Sunday, December 29, 2013

the wallflower

I have spent my life as a wallflower. In most social situations, I sit quietly watching the world around me pass, for many reasons. But it wasn't until recently I realized that was because I did not really value myself.

There is something quite beautiful about loving and valuing yourself. I'm not talking about a pompous attitude. No. Trust me, no one likes the pompous attitude. But being overly humble, to the point that you quiet your own voice, isn't exactly going to win you the mantle of Most Likely to Succeed. We value affirmation, but that praise has to begin within us. We have to believe we have worth in order to receive it.

Being a wallflower can be just fine in some scenarios, but it's not meant for us to live our lives entirely that way. We have to love ourselves enough to show the world what we can do. You will only find what you are capable of when you step out from the shadows and be what you were meant to be. Until you love yourself, you will never be ready or able to receive love.

This is a lesson that I'm personally learning every day. I pray you find your love, worth and value as well. And let's enjoy the journey.

Love yourself. You are worthy. Your life has purpose. And it all starts with you.

Do not go gentle.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

death of Superman

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Hebrews 12:1-13
Proverbs 4:26
2 Corinthians 4:7

I'm prideful. I'm selfish. I can be deceitful. I can be vindictive. I succumb to anger. I'm envious. I fail to uphold my word. I worry. I doubt. I judge. I hate. I lie. I hurt. I fail.

I'm a failure, and that's a beautiful thing.

All of these things are extremely hard to admit, and none are aspirations, but every one of them points towards the fact that I can not do anything on my own. I can only do so much to fix them in my life. Ultimately, I need someone to help me clean house in my life. My own strength only feeds the cycle.

Growing up, I always aspired to be a superhero. I would strap on my Superman cape, gloves, beanie, and some ill-fashioned sword, so that I could race around to save the world. Who wouldn't want to be a superhero? They can do anything. They overcome the greatest odds and always come out on top. They possess great strength and courage. They are truthful. They are valiant. They are moralistic. They are, in many ways, what we all dream of being in our own lives. This is where we learn to try and do it all on our own.

I believe we all are meant for something greater than what we settle for, for lives that are far superior to our dreams. In the text, Paul talks about not aimlessly living, but forcing himself to be better, so that he doesn't disqualify himself from the very prize that he teaches about. If we aren't pushing ourselves to be greater every day, then we are settling for less than our capabilities, for less than we were meant to live for.

Above, I listed some of my faults. If I listed them all, you'd still be reading a super-depressing list. The truth is that none of these things define me. I have to place them in the rear-view of my life and press towards that awesome version of myself that exists on the road ahead. It takes work every day. But, I can not do it alone. I have placed my faith in someone far greater than me, who wants me to be what I was created for. Who would know my purpose better than the one who created me?

Stop trying to be a Superman or Superwoman. In this life, you will find that trouble abounds and when you allow God to handle it and lead you, it is a much easier road.

My failures continue to teach me that there is a better life than the one I live in. I can be better than all of those things. When I focus on what I can control in my life and leave the uncontrollable to God, I find the failures and shortcomings decrease. I find I'm happy. I find my heart headed in the right way. I find that those things I don't like about me are being changed into something better than I could dream. I'm shown flashes of who I really could be.

I fail so I know my life is better in God's strength. I get better and grow so I see Him at work in life, loving me through my failures. A creator creates that which He loves and takes joy in.

Do not go gentle.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


When I look at the road ahead in my life, I can see countless trials and difficulties lying in wait. Even at the present moment, irritations and struggles are crouched in attack position, ready to devour me. What should I do?

Normally, my instincts take over and I do everything in my power to control all the situations, each hindrance as it comes. But, there comes a time when I can no longer fight, when I tire and curse the situation, when I doubt why I'm even on this road. The problem is the road I'm on is my own life. 

We are not built to carry stress and to endure endless hardship, yet our ship is set afloat in treacherous waters. Most of the time, if you are doing something right, you meet the most trouble along the way. Why, you ask? Because our world is not inherently good. And evil doesn't approve of the triumphs of good. Searching your own heart, you know when your intentions are good. 

I have recently learned (and I'm still learning) that I can not carry the weight of these burdens myself. In fact, they are not to be carried at all. When I try and control every aspect of my life, every time I am pulled down, crashing back to earth in defeat. The lesson: stop trying to control everything. Now, don't confuse relinquishing control with apathy. All of our lives have a purpose and we should be focused on their direction, but I'm talking about controlling all the irritants and trials along the way. 

If your focus is on the struggle, you'll lose sight of the goal every time.

We are a ship at sea. All we have is a rudder and sails to help aide us in our direction. We can't look at the rough seas ahead and grow weary, we instead should focus on the light of the calm sea beyond the current storm. It is hope which should drive us, not control.

So, when you are overwhelmed, relinquish control. Lay your burdens down at the feet of God. He who can create from nothing, can heal any burden. Set your eyes on the road ahead and don't let the trappings of stress and the irritations of life derail you from who you are or where you are going. 

Know yourself. Know your goal. Find peace.

Do not go gentle.

Matthew 11:28-30
Isaiah 53:4-6
Psalm 68:19
Galatians 6:2
Proverbs 16:32
James 4:1-2

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the weight of words

Never underestimate the power of words. The little things spoken or written. Every phrase uttered into existence carries some weight to it. The harshest of words have the power to destroy and contaminate. The most uplifting words can build and create.

