Sunday, December 7, 2008

Alright, alright I'll share the gory one's too

I realize the error of my ways. "For the sake of brevity, I won't bore all of you with the gory details of how I came to the above conclusion."
Thanks Captain for challenging me to share my journey. I suppose I'm too used to the shallow waters of elevator talk that normally occur between people and have yet to get used to gutting myself for everyone to see. I'll do my best in the posts to follow. ;-)

My journey has been a long one. Yeah, I know I'm 16. Teenagers aren't "supposed" to even have a journey yet. But we all do. Every single person has a journey, no matter the age. And trust me when I tell you teenagers are no exception to that rule.
As a share my life's voyage with you through this blog, bear with me. Like a puzzle being dumped out, pieces will come out jumbled and turned over. Try not to get too lost and overwhelmed in my mire of thought. This part of my journey, the part which I'm blogging about tonight, starts many years ago.

Holy cow, I must have been about 9 or 10 when this whole thing started.

My sister, Meg, took part in the Homeschool Graduation ceremony. When she was facing the same hurdles I am today being in High School, she participated in what was called the "Enrichment Program" not too dissimilar to the school I attend. The person who she walked down the graduation isle with was, what some may call, an odd duck. His name was Curtis Barrett, and I don't think my sister had a clue that he would have an impact on her younger brother's life.
Curtis faced his own hurdles after High School. Namely, college at BSU. I'm no scholar of his life, so I can't tell you all that happened to him during these years. I do know he was uncertain about what his life held in the future. Growing up a Christian, Curtis knew the cliche "God has His hand on your life." so he didn't worry too much. After college, Curtis connected up with a middle-school aged boy by the name of Colin Mansfield. Curtis had kept his connection with the Mansfield family through college: Mr. Mansfield had been a part of his life in previous years. Now that Meg had moved on to do the college alternative, some call it marriage, the natural step for Curtis in connecting with the Mansfield family was to get to know Colin. On top of that, Curtis and Colin had had many an experience with each other through their many years of AWANA together: Curtis as a leader, Colin as a sparky/grayshirt. All that to say, Curtis would invite Colin out to eat periodically and ask him questions about his life. He'd ask him about school (finding a common ground where neither liked english as a subject) and about his plans for the future. These meals would take place once every couple months. Colin found them a bit strange at first, but free food is free food.
Fast forward a couple years. Colin is now a sophomore in High School. One day Curtis calls up Colin and sets up a time for them, along with Mr. Mansfield to go have a meal and talk. The three do end up spending a good portion of the planned afternoon together. After listening to Curtis' life, Dennis suggests something that would forever change Curtis' life. This something, although pretty blurry for Colin at the time, was an event called Focus. Although to this day the details of the adult focus seminars remain unclear to Colin, the proof is indeed in the pudding. Curtis came out a changed man. He acknowledged areas in his life where he needed to change, and he confronted those areas. He was able to build a meaningful answer to the question "Who are you?" In short, Curtis had begun a whole new journey in his life.
At about this time a few months later, Colin gets a call from Curtis. Curtis wanted to start a Bible study and work through the book of Proverbs. Colin came diligently to each study, and he was able to learn new things about the Bible. He learned new things about wisdom, understanding, and knowledge and the differences of each. It was a good study.
But to Curtis, something was missing. The Bible was there, and that was great. And yet he felt like there could be so much more. It was as if a certain depth was missing. Through a series of events only Curtis can explain, that missing link became clear. It was Biblically-based personal development.
Colin and Curtis began meeting once a week at various locations. They met at Zen Bento downtown, at Mongolian Bar-B-Q, and at Gondolfo's (both of which are off of Milwakee by Shopko.) Curtis had had an epiphany. The grand scheme of the epiphany was too much for even Colin to fully grasp, but the general idea was clear. Curtis wanted to start a group for people who are ready to start the process of Biblical-based personal development in their life. Colin was the first person he asked to join this group. And Colin, being the extroverted adventurer he is, said yes.

