Don’t Force It (It Will Come)

Don’t Force It (It Will Come)

No matter how hard I try to hide it, I want to be Iconic and known for leaving something behind. I want everyone to know that God is real and that they’re important to his heart, purpose and plans. Mixed in, there’s definitely some hope to be seen as important as well. That being said, I’ve also had a lot of opportunities to do things in my life, and because of that, I know I am privileged.

These opportunities that have presented themselves and continue to are, strangely enough, not always “blessings.” I could write a book on what true blessings are, especially from a spiritual standpoint (and I am also sure plenty of people already have), but the point is this:

What looks like a blessing could possibly be a distraction. 

I’ve started seeing a counselor and a part of what we’ve been working through is my desire to help, mixed with a selfish desire to get something in return for the help I have given. I am one that tries to be for everyone else what I don’t have for myself; you might relate.

Through this process, I find myself often trying to solve or fix situations, but never actually finding satisfaction in that achievement once it is completed. I had a moment of reflection a few months ago and checked my gas gage (hypothetically speaking) and saw that my gas light was on. I was so close to running out, I was running on fumes. What I was trying to do was create something impactful without any intention on finding contentment in the process. I was all about making it happen and spreading myself thin in the name of hustle.

I asked myself some questions and pondered some thought:

  • “there’s gotta be something more then living a tired life.”
  • “how can I fix this? all I’m doing it throwing myself into everything and hoping someone will catch my vision.”
  • “How can I be more intentional?”

These are some of my conclusions I came to:

  • Fighting to become something if futile. No one will ever see what all you put in, and having an identity driven goal means you’re in the middle of an identity crisis. That’s possibly a little bit extreme, although it does point to one fact. Your identity is not already secure, and without finding security in yourself now, their will not be security when you get that title,or job, or house, or skill. That grind will wear you down and bring on anxiety and stress.
  • It’s ok to say no. You will have more energy if you take time to rest. (Also, social media and Netflix doesn’t equal rest.) Spend some time with yourself and God! That is where you’ll really be refreshed.
  • Intentionality is key, and is found and rooted in confidence. This confidence, for me, is only found in spending moments with Jesus, if it’s journaling, or reading the Bible, or singing, or soaking and just listening, actually meditating, and resting. Through “waisting” time resting, there is a refreshment that takes place, as well as that confidence to make the decisions that need to be made to achieve what needs to be done, in a healthy, peaceful way.

It’s ok to wait. Some things don’t need to be acted upon exactly when it’s dreamed up. Some things will be ready immediately, but if they’re not, don’t force them.

I have a list of things I’m super excited for in my life. I know most of them will happen, but until then, I will strategize, I will rest, and I will act when it is time.

 

Growing Into (Qualifications are Worth the Wait)

Growing Into (Qualifications are Worth the Wait)

There is nothing more powerful than someone who walks into their destiny with boldness because they’ve walked humbly into the secret place. They walk out knowing this is where their confidence and qualifications come from.

Have you ever failed at something? If your answer was yes, you know it is no fun. If you answered no, then this blog post hopefully changes your perspective. Either way, most of us know the feeling of failure, if it be in big ways or small ways. I myself have learned a lot from my failures, but even more so through the conversations and prayers that have followed.

One thing I’ve learned is that it’s much nicer to fail in your living room than on the stage. I first started to pick up this truth at a young age while involved in theatre and church activities. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found this applies to life now a lot more clearly than I would have ever imagined.
This relates to jobs, relationships, ministry, and pretty much every place we go. At work, I saw this play out when I tried to get into a position before my boss thought I was ready for it. In ministry, I’ve tried leading large groups without first practicing with smaller groups and sharing messages without deep prayer for wisdom. I’ve tried presenting poetry without rehearsing or memorizing my art. I thought I would be fine without putting in the preparation, but embarrassed myself and looked like a fool instead.

When I was around 19 year old, there was a prayer and worship night at my church on the National Day of Prayer. I was super stoked for it, because I personally fed the idea for us to host such an event.  I made it known that I wanted to speak about revival and prayer and all kinds of good stuff! The problem was, even though I had an idea didn’t mean I was meant to carry out the message. The pastor asked someone else to speak, so this created a little awkwardness. I felt I had all the answers, since I had just gotten back from a discipleship school. I believed that the people at my church didn’t have what I had to offer, and I was going to be the one to break through to people’s hearts. Because of my pride and God’s mercy, a friend spoke to me about the subject of waiting on the open door instead of trying to bust through using one’s own power or initiative.

Thankfully I learned that lesson and backed off of trying to be one of the speakers and resorted to, “Whoever you have scheduled to speak will be great, I don’t need to speak at all. I want to just serve in any area needed.” My hear was super humbled that day. I could have continued to push and try to lead a revival, but my question I answered within my spirit was, “how can revival start if there isn’t an anointing or blessing from the people God put in charge of what was happening?” Humility is so tough for me, but being willing to serve in whatever way to get the task finished is super healthy and encouraging!

