Blane has served on staff at Chi Alpha at American University for several years and became the Campus Director in the Fall of 2014. He and his wife Hannah currently have a six-month-old whom they affectionately call their "handful of joy". His name is Jeremiah and he's pretty much the cutest.
It’s so hard to summarize this past year in a two-hour conversation at Baked and Wired, let alone a blog post. But I’ll try! As many of you may know, I was asked to step into the role of Director at Chi Alpha at American University in August and then, just a few months later, my wife Hannah and I welcomed our son into the world!
To say that change was the only constant seems like a gross understatement. In fact, if you looked at my life this week and compared it to my life a year ago, very few things are similar.
We live in a new apartment, our family has grown, my role has changed, Hannah has a new job at a new company and now I find myself in conversations with other dads about things other than sports and Halo, such as car seats, baby carriers and babysitters.
I thought I’d divide my (brief) thoughts into three categories: what I’m learning about God, what I’m learning about others and what I’m learning about myself.
WHAT I’M LEARNING ABOUT GOD
In this season, I’m learning (finally!) that God doesn’t want me to exhaust myself for anything other than Himself. And when we read about his burden being light and his yoke being easy in Matthew 11:30, that means that he desires my delight. It’s said in a different way, but with the same principle in the verse about obedience- that it is greater than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
At a recent conference, I heard a missionary being asked how she defined success doing missions work in a closed country, in which there was less than 1% Christian. She said, I ask myself, “Did I abide with Jesus today?”
That stuck with me, especially as I’ve began to process the two dozen or so sermons, the leader’s meetings, the countless coffee one-on-ones and all the circumstances that we worked to navigate well. That, yes, it’s important but the utmost importance is the time I spent with Jesus. Everything else can and should flow from that.
WHAT I’M LEARNING ABOUT OTHERS
I’m reminded that others don’t think about the same things I do, or if they do, they don’t think about them in the same way. But true friends are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with you and lean into your perspective, if not to learn- then perhaps even nobler- to simply help you feel heard.
I think it was Louie Giglio who bluntly told me and about 1,000 other high school students a long time ago that none of us are the center of anyone’s universe but our own, and that it probably shouldn’t even be that way!
WHAT I’M LEARNING ABOUT MYSELF
I’m learning that I am in need of the Gospel, friends, laughter, longer devotional times and exercise. I feel, in some ways, completely changed by my experiences, both the highlights and the struggles this year - but in other ways, I feel exactly the same (except with a slightly longer beard).
I was recently asked if I felt I had hit my stride, and I can’t say that I have. But I do feel, amidst the chaos of trying to raise a family in the city and engage in the oft-slow work of disciple-making in a fast-paced society, that I am where God wants me to be.
Now, that doesn't mean I don’t worry or feel insecure or inadequate, I only feel all of those things by breakfast! But I guess the biggest thing I’m learning is that when God puts you somewhere, it doesn’t mean you’ll be fully ready to excel with ease in that position, but that he is shaping you as a person with that position for his glory.