Christianity, Life, Moving Forward

Don’t Forget What God Did

Yesterday, I was reminded of what God has done for me. As I was having a conversation with a young man about life, dreams, and the future God simply whispered to me, “don’t forget what I’ve done for you.” Why did God whisper this to me and drop this in my spirit? Too often, I believe, followers of God, including myself take God’s power, protection and love for granted. I know I have. We often hear the cliche, count your blessings, well maybe I don’t count my blessings enough.

“This could be you on the other end of this conversation. Have you forgotten what I’ve done for you?” These words rang loud and clear in my head. Many people see the result of all of the work God has done in my life and see where I am now but many do not know the back story to my life before God intervened. Yesterday, and even this past week I have been reminded of my story. I was 17 years old, depressed, lost, wanting to give up on life, confused, making poor decisions, controlled by substances, bad habits and not knowing my identity in Christ. This was me. This is my story.

As I continued in my conversation with the young man and began to hear more of his story, God was saying to me, his story is your story and your story is his story. Although the two of us sitting at the table were in different places in life, our stories are what connects us. Until we began to have a conversation with one another, I would have never known he went to prison at the age of 17, has two kids and is looking to make the best of his opportunities in life. If we would have never begun in this mentoring relationship, he would never come to know, I was once on probation, doing community service hours, been in the back of a police car in handcuffs, almost on my way to jail and possibly being sent off to a juvenile detention center.

My life is not all that. I desperately need Jesus every day. I have to depend on the strength He provides me. I am a mess without Him! A great thing is, my story is not complete. I am still a work in progress. I am not perfect. I am a guy who is in love with the Creator. I have a story to tell. You have a story to tell. The person at the cash register has a story to tell. Our stories can impact each other. We have to be willing to have conversations with people. With God in the equation, our stories become more powerful to share.

A prayer you can pray:

God, thank You for giving me a story to share. God, thank You for reminding me, I am nothing without You. I know sometimes I tend to forget how you shifted my focus, my life and my perspective around. I was headed in a terrible direction but Your love rescued me. You have allowed me to pursue greatness. You have granted me access to the keys of Heaven right here on earth. Continue to allow my life and my story to be an inspiration to all of those You desire for me to come into contact with. I am forever grateful and thankful to be apart of Your story on earth!

P.S. Share your story with someone new this week!

Life, Moving Forward, Uncategorized

Why We Need to Embrace Being Weak

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Be strong. Don’t cry. Shrug it off. Don’t let it bring you down. Push through. It’s not that bad. Have you thought this or heard these sayings before? In our American culture and society we are not to show weakness right? Weakness is a sign that we supposedly don’t have it all together and no one likes to be the person that doesn’t have it all together. We tend to think if and when we embrace our weaknesses we become too vulnerable and too sensitive. The reality for us is, when we embrace our weaknesses we actually have to begin to open up and share what’s going on in our lives to other people. This is too hard and too scary for people to do. So now what?

Throughout my life I have fought hard at times to not show when I am weak. In these moments of weakness, I didn’t want others to know how I felt on the inside. You know what we do: Someone asks, “how are you doing?” Our typical, robotic, systematic response, “I’m good.” Are you really good? You mean to tell me we never go through anything? Life never gets challenging? People never rub us the wrong way? Work doesn’t stress us out sometime? Hmm.. Maybe we need to start being more honest with ourselves.

The longer we pretend to be strong and not embrace our weakness we actually harden our heart. We begin to desensitize ourselves to our emotions. It becomes normal for us to not embrace our struggles. Instead, we continue to press through like nothing is ever wrong. For me, the pattern in my life has been, the longer I hold in my problems, my issues, my hurt, my pain and my burdens the bigger the inevitable explosion. Have you ever been around someone and seemingly out of no where they blow up or have a melt down? I’m talking about the people that you never see break down or cry. It throws you for a loop right? You’re sitting there thinking, “I thought this person had it all together.”

Here’s what I’m trying to say… Embrace weakness. Identify with the weaknesses in your life. Figure out what makes you weak. Know what the weaknesses are. Understand where they come from and why they are in your life. This is what I have learned about weakness:

The weakness in our life is not out to destroy us.

I believe the weaknesses that God allows in our lives are there to help us grow. Weaknesses can be turned into strengths. When we begin to become stronger in our weakness, we then can go and help the next person that is weak in the area we were once weak in. Amen somebody?

I no longer run from my weaknesses. Neither should you. Will we still struggle at times with embracing them? Sure, this will always be a battle. I realize we won’t always get it right in this area but at least we can admit they are there. Often times, admitting is the first step to overcoming a struggle, battle or problem. Let’s face it; we are not as strong as we pretend to be. In our weakness, God can do something with us. The greatest leaders that have walked the face of this earth displayed their weakness at some point in their life. Need proof? Read a few stories about the prophets and the leaders in the Bible. They are a lot like you and I, weak and in need of God’s strength.

 

Uncategorized

Internal Voices…

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Ahhhhh these voices keep screaming at me! Not sure why but they do. I’m sitting here questioning, is this you? No, this is me. An internal battle. You versus me. You versus we. We, as in my internal being. My internal you. See, you… You don’t really know me but some how I give you a voice. A voice in my head. A voice in my life. A voice into my heart. A voice into my soul. A voice into my spirit. Why do I listen? Why do I give you the time? You are not encouraging me. You tell me I am not smart enough. You tell me I am not worth it. You tell me not to chase my dreams. You tell me to give up my hope. You tell me to stop chasing greatness. You tell me to give up. The sad reality is, I listen to you. I let you hang out too long. After you stay a while and I finally decide to welcome you out, by the time you leave I’m left feeling down. Down because of our conversation. Down because of our relation. The relationship that should never be.

But you… I mean we, we are no good for each other. Somehow I have to let you go. Somehow I have to find a way to not let you back in. Somehow I have to keep the door closed. I have to keep you from getting inside. I have to get you outside. Maybe the outside is better for you. I may still hear your voice. Though you may yell and scream, you will be on the outside. You will no longer be in anymore. I have to be okay with this. You are no longer welcome in my door. Would you please excuse yourself? Thank you!

Wait a minute… There’s this other voice I hear. There’s this other voice I know. It doesn’t scream. In fact, this voice… this voice is soothing. This voice can get aggressive at times but it’s a gentle aggression. It challenges me to do better, to be better. This voice I know I should listen to. You can do this. You are more than your past. You are better than yesterday. You are strong. You are confident. You got what it takes. I believe in you. Words like this are affirming to me. This voice I want to believe. Can I hear more of you? I wonder if this voice would love to have complete control… It seems as if this voice can lead me in a great direction. This voice has my best interest at heart. Internally I know this. Will I give up my self pride? Will I let go of my control and follow this voice?

Externally I am too needy when I listen to the first voice. Internally I bleed when I listen to the second voice. With the first voice my need becomes all about me. With the second voice my bleeding is a result of the blood shed. It is the bleeding I need to be reminded of. The needing I need to be dependent on. It is the voice I need to follow. The voice that has been given to me as a gift.

Voices… I have to decipher this one. Which one is greater? Which one needs to be greater in my life? This I need to know. For now, I will battle with my internal voices… I will let them fight. I will fight. I will listen. I will act. I will live. I will decide. I will be. I will not give up and neither will you. Voices…