Through all of these and other failed attempts on a small scale, and not forcing my way into specific situations, I’ve gained trust, wisdom, skill and grown in integrity. These things I pray I never stop growing in, because with each new responsibility that presents itself comes more risk and requires a deeper trust in Jesus Christ and stronger character.

This is all developed through:

-failing and learning in the seemingly smaller/more forgiving tasks at hand, so you may have the skill-set with bigger tasks.

-learning to love your family, so you will be able to love your future spouse, boss, coworkers, staff, neighbor, or enemy.

-growing closer in relationship with Jesus, so that walking in humility is second nature, praying is first nature, and confidence and trust is built between yourself and the creator  and author of everything that might come your way.

From this, people will see the gifts and talents that you have been given and that have developed in you, and in each step, will want to promote you, and God will put you in places of influence as you serve faithfully in everything you do.

There is nothing more powerful than someone who walks into their destiny with boldness because they’ve walked humbly into the secret place. They walk out knowing this is where their confidence and qualifications come from. Success will follow, change will occur, and lives and organizations will be transformed. More importantly, than any of those things, destinies will be discovered.

Hope will blossom, joy will bloom, faith will rise, and love will reside inside of you. 

From Honor to Success (And a Little Perspective)

From Honor to Success (And a Little Perspective)

I’ve heard a lot of different perspectives on success and what it takes to succeed. Some measure it with money or fame or happiness; family, specific belongings or health.  I would say it’s not one or none of these. I look at success as always moving forward. That includes losses and wins and has nothing to do with quitting. Many of you probably agree with this.  Something I’ve found as a key to success in living our lives successfully is honoring others.

Google defines honor in verb form as to “regard with great respect.”

In my interactions with people and in my observation of myself, honor is something that seems to be under rated, whether it be social media, job resumes, sports, and so many different places, including our day to day conversations. Everything usually revolves around seeking honor for ourselves. I know that when I see someone seeking attention and praise from people, it does the opposite then what they’re looking for. On the flip side, seeing someone lift up and point out the good in someone else, I not only see the one being honored in a better light, but I see the person honoring in a more positive manner.

Some people say that you have to show yourself off (especially in a job atmosphere) so that they will see how good you are. I struggle with this myself. No one likes to be overlooked, but I like to look at it this way; if we try to exalt ourselves to achieve some sort of promotion or status or raise, we might very well receive it.  I would question, if that were to happen to you, would you be ready for it? I had been looking for some big promotion in the past, but at one point I saw that at the right time, if I would honor others and honor my boss at the time, God would honor me when I was in a place that I would be ready to accept the responsibility.  That has continued to carry over into my every day. I don’t always carry it out, although I always try to bring it into every aspect of life, whether it be in my family, my job, my church, or somewhere I’m volunteering.

The amazing part about having a mindset to honor others is having no other expectations to receive any honor.  The only failure that can occur is if you aren’t putting everything you can into whatever you’re doing. You then end up blaming someone in order to elevate yourself; Or, instead of honoring another person, you honor yourself or even dishonor the other person.

One positive to this mindset and attitude is that we end up acquiring a more grateful attitude when we see all the amazing things other people do and not look for the bad in them. We also begin to find satisfaction in other people’s successes instead of solely on our own success. There are so many other ways this leads to more joy and fulfillment, but another super cool bonus is that as your heart changes, others will begin to honor you. I would love to live in a place where people are all honoring one another. I heard Andy Byrd (an amazing communicator and friend of God) talk about what it would look like if churches started promoting other churches and praying for their success instead of being so closed minded and selfishly motivated. It makes me think of a scripture from Romans 12:10 where Paul encourages the people to “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Success is something we all want, whether we strive for it with everything we’ve got, have given up on it due to fear, or float somewhere in-between.  However, what is the price of success?  Did you really succeed if your success stands on the corps of every person you stole honor from, slandered, or overlooked on the way there?  I would rather stand in a valley with a view of all those who have gone ahead of me, fed by the encouragement and integrity of others and me.

 

Being the Best Best Friend

Being the Best Best Friend

“Some people want the responsibility of an acquaintance with the perks of a best friend…”

When I Think of friendship, specific people in my life pop up before others. Some friends live closer and others farther away, but it is not necessarily their proximity that makes them good friends.  There are qualities that we all can glean from in being the best best friend we can be, but to dive into being the best best friend, I want to first confront the different kind of friendships. There are plenty, and we can have healthy friendships of all kinds.

The following categories are both terminology of my own making as well as general terminology in our English language.    

Acquaintances are those people that we know about, hang around or otherwise see on occasion, but rarely purposefully.  We see them only when obligated by work or geographical proximity.

