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)

longlasting Longing

longlasting Longing

Full of that heart pulling, gut dropping ache. Hear again, there again ache. Longing for more then a day, lasting what feels like eternity. Simultaneously, my mind turns inside out, up, over and down, as my longings and passions seem to drown and be pushed down by circumstances that surround, but the business and yawning can’t drown out the pounding in my chest for clarity; but not the kind that I know every step and outcome that surrounds each moment of my life or some magical treasure map of what step is the right one and what one leads to sorrow. I want the clarity of mind to know my longings are not in vain. I want to be so close to my maker that my confidence is in his words, and can proudly bare a seal with his name.

The late king of Israel wrote famously that the Lord would give me the desires of my hear, but less famous are the preceding words. Trust in the Lord and delight yourself in the LORD, but I often find my trust in my limitations and my delight in places of danger. My longings are pulled and my trust is invested, so my longings are tested. Is the heart with brown eyes to be a part of my heart in time, or is my romantic mind leading me toward wasted time and a fools surprise. Are the pursuit of hobbies and passions leading me towards success, aka happiness and fulfillment through those I bless, or am I spreading myself thin, to where my joy will be lost in the business and different directions, taking a right hook from hope in the chin.

Each outcome is followed by something new, and my longings have been long on brew. These longtime longings will take time to go through, but what is there to do but through all my pride in the air, take on a life of service, always in repair, and learn from each desire that wells up and never giving them up without understanding what’s up. I will wrestle with my heart, hand it over and over to, not just my Lord, but also my savior and listen closer. Am I longing for more then ideas that looks good on paper? Time will testify the faith big and small and the true integrity in my heart.

 

Losing Control (Poem)

Losing Control (Poem)

I’m falling for the longing of a life of no control.
Of a life that’s void of restraints, and free of tolls.
These stations do nothing but slow down my bones.

Life is made to be taken by the horns, but when the bull is coming head on, I used to run.
Either option, to stay or run seems worthless, but no reasoning will stop the bulls from coming, so I will stop running and start fighting.

I’m falling for that longing of a life of no control.
Of a life I’ve given everything over to the creator of my soul.
And the desire rings on louder then a Rotary phone.

Life is made to be flown like a kite, and when negativity comes by, it can stand on by because I’m far lighter, soaring high up in the sky and I won’t even bat an eye or let my joy subside, because I know my worth and know the lies I won’t and can’t let in.

As I fall deeper for that longing of a life of no control,
Of that life that takes gain and pain and morning all in full.
There is a time for every season and a lesson closer still.

Life is made for tears like oceans, when new life comes, or long life fades or love begins or money flies away, the tears from plenty and tears from little surely flow; although, there’s no question each tear will dry or be wiped away. Yet, before the tears are gone, may I not loose sight of the joy in each aching strain and the lesson learned in the waiting.

life is not made for control, so as the jellyfish is pulled by the current, may I embrace the flow of life, but may I propel myself toward truth. Jesus commanded the seas for his frightened and doubting disciples, so I’m sure he’ll direct me on to him.

Exposure: First Performances

Exposure: First Performances

Music is one of the most influential and most widely partaken in arts of history. For me, I’ve always been around and involved in music my entire life. Music is found in virtually every culture, if not every culture, and it doesn’t fail to move us humans; even the hardest of hearts.

Being in my family, I’ve had a bunch of first performances on stage. from silly skits at my grandparents house, performing fan favorites and classics like The Road Kill Cooking Show and plenty of others, to Sight and Sound Theater, where my first show ever, my wig fell off in front of the entire audience of roughly 2,000 people. I’ve been in school musicals and National Fine Arts (a church competition) to just performing at my church in various ways. There are definitely stories to tell, but this one felt different.

I started writing poetry and songs in my junior year in high school, and I had shared my music and poems with others before, but I got to share an original of mine and accompanied my brother, Stephen on a cover at a girl from our youth group’s event to raise money for her missions trip, and I had this overwhelming feeling: I wouldn’t mind doing this. Like, if it was my career, even just for a season, I would feel at home; because that stage felt like home. It wasn’t really because of the stage itself, or the audience in particular or the atmosphere, although it was nice, but it was sitting on my cajon drum, next to my brother, playing music.

