I wish I had something insightful and wise to share tonight, but my brain hurts. I just got back from taking a class in the one topic I’ve desperately avoided learning for the past ten years: HTML.
Don’t know what HTML is? Go to the top of your web browser and look at your menu toolbar. Click on VIEW and then click on SOURCE. See all that crazy text that makes you think you took a wrong turn somewhere in cyberspace? That’s what I’m learning how to do.
Looks like fun, doesn’t it?
After a three-hour class my head feels like it’s reached full capacity and might blow at any moment! And all I have to show for my efforts (besides the aching head) is 21 lines of code that display five sentences of text—all black, Times Roman.
Wow! I can see the phone ringing off the hook from clients needing websites filled with lengths of black and white text! It’ll be retro. (Isn’t this how the internet actually started decades ago?)
The good (bad?) news is that the course continues for the rest of the week. Maybe by the end I’ll be able to create something good enough to print out and hang on my fridge—if the kids will give up some space.
Generally, I love computers. I’m good at figuring things out and enjoy the constant challenges of the digital age. For the most part, I get computers. But this coding thing—one look at HTML and my brain seizes, saying, "Blah, blah, blah. I'm not listening."
You may wonder if I have a choice, why I’m even taking this class in the first place. One reason is that in my line of work as a graphic designer, websites are a natural extension of what I do. It’s an area of business I’ve avoided far too long. My primary motivation? I want to help my church design their website and do other web-based materials.
So, for the sake of advancing the gospel I’m looking the hyper text cyber monster in the eye and saying, “Bring it on!”
In our spiritual lives there are lots of times when the thing we really don’t want to try/do/confront/learn/give up/take on is the very thing we need to embrace if we want to grow our faith. Often that step isn’t even the end goal; it’s just leading us to the next thing. As has oft been quoted, “God doesn’t care about our comfort, he cares about our character.” And if we want to live a life pleasing to the Lord and offer ourselves as living sacrifices, who are we to say, “Sorry God, it’s just not my thing.”
As Oswald Chambers says, “The call of God is an expression of God's nature, not our nature. . . The call of God is not the echo of my nature; my affinities and personal temperament are not considered. . . To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly altered."
I don’t know if God’s called me to take an HTML course, but I do know that expanding my mind and trying to grow, honors the gifts I’ve been given. Plus, it really is fun to learn new things…even if they give me a headache.
Wish me luck this week. I think I might need it!
What new thing are you going to do today?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)