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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Take Care

May is mental health awareness month. This is pretty important to me; for a long time, I have dealt with anxiety as well as had people close to me really struggle with mental health. It’s not a thing I take lightly, and with all of us in a more isolated setting, this could not be a more important topic to talk about. We are all built for relationship, so, the physical distancing that is needing to happen has been a struggle for many people. I’ve seen way too many folks spending all their time on Facebook and getting sucked in to this “doomer” mindset. We’re scared, we’re in the midst of something that has never happened in our lifetimes, and we are putting our faith in all the wrong places.

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Create Space for Joy

A few nights ago, dear Danielle and I set out to find some sunken treasure in the ocean. Okay, not really, but we did play an awesome escape room in a box game where we found treasure while solving a bunch of riddles. We found a pretty cheap game, made some pasta at home (you always need a good meal before clue solving), and put on a ten-hour ocean life video on the TV. We had an absolute blast, something we have tried to do on a consistent basis in our marriage. Fun is important to life, we all need to have fun. Sometimes though, we tend to let other things get in the way. When we do that we miss out on having fun, and having fun produces true joy; it’s time for you to create space for joy.

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Someone/Everyone

I was thinking back to about a year ago when I was listening to Reggie Joiner speak at Orange Conference. He made a statement that stuck with me, and popped into my head the other day. He said this, “On his way to save everyone, Jesus stopped to save someone.” I love that. In the context of what he was talking about was the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a man that no one liked, and he wasn’t really likable. Despite what he had done, he wanted to listen to the teachings of Jesus, and Jesus called him to be greater. God sent his son to save everyone and he started by saving someone.

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You’re Not Alone

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Loneliness is a terrible feeling. We are now in the thick of this quarantine era of life, it’s a forced time of being alone. Dear Danielle and I have noticed how the days slip away and you have to create structure or time just melts. Hopefully you’ve found a rhythm, a way to make sure your mind stays active rather than become a zombie. This is a hard time for everyone. Whether you’re introverted or extraverted, we need connection, and when you can’t actively step outside of your home, the isolation turns to loneliness. Loneliness can be a dangerous place, it often leads to depression and a deep yet unknown sadness. I want to talk about this time, you may be grieving the way you used to live your life, but in this moment, know that you’re not alone.

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Keep Moving Forward

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

This scripture keeps coming into my mind.

In every season it feels like there always comes a crossroads. A time where decisions need to be made and the next chapter will begin with whatever choice is made in this moment. I’ll be honest, in my life, these decisions aren’t comfortable and often are the result of hurt. I think about how in college, I was interning and it felt like the next steps were so clear, that I would just continue into that path. That wasn’t the case, life often has a way of shifting and moving, and most of the time it’s not the way I would like. So often I used to write and preach about how God’s plan is so much better, yet during these same times I had my plan all mapped out. Things just made sense, but the truth is, God’s plan is so much better, it just means that we have to get uncomfortable to take a leap.

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