Stop, slow, know (Poem)

Stop, slow, know (Poem)

to myself

Stop, Just stop. 
There’s something I can’t begin to explain.
It’s a shame. 
It’s something that is foreign to my joyful ways.
And when it comes, it want’s to stay. 
It finds a way to sabotage 
any dreams out in the stars 
and pulls them down to earth, 
but that’s not all.
I’ve given it a key into my vault. 
I’ve given it the gavel and the judges’ stand, 
and it uses that power to beat my foundation down to sand. 

And I stop, just have to stop, 
because there’s a lot of things I can’t explain, 
like why there’s Grace. 
It’s far more foreign to my melancholy ways.  
And when it comes, it comes in waves. 
It lifts me from the pit and reminds my brain 
that the dreams out in the stars 
that are oh so near my heart
are not so lost at all. 
That with all the noise around me, 
I didn’t hear the call. 
I started to forget the voice of the one who formed it all
and formed my heart. 

Fear tries to linger in my heart beat 
and pain tries to settle in my chest. 
When I start to uncluttered all my schedule,
I start to remember who I am.

That I am not a sum of all my pleasures, 
and stuff doesn’t fulfill my souls demands. 
There is still a good composer 
who can bring the tempo slower.

There’s freeing in breathing, 
there’s joy in winding in.
There’s peace in the knowing
that we are beloved by him.

There’s hope in the growing
and wonder in what hasn’t been.
In release, there’s knowing 
That he has the better plan.

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.

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.

Love Like a Lighthouse (poem)

Love Like a Lighthouse (poem)

When your shoulder no longer feels like a safe place to land; When you still give your heart, but you can’t give a hand; When your mouth wants to speak, but you know the words won’t stand; Is there anything to do when your love is like sand?

When your grace feels abrasive, and your peace feels like distance; When your love leaves a bitter aftertaste, Is there any way to comfort their soul?

When what you gave was at one time able to be taken and used like gasoline and now it’s as good as water in a gas tank, is all hope lost?

When a friend, or lover or family member is no longer able to see you like they used to, you must let another love them altogether. You must let go of the tether. It’s no longer held in their hand, it’s around their neck. To hold on is to cause them pain, no matter how much you’re trying to help, you’re stopping the flow of oxygen to their brain.

Love like a lighthouse. If they sail away, may they find another beacon to guide them, but stay steadfast in who you are. Shine brighter and brighter. Fuel your light, grow stronger in who you are. If they let you in again, you will both be better. If they move along, pray them onward.

You can’t hold them to you, let go of their anchor. Pray as they go. Show love when they let you. Don’t stop living, don’t stop growing. Please let them go, stop fighting and groping. You’re stunting their growth, you won’t bring them healing. Just let them go, you’re no longer shelter. Let them get clear of the storm, the waves are unbearable, let go, let go, LET GO!

And as you finally let them drift away, the sky might not clear. They might not cross over the horizon like you feared, but if they do, they’re out of your grasp, and there’s no longer a thing you can do.

Sometimes to love is to let go; if it’s your grasp today and your heart later, so be it. If your heart never stops singing for the one you’re releasing, may it be a song as free as the breeze, with your heart beyond a fantasy of what could be and into a realm where love transcends feelings.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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?

Humble Hero (Poem)

Humble Hero (Poem)

Being hopeful and full of emotions does not make a man a hero.

You have not won simply because the fog has lifted.

You are not made new when you’ve rounded the bend from a struggle you stumbled your way through.

When we feel on top of the world and our life has taken a turn; when pain is replaced with laughter; when toil is turned to rest, we can not boast as if we’ve done a thing.

Character is is not proven by a hard season ending, but by endurance in the pain. Relief is not a personal gain, but grace from the creator of the day.

Rejoice when the storm subsides, but thank the one who brought you through to the other side. Do not boast or claim that it was by your own strength or even in how you’ve changed. Without God’s strength, we each can fall back into any phase, any vice, any maze, and it’s only because of Him that we can be saved!

