Do I really want God's help?
The obvious answer is yes, yet my actions don't always align with my beliefs. I act alone, not even considering God in my plans. God is an afterthought until things fall apart. Then God gets the blame for my faith not being validated. It is like getting mad at a friend because you got in a car accident but they didn't even ride with you.
It is so easy to get caught up in what you do that you don't realize that you are ignoring the One that gave you the inspiration. We can make the excuse that we are too busy but we make time take "selfies". We have plenty of time for what we view as important yet we say God is the most important thing in our life. We don't want to miss out on anything but having a deeper more intimate relationship with God. Our "selfies" become our idol that keep us from seeing God's presence working through our life. God is with us but we don't know it and because of our ignorance we can't appreciate Him.
I don't want to be ashamed of God. I don't want to live with God out of the picture. I don't just want God's help, I want His presence. I want to walk with God. I want to talk to God. I want to be a part of God's life. I don't have all the answers and that is okay; God does. I don't know how my life will turn out but God does. I want to be fully integrated in God's plan. Honestly I don't know how I can change how I have been without God's help. I need God every step of the way.
God I just want to be a part of your picture.
Q: What's the most important tip in this book?
A: The most important tip for me is to listen. I have to tell myself to listen all the time because it doesn't come naturally. Out of the 15 tips, Listen is three of them. It is very important that I hear not only my wife's words but her heart.
Q: Do you have to be married to relate to this book?
A: I believe that it will benefit men that are married most but the tips are universal. When the tips are applied they can help strengthen any relationship.
Q: How can Husband Rules help someone on the verge of divorce?
A: It depends on if he wants to be married. If he is willing to build again then Husband Rules can be a great building block. If your heart is not into being married, there is nothing this book or any marriage book can do for you. Husband Rules can transform your marriage if you are willing to open your heart and invest time into building a strong marriage.
Q: Husband Rules is so different from your other books. Why did you write this book?
A: I wrote Husband Rules for myself initially. I wanted to write a book that related to issues that I deal with. Reading marriage books is like reading about dieting. There is a lot of restriction, which works while you are on it, but the minute you are off you are in a worse state than before. I wrote Husband Rules so that men could incorporate the tips to change their perspective on marriage. I am tired of seeing us lose in marriage because we don't have the proper tools and perspective. If Husband Rules helps one husband not to quit on his marriage, it was well worth it.
Husband Rules is no different than my other books, the central focus is love. I feel when we see love, we change. I want men to realize the power of having a good marriage. To know that you have one person that will have your back unconditionally is priceless. As men, we can get caught up in trying to be successful that we ignore the gift of love in front of us. Husband Rules refocuses our vision to what truly is important; love. Why not invest our energy in something that will not depreciate? Writing the book was not easy. I had to confront many issues that were uncovered in the process. I had a lot to work on but I can say I am grateful to have gone through the experience.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
I don’t have all the answers. I am not the perfect husband and I am not trying to be. I just want to love the woman that makes me happy. I want to give her the best me. Just like in sports, you learn the plays then you practice them. Through practice, you learn how to execute and master them. When I got married I did not have a playbook. I was a 20 years old learning how to be a husband on the fly. Through the years I picked up some plays that have helped me in my marriage. That is what I share in this book.
No More Participation Awards
If you played youth sports you received a certificate of participation. The thing is no one cherishes participation awards. Regardless if we want one or not we all receive participation awards for our life. Our life has to have more meaning than a cheap certificate acknowledging that we lived. Participating does not mean you are winning only existing.
The truth is a lot of us are content with just participating. Not you. You are not content with just existing you want more out of life that is why you are reading this right now. You don’t want to go through the motions you want to live with a sense of purpose and meaning. Deep down you know that you possess greatness. The thing is we all do but few pursue their greatness. You are one of the few that will not accept participating without engaging at the highest level. You will push yourself regardless of who is there to support you. You will win because you don’t accept losing. You don’t take no for an answer.
The point is we all can be tempted to settle for less than who we are. But we know what settling get us. A certificate of participation is something you receive no matter if you win or lose. You receive a birth certificate when you are born and a death certificate when you die. What happens in between is your choice. You write your life’s story through your choices and actions. Don’t settle for just existing, your life has meaning. Find out what you were born to do and don’t waste time, do it now. When you do your life with be filled with rewarding experiences that will leave a story to tell the generations to come.
If we are honest, we like to be distracted. We don’t want to see ourselves without the filters we carry with us. So we play make believe. Trying desperately to prove that we belong and that we are not a waste of space. We want to be someone more than what we feel we are. So we play pretend. We put on our capes and dress the part of super heroes with special powers able to do the impossible. We ignore anything that resembles truth because the lies look and sound better. The lies are louder. We like loud because there is a pain that can only be heard in silence. That pain is what keeps us from being who we are. It hurts too much to confront yet we can’t escape it. The truth is there is nothing scarier than loving yourself unconditionally. I mean every aspect of you. Everything.
