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.

 

Inspiration Re-Evaluated: A Writing When Nothing feels Right

Inspiration Re-Evaluated: A Writing When Nothing feels Right

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

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

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

What is inspiring me? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What is inspiring me?”

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.

FULL of Emptiness (Poem)

FULL of Emptiness (Poem)

I am full, yet I am empty. It is not simply content that can fill the void inside of me, but only silence; only solitude will truly bring me into a place of fullness of joy and identity.

To say all the right things outwardly, to do all the right things publicly, it only blows up the outward appearance like a balloon. From another’s vantage point, it creates an illusion of fullness, while in reality, it only makes the emptiness that much greater.

As I sit, I saturate, and I absorb as I meditate. I am satisfied as I loosen my belt and rest, as I sease to strive. This phenomenon does not exist for irony’s sake, but for the one that did create, who does not cease in His goodness, who does not falter in any way.

We’re filled when we’re empty, we’re strong when we’re weary, we know peace in calamity, and we’re wise when we embrace simplicity.

This is true, because at the end of our abilities, we are able to embrace humility. At the end of ourselves, in the rest of our Heavenly Father, we are filled.

So I throw aside all of my distractions, sit in His presence and saturate in His goodness, meditate on His word and absorb it’s challenges and its promises that hold true. I’ll rest in his peace, even when everything around me is in peaces, and in simple faith is where my strength and confidence will stand undefeated.

I know the practicals, and I believe it in my mind, but Jesus, would you change my heart.

 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)