A general Friend is one you know and enjoy, but I like to break it off into some sub-groups, including, Catch-up Friend, Hang-out Friend, and a Group Friend.

A Catch-up Friend is one that you don’t see often, although you love to talk to and hear about what’s been going on in their life. A Hang-out Friend on the other hand, you know what they’re up to, so when you hang out there can be either deep discussion or Netflix going on and neither party questions the friendship. A Group Friend is often affiliated with your hang out friend, although you either feel semi awkward being alone with them, or you’ve never been in that scenario to know.

Now that all of this has been established, here comes the…

-GROUND WORK-

Real talk- some people want the responsibility of an acquaintance with the perks of a best friend, or a hang-out friend. One of the MOST important things to remember in any relationship is it is as much your responsibility as it is theirs.

Communication is the cornerstone of a friendship, and I am so thankful that I have friends that aren’t afraid to hit me up. I really need it sometimes, even when I don’t want anyone around. In that same way, I want to never forget to hit them up. They desire your affirmation as much as you wish for theirs.

Never become entitled to someone else’s phone call or praise.

Withholding compliments and encouragement from your friends is worse then seeing their zipper down and not telling them. It’s an abstract example but you get the concept; when your friend is doing awesome, tell them!  On the other end, when they’re not doing awesome, remind them that even though the circumstance isn’t gravy, they’re still awesome!

Live in gratitude and service.

That person who is your friend or who you really want to be best friends with is going through life. There’s things they need to get accomplished when you have free time, so why not give them a hand? Offer to, if nothing else, be with them so that they don’t feel like they’re doing it alone. Don’t keep credits and debits for and against each other. Just serve in the theme of serving, and be grateful for friendship and the opportunity to share of yourself.

Friendship are amazing, so don’t take them lightly. Don’t overwhelm people and expect them to want to be your bestie, but at the same time, when someone is looking to drain you, don’t feel bad to let that friendship drift into another category. Make your best friends the ones that you can invest in and are willing to invest into you. Keep those good catch-up friends and keep catching up and encouraging each other. Keep those group friends and have fun with them and discuss all of life together! Keep those acquaintances and encourage them and look out for them when you can.

Let those who try to make you into what they need-the ones that use you, the ones that are content with mediocrity or encourage you to do wrong or unhealthy things-fall to the side. Pray for them, but don’t feed from their land. Their fruit is unpruned and selfish, rotten and destructive.

When you are the best friend you can be, and are being fed by the best of friends; you refresh one another.  From there, have the energy to serve people without any need for anything in return.  The best best friend becomes the best acquaintance, and any kind of friend.

A Princess Far Away: A Hopeful Valentines Day (Poem)

A Princess Far Away: A Hopeful Valentines Day (Poem)

My heart lies in the hands of a princess far from home. It was not by her choice, nor does she know, so when she breaks my heart, it is not her fault. I forced her unknowing hands, slipped my heart into her pocket.

When she breaks my heart it’s not her fault, but it doesn’t stop the breaking. She’s gentle on my heart, because she’s gracious to all, but she knows not my heart is stuffed behind her lovers, beating out of sync, but both beating for hers. She did not know that I had placed mine there years before their love would start, but it’s not her fault. She had no idea that as she was taking hold of his, and giving hers away, she pushed my heart deeper into her pocket, under all the broken parts of her, and all the dreams and forgotten thoughts.

I try to send my love in gifts. If I can’t have her, may she have her dreams, and I can only dream that she will find my heart. That he will find someone or she will find some flaw. What a selfish wish for two so struck by love, two loving hearts, with their own scars.

May they float away in peace. May separation cause them space that their hearts might dream of a different way. May their dreams be swept by different waves and may my heart return to it’s broken cage, if it be by storm or by her embrace. Would it float back home, or from the princess’ arms with a piece of hers to cherish and hold. But if they wed, if their union bonds, would my heart be freed when she takes his name. Would I find the one of whom my heart aches. I do not know what tomorrow may bring, but if it’s not my heart, would it be peace within. I know my God holds the universe and beyond. He has my heart in mind. I might not know the reason why or the person I will find, but I do know she will be worth the wait, I just hope it’s the princess from far away.

Inspiration Re-Evaluated: A Writing When Nothing feels Right

Inspiration Re-Evaluated: A Writing When Nothing feels Right

“From those times does inspiration turn from stress and anxiety, to hope and strategy.”

I have not written in a while, but it’s not strictly because of being too busy or not knowing what to write about, or taking an intentional break or any other excuse. My issue has been that my mind is a minefield of emotions, and nothing feels right.

Some may trace it to mild depression, pent up pride, writer’s block, shame etc. I think in the back of my psyche, a little bit of each of those might exist, but I trace it mainly to the answer of this one question:

What is inspiring me? 