How can you love your mistakes?
How can you accept your flaws?
True love is scary because it causes you to let go of your capes and filters and fully expose yourself with no condemnation attached to you. It causes you to confront the person in the mirror. You have to face reality which is not always pretty. It is not refined and it is not always attractive. The unmasked you is worthy of love and worthy to love. When you take the hard road of self-acceptance you discover that loving yourself is your superpower. That is your gift to share with the world. Meaning the world is easy to point out what is wrong with you. There is a long list of things that show how imperfect you are. But Love is what matters, everything else is a distraction. When you love unconditionally it gives your surroundings to do the same. You empower others to accept themselves. You free them from the monsters they have been tormented by in their minds. You show the world that we don't have to put on a cape to have the power we already possess the power.
You are a superhero. You have the power to change the world through the love in you. You don't have to play pretend, you are the real thing.
There is one thing that can stop a dream before it starts; non-action. You can say you believe in your dreams but never take action towards reaching them. When you don't act on your dreams, you forget about them. Life happens and as reality sets in you have no time to dream. The life you want may be a fantasy, it may seem impossible but what is wrong with that? What is wrong with having a dream so big that it scares you? It is okay to be scared as long as you don't let fear stop you from action. Your actions reinforce your beliefs.
You are more than able to reach your dreams. More importantly you can live the dream now. Your actions now may seem insignificant but they are purposeful. They shape your life and prepare you for where you are going. Keep believing in yourself. No matter how hard the journey may see, you are worth it. Your life matters. Your dreams matter go live them out.
I have found that when life is chaotic and it seems there is no place to rest. To take a moment. The moment brings me to the present. In the present, I find the Son. In Him, I discover freedom from the pressure to be someone I am not. I find acceptance of who I am. I find that my worries are nothing to stress about. In the Son, I find rest. The storms of life calm in His presence. I donât have to be afraid of what is to come or what has come for the Son is present in my present. Now I can believe the impossible. Now I can see. I see only this moment and in it, I see the beauty of it. What seems to be a blemish on the canvas of my life is merely an accent to a beautiful masterpiece.
The Attitude of Success
The world defines success by the accomplishments and positive outcomes you achieve. Basically, it is about your performance. Your performance determines how successful you are, but I have discovered you can be successful by the world’s definition and still feel unfulfilled. Your life can be void of purpose and passion even while having all of the achievements in the world. So, are you truly successful if you are unfulfilled?
I am learning that success comes from within; it's a part of me, not something I achieve. Success is who I am. I am successful because I choose to be who I am in all things. I choose to be present in spite of my insecurities and fears. I choose to love myself even when I feel I don’t deserve it. My success is not measured by the number of awards I receive or the reviews I get for my work. My success is rooted in the infinite love that dwells inside of me. My connection to the infinite allows me to live freely in who I am created to be. The Infinite created me and that means my identity is enclosed in unconditional love. No longer trying to prove I belong, I accept who I am and carrying an attitude of success wherever I go.
I used to think that something was wrong with me. I have always struggled with following the crowd – I need a reason to follow, while it seems most just follow because someone is leading. I don’t accept reality as is; I question it. I question everything. I want more than surface level understanding. I want to know things at its root and that’s where I tend to find trouble. Because I go against the grain, many people have a problem with me. They don’t understand how I “tick.” They think I’m being insubordinate but I ask, to whom am I supposed to be subordinate to – God?
We were created to have our own relationship with the Spirit. If you look at the examples in the bible, you can see that God worked through the contrarians. Jesus was a contrarian; so were David and Abraham. A true believer usually goes against the grain – fighting what’s comfortable and “normal.” Do you really believe that Jesus would have been satisfied with just sitting in church every Sunday morning? I don’t. Not with so many people ignorant of their purpose.
Our kids are being pressured to be on social media and keep up with the latest fashion trends and we feed into it, giving them expensive phones and shoes thinking that we’re helping them “fit in” and make friends. We don’t empower them to be who they are because we are not being who we are. We are just being who we are supposed to be. It hurts me that we can’t just be honest with each other. We can’t just live the way we feel in our hearts because we don’t want to be an outsider. We don’t want to be rejected and hated. We would rather be loved by others than love ourselves unconditionally.
The path of least resistance is what we take. We don’t want to rock the boat. We know what needs to be done but too afraid to do it. We must understand that our kids imitate us. The only way to break the cycle is for you and me to be who we truly are. We have to confront the humiliation of being different and be willing to lose friends; go a different way.
