Don’t Let One Bad Day Define Your Story

I’ve made a ton of mistakes. You ever wake up at night and think about a time you said something you shouldn’t have, or reacted in a way you know wasn’t right? Or maybe there are things that people have said about or done to you, and you just can’t seem to find freedom? I think we all have faced moments like this, and it’s really difficult to move forward. What’s even worse is there are often people in our lives who won’t let us get away from that past, even when we have grown from it. I remember for a long time, people I went to high school with I would see occasionally through college, and even a little after graduating. It’s sometimes awkward because they still remember a version of me that has changed. We all change and grow, yet somehow, bad days can start to define who we are.

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Living Dependently on God

On the weekend of Independence Day, my dearest Danielle and I decided to get away and go camping. It was a fantastic time, we were able to connect with each other while being disconnected from distractions. As we spent time in nature, I was reminded of all the blessings in my life and how when I have fully been focused on God, the way always is much clearer. Then I began thinking about the holiday weekend. In America we celebrate the formation of our nation, through an act of independence. The thing is, that mentality has continued culturally, Americans love independence. We don’t like people telling us how to live or what to do, and that has spilled into our faith. We try to fit Jesus into the way we want Him to be in our lives, but the Bible doesn’t stress independence, it focusses on having a dependent faith.

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Use Your Influence

Last week I talked about having confidence, which is learning to see yourself the way God sees you. I hope you enjoyed my tale of auditioning to be a Chewbacca, and if you haven’t read it, go do it! Coming off of that story, as well as the idea of learning to see yourself the way God sees you, there is an important aspect that you have the power of doing. The term “influencer” is pretty much become synonymous with people on Instagram who show you the latest trends, with the intention of getting you to buy something. An influencer, influences. That’s a pretty simple statement, but it’s one that we all need to pay attention to.

Every day, we are influencing the people around us, so we can’t miss the opportunity.

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Confidence

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

In the elementary ministry I serve in, we have been talking about the idea of confidence; confidence, being defined as learning to see yourself the way God sees you. I love the way that’s defined, because I often don’t see myself the way God sees me. Whether it’s because of my past mistakes or things that have happened, or maybe it’s the enemy in my mind, I can often feel like I’m unworthy. I live with this cloud over me that I can never be good enough, but that’s simply not true. That’s a lie the enemy is trying to convince me is truth. The truth is, that I have been made in the image of God, all of us have been made in the image of God, meaning that there is great power we possess and God has placed many talents inside of us. We are not perfect, scripture says that humans were formed out of the dust, so, we’ve got some issues.

This is where confidence is key, we need to start learning to see ourselves the way God sees us.

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Journey Update: Half Way and What I’ve Learned

It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted one of these journey updates; I really like doing them because it gives me a chance to be open about where dear Danielle and I are at and some things God has been showing us. We’re about half way through this year, and it’s been interesting for sure. There was a level of wanting to go back to “normal” after the lockdown and the year that was 2020, but at the same time, there was a lot that I wanted to change and grow out of. In that mindset going into 2021, I chose the word of “faithful” as my focus for the new year. 2020 allowed for a lot of self-reflection and a chance for me to really dig into who God has made me to be. My post last week was a lot of the culmination of what I have learned, I need to remember who I am, I am a child of God; unique and different just the way I was designed. I learned that I don’t need to try and fit into what someone else wants or to push back the cemented in time version of me they still see; I just need to be me.

That’s big for me, and choosing the word faithful means that I am choosing to press into all God has for me, and focus on what he calls me into. He calls me to be a good husband to my incredible wife. He calls me to be present and spend more time meditating and listening to the word. He calls me to press into growth, to heal and let go of the past. He calls me to love everyone always, and that includes loving myself.

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Remember Who You Are

It has been a busy few weeks for me! As I finish one semester, there seems to be another right behind it, then of course there is travels and the general day to day that life brings. I know I have been MIA for a bit, but hopefully my schedule will be back to normal. All the hectic nature of the past few weeks, has allowed me to reflect on my life and what is driving me. If you have read my blog for a while now, you will know that I have a heart for people. I want people to know that there is a seat at the table for them, and I would love to be a friend at your table.

That’s the way I look at ministry, I want everyone to know who God has created them to be and help them remember who they are.

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house on the rock

I love building Duplo towers with my nephew. Most of the time I start playing with the blocks, when Gideon comes over to help. Immediately, the goal is not to make a house or some kind of vehicle, the goal is to use every single piece and make the tallest tower. It’s the best, but there is a point where the tower starts to shake. Gideon loves to see how tall we can make it, but the strength of the tower is not there, we don’t focus on the foundation, all that matters is that we make the tallest tower. I love when we use the last piece then let go, only to see the tower fall and break everywhere. His reaction is always priceless, and then we start the process over again.

I love this as an illustration for life. Often, we want to be seen, noticed, and affirmed so we do all we can to rise to the top. Standing out is all that matters right? What happens in this moment though, is we forget to make a solid foundation, we don’t try to support our Duplo tower, we just push ourselves to be seen. I know in my life, this has been true, I just want to stand out and for people to affirm me, but sacrificing a strong foundation will only lead to an eventual crash.

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fearfully and wonderfully made

May is mental health awareness month, something that I have a passion and desire to help people understand that it’s okay to not be okay. Emotions are a great thing, but if we’re not careful, we can just start living out of those emotions. Doing that, can cause us to live like we’re on a roller coaster, high highs and low lows. What’s difficult about these moments is that we can begin to forget who we are, who we have been created to be. If everything is tied to how we feel, we will become trapped in a cycle of doubt and lack purpose in our lives. I know that in my own life, feeling unworthy or that I am never enough can cause we to doubt the calling that I know God has placed on my life. It’s difficult in these moments to get outside of my head and really understand what is true about me.

The truth is, I have been fearfully and wonderfully made, just like you.

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a new thing

Over the weekend, dear Danielle and I went to the store and decided to do a little springtime shopping. We picked up some herbs and plants, a bird feeder for the robins and cardinals around our place, and some new soil for plants we already have. A couple of those plants have not been thriving, so we figured some new soil and an upgraded pot would help. It was so much fun being able to spend a day breathing fresh air and giving life to new plants. As we got our hands dirty, we re-potted our snake plant, as I pulled out the plant, we immediately noticed some root rot, due to it having too much water. On the surface the plant looked fine, but when actually dealing with the root, we saw it needed to get rid of the old before a new thing could thrive.

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not too short to save

Sometimes I have a hard time in prayer. Not that praying itself is hard, but sometimes it feels like the things I deal with are either way too massive in my head or feel incredibly small. I want to pray that I see the doors as God opens them and that I follow after the path that I know I have been called into, but it just feels so big and so unknown. It’s not specific, there’s not always a yes or no answer needed for clarity. Then, there are the little things, bumps in the road that happen daily, and there is always a moment of, “does God really care about the small stuff?”

Over the past year there have been massive prayers that many of us have had. Prayers over safety, healing of loved ones, and figuring out how to provide. There have also been small things that we deal with, that sometimes give us a guilt factor of wondering if compared to the pandemic, I should even be coming to God about this.

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