Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I blew it this past Saturday night. A group of friends and I went out on the town for a little belated birthday celebration for me. As I mentioned, my 30th birthday was a few weeks back but I was in Colorado at the time and I was not able to celebrate with my friends in Atlanta.

It was great to see my friends but Saturday night was not good. It was fun at the time but going out was just not the wise thing for me to do. It is tough. I debated last week about just doing something low key for my birthday instead of going out to a club and dancing. I have been out plenty of times and I know where that leads. And I didn’t want it to lead there but I guess I didn’t want it enough to change my birthday plans. I think sometimes that we have invented all these special occasions in order to give ourselves license to wear a mask and be someone else for a night.

I did not like the “someone else” that I became on Saturday night. And It frustrates me how I just put God on a shelf sometimes. It is a temptation. I mean I try to live this Christian life but every now and then I decide to take off the “Jesus” hat and hang out with the world for an evening. But it’s ok right because I can just pick Jesus back up tomorrow. After all, He forgives me right? I don’t want to live like that.

I am tired of temporarily setting God aside in order to pursue my own goals and desires. It just doesn’t work for me. I am starting to truly realize that I love Jesus MORE than some of the things of this world that I have loved in the past.

Doing some of the things that I have always done just doesn’t make sense any more. I do the same things yet I expect a different result. How whacked out is that? And I am tired of looking for my acceptance in other people vs. acknowledging God’s acceptance of me.

Bottom line: It is time for me to stop caring so much about how my actions may offend others. It is a tough line to walk because the last thing I ever want to do is judge someone else for what THEY do.

I just want God to grant me the courage to say, “it is just not the wisest thing for ME to do.”

Saturday, October 20, 2007

State of Curt Address – 30 year old edition

I am 30. I am single. I live with my parents. I don’t own a car. (Better yet – I have to ask my dad to use the car – beat that!) And I am unemployed.

Yet somehow through all of this I have more joy in my life than ever before.

I meant to blog about this a few weeks back on my actual birthday (Oct. 9) but my training in Colorado took priority. My world is about to get turned upside down and as if moving to Bolivia was not enough change for me I decided to go ahead and turn 30 as well.

I just thought I would kill two birds with one stone.
New home. New decade.

What is it about the start of new decades in life? I have talked to several people that have told me that some of their best years were in their 30s so I am definitely optimistic. And I honestly feel like 2007 - 2017 could be some of the best years of my life.

There is a lie out there that makes people think that if they are 30 and single something is wrong with them. I have felt the weight of that lie in the past. My guess is that girls feel this pressure way more than guys. I mean you start getting in your late 20s and you are like, “Will I ever meet somebody?” “I sure hope I meet somebody before I turn 30 so I will not be weird.”

As I reflect on my life as a new 30 year old I am just so happy that I do not believe that lie anymore. It is nice to know from first hand experience that God is the one who sustains and fulfills. I chased so many things in this world that I THOUGHT would fulfill me but nothing ever did.

I can’t wait to see where God takes me in my thirties. All I know is that He didn’t promise me that leaving my family and friends and moving to La Paz would be easy but He did promise me that He will be with me.

In fact, I know that He is there waiting to welcome me when I reach the bottom of the airplane steps.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Adios Colorado

Well, my three weeks of training have come to an end. I arrived back in the ATL on Friday but I have to say that I had mixed emotions about leaving. It is good to be home but I really felt like I was finally getting settled in by week three and I was excited about some of the friends that I was making. They had a ping-pong table in the basement of the conference center and we had some epic battles. It was a lot of fun. I was enjoying making friends but I knew that I had to leave in order to keep this whole process moving forward. Life continues on I guess.

It was a very small taste of where my life is headed.

I mean I came to the realization that once I move to La Paz and get the whole missionary thing going my life is going to be a series of goodbyes. I will say goodbye to my family and friends here when I leave but when I leave La Paz and visit Georgia I will say goodbye to my friends in Bolivia. It is going to be a life of constantly learning how to say goodbye well.

My last week at MTI was just filled with emotion. We talked about grief and loss, hellos & goodbyes. It was crazy. I admit that I have cried more in the last three weeks than I have in a long time. And it feels good. I knew we were in trouble when there was a box of Kleenex on every table in the training room. We had the opportunity this last week to individually say goodbye to everyone who attended the training and say a blessing over their life as they leave to serve God in different parts of the world.

Here is a photo of our group...

I had so many great revelations during my time in Colorado but I will just leave you with a few…

God really does LOVE me.
(We hear this so much that I think we really have a hard time letting this concept sink in. Well it’s starting to sink in for me. I am starting to realize that God is not going to love me any more or any less because I am going to Bolivia. I am not getting extra credit or a gold star. God’s love for me is constant no matter where I am. I am not going to Bolivia so that I can earn God’s love. I go because He called me.)

