenes! And I realize that’s not only impossible for me to do, but not right either. I can’t do that, as I’ve learned from experiences in well-intended meddling. I think that there are only ever two beings in a relationship. Again, it’s part of God’s design. Sure, there are other affiliations between MORE than two people, but I have to think the phrase “i
t takes two to tango” may mean not just a minimum but a maximum as well. I know that rifts can occur in a group of people but it sure seems like it’s a collection of one-on-one relationships that can make the big divide occur.On this side of [Eric’s Great Awakening](https://ericnentrup.com/?p=86), I’ve realized what’s changed most. The change has not been as much my relationship with God, but my relationship with others. Yes, it IS my relationship with God, but THAT gets most often played out through my relationship with others, you know? I’m finding myself STILL in that same place of frustration with issues, topics, institutions, what-have-you. It’s not my relationship with issues that have changed, it’s my relationships with other people. Through that, I’m seeing just how much God loves me, and treasures the tremendous value in our relationship.In these changing relationships, others have taught me that even though I can be affected painfully by things, and that even though I can take it out on my relationships with God and others, the greatest thing about this “affectable creation” is the fact it’s REDEEMABLE. I don’t think our human relationships always get “redeemed.” Sometimes they do, but often they don’t. And by redeemed I mean “returned to the way they were.” But our Core Relationship with God DOES enter a state of TRUE redemption. Jesus STARTED that process, and yes, He WILL finish this restoration. I don’t think it’s over. I think redeeming our core relationship with God is an on-going process while we’re on earth, not a line we cross. I think that’s why Jesus said, “follow me.” Along the way, the relationships we have with others, I feel, reveal to us more and more of the heft, the gravity, the sheer and utter completeness of THE Relationship Jesus has with each of us. That’s what I’m thinking about. How much His love won’t let us get away, won’t let us go. Yet, we’re free to do so, and sadly choose to exercise that terrible, awful yet breathtakingly beautiful freedom.So I’ve ended up here. Talking about these bits and pieces of observations, having preached to myself more than anybody else. I suppose if I can affect MYSELF, by getting it out of my head and you’re holding me accountable to it, I’m not banging a drum uselessly. I’m opening myself up so God can say, “Hmm! You’re MY CHILD. THAT’S who you are!” There’s not much wrong with that.


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