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.

 

Reality and it’s Elements (Poem)

Reality and it’s Elements (Poem)

Within the whimsicality of reality, we all say we’re doing fine, with the truth wrapped behind our eyes. It’s then, stowed deep inside the chest cavities until it rots into a lump, rolling deep inside the stomach, giving off fumes of insecurity and unresolved pain and even shame. When it vents through the mouth or seeps through the porous skin, it doesn’t often produce truth, the substance it once was, but it leads to anger, violence, depression or various vices and sins. It can also just build up and produce nothing but pressure, and silence.

Within the grind of reality, we find ourselves working through the week, forgetting what we’ve even done. Forgetting how we have even gotten where we are and where the years have gone. Where the passion for the art of our work is, and how it’s moved on. We want to work in a way work is like play and in some way, makes a change. Like we’re worth the space and working for more than just a pay check.

Within the the heartbeat of reality, we long for something. A finger cannot be placed on the longings destiny or what it is we want, but we want to be free; free from the hold of our current reality. We push through and hope for the best while knowing deep within our chest, that freedom is indeed within our grasp; That there is hope to be had.

Within the core of reality, we know that we must give up our grip on looking good on the outside to hold up our pride. We have to grasp onto something bigger than the skeletons we call our homes, and let go.

In the transparency of reality, we find freedom from the shame. We find freedom from the lie that no matter how dirty we are inside, we must appear clean as wool on the outside. For the discharge of infection may be messy, but it is necessary for the healing.

To make constant a reality, transparency is a must, although it only starts the thrust toward a life of peace and joy and freedom as a life long truth. It is a battle won in a war. It is not a guarantee, but it is a victory. Regardless of our sincerity, we must press on with vigor, suit up with the armor of God. Our enemy will not relent, we must not turn our back in ignorance, but stand sure in our position, and hold firm to our convictions.

In the fullness of reality, transparency must win, hope must spark, pride must fall, and determination must last.

We are not far removed from a full and true reality. We are only as free as we allow ourselves to be.

Hopelessness is the Enemy of Freedom (Poem)

Hopelessness is the Enemy of Freedom (Poem)

Far more deadly than cancer and far more crippling than fear. So much more defining then routine, yet as loyal as a friend. It will not leave when asked nicely, and does not ask to come in. It enters at your own risk with no care to who it might hit.

Hopelessness can be caught like a virus, anyone can carry it. Though the side effects aren’t visible in the light, it projects it’s terrors mostly at night, after the moon has taken its place in the sky, ushering in the mood; exposing the infection through thoughts and dreams, leading most times to actions, solidifying the notion that all hope for freedom is lost.

freedom sings from the rooftops, calling, bringing notions of peace and separation from the things that so easily entangle us. The melodies are riddled with failures and victories,   tears and jubilee, longing and agony, peace and assuredly a promise of fulfillment and a crown of royalty.

This melody doesn’t sound easy, like a nursery rhyme or a song written for a kid. Freedom sounds more like Handel’s “Massiah”, intricate, full of different instraments and dynamics that ebb and flow. Most importantly, it takes precision and attention. Freedom is not sung through voices uninterested or who’s passion is gone. It is sung through lungs tired, yet willing to sing one more time, and a thousand more if means the battle will be won.

Freedom is full of truth, and is at times wonderful and sometimes grim, yet always promises joy, if not through it all, for sure by the end.

Hopelessness is a liar, and is always dim, consistent, but who wants a constant if theres nothing better, and tiredness and routine begin and becomes a trend.

I’m finding freedom as I take back hope again. It’s worth every withdrawal and longing and aching within, because it has come with joy, opportunities,  and connection. Hopelessness can’t stay, because God has given me the strength, and I’ve taken hold of freedom.

If God Said It: Faith or Wishful Thinking

If God Said It: Faith or Wishful Thinking

Since I have grown up in a charismatic, Pentecostal community, “words from the Lord” are often claimed or spoken in public settings as well as experienced in personal prayer times. I won’t pretend to know any statistic on what percentage are formed from wishful thinking or construed by personal benefit or belief and how many are straight words from out creator to a human being, but I do believe both do occur at a higher rate then anyone understands. I’ve personally had many instances where I thought I heard from God, but I had twisted it into an idea that was totally different from what I initially heard.

Clarification: Some people hear the audible voice of the Lord, but any instance I’m talking about that has happened in my life so far has been either something I felt, more than just a thought in my head, but something I literally felt within myself like a thought, but stronger and so much more true; or something I thought to do that was far out of normal, yet I couldn’t help but know I needed to do it. Later I realized it would have either encourage them, or physically and/or spiritually help them out in a desperate time.

On the flip side of things, I’ve also listened to the Word for the Lord, acted on it, and literally have seen miracles. Some times though, there are things that apply to us on a longer-term scale. All that other stuff leads to influence there times.

When we don’t see results or evidence right away, how do we react?

