Switching Gears

These past four days I’ve been in a cabin. Yes a cabin. After graduation I figured the smartest thing for me to do was to take my knowledge I recently learned and hide it from the world… haha not quite.

Sweet Right?!

Sweet Right?!

I decided I would do what was best, and go straight to God and pray for direction along with offering up thanksgiving for the past few years at Asbury University. What an amazing school, and what a community it offered. If you can look past the normal things everyone complains about, rules and regulations, you can form relationships that are truly the riches of this life. I mean Asbury isn’t the only place I form those, but living in close quarters creates a different atmosphere for engaging conversations and fun times to last early into the mornings. So thank you so much for the past three years Asbury, and I hope to see you’re drupelets in the future.

Back to why I’m sitting here in this cabin, typing this on my iPhone. I’m here because I wanted to switch gears, and prepare myself for the future. I wanted to detach myself from the world and connect with heaven for a little bit so I could see, or hope to see the direction God was sending me in.
On day one, I arrived late in the afternoon with one of my friends Austin, who came out and showed me around. We talked about life, school, and of course women. Can’t have a official heart to heart conversation with another dude without women being in the line up somewhere.
On the second day, he took me up the trail onto the mountain to a peak called,”Raven Rock” which is awesome, see image below. The property is on the edge of the Red River Gorge, yet still outside the boundary of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Pretty sweet right? I know. Anyways, so we’re up there a mile from the cabin, and the view is spectacular. We talk for a bit more, and we head on down the mountain. On arriving he jets out, and then I begin my shifting gears.
Myself checking out the view on my first day up on Raven Rock.

Myself checking out the view on my first day up on Raven Rock.

Raven Rock looking into the Red River Gorge - Shiloh, Ky

Raven Rock looking into the Red River Gorge – Shiloh, Ky

First thing I did was hit the music. I picked up my iPhone, scrolled to, “Rend Collective Experiment” and I hit repeat all. I started to Praise.
(If you have not listened to this album, please do so now on either Spotify, iTunes, or listen to the link on YouTube)

At first I’m like alright I’m digging this. I started praying for God to show up, next thing you know, I’m jumping! I was doing circles in the living room loving every second of worship. (Imagine all 6 foot 1in of me twirling, shouting maybe the right lyrics, and jumping) A hiker passing by might have recounted a certified lunatic making loud racket in a cabin. But I didn’t care, I was making walls crumble.

You see, this trip wasn’t simply to mark an end to an era of scholastic learning but it was a rejuvenation of a man bogged down with the stresses of life. This year was huge in the learning life lessons department. I was going up against Goliath himself to say the least. If it wasn’t for my faith in Christ this past year, I may have been defeated.

But Jesus looked at them and said,

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

I had the verse written on my dry erase board since the very first day of classes at UK in 2008. It did nicely as a reminder.
Check the white board - upper right corner

