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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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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i will rejoice

Every so often I like to re-read the book of Habakkuk. I read it because often I find myself in the same place as Habakkuk, he was a prophet and watching the world around him fall into chaos. Habakkuk is watching an army invade the land of his people, and he starts to lose hope in what God is doing. He starts to lose faith in God.

I love this book because it is such a raw emotional place, and in that state, Habakkuk cries out to God in hopes of finding his faith in the midst of uncertainty. In my own life, I find that there are seasons of unknowns and growth, and in those moments, it becomes increasingly difficult to have faith that there is a plan in all of this. What I love about this scripture, is that Habakkuk turns to God in his struggle.

Feelings are okay. Talking to God about your feelings is okay. Being vulnerable with God, is the point of a relationship with God.

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Passions / Purpose

Being back in school has been a bit of a weird thing. I’m fully online, getting my Masters in Divinity, which has been exciting as ministry (in whatever form it may take) is what I want to pursue. In these online classes there are discussion boards, which means you have to write a post and then reply to other students. It’s the most encouraging platform, because every reply you make and made on your posts agrees with you and says, “this was a really great post!” You feel like a million bucks on every discussion board.

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Relational Foundation

Hello again, my lovely readers! I decided to take a week off, because everything seems to be happening all at once. The end of my first half of my masters and moving into a new apartment, dear Danielle and my life has been surrounded by boxes and planning. Luckily, I am now writing from our office space here, and though surrounded by boxes of our lives, I am grateful for this continued journey. Whenever I move I tend to get introspective, and I was thinking about the road of life. New places and faces, and the unknown ahead of you, all while never turning out the way we might think. If I’m honest, these are hard moments for me; I would love my life to play out exactly the way I want, to have a house with space to host people and to write all day with dear Danielle, but life doesn’t move like that. It moves on how God chooses to direct us.

That’s what I have to remind myself and it’s what gives me hope in all that I don’t know yet, that everything begins on a foundational relationship.

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Healthy Growth

It’s now almost been two full months into this new year, how are your goals doing? It’s easy to be excited about growing and changing at the start of the year, but typically this is right about the time that those goals and pursuits begin to slow. So, how are you doing? Checking in on yourself is important because growth is important. I’ve found for me, I want to do all kinds of things and push myself into this person I think I should be, but often those standards are unattainable, so when I fail to hit that mark, I choose to stay complacent. There is a myriad of reasons why goals fail and a myriad of books to help with that, but I think the important part is understanding the “why” behind the goals.

We want to grow into better people, but we need to make sure we are growing in a healthy way.

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