I'm looking for a mind at work

Oh hey friends, remember me?  The reluctant blogger who can’t seem to keep on a writing schedule?  I’m still here.  Glad you’re still here too… hopefully you’re still here too.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write here.  Mostly because I’m in a season of life that doesn’t allow for a lot of space to write – both physical time and the ability to publish what’s going on around me.  But alas, I’m popping in.
When I’m in seasons like this, where the things I write can’t be published, I like to fill my brain with good things – through my ears.   Which means that this week’s #FridayFive posed by Mrs. Disciple fits right in to where I’ve been setting up camp.

#FridayFive: Five Things I’m Listening To

1. Podcasts

I’ve become a little bit of a podcast junkie.  Is that a thing?  It all started with the Relevant Podcast.  About a year ago I was housesitting and stumbled upon this podcast which I listened to while I walked the dog.  I got hooked by their witty repartee and insightful interviews with people living cool lives.  Now it’s a year later and I’m hooked on podcasts of all kinds.  Most mornings and car rides find me listening to podcasts to fill the silent spaces with meaningful conversation.  It’s almost like I’m tricking my extrovert self into thinking I am constantly surrounded by friends – friends who have cool jobs are and changing the world.  But they also give me a glimpse into worlds that I don’t fully understand.  I try to broaden my horizons through podcasts – purposely listening intently to stories other that my own that will make me a better pastor and friend.
Here are some of my favorites: The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, The Popcast with Knox and Jamie,  The West Wing Weekly.  My friend Nathan just started one called The Why Behind the What that is really good. I also dabble in the Liturgists, and I’m just starting on Lead Stories Podcast.

2. Musicals

I’m on a musical kick right now – I’m not sure what it is about Broadway, but it calls to me.  This recent kick started off with Sara Bareilles’ new musical called Waitress.  She release an album of songs she had wrote for Waitress and they are magical.  Sara has always had the amazing ability to speak to me through her music (actually, let’s be honest – it’s God working through her).  This album is no different.  My favorite songs include: She Used to be Mine, You Matter to Me, and When He Sees Me.  She has been able to capture what it feels like to be single in today’s world.  It’s really magic in song – so very good.
This led me to discover the Hamilton soundtrack.  Also, very good.  Well-written music, innovative, great lyrics and some hip hop influence.  If you haven’t given it a listen, please do so.  And of course there’s all my old standards – Rent, Newsies, Wicked and Legally Blonde.
A subcategory of this one could be “Music that Makes Me Feel”.  It’s a category that I’ve discovered, music that have lyrics that make me think, make me feel, make me challenge myself.  I’m all for a good pop song but if you listen to those lyrics, like really listen, they aren’t provoking much deep thoughts or feelings.

3. Laughter and kind words

There’s this group that I hand out with on Thursday nights.  It’s a group of my youth group parents.  They hang out for one hour every Thursday nights while their daughters are in dance class.  Last year they invited me to join them and I’ve been going ever week since. We all say it’s the best hour of our week, an hour where we just sit around a table and hear life updates, tell stories and enjoy each other’s company.  I treasure this group for two reasons – their legacy of friendship and their willingness to let me in.  This group of parents have been friends for over ten years – when their daughters all met in preschool.  They have this friendship that runs deep and they love each other so tangibly.  It’s beautiful.  If I am ever fortunate enough to have kids, I hope that I find friends like this to walk through their childhood with me.  Secondly, they have let me in so lovingly.  I have learned so much from them in the last year.  About marriage, about raising kids, about friendship – because they have invited me in.
That’s just one group that I spend weekly time with, I’ve really noticed how many people I’m surrounded by constantly that make me laugh and say kind things to me or to others.  I am trying to focus on those moments rather than the ones that cause pain or confusion.

4. The meaning behind the words

Along the same lines, I’ve been trying to see past the surface level of conversations.  It might be a trick of the trade but I have the tendency to be able to pick up on the sentiments behind the words being said.  In a world full of technology, this is getting harder and harder.  We used to say that e-mail was a hard mode of communication because you couldn’t read the emotion behind the words.  Now I’m beginning to think that we no long expect emotions to be behind words.  We’ve lost the ability to read between the lines and really see each other.  Context is subjective, but are we losing the ability to parse conversations?  We take everything at face value.  I’m not sure that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I’m seeing more and more that when I take something at face value, I’m taking it at my face value – what I would mean if I said that sentence.  This means I’m not taking the other’s story into account, I’m assuming everyone thinks and acts like me.
So recently I’m trying to see things through the eyes of others – including my own words.  When I say this – what are they hearing? What am I actually meaning?  This could be the topic of a whole other post (and it just might be) but it’s been an eye opening experience.

5. Myself

My last audible would be my own thoughts.  I’ve been in my head a lot lately and it’s caused me to discover a lot about myself that I didn’t really see before.  I’m sure eventually that will lead to some more posts but I’m starting to see myself more clearly than I had before.  I’ve always had a fairly high level of self awareness, but it seems to be higher these days.  I’m connecting pieces of my story that have created tendencies in myself.  Good, bad and just plain interesting.

What are you listening to?  What’s taking up space between your ears lately?

2 Replies to “I'm looking for a mind at work”

  1. The Relevant podcast keeps popping up on my radar. I need to add that one to the playlist. Some of the others look good, too. I recently became a Jamie Ivey fan 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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