In humility is where we find victory. Character is where we can continue to live healthy. All else is vanity, and every other boast except in Jesus Christ, the king of kings is false security.

May I not even be honored for the art or talents I bring. May I not identify with worthless things. May my God be where I seek out peace. May my heart be totally given and my spirit ever free.

Good Intentions (Poem)

Good Intentions (Poem)

To write is something I know I can’t stop doing. When I take a break, it’s like the communication from my heart and my head gets rerouted. I don’t fully understand the neurological connection that bridges them, but the only connection I see is my pen.

I’ve been full of good intentions, full of quotations. I’ve been full of good ideas and dreams and expectations. I’d been full when in community and full when on my own.

Most recently, I’ve been alive with other people and empty on my own, but that empty feeling is starting to flow into my conversations. That emptiness has begun to seep into my friendships. The way I sometimes have nothing to say. And that’s not a bad thing, on it’s own, but I find my passion beginning to wane, my hope start to decay. Being honest is my way, but it hasn’t lead me through the pain.

To be honest is the first step and the start of good intentions, but it stays that way when that’s the only step I take; I’m walking in place. I’m facing my fears, then turning away, turning to shame, turning to pain, to my old ways.

Step two is find someone to help you through and I’ve found someone. good intentions brought me there, but business took me away. I take time for music, time for media, time to dress myself, time to work, and time to educate, but at the end of the day, end of the cycle, I still feel like I’m hardly alive. I’m pushing through, I’m telling the truth, and I know what to do. My pride will have me ignoring help, thinking I can’t look weak, especially to those I’m trying to let know that God brings life, but if I’m hiding my life, being honest, with a catchphrase on the side, making a change for a moment in time to take back the changes the moment I slide. If I’m living like that, I’m living a lie, and if no one else bought it, I bought it myself. I purchased fake comfort; see where it got me?

The part that gets me shaken up is I know I’ve lived in seasons of freedom. I know I’ve given up things I thought I needed. I know that Jesus is no less powerful when I don’t believe him, and is no less loving when I don’t receive it.

He doesn’t just want me to follow the steps, or fall in line. He hasn’t been forcing his agenda on mine so I give into his list of conditions.

His heart is for my heart to give up my pain, give up my worry, and give up my shame. His heart is for me to take up my cross, follow his lead and count the cost. His heart is for me to see that my habits, see that my hardships, anxiety and fear are much heavier then the cross we can choose to wear. The cross is no longer a mark of shame or surrounded by pain. It no longer caries the same kind of weight because of the cross that Jesus took on for me. He gave up his life to rebrand shame to forgiveness, and pain into healing, reducing it’s burden from heavy to light.

So why do I stay in this space, walking in place, one step forward and one step back, one step in faith and the next, relapse? The burden is light but it’s unfamiliar. It’s light, but it’s huge. What’s holding me back is my trust issue, because if my fears come true and it really does all fall on me, then I’m screwed. On the other hand, If he’s carrying all that weight, then I’m good. Any problem I might face I can face with him. He’s got my back and every other side an attack could come from.

when it comes to the spaces I’ve felt comfortable in, even if it’s filled with depression, I have to change my footsteps. I can’t step in the same places I have since been. I can see them from a mile away; I’ve worn a rut in and I know each mistake like I know my own skin. I know what will happen as soon as I give in. If it be lust, insecurity or depression or anything in-between, they’re all internally connected at my brain stem and never fail to pull me back if I let them take root in any place I am.

I must take the steps, and change my path; start to trust and not turn back. I’ve been honest and I’ll do it again, but only time will tell if this was all another good intention.

*

I’ve

Said

It

Before,

But

I

Pray

That

This

Time

Starts

The

Change.

*

To Someone *but not just anyone (Poem)

To Someone *but not just anyone (Poem)

Oh future one, who you may be, I’m giving all I have to be the one that you would fall for. I share the things I’d rather let alone, the moments that I treasure, I post in plain view, hoping that who you may be would see southing in me; something you haven’t seen.