Jesus’ family was not supportive of His purpose. His city was not supportive either but as He went, He found people willing to help Him get his message of love to others. The heart of a contrarian leads even when no one is willing to follow. They show the world there is another way and those who are willing to take the path of resistance find fulfillment and love as they go. So what will it be? Are you willing to be a contrarian?
Danny loved football. His dad bought him a football for Christmas when he was five years old and he loved the game ever since. Danny took the football everywhere he went. It didn’t matter if he was in the shower or in his bed; his football was right there with him. The only place he could not take it was to school. Danny did not like going to school; the kids there did not like him for some reason. They called him weird and strange, so during recess, he learned to play by himself. He would run around, pretending he had his football in his arms, running for the game winning touchdown. The other kids would always laugh at him but it didn’t bother Danny, he just kept running.
One day, during gym class, the gym teacher gathered the students to play football. The teacher selected two team captains to pick classmates for their teams. The two popular jocks quickly picked the biggest and strongest-looking girls and boys first. One by one, each student rejoiced as their names were called. Finally, Danny was the last person standing. Knowing his inevitable decision, the last captain shook his head and called Danny’s name. Danny was instructed to stand in the back as the other kids moved into position to defend the other team. Carelessly, he ran to the back, eager and focused on playing the game he loved so much. Danny didn’t care that no one wanted to pick him; all he cared about was playing football.
The very first play, the quarterback threw a deep pass down the sidelines. The player covering the wide receiver fell down, leaving Danny as the team’s last line of defense. Danny ran towards the ball that seemed to be floating in the air. The wide receiver misjudged the ball and jumped too early. The ball sailed over him and landed right into the arms of Danny. Danny’s eyes grew big as the other team began to run towards him. He started to remember all of the days he practiced catching the ball and running for touchdowns at recess. Danny took off; he dodged and sprinted past everyone until he reached the end zone where his team comforted and cheered for him.
Danny was never the “popular” one or even seen as valuable but Danny the forgotten pick, now the pick that will never to be forgotten again.
A young, single mother of two sits in her car and prays. She is afraid. She fears that she will not be able to feed her kids. She can't take the looks of pity and disgust she receives from family members when she asks for help. Their giving is more harmful to her soul than what she receives in return. She prays but her tears keep her voice silent.
Her eyes open and immediately connect with the two angels in her backseat. She wipe away her tears and she smiles at them. The mother now feels at peace. Her situation has not changed but she has.
Anne sat on her porch, drawing the sky. She was an aspiring artist that had a fascination for nature and most importantly, the sky. She often sat on the porch alone, creating from the inspiration from above. There was nothing more enjoyable to her than drawing. However, her love for it was not admired by the ones she loved. Her mother wanted her to focus on her chores and homework, so Anne would rush and get them done so she could get to her porch. Her father wanted her to be a musician like him, so she took lessons every week to please him. No one saw her as an artist. They liked her drawings but didn’t see a future in it. Despite her lack of support, Anne knew in her heart, no matter the odds, that she was going to be an artist.
A neighbor was walking by one day and saw Anne as she looked up at the sky. The old man was amused by her awe. He had not looked up at the sky like that in a long time, nor seen anyone marvel it the way she did. He remembered that he used to count the stars while lying in the grass as a child. He would dream of traveling the world. His dream actually became his reality as he traveled across the world, meeting wonderful people along the way. He looked at Anne and knew she was different; her joy made him want to dream again. He walked up to her determined to find out more about this girl.
He asked, “What do you see?”
She was startled; no one usually speaks to her when she is drawing. She looked at the old man.
“I see… I see Love. I see beauty. Everyday I sit here, trying to capture the beauty but it escapes me,” she responded.
“May I take a look?” the old man asked, as he noticed her notebook.
She gave him the pad and as he opened it, his eyes widened. He was blown away by her talent. In all of his traveling, he had never seen such beautiful art.
“This is amazing.”
Anne was surprised; she wasn’t used to getting a reaction from anyone.
“Thank you, I am trying to become an artist but I don’t know if I can,” Anne said.
“What do you mean?” the old man replied.
“My parents want me to be someone else. They don’t understand how much I love drawing and they don’t see it in my future,” said Anne.
The old man stopped her, “Young lady, you can’t be anything other than who you are; and you are definitely an artist. You are the greatest artist I have ever seen. Regardless of what others say, you still draw. I can tell, you can’t escape it and I believe in you.”
The words cause tears to fill Anne’s eyes. He noticed her and she felt loved; the feeling was wonderful. The old man was emotional too as his heart was moved by her gift. He pulled out his checkbook, signed a check and handed it to Anne, “This is for you.” He continued, “Promise me one thing; that you will never stop using your gift. Carry this wherever you go; if you ever need it, you can cash it for whatever amount.” The old man remembered a time when he was her age, “Many years ago, I was given a similar check when a gentleman saw my gift of writing. He instructed me to do the same thing and I have traveled the world ever since. I have been writing in many beautiful cities and I still have the check he gave to me; I have not needed it yet.” He said, pulling out the check to show her. “Young lady, the world is yours, now go and discover it.” He turned and walked away, smiling and admiring the sky all the way home.
