“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
This is a big year. My life at this time will look radically different from what it looks like now. I will be graduating and begin the search for jobs. I will be moving into new places and meeting new people. I will face new challenges and old hurts. I am very nervous about this next year. Last week I wrote about fears, I wrote about the reminders that I have to give to myself on a daily basis, because fear is the thing that tries to tear me down. I fear being a failure, I fear being rejected, and most of all I fear dying and having my life not have made an impact. I believe that God has made each one of us special and unique, capable of doing incredible things. Yet, I have seen people close to me take this fact for granted and run after their own desires. Our desires, our earthly desires, are meaningless. Sure making money to provide for your family is good and all, but why is that the focus of your life? There is so much more to life. You have so much more to give. I’m still one of those crazy people that believes I can change the world, I believe that you can change the world too. In a season of life where I feel afraid of the future and what it might bring, I choose to be thankful no matter what. I choose to be thankful, because I am full of thanks. In the midst of my fears and weakness I’m reminded about the things I have been blessed with, and in the midst of your own fears and weaknesses, you can be thank full too.
I don’t often get a chance to write informally with you, so today it may seem like I’m just talking, but that’s exactly what I want to do. Just talk, to you, think of it like a bizarre conversation as you read the blog. I love conversation, it may have something to do with the fact that I’m a communication guy who studies communication, but I love being able to talk with people and get real. It also helps that I have a spiritual talent of discerning things, so when in conversation, I feel like I’m able to use my story to speak life into someone else. Each week for the past two years (give or take a few weeks) I have written a new post each Monday to you and for you on this simple little blog. I write because I have a story to tell and a message that I think speaks right to you, I don’t do this because I have all the answers to everything, but I think I have a word to share that will encourage and empower you. I’ve experienced some rough things, I’ve seen people die naturally and by suicide, I’ve seen the power of addiction in my family, and I’ve experienced the self-doubt and anxiety in my mind. The thing that I’m always amazed by is how God uses these things. Through the death I’ve seen people grow closer and draw near to Christ. In addiction I have seen healing and seen my brother-in-law come back from a dark place as a new stronger man of God. Dealing with self-doubt and anxiety I have learned just how much I have to trust in my savior who has so much grace for me and wants to use a weak soul like me. What about you? Maybe you have struggled with a battle over your mind in lustful thoughts our past mistakes. Maybe you feel worthless because people used you sexually or mentally. Maybe you feel so alone and pain is the only thing that will make things better. I want you to remember one thing.
You were made in the image of God, and because of that, you are beautiful and awesome. You are not your past, you are so worth loving no matter what was done to you, and you are never alone.
I remind myself of this promise each day, heck I even write it down so I can see it every day. I recommend you do the same, write that down and replace it with your name. You are a child of God. No one will ever take that from you. In that promise you can be thank full, even when you don’t feel like it, God says that over you. I get emotional about this (heck the people in Geeksboro coffee shop probably see my tears and are a little unsure), but I’m emotional because I want you to be free through this. I want you to know that you can be full of thanks in all things. I’ve watched too many people close to me walk away because they didn’t “feel” God moving, the truth is, God will always be moving in our lives even when we don’t “feel” it, we have to trust him in all things.
I will not let the enemy speak lies to me. I will live in the love and grace of my savior who died for me.
This is another statement I have to make. It’s easy in the world of the internet to get caught up in the likes and views, and feel depressed based on those numbers. It can be hard for me here, on this blog, when I look at statistics. I see posts that should get millions of hits in my mind, get only twenty, and that can make me feel like I’m worthless. The truth is, twenty people read what I put down; God used me to speak to twenty people. When I shift my perspective, my view of reality is altered in a positive direction. I won’t stop writing, because I will never not have something to say and speak life into. So when I look at the stats, I will see people instead of numbers, I won’t let that pull me down. I will choose to let that inspire me to press on even during seasons of dryness, because if I can impact at least one person, I can pass away knowing that someone was positively impacted in a world of negativity. This past weekend I was able to lead during a youth retreat. In this retreat I was able to see students step from death into life. I was able to pray for chains to be broken, chains that are heavy and keep us in pain. God used me and other leaders to step into the strongholds of hell and move in the lives of these precious students. I pray for these kids each day, I’m thankful that I get to build them up to lead our world. You see tomorrow, in America, it is our election day, but my hope is not in these foolish candidates, my hope is in Christ and the next generation who will make a difference.
I will cling to those who build me up. I will spend my time with people that push me to do better and keep me accountable. And I will do the same for them.
I am full of thanks for the people placed in my life. Friends that are my tribe. People that love me and I love them. Brothers and sisters that I want to spend my time with. People in my life like John and Shane, who have watched me grow and I have seen them grow. People who have taught me how to love and stand in the gap for those who need it, like Andrew and Marissa. For those in my life who have helped me to think critically and seek knowledge of what I believe and why, like David and Jay. For the people who have helped me to have a wandering heart and see the beauty in the world, like Danielle. You may not know these people, but I do. They are my tribe. You need to find a tribe, because a tribe will guide you and push you to be better. I am so thankful for these people and the impact they have made on my life.
I think today this was for you, I think today you needed some encouragement just like me. I think we both have had to deal with some heavy stuff. I know for me I’m anxious about the future and what that may bring. I want to make a difference, and I think you do too. I switched up the flow today, because I wanted to talk to you my dear reader, to share with you about the person who writes each week. I am a simple person, and I’ve made so many mistakes that I wish I could take back, but I won’t let that stop me from growing in Christ. I want to move forward and help others see their potential, I want you to see your potential. I want you to know that you are beautiful, pleasing in every way, I want you to know that you are awesome, capable inspiring others; I want you to know this because you are made in God’s image. No matter what circumstance you are in, choose to give thanks. We are in a month where people are reminded of what they have, so remember what you have. You may not have the world, but you have a savior that loves you so much. I hope you feel encouraged, and maybe you know me a little better after reading about me. Thank you for coming back each week to read, I hope it speaks to you because I love you and want you to live free.
In all things remember to be thank full of all you have been given.