Wearing my favorite STRT TRBL / Social Club "Misfit" shirt

Wearing my favorite STRT TRBL / Social Club “Misfit” shirt

Confession: Selling Christian t-shirts is not my full-time gig. (I simply don’t sell enough shirts to support a family of five)

This week I’m staying the week in Chicago, one of the greatest cities ever…next to Des Moines of course, for a digital marketing training program at Loyola University. I’m staying at the lovely Thompson Hotel (shout out to their great staff), which is located a few blocks from Loyola as well as Lake Shore Drive…and some really great restaurants.

Three months ago, I realized that I needed to get back into shape. Desperately. So I talked my eldest twin sons to take a couple of laps around the block with me. For those of you who like math, one lap around the block equals one mile. But what I didn’t anticipate was hurting my knee. Not only did it really bother me when I was running, I ran through the pain.

Big mistake.

To make matters worse, I tried to run 2-3 more times that week.

Bigger mistake.

In short, I developed a combination of IT Band Syndrome and an irritated hamstring.  (Note: 1) Do not run through the pain and 2) Make sure you stretch thoroughly before and after your runs) After an MRI and several weeks or physical therapy, I’m happy to say that my knee is fully recovered. I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m not sure the rest or physical therapy helped so much as my friends from church praying for me so I gotta give God the glory on that.

Tonight after our workshop, I thought it would be a good idea to test the knee and go for a jog. So I threw on my red, STRT TRBL / Social Club “Misfit” t-shirt and my running shoes and hit the streets. After a short walk down to Lake Shore Drive, I started my run into a pretty strong head wind as Lake Michigan pounded up against the shore. Whenever I wear a Christian t-shirt like this Misfit tee, I always hope someone will ask me about it. Maybe it’s Chicago or maybe it’s just me, but no one made eye contact with me the entire time I was out and about.

But God spoke to me during my cool down time. Here are some of my observations.

Sin is like a nagging knee injury.  Since I haven’t had the ability to run for 3 months, I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. Sometimes sin will creep into our lives and take us down but it’s up to us to practice spiritual disciplines (ice, rest, physical therapy, stretching, etc.) and of course repentance to recover. Today I got caught up in digital marketing and failed to really pray or open my Bible. When I was running tonight, I realized that and began praying while I ran and singing one of my favorite worship songs (Sinking Deep by Hillsong Young & Free in case you’re wondering) in my head. And just like I missed running, I realized that I missed having communion with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

People don’t want to hear about truth and grace. Over the past few weeks, our church has been going through the book of Titus. This past weekend, our pastor preached about the need for churches to find balance between truth and grace. Unfortunately, churches can sometimes tip too close to one or the other and not encompass both. Not that people were actively rejecting my testimony, but no one was making eye contact with me and I chuckled when the bellhop at my hotel found something else to do when I was trying to cool down outside my hotel.

Be a part of the unashamed generation. I love what artists like LeCrae, Andy Mineo, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Social Club are all about. Being unashamed of the Gospel. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes…” That’s why I wore my Misfit shirt while I was running. And that’s why I didn’t shy away from telling one of my peers today about Lighten Up Gear.

Near my hotel are some of the biggest fashion brands in the world. Prada. Barneys New York. Vera Wang. Jack Spade. And to be honest with you, I didn’t know a lot of them. But the best part of my night was when I walked by 116 East Oak Street after taking in all of these designer brands. There on the side of the building stood the numbers 116. And I laughed and smiled.

Make Godly investments. This past weekend, our church concluded a giving commitment it was asking of its members. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary as a church, but realize that God has so many more plans for our church. So our elders and pastors asked the church to give to 1) Pay off our current debt 2) Invest in global and local missions and 3) Invest in the next generation by building some training facilities (we have a great accredited school of theology).  I debated writing this but decided that if this helps you, it’s worth writing. My wife and I made some big financial concessions and agreed to double-down on our tithing for the next two and a half-years. So when I walked past all of those fashion boutiques tonight, my heart wasn’t yearning for the latest threads…it was thinking of this verse.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Thanks for reading my blog post. I pray it would bless you and challenge you to grow in your faith with Jesus. And if this whole Jesus thing is new to you, I would invite you to simply ask Him to reveal Himself to you…

Erik Carlson, is the founder of Lighten Up Gear and Bald Tees. By day, he manages the digital marketing efforts of a large manufacturing brand. By night, he’s dreaming up shirt designs, playing the guitar and singing. And 24/7/365 he’s following Christ and loving on his wife and 3 children.

Lighten Up Gear Christian T-Shirts

(Feature photo by mrchicagoluxuryrealestate.com)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This