A Spiritual Misfit's Journey: Faith Like Lego's

My little boy is a Lego-maniac. He's only six-years-old, but he's got a brilliant imagination and is meticulous with the details. At least once a month, his grandmother takes him to a "build night" at the local Lego store. Forthe first few months, on build nights, Ben would get a small kit and follow the instructor's directions precisely. Eventually, he started bringing extra packages home, one of us adults would supervise and guide him as he pieced the characters, airplanes, and superheroes together. Building Lego's with Ben reminds me a lot of my journey as a spiritual misfit.

For Christmas, I bought Ben a Lego "blockhead" (great name, right?) of the Beast from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." Sitting with my son through the construction was a great chance to have some quality time with the little boy I adore so much.

At first, things were going great. My son was following the booklet, section by section, piece by piece. The longer Ben worked, I started to notice an interesting tension between his excitement over what was coming to life, and his exhaustion over not being able to follow such detailed diagrams.

But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do. (Matthew 18:6-7)

We were about 80% complete with building the Beast when Ben realized he'd put one piece in the wrong place. It couldn't have been any bigger than 2cm x 2cm, but that one out-of-place Lego messed up the entire construction. If you've been following my blog for the past few years, you know my spiritual journey has mirrored that of little Ben and the Lego's.

Spiritual Misfit

Eventually, Ben lost his temper and smashed his brand-new construction to bits. It wasn't perfect, and to my son, if it's not perfect: it's worthless. I've been there, trying to jump through the hoops of manmade religion. I've exhausted myself, attempting to live up to every unrealistic expectation of religious leaders and armchair theologians. For a while, I became an angry Deconstructionist, too.

If you've had a similar experience, stubbornly seeking the approval of the institutional church, but only becoming more disenfranchised and disillusioned, I hear you. If you have more questions than answers, me too. I have been angry, frustrated, and worn out.

As a spiritual misfit, I find solace in the words of Jesus:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30)

After a while, my son calmed down and wiped his angry tears. In the process, Ben learned three lessons I hope he clings to the rest of his life:

  1. Manmade rules aren't for everyone.
  2. Whatever has been crushed can be restored.
  3. Everyone belongs, not everything fits.

Looking for more?

Jon Scott and I had a great conversation on The Holy Heretics Podcast today. The title of the episode is "Faith...I doubt it!" If you are looking for a faith that embraces the gray areas of spirituality, listen to this podcast episode today!

Resources:

  1. Is Your Faith Water or Cement?
  2. I stopped praying months ago. Here's what happened...
  3. Wholeness in a Time of Polarization

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The Kind of Jesus I Really Need

Hi, it's Lindsey! I'm over at Songbird and a Nerd today talking about the kind of Jesus I need. My kids were watching a happy little Christian t.v. show. You know, the kind from the 80’s that airs on some random public station, over the antenna. The one with the ultra cheesy choreography and bad music. My kids were watching that. It’s not what I would have chosen for them, but let’s be honest. Sometimes I just don’t care what they watch. I’m raising a toddler and a preschooler, and there are times that I’m simply thankful to have a moment to breathe.

Read More

7 Self-Care Tips for Tired Parents

Parenting is exhausting, especially in the early years. I don't care how many books you've read by James Dobson and Focus on the Family, even the most dedicated parents sometimes face burnout. 7 Simple Self-Care tips for tired parents

 

Here's the good news: you are not alone.

Just last night, Ben woke up twice with a bad dream, and Caroline ended up in our bed by midnight. Eventually, I found respite on the couch around 2am because I was just sick of fighting with them.

And here's the thing - I adore my kids. Lindsey and I CHOSE them. We made a conscious decision to have them. We chose to move forward with growing our family and bring little ones into the world. But as cute, smart, and funny as my two kids are, they still wear me out.

Self-Care Tips for Parents

In Episode 011 of the #AskSteveAustin podcast, I share 7 simple self-care tips I've learned in the past (almost) 6 years of parenting. The first lesson is: DON'T FORGET TO PLAY. There are six other lessons, like the why I believe Grace throws us an ice cream party on our very worst day, plus the difference between bitterness and boundaries.

If you're a parent facing burnout, or maybe you're not a parent, but you're completely exhausted because....life, check out Episode 011 today! Maybe your kids are no longer at home, or you might not even have children...that's okay! These self-care tips apply to everyone!

Self-Care for Parents

Click here to listen to Episode 011 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast right now.

You can also click here to listen (and subscribe) via iTunes.


What did I miss? What parenting lesson would you add to the list? Do you have a hilarious #parentingfail to share with the rest of us? Bring it on! Let's continue the dialogue in the comments...

Thanks for listening.

#AskSteveAustin Podcast: Dealing with Tension in Relationships

Relationships can be tough. When there is tension with the people you love, it can make connecting with someone you genuinely care about difficult. Whether it's a friend, lover, loser, or leaver, the unpredictability of people makes relationships...interesting...at the very least. How to deal with tension in relationships

The latest episode of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast covers relationships, in all their glory.

In this episode, I talk about:

  • Dealing with parents who don't approve of your lifestyle
  • How to fight fair
  • People who seem to never suffer
  • How to best love someone with a mental illness
  • The Rules of Wrestling

As usual, I answer your questions from a place of honesty and as a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. I'm not a doctor or a medical professional - just a guy who's been there and is willing to tell it like I see it.

Check out my latest episode today!

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