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. 

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?”

Goodbye (Poem)

Goodbye (Poem)

This poem is a tribute to anyone who has lost someone they loved. This year has been full of young lives lost, as well as full lives completed. Where grief resides, may there also be peace.

Goodbye. This isn’t for you, because you’re gone. It’s for me, because I’m left here with not you, but a shell of memories, beautiful and unique. There is no thing that could make this goodbye easier, there is no thing that could bring back normality. Normal will not return, but change. Once routine comes back into play and I start to come to grips with the fact that your voice will not be there to tell me good morning or that that shirt really doesn’t compliment me; That might be the time that normal is rewritten, but not the same, come sun or come rain, life has changed.

Goodbye to the things you did in secret or at least the things you thought no one had seen. To the infection of laughter in the way only you could bring. Our laughter will not cease, but it will never be the same. The jokes you told will be infused with longing, and remembering. It will no longer be just a joke or a quote, but a cherished moment in time, internally narrated in your voice.

Oh your voice, I want to remember it. Please, God. I don’t want to say goodbye to your voice. I know I will always recognize it, if technology replays it, but I don’t want to forget the way you said my name. The way it sounded when you were sick, or laughing, or when you sang; and not just on stage, but how you sang in the shower.

Goodbye is such an intimate word, and I utter it at a time, by you, it will not be heard, and if goodbye is forever, I may not bare the pain of it, but if goodbye is truly temporal, (and between us, I fully believe it is) then I can only wait until we meet again, and the hello will be sweeter than my hello has ever been.

When You Can’t Hold On (Poem)

When You Can’t Hold On (Poem)

My grip, tighter then a vice, yet it cannot hold back the drip after drip, the blood running through my fingers, down my arm and beading from my elbow. What a terrible way to go, just hoping; praying that I might stop the flow. The thoughts racing through my mind, cursing myself, knowing the consequence could have been avoided and the afflictions are rightfully mine, yet still wishing the past three minuets could have a rewind and retry; although I know myself all too well, that even if I had twelve tries, I would squander each one, just like I have this time. I’m not a just a victim, but a slave to my own vices, and this wound inside of my chest will not heal; Not because it cannot, but because addressing the scars is only an attempt to mend only the product of my mixed up and broken heart.

from one infected hand to another, this vice grip I’m holding will only stop the bleeding, while the infection seeps into every other part, and spreading even to the brain, and once it gets there, it festers. It builds up pressure like a balloon, not relenting until theres release and devastation.

By that time, the damage has been done, and I find myself again, dressing wounds with infection, reconnecting my cycle of remorse and repentance, if that word hasn’t lost its meaning yet.

I don’t know how to change what I’ve found myself in, but I know this vicious cycle isn’t it. It isn’t anxiety and fatigue, followed by temptation, selfishness and loneliness increased, to thoughts to actions. It is not that because I’ve lived and seen it and that’s not what I want to be; a fraud, a bad example, a hypocrite, or a liar; half hearted, tired, and hopeless or dictated my shame.

I know that my savior is somehow knocking on my door, and I’ve rejected his love for a counterfeit bluff. How can I come when I know what I’ve done, and even worse, weighed options, and still chose the world. All I can do is let go. All I can do is let go. Whatever that is going to mean, I’m need to let go.

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!

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.