This first performance was followed not but a few weeks later, performing a song with my friends at a dinner theatre. A song Luke Cassidy and I wrote together for our band that has, of now, only performed one song at one venue, but it also felt like home. We performed the song “Flesh and Blood” (really the only song we’ve finished so far together) that is really one of the most vulnerable songs I’ve personally written exposing my insecurities, but sharing them in my favorite art form with some of my favorite people was liberating.

Theres just something about the first time we do something, and theres something even more amazing about realizing as you’re doing it for the first time that its something you want to be involved in for the rest of your life! your thing might not be music or writing or mountain biking, or bee keeping, or anything I’m into, but it might be painting or skateboarding or swimming or math or any other sports, or counseling, or welding. Whatever it may be…

GO FOR IT!

Do it with everything in you. don’t let stats or money or time in your way. Stats might always be agents you, but theres always a percentage that succeeds. You be in that. You’ll never have enough money, so budget and work your butt off! My friend, Andrew always says, “do things you don’t want to do so you can do the things you want to do!” As for time, it is always passing by, and what I have to say for time is you don’t have time to keep talking about doing the things you love. You do have time to do them, but it priority time!

It’s always a balance, and the best way to balance out my advice in the previous paragraph is in two words: Love. Pray.

Loving,  and in turn, serving others will never bring you down, because love never fails! (Check out 1 Corinthians 13. It talks all about it.) And God is always rooting for you to succeed and through desiring him and taking pressure off yourself to make things happen, follow him as he leads you, as your pursuing your dreams. Your biggest dreams are only a fraction of the plans God has for you, if you’re following him right now or not. Through giving him control, you will enter the most thrilling times in your life filled with joy, hardships, pain and peace, but the best part is the hardships and pain will come and go, but they and peace will last through it all.

 

Something you’re not: personable vs friendly

I’ve found myself, throughout my life, having a hard time being personable. (This is an observation, and it’s not a bad thing. I’ll explain more as I go on.) I’ve seen some people have such a smooth approach and ease with starting conversations, holding conversations, ending conversations and even walking away from a conversation. Unfortunatly, if I just met you or if we’re not really close friends, I will butcher from one to all of these steps.  

This dilemma had and does frustrate me to this day. If I see someone I graduated or went to school with, just picture a train trying to derail as he sees another coming up the tracks. No matter what he tries to do, he either crashes head on and burns, or derails, crashes and burns. Either way, not a good situation. (If you’re one of those people, I sincerely apologize and wish I could have changed the outcome of that conversation and I hope you can look past the awkwardness produced by every syllable produced from my lips.)

If that was a little melodramatic, it wasn’t by much, but my point is, I’ve seen so many people approach the situation and walk away unscathed and with ease. 

This had also caused me frustration in teaching, talking to girls (mostly in high school. I’ve not so recently decided to put that on hold, but that’s for another topic) to meeting new people, etc. 

The thing that’s amazing though is this:
It’s ok to not be personable! It’s definitely a gift, but absolutely not necessary for life. This is what really gets important when the rubber hits the road; are you a good friend?

It’s one thing to be personable, but if you can’t be a good friend, your life will be filled with shallow acquaintances and void of true, reliable, relatable friendships that really have your back. The crazy thing is I’ve been there in a way, because I balanced out my person-ability with acting outlandish and loud and humor in some way, shape or form. 

Being friendly is less of a skill or a gift and more of a mindset in a way that develops into your character. Being a friend in short is the following:

  • Listening
  • Being there when it’s not convenient
  • Not focusing on relationship effort balance
  • Giving thought out and/or prayed through advice 
  • Donating your time
  • Doing all these things, even when you can’t get something back

That’s some really simple, yet externally challenging tasks, but what people need these days are true friends. What our generation needs are true friends. 
Are you personable?

 If yes, don’t hide behind it. Use your gift. Be a friend too!

 If no, don’t worry! Try your best (and prayer never hurts) and if it falls flat, be a friend! People need you. 

Are you a friend?