In my ever-shortening lifetime, I have seen the power of words create and destroy in my own life. I've seen people that I sincerely loved tear down everything around us with a careless word. I've hurt and broken with brash decisions and ill-timed words. All of that happens because we don't understand that words have value, even the ones unspoken. I'm learning that others are listening more than they lead on. Love resonates and heals even the darkest of hate.

Think on your words.

It is true that those closest to us will hurt us the most. They know us better than anyone else. We speak to them the most. Inevitably, the fragility of the human spirit relents to the chaos that surrounds us.

We don't intend to hurt, but our anger or hurt brims the cup of our life and we lash out. We hurt. When we hurt, our reactionary nature is to hurt back.

Our voice is far more powerful than we will understand. So, shouldn't we use our energy towards building something in this ever-crumbling world? Shouldn't we be more concerned with creating instead of destroying? Life is filled with fleeting moments that the hands of men will never be able to harness. And because of this we, whose very beings are wrapped in the frailty of life's grasp, should desire to uplift each other.

Let us unify instead of divide. Let us build instead of destroy. Love and truth are born in the small words, in the small things of life. What you speak constantly over your life, you ultimately live every day.

Do not go gentle.

Proverbs 10:31
1 Peter 2:15
Isaiah 6:1-8
Luke 12:34

Monday, December 9, 2013


Convinced of my deception, I've always been a fool. 
I fear this love reaction just like you said I would. 
A rose could never lie about the love it brings 
and I could never promise to e any of those things 

If I was not so weak 
If I was not so cold 
If I was not so scared of being broke and growing old 
I would be.................. 

Blessed are the shallow at the depth they'll never find 
seems to be some comfort in rooms I try to hide 
Exposed beyond the shadows, you take the cup from me 
Your dirt removes my blindness, Your pain becomes my peace 

If I was not so weak 
If I was not so cold 
If I was not so scared of being broke and growing old 
I would be..................frail.

Luke 12:34
Matthew 14:23-33
Proverbs 3:5-6
Psalm 9:10
John 15:13-17

Knowing who you are at the deepest and realest level requires letting go. It means accepting your faults. It means looking at yourself in a new light and laying those short-comings at the feet of the King. It means allowing Him to take full control of your life, a life lived without borders and restraints. It requires that which we are far too often ill-prepared to give up, our unwavering trust. Trust requires being frail.

I have often been unwilling to trust fully. I cling to things when I shouldn't. I make it about me and refuse to change, grasping at the things that I think I can control and working feverishly to make them do my bidding. Nothing of value is ever built that way.

Place yourself at the beach right now. You are standing with your toes just being nipped by the last push of each wave, as it crashes onto the shoreline. The breeze whips through your hair, and you close your eyes knowing that you are alive. In that serene place, where there are no stress levels and no driving frustrations, in that still small place where we can close our eyes and focus on just breathing and the wisps of freedom - that is where we belong, that is where we are to live. In our world though, we close our eyes and immediately we begin to fear and worry - the threat of rising tides or dangers lurking underneath the depths, waiting to devour us. That is not trust.

The book of Matthew tells of a time after Jesus miraculously fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fish, when he went up on a hill by himself to pray. The disciples were out on a boat in the lake (or sea, depending on your translation). When they were out there, He came out to them, walking on the water. At first they are afraid, but He speaks softly and tells them it is Him. Peter jumps up and asks to come out to Him. "Come", He responds. Peter climbs out and feels his way along the water, at first keeping his sight on Jesus. But, then the waves and the wind take his focus away and he realizes the perils that surround him. So, he begins to sink. Jesus reaches out and pulls him back up.

We are living in the hands of the Creator. Too often we doubt or worry because others doubt or worry. We allow ourselves to be projected into these fruitless things. When you are not trusting, you are allowing everything else to speak their "truths" into your life instead of the truth-filled, small voice of the Only One who can help you. He speaks peace. He speaks love. His words are Truth.

So, when the waters rise, keep your eyes closed, keep you heart focused, remember who you belong to. There is no wave he can not part, there is no danger that He can not overcome. Our finances, our dreams, our worries, our hearts, our plans - we have to give them all to Him. Hand over your schedule and let Him rewrite it. He is writing the story of our lives every day. And the story He is breathing into us rests with our hearts at peace wading into the deeper waters, walking out on the oceans as none can believe possible. This is how seas are parted, how nations are restored, how kings are healed, how love is born - out of the truth of full trust in a Savior, who was also our Creator, and who saw no other way to give us peace than to take the fall for our failures himself.

There is no greater love than that. 

The very simple fact that in order to overcome our difficulties, we surrender. For we all surrender to something, make sure your heart bows to what is already victorious. He has already won.

Thank you Father for shaping me everyday. I fail all the time. This lesson is one that You are speaking into my spirit everyday. I'm not worthy of anything, yet you allow me to find peace, you call me again and again back to you. May I trust your guidance in all things. May control be only mentioned in the same breath as you. I lay all of me at your feet.

Listen to the song below. The words are just above. Close your eyes and pray. There is power in just the simple word - frail. It speaks of trust, of surrender, of the journey ahead. Be blessed.