God, Why Is It Hard to Love You?

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You’ve been there before right? Telling God how much you love Him. Praising Him for all of the good times. Thanking Him for making it through all of the difficult seasons in life. We’ve all been there before. It seems more times than often we can give God great lip service.

Surely, God is the center of our life. Surely, He is the best thing that has ever happened to us. Surely, He’s been there for us through the good, bad and the ugly. But wait… Why do we have a problem with loving God?

Love, as we know it, is an action. It is a verb, meaning we should be acting upon the love we say we have. What I want to draw to your attention in this post is how our love should be lived out daily, not just talked about daily. In particular, our love to God. Our love to God should come out of obedience. Here’s why I believe this: Take a look at this verse.

“If you love Me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15

This verse continues to work on my heart. In other words, Jesus is saying here, “if you really are about that life, if you really are down with me then you will follow what I say.” He didn’t quite say it like that but sometimes I translate in the hood version so I can better understand.

 Here’s my thought towards obeying and following Jesus words. Following Jesus commands is not a bad thing. Think about it, what bad in your life can come out of following Jesus?

“You don’t have a sin problem, you have a love problem.” – Henry Blackaby

“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” – 1 John 4:20-21

I’ve been there before. Being full with hatred in my heart, not quite understanding why it was there, I had to desperately seek God for years. I had to cry out to Him, have long talks and walks with Him. Many times I had to ask God to rid the anger and hatred in my heart. I still don’t fully understand why this hatred was there. All I know is, God, over the years helped me overcome this hate. Maybe, you need to allow Him to do the same for you.

My last thought towards why it is hard to love God is the love we are to have for our brother(s) and sister(s). If the love of God is in us then how can we hate another human being? If God’s love is in us, how then can we say I hate this person? We love a God we have never seen and we hate a person we have seen? Nah, that is not the love of God in us.

“If you have a hard time loving people, you have a hard time loving God.”

P.S. God wants to destroy the hate in your life and fill it with love. Trust me, He had to do this for me!

Patterns

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I love when God gives me revelation and new insights to my life. The other day I was driving down the road and I began to think about patterns in my life, even certain patterns since child hood. The wheels began to turn (no pun intended) in my mind. What I am going to share with you are battles I have faced or face. I believe these battles with patterns may help some of you with certain patterns in your life. If we can recognize what patterns affect us negatively I believe we can bring great change to our lives!

Okay, here are some patterns I have observed in my life: 

Pattern of word without great follow through: Meaning, we give our word to something. We get excited and want to be apart something life changing and great but our follow up and follow through with our word/action is not our best effort. Can you relate?

Pattern of commitment for a short period of time: This kind of goes hand and hand with the first one but differs in a sense. With this pattern we are committed for a period of time and we slowly begin to either fade away or completely drop off.

*Short time commitments can be good but if others do not know upfront how long you plan on being committed, you will hurt others more than yourself. Not a good recipe for success and bridge building.*

Pattern of progress and then drop off: You’re working hard, you are progressing, you begin to see results and then you stop working as hard. This I see often when it comes to eating healthier and working out to get in better physical shape.

Pattern of achieving what you want and then complacency sets in: You worked hard to get what you want, to get to where you wanted to be, you achieved something and now that it is achieved you’re not motivated to keep on pushing.

I wanted to share these and be transparent with you because I know these patterns aren’t just present in my life but in the lives of others as well. In my line of work, in my friendships and relationships I have conversations and from my observation and conversations I realize with these patterns I am not the only one that struggles and battles with these in life.

What are we to do? How can we truly create change and mean it?

Here is where I am landing and have landed:

  • Create accountability with someone fighting the same battle.
  • Do one thing at a time.
  • Say no and don’t feel bad about it.
  • Pray really hard and often.
  • Find the root problem of the pattern.
  • Ask yourself, why is this pattern so significant and why is it there?
  • Seek wise counseling about the patterns in your life.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Do not self condemn when you fall short or mess up.

