Questioning Alone (Poem)

Questioning Alone (Poem)

*I wrote this because I needed to. I share it to remind you when you feel alone, you can know (if only in your head) that you’re not.

Lord, why do I feel like I’m all alone; like the progress I’ve made was all for not? Why do I strive and fail? Why do all of my ambitions feel fruitless? I’m walking up stream. A moment passes when I feel I’ve prospered, but I find my foot crushed by a stone. One moment, I feel I’ve made headway and the next, I am knocked down. I float down stream. There is no trace left in the ground beneath me to prove I’d gone anywhere. Do the trees have eyes to back me up? Do the mountain peaks stand up in my defense to vouch when I’m seen striving in the place I’ve already been for seasons that have come and went?

Why does it feel like I stand alone? I feel that I’m following the plans set before me and when I’m doing well people notice me, but they do not join me. When I’m starving and isolated and even in my dreams, don’t find relief, I’m left alone to sink.

In the high times of my life, I find rest in you, Jesus, and joy in the moments I spend with you. In my confident moments, I still hear your voice of pleasure, your peace when everything around me seems to be anywhere from building to crumbling, because I know you are with me. In my joyful days, my humor and laughter is uncontainable. In my persistent days, nothing on earth or beneath can stop me from following through with bringing the wonder in my mind to the world in the unique way only I could do.

But in my despair, the days I have reason to feel alive, I feel empty. One moment I can hear truth and put on the face I feel people want to see, and the moment I’m alone, my hope leaves as if I hadn’t heard a thing. The things that normally feel rejuvenating feel exhausting and even the littlest lie from any of my enemies can throw me into a spiral of self loathing. I find myself drained, lying in my underwear in the middle of the day, trying to find motivation through music or the Bible or anything. In the process, I usually find myself asleep.

These aren’t the places I strive to be or the mindsets I ever want to be having. In a few hours or even by the time I’m finished writing, I may have mental clarity. Hope will eventually arise along with energy and redemption of the waisted moments in sin or self pity.

We do not deserve whatever hellish conditions we put ourselves through when we’re held in a chokehold by the devil’s schemes, others lies and selfish tendencies, or the evil we can be to ourselves when our flesh proves to be weak.

Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy, but I will push through, learn what only my weaknesses can teach me, and force myself to bring others in with me that I know have my back. These are the hardest times to do it, but the most crucial times to get through it.

As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, do not give up or disqualify yourself when your weak. Get reinforcement from one who is willing to be close enough as you reconstruct, build you up, and hold your ground. That’s what I surely need now.

Dream (Poem)

Dream (Poem)

There is a longing beyond myself. It pulls me most forcefully when I read or watch or hear a story of adventure and passion and mystery. The longing is not for something imaginary, but rather truer then the life I am currently living. I am pulled into something that isn’t, and maybe in this current reality could not be, but that doesn’t deter me from closing my eyes and feeling free, content in a dream. 

If it be the new Spiderman movie or the musical “Once” or a concert or hearing someones dreams, I cannot leave without inspiration flowing through my veins and into every vessel inside of me. I’m inspired in spite of the fiction, that it is not currently true, because it reminds me that even in fantasy, we are awakened to greater things then living, working and dying. There is beauty in the wondering; how I long to live an adventure. My lungs feel stuffed up when clogged with practicality. 

It is important for a person to dream, even if that dream never comes true. To dream is to create. Sharing that creation with another is a more beautiful picture of faith then any lecture could ever portray. 

There’s a time to swing back into reality. There’s a time to schedule, plan and critique, but when do we schedule a time to dream? For to dream is to step into hope of greater things.

Story, fiction, and passion are each portals to the truth that this life is not all we’ve been made for. There is truth beyond the cubicles or fork lifts or house calls or stacks of paper. There is life beyond the plans and five steps to success, beyond the meetings and desks, beyond the 9 to 5 and books and tests.

There’s freedom in the open air, adventure in decisions that cause you to risk, joy in the unknown. When you go for that thing that everyone says will not pay out without the proper certificate or experience or training, ask yourself the question, “are these opinions a help or a hindrance to me fulfilling the dreams that pull at my heart strings?”

Write down the stories or passions you hold in your heart. Jot down a reality if you had all you needed. re-read it. Don’t let your imagination be flooded with what ifs; fight for potential beyond what is in plain sight! The stories of justice and fighting for truth ,where good conquers evil when evil seems like it cannot loose are stories for fighters like you. dream. Forge through.