Fast forward to the last couple months. Colin, or I, had been enjoying this group temporarily dubbed "World Changers."Every week that Curtis and I would meet he would challenge me on different issues. These meetings became so beneficial we decided to do them twice a week. He would ask me questions, not just about what I wanted to do with my life, but why I wanted to do it. Every week he would give me a new book to take a look at or consider. Curtis was an ever-growing storehouse of knowledge being fermented into wisdom. And through all of these meetings, possibly the biggest question he asked me was "What is your purpose in life?" I had small bite-sized possibilities, but I could never land on something.

Fast forward to the near present. I know God wants me to impact people's lives. I don't feel inclined toward the teacher or pastor roles: I fit more into the categories of the apostles of the Bible. They would go from city to city sharing Christs love. They would go and make ripple-like drops into the lives of people. Through these people starting churches, and these churches growing in number, more and more people's lives would be impacted. It was the ripple principle at its finest.
I recently felt as though my purpose was to be a ripple for Christ. I really liked that analogy of something touching something else, and having impact on more than anyone could ever know. And yet it still didn't feel 100% there yet. And this is where Curtis came in. He wrote me a letter, and it inspired me. I had been sharing him my thoughts on the ripple principle. In his letter, he confronted me saying I was downplaying my possible growth; my potential. A ripple is a good analogy, and yet it can make its mark and then disappear. A ripple is silent and still. My personality fits neither of those. Because of this, Curtis suggested I take up a different analogy with the same principle involved. He's the one that first suggested the earthquake analogy to me. And the moment I heard it, I loved it. Just saying it inspires me to my very core: I am an earthquake. But not just any earthquake. Many earthquakes are destructive and do more harm then good. That is why I am not just any earthquake. I am an Earthquake for Christ. And that makes all the difference.

Phew. This is a LONG post! And no, I'm not gonna go back and re-read it for grammar errors and spelling mishaps. If some things don't read quite right, I hope you will forgive me.

That's the journey of my purpose. My purpose is to be an Earthquake for Christ.

Well, I think that's enough for this time around. :-) Hope everyone has a great rest of their weekend.



  1. Thank you for sharing more, Colin! I love the journey you are on!

  2. That is so awesome Colin! I'm older then you but you're already ahead of me in this area of life. I know that God has already done some much through you and you clearly have a bright future with him by your side, that you know :)

  3. This is so crazy... my aunt and uncle live next door to the Barrets and i go over there and see them sometimes! When they are out of time... i sometimes help my cousins take care of their animals! I talked to Curtis a couple months ago about Focus but had no idea you knew him... wow... Great story Colin and thanks for opening up and being real. It means a lot

  4. town.. i meant when they are out of town. =)

  5. Haha that's crazy Molly! It's a small world!
    Thanks for coming to the blog! I appreciate it!

    And your totally welcome for being hope is that if I can be a good example, it will be easier for others to follow that example and be 100% real.

  6. You're the man, cPhace. I like what you're posting and encourage you to keep it up.

    And in response to the concept of "not good enough, smart enough, old enough," I want to echo what you know: Your age, smarts, and goods become irrelevent when you put God at the center like I see you doing. That aside, you were good enough last week to keep all of the youth's attention better than anyone else I've seen in a long time. You're the man, and keep it up.

  7. Whoops, just realized I forgot to post a comment to this one. Yes, I am a space case.

    Thank you so much for 'gutting yourself for everyone to see'. (I really like your analogies.) I am so glad to see that you are not using your youth as an excuse to do nothing with your life. Everything I read here is amazing - not so much amazing in and of itself, but amazing because it's coming from a teenager. If this is what God is doing with and in you now, Satan needs to look out - I can't imagine the things God will be having you do 10 years from now.

  8. (Whoa, I have a blog here? I totally forgot about that! This is Brenna 'Elaj', by the way, with further proof of my being a space case.)

  9. Thanks Brenna! Lol I was like, "k...who is this..." haha

    I appreciate your compliments! :)