Check the white board – upper right corner

Anyways, so there I was kicking, jumping, and yelling. That lasted all about 30min, and then I just sat and gave thanks for everything that has happened to me, and for me in these past six years. From starting school at the University of Kentucky to attending school at Asbury, to multiple road trips, an internship to London for the Olympics, and graduation itself. Oh and not to mention this entire time being in the Air Force/Kentucky Air National Guard as well. That too I concluded two weeks ago. This time certainly is a time of endings and new beginnings to say the least. So maybe for the 10 readers of this article, you can now understand a little bit of my reasoning for coming to the cabin. I need to switch gears, and shifting, I have been doing.
The second day ended with me sitting in my hammock, on the front porch reading the book of Philippians as it rained.
And then it hit me. For a while now I’ve been praying for direction. I’ve been praying for guidance. I’ve been praying for a career to fall in my lap pretty much… Then I plowed through Paul’s letter to the Church Philippi. There’s is so much to obtain from this book, but this hit close to me.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:1-11
Get pumped for that right?! If you had trouble finding your places on the totem pole, you found it now. But wait it continues, and this is where God gives me direction, or rather an assurance to keep faith in him to show me the way through life.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Philippians 2:12-13
Daaaannnngggggg… First Paul says hold up, humble yourself like Christ did because he saw equality with God something not to be grasped, or obtainable! Then he says God will then work through us for his will, and for us to act.
I’m on board now, you following? I mean I’ve always known this, but it’s always that ahHAAAA moment when you realize that scripture pertains your life, and always will.
I’m sitting here in this cabin waiting for a direction, and I’m getting feedback like, stop worrying about your future because 1) I’m going to work you wherever and whenever as long as you humble yourself and 2) if you do so, I’ve got you covered.
I’m worried about moving out of my parents basement, paying back school loans, and finding a woman and God is saying hold up, humble yourself and serve others. Dang.
Check, roger, good for launch Houston! Man such a solid reminder.
So anyways, that’s what I first learned while out here.
On the third day, I learned that walking up the mountain to Raven Rock, should only be done so after checking the forecast. Around lunch time I walk up to the top, and it’s a no joke “unofficial” trail that is muddy from the last few days of rain. So I get to the top, and I’m like, what up mountain that’s twice in two days sucka… Then I turn around, and see the biggest storm clouds ever. Well ok, maybe my shortness of breath and irritation to the possibility that I would soon have to walk back down, only just getting to the top, made me believe it was a monstrous storm (I know that is a run on sentence. Don’t know how to word it differently). So then I barreled down the mountain as it thundered and poured.
If you spend any amount of time with me on my adventures, the first thing you’ll notice is that they are never perfect days. I need Bill Meck or someone on speed dial.
So I get back down, and what does it do after 15min. Stops raining. Fail. Whatever, so I decided to help out Austin Norton and his family clear some trees, and clean up the yard around the cabin. It rained off and on still the rest of the day, but it was good weather for planting trees anyways. I concluded the night by watching Cheaper by the Dozen, and eating a baked potato. Did you know you could cook those in a microwave? Sweet right. Baked potato for days!
So then I woke up this morning, determined to climb the mountain once more to sit for at least an hour or two. So that’s what I did. I recently got a sweet gift from a friend that tracks my location, and saves my runs. So on the way up today I tracked walk and found out it approx. 1.12mi and takes about 30min to walk up. If you know anything about hiking, you might notice that’s a really long mile. Just imagine the incline one would have to climb to complete a mile in that time… Yeah… Today made my third time doing it!
Hike to the top

Hike to the top

So I get to the top, and I’m like ok God. Today, is my last day here, and I’m going to need to hear from you. At this moment I’m standing on the side of the cliff. I hear him say, first back up so when you close your eyes for this you won’t fall off. Noted. So I take a couple leaps back, and I sit and close my eyes. I begin to pray.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been in conversation with many individuals that are older, and some that are my peers. Every conversation was a blessing, and a confirmation that I had my head screwed on straight, and how I was handling things was the smartest thing to do. And so what I heard, made no surprise.
I heard, “Max, my son, you need to be happy. In whatever you choose, be happy. I’m going to use you no matter what you choose, but just choose something. Either it be in Oregon, in another country, or Winchester… I’m going to use you. Continue to walk with me, and I’ll always walk with you.” I opened my eyes as the wind was rushing through the pines. The smell of the needles and sap were overwhelming. I smiled, and took in a fresh breath of air.
I still don’t know what I’m going to do the rest of my life, and frankly I don’t think no one ever knows what they’ll do, and unfortunately it paralyzes so many people. Our purpose in this life can be as certain or uncertain as we choose to make it. For as I am about to leave this cabin, I pray that I am certain of one thing.
I am certain that I will, like Paul understood, live a life realizing that equality with God will never be grasped, and so I should continue to serve others as I have always done before. This time outside of a education environment, and inside the working environment. That I may work without complaint, no matter the career choice, so that Christ can be glorified in everything I do. This is my declaration, and this is my prayer.
God may you twist and turn this world as I walk in your will, and place me where you need me to be.