God’s strength is good enough for me.
(I went to the training really struggling with self-reliance. I felt myself trying to make too many things in my life happen with my own strength. God totally broke that down during my time in Colorado and now I believe more than ever before that God’s strength is sufficient for me.)

Different is not necessarily wrong. Wrong is wrong.
(Just because things in my new culture in Bolivia are different it doesn’t mean that they are wrong. It’s all about finding out what is right and wrong according to God’s word.)

My success in Bolivia is not up to me.
(This kinda goes with the comment about God’s strength above. It is a huge weight off my shoulders to know that I am not in control of the results in Bolivia. This is not to say that I will not work hard. It is just a comment about how I deal with the outcomes.)

A few formulas…
Be Still = Knowing God
Quiet + Rest = Strength

Three foundational truths that I am wrestling with…
God is God (He doesn’t owe me an explanation)
God is not safe, but He is faithful
God is good (No matter what happens)

God really spoke to my heart during my time in Colorado. And I am so glad that I was able to experience the MTI training. I know that I already have a better chance of enduring and enjoying my time in Bolivia because of all of the truths that I learned over these three weeks.

I created an online photo album for the trip so check it out.

Next Steps: Buying my plane ticket to La Paz & getting my Visa from the Bolivian Consulate

Saturday, October 06, 2007

MTI Training: Week Two

And what a week it was.

First of all, last weekend I was able to do some sightseeing in the Colorado Springs area. A few of us traveled up to Pikes Peak in the hopes of getting to the summit of the peak around 14,000 ft. We could only get to about 12,000 ft. because there were very strong winds at the summit so the rangers were not letting anyone go to the top. Boo on that. We were also able to visit these very cool rock formations called Garden of the Gods. I will post a photo album when I finish my training so stay tuned.

And now for a training update. I have to tell you that the sessions just keep getting better and better and my list of notes and reflections just keeps getting longer and longer. There is no way that I will be able to process all of this stuff while I am here. God is really speaking to my heart during my time here. Maybe sometime in November it will all sink in. I can’t tell you how helpful this experience has been for me.

We finished the week where my previous post ended - discussing our different conflict management styles…the advantages and disadvantages. Very eye opening stuff. I now have a greater understanding of my natural tendency with regards to conflict management but I also know some stuff about other styles as well so hopefully as a result I will have a better success rate at “speaking someone else’s language” once I get to La Paz.

We have also talked a good bit this week about basic cultural differences and also transition. What will some of the characteristics of my transition to Bolivia be? In most cases, people experience a honeymoon stage when they first enter their new culture followed by an unsettling phase, followed by a CHAOS stage (I can't avoid this one), followed by a resettling stage before finally beginning to feel settled in the new culture.

The length of these transition periods varies for each person but the bottom line for me is that I will be changed.

I will not come back to the states the same person I was when I left. It is impossible. I am just going to let that sink in for awhile.

But I don’t necessary think that is a bad thing either. I am hopeful that I will eventually find balance between my home culture and my host culture of Bolivia. But it is definitely going to take time. More time than I actually think.

Probably the biggest thing that hit me this week were the words that God spoke to me during our sessions on Soul Care. Just FYI…Soul Care is just that – taking care of my soul on the field. How am I going to take care of my soul while I am in Bolivia? I don’t want to become just another bad missionary statistic and return to the US after my term in La Paz burned out on God and dried-up spiritually. Basically, how can I avoid coming back a battered and bruised missionary? This is way more common for missionaries than I ever realized. You would be surprised.

I learned this week that a big key for me is going to be the Sabbath. Which doesn’t really mean anything to a lot of people in our culture anymore but as I came to find out this week the Sabbath actually means “to cease.” God’s model of resting one day after every six days of work. Having a day each week when I turn the cell phone OFF and don’t turn the computer ON will care for my soul in ways that will make me endure and last on the mission field.

Me finding a day each week to be UNAVAILABLE will save me. I spent some time with God this past week practicing solitude and silence and I can’t tell you the impact it has had on me. Imagine that, actually being silent so God has a chance to talk to me and I have a chance to actually listen.

It’s a big change from me just jabbering and filling the air with all this stuff that I need to let God know about. Me talking to God has its place. But too often I find myself talking too much.

I think I got a better understanding this week of that verse that talks about God knowing what we are going to say before we even say it. And I figure it’s time I stop giving God info all the time and actually give Him the mic for once.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Lifehouse Everything Skit

Check out this video.
Wherever you are in your life, take hope and keep up the fight.