Say this for yourself, and take a moment before you continue reading.

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Isn’t that a crazy thing to think about? maybe you’re not as wowed by this as me, but there are so many places I find my inspiration. Personally, I love interviews, podcasts, music, sermons, videos, and listening to others opinions and passions. These places can be so beneficial, but also, can be so toxic. I find myself so “inspired” I don’t give myself time to think. Even more scary, I sometimes don’t give myself  time to pray and talk to the original inspiration and creator of life itself.

One way the “mind clutter” (if you will) has affected me is that I find myself in one moment, yet thinking of the next thing or the thing from last week. I see that I am present physically, responding to people, but not fully engaging in what they’re bringing to the table at that moment.

Another contribution that is made by the clutter is apathy toward situations or people. The apathy seems to come from an overstimulation of information mixed with busyness that causes people to become statistics, and hopelessness to brew when we see all the problems and how much time it takes to reach a solution. I’ve found this to lead to anxiety that can cause a shut down, and sudden urge to watch Impractical Jokers and eat ice cream (but maybe that’s just me). But practically, it makes confrontation a chore.

The last negative I’m going to share to air out just a little more of my dirty laundry to the world, is this overstimulation of information, especial from social media, as well as retreating to a vice, can cause some real loneliness. This might sound counterintuitive, but too much absorption most times, leaves us empty. I’ve felt this in many respects. I personally am blessed with some really good friends that won’t let me have a day without a phone call from one of them. What’s more important than having the coolest friends in the world, (something i definitely don’t have, because they’re all super weird, and way more awesome and loyal then they are hip) or being with the love of your life, (something I’m so ready for, yet definitely not rushing) or having everyone like you (something I’ve given up trying to achieve, yet something I wish was achievable without compromising one’s convictions) or having something to do or think about without fear of boredom, is sitting down with Jesus, (don’t tune out please) and talking with the one who created you the way you are for a purpose bigger than yourself. He isn’t judging you right now for who you are or what you’ve done. Right now, he’s longing for your attention in a world full of distractions. Some of us even get distracted by pastors talking about God or by talking all about the deepest parts of what we know about God during the times we need to just spend with him.

From those times does inspiration turn from stress and anxiety, to hope and strategy. God created you for relationship, and he created you for impact. When we “waist” a certain amount of time with the one that loves us fully, we are able to hear his heart for the hurting and outcasts and the people we wish didn’t have to live in misery and injustice. From there, he sends us into the world with assignments of LOVE into the world that may not love us back, but won’t be able to stop the impact.

And if you don’t know Jesus, IT’S COOL! Because he fully knows you and fully loves you no matter what your knowledge is of him. Get to know him, let him know you want to give up all the junk that hasn’t satisfied you yet and even the stull that felt satisfying in a moment, but did not sustain you, for him. Tell him you want to connect to his heart and his family. Ask him to show you his heart and to fill you with his spirit. In him is fullness of joy and freedom.

My life after giving my life to Jesus has been a battle, but when I tap into his strength, I can overcome and when I lean into him, in the easy and the hard times, he gives me peace and fills me with his love.

Won’t you are I put down our devices, and pick up our chins and look to Jesus, fall in love with the Bible, his physical word, and thank him for his faithfulness?

“What is inspiring me?”

Goodbye (Poem)

Goodbye (Poem)

This poem is a tribute to anyone who has lost someone they loved. This year has been full of young lives lost, as well as full lives completed. Where grief resides, may there also be peace.

Goodbye. This isn’t for you, because you’re gone. It’s for me, because I’m left here with not you, but a shell of memories, beautiful and unique. There is no thing that could make this goodbye easier, there is no thing that could bring back normality. Normal will not return, but change. Once routine comes back into play and I start to come to grips with the fact that your voice will not be there to tell me good morning or that that shirt really doesn’t compliment me; That might be the time that normal is rewritten, but not the same, come sun or come rain, life has changed.

Goodbye to the things you did in secret or at least the things you thought no one had seen. To the infection of laughter in the way only you could bring. Our laughter will not cease, but it will never be the same. The jokes you told will be infused with longing, and remembering. It will no longer be just a joke or a quote, but a cherished moment in time, internally narrated in your voice.

Oh your voice, I want to remember it. Please, God. I don’t want to say goodbye to your voice. I know I will always recognize it, if technology replays it, but I don’t want to forget the way you said my name. The way it sounded when you were sick, or laughing, or when you sang; and not just on stage, but how you sang in the shower.

Goodbye is such an intimate word, and I utter it at a time, by you, it will not be heard, and if goodbye is forever, I may not bare the pain of it, but if goodbye is truly temporal, (and between us, I fully believe it is) then I can only wait until we meet again, and the hello will be sweeter than my hello has ever been.