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.

My Life is NOT My Own

My Life is NOT My Own

Life.

This word has been presented to me year after year by platform after platform. I’ve been told it’s found in letting go and I’ve struggled with the thought of my life being out of my control, my life not being my own. This notion has always been in my mind because of repetition in teaching and songs, written in my poems, but never being written on my hear in more then dry erase on a white board.

Since a young age, I lived for the spotlight. Being the youngest, being told go away, you’re too young or not yet were sucker punches that to me then, didn’t make sense. When your identity is in being along, being alone doesn’t leave much identity in the mix.

As grew up, where acceptance lacked, I gained in grit, and a determination to find a way to be known by the likes of anyone willing to notice. With each step into a new year, I tied myself to a new tactic, from sports like baseball and gymnastics to humor and wow factor. I pursued women, lust and pornography to try and fill the empty feeling my shallow friendships and rejection from the last girl couldn’t fill within me.

This lead my into a hatred of myself and my own body, my own mind and identity. My christianity was my life in the light, my vice in conventions and retreats, but it was my shame in the evenings and in the deleted history from my phone screen, but no matter how hard I’ve tried to delete that history, the memories and shame would never delete.

My comfort soon came to me in routine. This routine was comfortable, like being in a prison cell. The routine creates normality, but not because it becomes better, but because there is survival in the numbing, but no, no there is not living. I would start out the week with a community, broken, yet free, spotted with others like me. I would fill my mind with words and quotations, to later fill my schedule with anything that would give me my fix, pick any from above, whatever one I could get. If it was the word of God, I’d meditate on it, to later forget, and be filled with loneliness again, to turn to another vice much more destructive.

See, religion is all fine and dandy, and in the scripture, there are rules that have helped frame me into a moral human being, but without Christ Jesus, those were just words. Words that cut me open and showed me how dirty I really was inside. But oh how life is different on this day!

FLASH BACK: 2014, filled with pain, emptiness, and a glimmer of hope.

FASTFORWARD: 2015,  a year of thanksgiving, renewed life through Jesus Christ, realizing not just everyone else, but I was loved and adopted by my creator, nothing inside could change that he is love and he is light. I became a friend with my savior.

FASTFORWAR: 2016, the pain and emptiness had not been dealt with in full back from 2014, and struggles came and went, and complacency was my reality, but not my intent. Perseverance and self control were in the development stages, as I re-indulged myself in some of the sin I claimed freedom from just a year prior, as I re-applied shame and condemnation daily, like that old Coppertone sunscreen. It went on thick, but the more I rubbed it to try and hide it, it sunk deeper in to the pores of my being.

FASTFORWARD: 2017, a year starting with not wanting any friendship with complacency, not just interested in intimacy with my creator and king, but desiring to give him everything.

NOW: My identity in him is the only thing I’ve ever found to be satisfying, and as I give away my life, I find myself so alive, a truth that only God knows why, but he promises it to all who are willing to give Him their hears. Now when I start to fall into thoughts or actions of lust, personal condemnation, self pity, or identity in people and things, I come back to Jesus quicker then ever, with surrender. I know where life is, I’ve known where life is, but I now confess it with my mouth AND believe it in my heart; Jesus Christ is Lord!

I am not only saved, but set free. If you can’t say the same, I challenge you to join me.

Small Beginnings: Big Dreams

Small Beginnings: Big Dreams

I was always asked as a child what I wanted to be when grew up. I never really knew what to answer. As I grew up, I became a little better at convincing myself and others that I knew what I would “become”. I got older and I took on child acting jobs and became more confident in my acting and singing skills through various avenues. What I have now learned, after changing my perspective of plumbing from a backup plan for acting, to a career, taking on almost four years of working and schooling, I’ve found myself even less sure of “what I will become” then ever.

This, for me, is not something that causes anxiety, like it might many people who grow up in this society where “becoming something” has grown to hold more weight then true joy and engaging in a job and life that is purposeful, involving ones passions and gifting. I won’t say this has always been something I haven’t worried about, but what I’ve been engaging in lately is not full of standardized testing or college courses I don’t care about or things to tailor me towards a path I have no clue if I will be going into, yet I’m always learning.

I hold many interests in which I’ve expressed on my blog, from hiking, to biking, to barbering, to bee keeping, to music, to plumbing (my only job I actually make money at.) and it is such a hard thing for me to sit here and say confidently “I’m a plumber” and leave it at that and it’s even harder for me to blame I will be plumbing for my job for the rest of my life. Each one of these interests honestly have stretched me in so many different directions, I don’t know howdy life runs so smoothly other then the sovereignty and grace of God.

I say all of that to say this: I may look like I know where I’m going and you might not feel like you have a clue, but the truth is we’re all on the same page. None of us know what tomorrow may bring. None of us are made for un-fulfillment. None of us were made to be stuck in a rut.

We were created for greatness! we were created to be fulfilled and to fulfill others through the one who fulfills us. We were created to be creative and to drive positive change, and sometimes even rediscover old simplicities. If you’re reading this, you have purpose. Pursue your passions and as you do so, you’ll find what is important and not to you. Always keep learning in whatever avenue you can, and most importantly, give your passions and gifting to Jesus. Let him take them and make them beautiful in you for his own glory. Either way though, there is no point  in feeling stuck. If you’re going to school, or if it requires schooling to pursue your dreams, go for it! If it takes a call to help with summer help or it takes eight years of school, go after it! Don’t throw away your other dreams though; you might need them down the line; we all have to start somewhere.