The unique thing about patterns are, you can create new ones. Patterns aren’t set up for one specific design. They can be altered to create new ones. Whatever patterns you have identified in your life, it is time to make some adjustments. It’s time to make some shifts. It is time to be the designer. We have to grab a hold of our lives and there is no better time than right now. There is power in patterns. Let’s let the power of patterns in our life effect us in positive ways.

P.S. – I would love to hear from you. What are some patterns you’ve noticed in your life? What are you willing to share about this to help others?

It’s My Birthday!! – 5 Things I Have Learned in my 20’s!

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Friends, I thought I would share with each of you that God has granted me another year to be present on this earth! I am so thankful for life itself. I consider it a blessed opportunity to be able to live and do what I am most passionate about daily. Ok, mostly. Ha! Sometimes I wish I could still play basketball every day. God is still working on me in that area. (the heart of a former basketball player)

Hey, since I only have 2 years left in my 20’s now, I thought I would share with you some key insights I have learned along the way. I hope they have helped you as they did for me.

  1. You will lose some friends and gain new ones.

As many people often say, your day 1’s will always be there for you. If you don’t know what day 1’s are, find an urban dictionary. πŸ™‚ The friends that has been by your side, usually stick with you for the long haul and the friends that you had maybe in college or high school some will not be in your life. That’s okay for the most part. God will continue to put the right people in your life. I am thankful for every friend I’ve ever had and for the ones I still have. I’m blessed that people actually want to be around me. Seriously! πŸ˜‰

2. You will gain some weight!

Ha! Who could see this one coming? Clearly everyone besides me. In college, I was always in the denial stage about gaining weight. Well, after basketball began to slow down and my wonderful eating habits continued, well you know the rest. Now, I find myself looking at scales and buying bigger clothes. ha! It’s all good! I’ll lose weight one of these days. The goal is to eat healthy and look healthy. Whatever that means. I thought I should just share with you, gaining weight is real and not a fairy tale.

3. Love is for you.

Figuring out what love is, who you love and who loves you sometimes can feel like going through a maze. What I have come to learn; when you don’t rush trying to find a lover so to speak and work on getting yourself right with God things begin to work out. I sound all philosophical here but seriously in my twenties I had to truly focus on getting rid of past hurts, mistakes, immaturity and selfishness. Love is a process and it takes time. I like to call it the beautiful struggle. We all have to go through it. Continue to work on yourself and enjoy your singleness. That is the best advice I have for you.

4. Cherish those closest to you.

Seriously, the people in your life are a gift from God. Yeah, even the ones that get on your nerves. Whatever that means. If you ever get a chance, reflect on the people in your life, think of the memories you’ve created together. It is pretty awesome. I have some classic photo albums stored in my mind. Oh yeah on my macbook as well. Life is short. Live life with those that matter the most to you. You’ll be thankful in the long run.

5. Don’t give up!

Living in the twenties is hard. No, like extremely hard. Many of us aren’t and were not truly prepared for life after college. Trying to find your way in life with minimum effort and low income!? Man, what? The struggle is real bruh! I know. I’ve been there. You will not believe some of the stories I have trying to figure out what direction I was suppose to go in life. For example, one time I slept in my car in a hotel parking lot in Canton, OH. I went to tryout for a NBA D – League team and didn’t have enough money to afford a hotel room for a night. Maybe you won’t have to sleep in a car but you will have to make some crazy sacrifices to figure out what God has for you to do!

I love every bit of my life. I don’t say this prideful or boastfully but I have truly come a long way in my twenties. At least I think so. The exciting part to me is, I still have a long way to go. So much to learn, so much to do, so many people to love and care for. I am extremely blessed. Could life be better? Depends on who’s asking. As for me on this day, I am simply celebrating all that God has blessed me with. Here’s to another 28 years!

The Frustrations of Bad Rhythm

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Rhythm is systematic in its essence. Rhythm has a repetitive pattern in which it follows. Think of your heart. Our hearts follow a certain pattern. Sometimes our hearts rhythm speeds up and other times our hearts rhythm slows down. Our lives can be the same way.

