Archives For 2010 – Living With and Without

Dear 2010

December 28, 2010 — Leave a comment

Dear 2010,

Like most years you started with much ambition, goal-setting and prayer.  Like most years though things happen and the plans started usually ended before you began Spring.  2010 you move too quickly as I saw the birth of my fourth child and then the other children turn 2, 4 and 5.  You are relentless in how you keep moving forward and before I could even get a handle on you now you are leaving.  You did not bring me much comfort this year as I saw Haiti become devastated and people dying all over the world.  2010 you are unforgiving.  I wish you would slow down so I could tell all of the people how much I love them and miss them.  2010 you did bring a lot of good to the ministry here as we had a few amazing souls baptized: Meredith, Hannah, Rebecca, Morgan, Derek, Elijah and probably others I have forgotten.  Friends graduated, 2010, and moved away quicker than I could say good-bye.  2010I am not sure what to make of you.  You are an enigma wrapped up in a mystery.  I wish you would not leave so fast though because next year I turn 30 and I am scared, nervous, and confused about the possibilities that are ahead.  However, if my 30s are going to be better than my 20s then I am ready for it but if you would just wait 2010 then I could prepare myself for 2011. Like most years, 2010, you brought both life and death, sadness and happiness, frustration and fulfillment which leaves us wanting.  I just have a request from you then I will leave you alone.  Will you talk to your friend 2011 before you leave and tell him that I want a better year?  Will you tell him to slow down so I can enjoy my kids better?  Will you tell him to bring reflection, contemplation and celebration to my life so I can be all that I can be for Main Street and my family?  Good-bye 2010 and I am thankful you came into my life…I will think about you often.  

Your participant,

Robbie Mackenzie


Businessman Pouring Coffee into MouthThis week was the first week of my year-long journey to live without some things.  This week (as you can tell from the picture) I chose to start off slowly and live without caffeine.  Like most people, I live off of caffeine and it’s present everywhere I go.  In the morning when I go to the office the first thing I do is grab a few cups of coffee while I am studying.  Then if I go out to eat I usually will drink some diet coke with my meal and when I eat dinner at home I have sweet tea or something with caffeine.  This week was hard but not as bad as I thought.  I had a headache for two days straight but I was able to overcome that.  The biggest challenge for me was to retrain my thoughts into thinking about what I wanted to drink instead of grabbing a can of coke and downing it by second nature.  My body went through some physiological changes during the week: my heartburn went down; I was able to sleep better at night; I wasn’t as jittery during the day; I could focus more on my studies; waking up (paradoxically) was actually easier after the first couple of days; my teeth got a little whiter. 

Amazing.  Below are a few lessons I learned this week as I lived without caffeine…

  1. If change is going to occur you must be intentional about it.  We all like to talk a big game and say that we want to do things different and we are going to do it.  Many of us have been in church meetings where we had these great ideas and then a few months later we were left asking ourselves, “Well what ever happened to that idea?”  I had to be very specific in my lifestyle to make a difference in something I saw as worthwhile. 
  2. You never know how much you are dependent on something until you live without it.  Physiologically, my body was sending me signals that said it needed caffeine.  In a small infinitesimal way I experienced what many experience who smoke, drink or use drugs and then go through the process of quitting. 
  3. Change Hurts.  This whole process hurt for the first two days.  I did not like it and I was miserable.  The headache was so throbbing I could hardly function.   But… 
  4. Change Heals. That same process of hurting helped me to heal.  My body is probably better off (being diagnosed with ADHD) without caffeine.  I feel so much better without.  Will I never take a drink again?  Doubtful.  But this may be a permanent change.  Which leads me to….
  5. Be Perceptive of What God is Doing.  In my office I have 6 priorities that I hang all over the office.  Priority #6 is to “treat my body in a way that will allow me to be in God’s service for the maximum amount of time.”  2010 might be a wake up call and perhaps God is telling me that I am way too dependent on things I don’t need to be. 

Those are the five quick lessons.  I hope you gained some insight into this.  Stay tuned next week as I live without something else because it just might surprise you…

Next week my 52 week fast begins but I have changed the direction and even focus.  On October 26, 2009 I wrote:

Fasting.  A simple definition would be to do without.  Jesus said it best when he said, “no man can serve two masters [lit. ‘lords’]” so I have come up with a personal project for 2010 of which I need your creativity.  For 52 weeks I am going to fast.  This is not an effort to show my piety nor is it designed to poke fun at ancient disciplines.  This is a serious attempt to discover what consumes me and what I really value. 

Upon reflection I do not think fasting is the word I am going to use.  I think I am going to call it “2010-Living With and Living Without!”  It is apparent to me that fasting is for a specific purpose and perhaps it is best I focus on living without certain materialistic things each week instead of calling it “fasting.”  I will “live without” each weeks task with the following stipulations:

  • It is only Monday-Friday
  • It does not harm my family
  • It does not promote boasting and pride
  • It allows me to focus on what is so important…HIM!

So join me on this journey as I blog about it.  I plan on reading a lot of Scripture and a lot of books in this process.  Who knows what I will see and who knows what God will show me this year! I hope to help myself, my family, my students and my church grow closer to God.  I want to apologize to my wife, my children, my students and my church for allowing selfishness to get in the way of ministry.  I feel God has done some amazing things with me but even more in spite of me.  I have not failed but I have not maximized my potential. 

So I’m living with and living without in 2010.  Next week begins my journey.  I am in prayer this week preparing myself.  Perhaps I will fast in preparation for this!  I love you all and thanks for reading. 

{Side note:  Our 4th child is due any moment between now and the 21st.  Keep Heather and the baby in your prayers}