Ps. If you feel like this is for someone else, this likewise is for you. You too, dream. Forge through. 

Vulnerability (are you enough?)

Vulnerability (are you enough?)

The root of overcoming the lie, “I’m not enough” is found in finding vulnerability within community.

M.B.

On Instagram, I asked my followers for suggestions on what they wanted to read about. Ironically, only one of my friends (Jordan Brenize) responded with “vulnerability.” I was, at first, kind of bummed I didn’t get more response on this one, but I believe it brought more merit to the topic of this post. It reminded me that any pride I took from an overwhelming response to one of my posts can be totally stripped away by a lack of response on another.

I realized that my value in that moment was not determined by truth or how God sees me, but rather determined by a number. I was no longer in the zone of creating to create; because my heart aches when I don’t write. I found myself, hungering and thirsting after the approval and applause of others. I even thought of trying to trick or convince people to respond with FOMO without looking desperate.

As silly as it sounds, don’t we all do this in our own ways? we try to cover up what we see as weakness in our own lives so that others will see us in our most refined light. If it’s social media with scenarios like mine, or like some, trying to up sell the fun you’re having so people can see you’re not boring or ordinary. Some of us will act totally different around our bosses then our coworkers if it means impressing them for that praise or raise, while still trying to keep up our image around our co-workers. Some will donate publicly and others will buy expensive clothing or shoes or you fill in the blank. Some will fake an identity to win the heart of a man or woman and end up loosing themselves in the process. Some will hide within themselves, taking on the title of shy or mysterious. They’re afraid of how people see them if they were to actually speak their mind. The main fear behind each of these examples is this; “I’m not enough.” It’s normally posed in question form, “are you enough?” provoking the answer, “no, but what if I (do/become/say) this? then maybe I will become enough. This fear is no stranger or new theory to humanity. The first man and woman felt incomplete, even though they had everything they needed, in the closest community with God and each other.

This lie has started wars, divided churches, separated families, taken lives, caused people to cheat and steal; each act of sin motivated by striving to be someone that is enough. As each of us sells ourselves short, we believe it’s for our better, even if ultimately we know it’s not where satisfaction is found. But Thankfully, we aren’t forced to stay in that mindset, because the truth is, in this moment, you are enough! We all have weak seasons of life.

The root of overcoming the lie, “I’m not enough” is found in finding vulnerability within community.

The thing about vulnerability is it often gets mixed up with transparency. Transparency is putting yourself on the internet, to then hide behind your screen, looking for pity or praise. Transparency is also showing up to a small group or even a stage and sharing all of your problems and avoiding or not hearing out those people you’ve opened up to. In a good, heathy context, opening up to a solid community, or a good couple of friends if it’s a sensitive issue, is the best thing you can do, although part two is the most important step you can make: Let them touch your problems. The Bible says in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ.”

Transparency, like a ship in a bottle, says, I’m here! I’m fragile, but don’t tough me. Take pity, but don’t you dare try and change me. Vulnerability is if that same fragile ship was able to be taken out of that bottle and set on a table before a group of people, knowing full well that if they choose, they can with one swift swing, smash it into a million pieces, or harder yet, point out and help you improve your ship towards greater beauty. It takes humility to let people into your heart and the places we feel dirty or not good enough, or crazy. The amazing part of this, and the reason I say that vulnerability within community is the best way to fight the lie, “I’m not enough” is because a lot of places where we feel alone or out of our minds or dirty or ashamed are the same feelings that other people in your community have likely gone through, are going through or will go through. It gives you encouragement that it won’t last forever, creates bonds with people that you can fight side by side with, and it gives foresight to those who will possibly go through it.

With all of that, anyone can find so much freedom, although, as a Christian, I believe without Jesus as the center of your community, when your community isn’t looking at you through the eyes of Jesus, and if your heart isn’t first going to him for help in times of need, then there’s a higher chance that in your community, those people will accidentally speak something into your life that isn’t true. They will tell you that you’re not enough or that you must be someone or something to finally be happy or free.

With the perspective that none of us have it in our own strength to be perfect or earn our way to heaven, we can then see we are all enough for Jesus. He sent his son to earth because, in our sin, we deserve death, and he didn’t want that to be the end of the story. Jesus took our place and said, if you come to me, know I’ve created you in my image for a purpose and a plan. Stand by me. Believe I am the son of God and that through me and only me, you can be set free. Turn your face away from all the things that left you lonely and unsatisfied and turn your face to me and I will fill you with joy unending, love overflowing, peace that passes human understanding, and I will even give you a helper, my Holy Spirit, to live inside of you.