This question isn’t easy. I’ve had things spoken over me plenty of times from people and felt things very strongly on occasions as well. Some of these things seemed off the wall and some seemed like they cut me to the core when I heard them but how should I react?

I’m going to tell you anything partaking to my advice on these things and pretty much all my blog post are started with at least a simple prayer for the Lord to teach me through his Holy Spirit on these topics. This next bit of advice is both from personal experience and from Jesus, so pray before and after taking advice from humans and know your Bible. It is quite clear on lots of things. So that’s basically my first point on how to react. Stay in constant contact with God and as you get to know him, you’ll get to know his character. So read your Bible while you spend time with him, pray and sing while you spend time, write when you spend time. Always remember, Jesus is just as relatable as your closest friend.

Also, If it lines up with the Bible and it sounds too big or out of your league or something you would love to do, but you can’t even imagine yourself there, take steps toward you goals. Set yourself up for success and see where God takes you and don’t be afraid to take risks. This might sound like a business model, but it’s so much more grand then that. This includes radically serving Jesus with things that don’t even make sense to normal standards. You can’t out give God, but there is one thing that I have to say that is the most freeing.

Be ok with whatever God has for you. Whatever you think you want at this point is only a part or the shadow of what God wants to give to you. When we take a Word we receive, check it out with the character of God through the Bible and prayer, and start moving toward some of these goals, we will find ourselves in tough times. How do you treat that moment? Do you say, that’s awesome! If that is from the Lord, I want it, and if not, I don’t.

What am I doing now? Waiting, learning other unrelated lessons, learning to love Jesus and praying that if the words spoken were from the Lord, that I would stay true to my God and fulfill them, not out of obligation, but love.

Can we always know for sure? All I can say is sometimes, we wait and see, and in Christ, may all Glory go to him!

Loving Impurely is Still Love

Loving Impurely is Still Love

Picture yourself in a world void of love, something like our social media pages, yet worse. Imagine that every person had no motive that didn’t directly benefit themselves. That every action close to love was known to be fraudulent and skewed, in order for the person intending to use the other to walk over. To some of us, this twisted fantasy doesn’t sound too far off from reality, but none the less, I am convinced that, if acknowledged or not, each and every one of us have received love at one point or another. You may have received it from a parent, guardian, teacher, stranger, partner or friend, but you indeed have received and recognized some sort of love.

I say this because we all love differently. As I pondered this truth, I remember my one friend telling me that when he was into drugs, he would “help out” or show “love” to some of the younger (elementary, middle schooled, freshman) kids by hooking them up with a little extra weed then they paid for. As he has been clean now for years, thanks to Jesus through Teen Challenge and personal encounters with Him, he said he thinks back to that and how twisted his perception of love was.

I see people trying to show love through putting out for a partner because that’s what they want. I see people trying to show love through calling someone a name or bringing them down in the name of good fun. I see people trying to show love by spending all kinds of money, to telling someone their lifestyle is ok even through it is self destructive, saying they’re loving them the way they are. In the same way, I’ve seen people love through serving, spending time, giving, listening, comforting, and so many other ways.

In all these different scenarios, these people are loving the way they have observed another love. If they first hand observed this love or observed it from a video or book or what have you. This really had me thinking; are any of these motives really pure? Can humans really love for the sake of nothing other then the person receiving something beneficial and true without expecting anything in return?

I was hoping to say no, because I can’t think of almost any times I served someone not expecting or hoping for a thank you, money, recognition, friendship, a girl’s reciprocal emotions/interest or any number of things, but I can’t say that the love I’ve shown in these places were in any way malicious. Not to say they never have been, but to love without expectations is perfect love, but love with positive motives, that benefit the other mostly with side effects that elevate oneself is still love.

But what if we want to love more purely? How do we as humans acheve a love that may not be fully pure in motivation, but is really beneficial to another, and is really love? The easy answer? We must encounter love from Love himself!

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Before I encountered Jesus for real, I wanted to give people advice, and it was always fine, but it wasn’t out of love from and for Jesus. As I got to and get to know him more, I am more able to walk out that love. As I read about his life and about his character throughout the entire Bible, I learn even more about how to love. coming back to a previously stated concept, we love how we observe love. I want to observe the number one lover, incomparable to any other, so that my love, though possibly impure at it’s roots, are coming from the purest source of love.

Are you interested in receiving and giving this kind of love? (me too, I’ll always mess up and need to return to this!) Ask Jesus to show you his love, beyond just his rules, but show you his love! Admit your wrongs and ask him to take all of the weight that goes along with them, and take a step of faith! God honors a humble heart and responds to a willing heart! You’re never too far gone, you’ve never crossed him too many times, cures with his name more then he can handle; you’ve never said he’s not real or worth it enough to stop him from wanting your life, your heart, your spirit and all of your insecurities and shortcomings. He is patiently waiting for you. Give it all to him! It will not always be EASY, but you will NOT regret it!

 

Contact me or comment if you want to talk more about this life changing decision! God bless you.