There are certain days, weeks and even months where we have to speed up the order in which we do life. There are other times where life seems to be moving slow. Whether life is moving fast or slow for you right now there is something to be said when our rhythm to life is flowing the way we would like.

Like many, I love a good rhythm to a song, melody or to a beat. Nothing irks my soul more than not being able to groove or find the rhythm to a song. Its like the person in church clapping off beat to your favorite worship song. πŸ™‚ Okay maybe it is not that serious but I’m trying to stress my point. When life is off beat, when our rhythm to life is out of sync, we as people of pattern tend to get mentally frustrated.

Maybe I am speaking for myself. I am a person who values discipline, structure and principles. I believe the people who are most successful in life have a healthy balance of rhythm in their life. They understand their day-to-day schedule, their monthly schedule and even their yearly schedules. So what can be done for those of us whose rhythm is off beat?

First, we need to find out why our rhythm is off. What is pulling at our time? Who is draining our energy? What do we need to start doing? What do we need to stop doing? I believe these are questions to help get us going in the right direction. Being able to daily reflect on life, journal, self assess and find time to listen to your soul and God can help us understand why our rhythms aren’t good.

No one likes to live in frustration. Just like no one likes a dance partner who cannot keep up on the dance floor. πŸ˜‰ It is time to find our rhythm to life. It is time to make the necessary changes. Sometimes this means we have to let go of the good to get to great. Creating repetitive good habits, principles and disciplines to our lives will help get us to walking away from frustration and to a life of peace.

What do you do when your life is not in sync?

What helps you find your rhythm?

Please feel free to comment below!

Slow Down and Look!

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Revelation. Epiphany. Illumined. Enlightened. Awakened. We all have these points in life where we hit either a road block, a pit stop, a stumbling block, our breaking point, rock bottom or a wall. It is in these moments, where I believe a message awaits us.

When I was younger, when moments like these that I mentioned above happened, I would get discouraged. Seriously, I would be so hard on myself to the point where I felt like the best thing to do was give up. Maybe you have been there yourself. It is usually in these moments, once I take a step back, I am awakened to a self discovery about myself. Something I probably would had never noticed if it wasn’t for something to come into my course of life and cause me to stop.

Breaking down, stopping, resting, being able to pause is a good thing. In fact, I don’t think we do enough of it. So maybe, just maybe God allows for road blocks, walls and stumbling blocks to happen so that we can see what’s most important in our life. Maybe He wants us to slow down for a moment.

Something special happens when our course of life is forced to stop. There is an unique awareness beginning to happen. There is an array of questions beginning to form within our finite minds. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on, how can the problem(s) be solved and what do I need to do to get through this.

Life as we know it, will never be a smooth journey where the scale is consistently going up like a straight line. We know this is not how life happens. Instead, life is much more like the Millennium Force (for all of my Cedar Point riders). Life is full of thrills, ups, downs, tragedy’s, heartbreaks, memories and so on. The best thing that happens in my opinion is the discovery that you and I have the choice to do something. We have the opportunity to learn, to grow and to make changes for the better. Epiphany, revelation, whatever we want to call it, there’s a chance for us to wake up, mature and move forward.

Whatever season you are in, whatever situation you are faced with on today, take a step back and ask yourself: God, what are you trying to reveal to me? What do I need to learn about myself? How can I grow from this and become a better person? Usually, asking “why” or “why is this happening to me?” is not the right question to ask. Asking why a lot of times leads to self pity and self condemnation. The “why” will be revealed, the “why” will be discovered as you process and analyze.

God has an unique way of letting us know why we go through certain things. You may not get the answer or response you were hoping for but what you will get is a chance and opportunity to grow. If you’re like me, growing in life is important. In fact, growing remains on the priority list. We each need moments in life to slow us down. So instead of getting frustrated and upset, use these moments to clear your mind, to free your spirit and to see the good that’s about to happen.

God bless,

J Scott Samarco