That seems like the most no-brainer decision I’ve ever herd, but he also desires and even prays in John 17:20-21 that we (his followers) would be unified, and not just unified, but that we would be one as Him (Jesus) and the Father God are one. That’s a pretty wild prayer, but if Jesus prayed it, I believe it can happen!

In closing, if you don’t have a community that you can trust and lean into for help, please reach out and even pray that God would lead you to one. If you don’t know what Jesus thinks of you or how he sees you, ask him, ask your community, and read the Bible, his word. (If you don’t have one, there’s a free “youversion” bible app thats really comprehensive and easy to use.) Be open with God and others about your questions, insecurities, and fears and let them help bring you towards a place of freedom so that you can confidently be you without striving to fulfill someone else’s dreams. You are enough.

Security in Contentment (Poem)

Security in Contentment (Poem)

Contentment is not found in the “one day”, it’s found in the flowers along the highway. It’s found in the secret place where solitude leads to breakthrough. It’s in the break time at noon, but also the sweat that drips from your brow when your working harder then you need to because you know it’s a joy to be able to give yourself fully into what you do. 

The sun is out and the sky is blue, yet even if it was raining, it’s alright too, because the flowers along the highway would not have bloomed if it wasn’t for the rain. 

I will not push what is to come, because right now is the sweetest place to be. It’s painful at moments, but that pain is worth it every time I come out on the other side wiser and stronger, more aware of the purpose of that painful moment. 

I love the days that are purely happy! They give us hope that pain is temporary, but I don’t want to live a day discontent because things hadn’t gone my way. 

May my life be a banner of joy, laughter, humor and awe. Would steadfastness be my anchor, love be my compass, compassion, my rudder, and faithful be the name of my ship I sail through this life.

Jesus is the wind in my sails and the builder of my craft, so may he be truly glorified. I do not boast in who I am, but boast in him. I don’t want to stand alone (and I know I don’t) admired for who I’ve become. I want to encourage every person along into their own destiny, fully known and dependent on the author the wind, unwatered by the waves that will come their way.

If I’m looked at as a great person and people aren’t encouraged to live a life greater than mine, may I decrease so that God’s grace is lifted high. Humble my heart God, so your truth can come through, that people don’t see just me, but see you shining through.

I dream to join a fleet that joins together, each uniquely and securely trusting in the purposes God has set before them. There are many among me, and many to join along. would our flags bare the cross of Christ no matter if it is trampled, mocked or or weathered. It is the only kingdom that brings freedom in surrender and will surely last forever. Join me.

About the Little Things (the things that matter most)

About the Little Things (the things that matter most)

What are some of the things you hate the most about yourself? Chances are, most of them are things you could change if only… (fill in the blank.)

What would happen if you decided those things would no longer control you?

When I think about the question for myself, I think of laziness, selfishness, lack of drive, my body mass (or lack there of) and other things. In the past few years, I recognized this in myself and slowly started to change these things.

As I write this, I’m realizing it is a sort of follow up post for “Disconnect (where character is built)“. If you haven’t read that one, it might do you good to check out.

These things I started taking steps toward in December, and carrying them through for a few months. I felt more confident and healthy then I ever had! About four months into it, I started to let little things go, one little thing at a time.

It started when I decided to let myself slack on pushups. This lead to letting myself slack on tidiness and lead to more important things, like letting myself slack on my personal time with the Lord. Life got busy, and although I had close friendships and relationships pushing me to be the best me I could be, I made excuses.

It’s really easy to get to a place like I had gotten. Excuses are everywhere. The question I had to ask myself was would I rather stand here, not being the person I want to be with a hand full of excuses, or do I want to stand here, slightly tired at moments, maybe bumped or scratched, but have become the man I want to be with a boat load of satisfaction, knowing that I gave my all.

As of the past week, I had some big wake up calls that lead me to take some self inventory. I realized that I was no longer living the life I wanted to be living. Most of this all stemmed from selfishness, and poor decisions that lead to burn out and a “screw it” mentality.

This week, I’m getting back to what I started; back to becoming the me I want to be.

What is holding you back from achieving the goals you’ve wanted to reach or becoming the person you want to be?

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.