One of the advantages of a deployment is that you have intermittent periods of “hurry up and wait” moments that are opportune for deep thinking, reflection, prayer, and abundant reading. Not to be overly critical of how others spend their down time during deployment, but I can only watch so many movies, and I just can’t stand watching sitcom series...a complete waste of time in my hyper pragmatic brain because of the false reality they project (ie, why watch fantasy). I do have a hard time resisting inspirational sports movies like Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, Rudy, Facing the Giants, and the like, a few of which I have seen since being here. I still get choked up at the same points in the movie as if I am seeing it for the first time. I also watch the occasional "chick flick” with Amy (I am no dummy and have learned a few things over 17 years of marriage!). Limiting too much television while deployed is easy because there are so few options and virtually everything is delayed anyways. Our team got together last night to watch the movie Courageous. It’s not an inspirational sports movie per se but in the same genre as Facing the Giants and Fireproof, all 3 of which are worth seeing if you haven’t already.
I thought I’d also give an update on some of the books I’ve been reading, which for me is a much more logical and productive way to spend time. First and foremost, I am still tracking to read the Bible (it needs no hyperlink I hope!) through this year, which I try to keep as my top priority (ie, no other reading until I am current in my Bible reading plan). I have read the Bible through a few times, but it always takes me longer than a year because I invariably get behind. This year, I have no excuse. Bear in mind I had no excuses before either but I pretended a few. In addition to my Bible reading, I am trying to read about a book a week. I started off with some light reading, Tim Tebow’s recent book Through My Eyes (remember, I am a sucker for inspirational sports stories). I have also finished reading Jim Collins’ recent book, Great by Choice along with Mark Levin’s book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto and John Maxwell’s book, Thinking for a Change. Other books that I have queued up on my Kindle are John MacArthur’s Slave and Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong. I will also soon be reading Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. As I have alluded to previously, I also am re-listening to Pastor Blakey’s 2010, 2011, and 2012 year to date sermons on my iPod when running on the treadmill. I have about 53 to go, so I should be current by the end of my deployment.
Of course, none of this reading, thinking, prayer, and reflection matters unless it influences how you think and more importantly motivates action. For all of the difficulties being away from Amy and the kids (I would still come home tomorrow if I could), it’s humbling to watch the Lord use this extended “sabbatical” (sounds more academic than a military deployment, which suits me better!) to do some amazing works in my own life and that of our family. My prayer is simply that you might be encouraged through my own journey asking “why me” regarding this deployment, only to be quickly reminded that God’s timing is never early or late. He is always on time according to His sovereign plan and working all things for His good (not my immediate pleasure). For the first time in 2 months since I left, I can genuinely say that as much as I am looking forward to going home, I am glad I am here.