I find myself shooting shots to every screen,  hoping that it would be a place my love hasn’t been, place that one would find my heart and treat it better then just another one. I don’t want this futile desperation, falsifying my character, overemphasizing my desires and heightening my anxiety with fear of rejection.

This is not who I am and not at all who I plan to be. My funk I’ve planted myself in will not be the place I stretch my roots in. I want to be at a place that God is all I need, with friends by my side. The family of God being unified, but in Christ, being satisfied. There’s still something about a life partner though. Something I long for, but something worth the lull, something worth fighting for.

I don’t want to settle for someone I don’t feel free with. Being tied down and walking on egg shells are thing I want to avoid like prison and bomb shells. I want to be able to be free without selling myself and advertising that I’m worth someones time. I want to be seen for me.

I want to be believed in. I want to be valued from one who’s willing to take me on; and it’s selfish in part, but I want to invest in someone and champion them for everything they are and everything they’ve done. I want to love. I want to hold hands and dance. I want to talk about the things we don’t understand. I want to stay up way too late, feeling drained, doing something mundane, but knowing who I’m doing it for is worth every second of the pain. I want to grow and be known, but more so, learn about someone from head to toe and toe to head and back again, because in each season we change and I don’t want to be ok with knowing who that someone was yesterday.

I don’t think my desires are too much of a fairy tail or a romantics dream, but if it is, I hope that someone is my dream come true.

It Will Pass (when we’re not okay)

It Will Pass (when we’re not okay)

Sometimes Jesus revives us in a moment, but sometimes, he gives us eyes to see how he’s been sustaining us through our season of struggle.

Being in a place of hopelessness, or grief, or pain is often accompanied, in one way or another, with questions or feelings helpless. I’m not saying it’s a necessary thing, or that it is a “this, then that” statement. I am saying, due to the human condition, we often revert to negative introspection, especially when dealing with more serious things, like depression or anxiety.

The past few months have been amazing in specific ways, but really challenging internally in different ways, dealing with some mild separation anxiety with my twin getting married soon, some loneliness, but mostly just feeling some connection to the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, and even more specifically the way the Avett Brothers described him in their song “Tin Man”. One line specifically goes, “I miss that feeling of feeling.”

This past weekend I took a spontaneous road trip with my cousin. I knew I needed it. I knew I needed something to jumpstart my feeling and remind me of the joy I had known to be, not just on the outside of me, but deep within me. It’s a joy that leads to tremendous peace, and I hadn’t felt it in a long time.

Throughout the trip, through music, podcasts, conversations and practical love from strangers, something changed within me. My circumstances didn’t change in my life, but after attending Jess Ray’s album release concert for her new album, “Parallels and Meridians” God began to soften my heart to a place I could begin to feel again; something other than tired or anxious. I started to feel the love, and even the community of the church being a singular body. We had no plans on places to stay besides my car, and with that being announced from the stage so graciously by Jess, we were offered 6 or so different places to stay by total strangers. We ended up staying with the first people who offered, went to their place and crashed on their couch bed. When I woke up in the morning, I felt a pease and comfort, something I hadn’t felt in a while, as well as a sense of belonging.

fast forward a day or so, and this evening, at “theOak” (the youth group I volunteer at) I had a realization; Sometimes Jesus revives us in a moment, but sometimes, he gives us eyes to see how he’s been sustaining us through our season of struggle. As I worshipped and sang to Jesus, memories came to my heart from times I wasn’t feeling it, but God was still using and calling me toward himself.

If you’re going through a season, if you feel empty or anything other than joyful and free, remember: It will not last forever. as my pastor said this morning in typical Pastor Ted rhyme scheme, “Your pain has not come to last, it has come to pass.” It will not be everlasting. Push into Jesus. Be honest with yourself and be honest with Him; he can handle it. In a moment or in time, you will see the other side.

 

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.

.

.

.

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?”