Anne held the check and a burst of confidence filled her. She put the check in her pocket and decided at that moment, that she was an artist; and the world, her canvas.
The Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came that we would have life and life more abundantly.
Satan is not a one-trick pony; he has many ways of distracting and keeping us from living an abundant life. One is being a thief. A thief doesn’t come into your house while you are there; they watch and wait for the perfect opportunity to take your possessions without you knowing. Thieves don’t just use the front door; they use a cracked window, a backdoor, a spare key, whatever advantage they can get to, they use. Thieves are at their best when you are distracted. They take what you have while you are focused and busy doing something. Your prized possession, your treasure, is taken and you suffer a loss.
Satan wants to steal your promise. He acts like he has your best intentions in mind, all the while, planting seeds of doubt and fear in you. You begin to think about the “what ifs” and worry starts to set in. You lose trust that God is leading you and you begin to take matters – your life – into your own hands. Satan wants you believe that God is speaking to you but the whole time you are not hearing God, you are hearing him. Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice." Your thoughts are becoming simultaneous with the thoughts of the enemy and you begin to destroy yourself. Satan plants the “seeds” and we water them. We feed into those negative thoughts, ignorant to the fact that we are enslaved to them. We believe the negativity, we believe the lies and when things start to fall apart, we blame God because He didn’t help us.
We have been fooled. The bible says to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. Jesus simplifies the process for us. Every thought must be filtered through the voice of love; if our thoughts do not feed us love and peace, it is not meant to be apart of us. We must lock our “doors,” shut our “windows” and turn the “alarm system” on. Shut down every negative thought of inadequacy, fear, hate and doubt. When we do, the life Jesus has promised us will manifest right before us.
When Hope Finds a Way
A young couple sits in darkness in their living room. The electricity was turned off today. Despite both of them working, they have been struggling to pay their bills. The money isn’t enough to maintain the lives they chose to live, so, they reflect in the darkness. They can’t watch television or check their social media accounts, nor do they have money to go to a hotel. They are stuck with each other and their thoughts. Alec wanted to blame his wife for their situation. Rachel had maxed out her credit cards shopping with her friends. She was trying to keep up the appearances with them, knowing she knew she didn’t have the means to pay it back. Even still, in her mind, her husband is the one that should have managed their finances better. Her thoughts were on the two expensive cars Alec bought them. Unable to reconcile their thoughts, darkness wins.
As shame begins to rest on both of them, they hear a knock at the door. Alec opens the door but sees no one. When he looks down, he sees a package on the ground. Rachel anxiously waits as he opens it and at the bottom of this package, they find two scented candles and a lighter inside. There is also a fresh baked loaf of bread and water in the package as well. A small note reads: "I saw that your electricity got turned off and I made this package for you. My husband and I have been in your shoes. Years ago, I remember sitting in the darkness of our home, wondering how it got so bad. I wanted to blame my husband until we received a package like the one I am giving you. It is the package of ‘hope.’ When we wanted to give up, the package came and brought us together. We realized we made mistakes but those mistakes didn’t have to define our life. We knew we could make better choices and learn to handle life better. It was put on my heart to give you this package and encourage you. Blessings, Your Neighbor."
Tears filled both of their eyes as they embraced each other and shut the door. In spite of the shame and guilt that was on them, hope found a place in their hearts. They sat together in their living room, now under the warm glow of candles and began getting to know each other once again. As the sun began to shine, the light brightened, not only in their room but in their hearts. Hope had come and changed their lives forever.
The Perfect Train
Annabelle is excited. Today is the day she gets to travel to the “big city.” She has dreamt of being a star her whole life. She bought her train ticket and is trying to patiently wait for her train at the station. Annabelle is watching as people of all ages get onto their scheduled trains. She sees their smiles and it makes her even more anxious to get to the “big city.” A small, simple train stops right in front of her; it’s called the Train of Patience. She doesn’t recall needing to board that train so she tells the conductor it’s not her train. Not much longer after, another train comes: the Train of Hope. Annabelle is not looking for hope, she wants fame and fortune, so she tells the conductor, again, that it’s not her train and she continues to wait. As she waits, Annabelle imagines her Train of Fame and Fortune; large, flashy, exciting and nothing like the plain trains she’s seen so far. Four more trains come through, the Train of Love, Determination, Compassion, and Good Will. Each train comes through the station for all who are in need of its destination. Annabelle rejects every single train because she is still waiting for her train of Fame and Fortune. She can’t imagine why people would want to get aboard these small, rusted, boring trains. She has waited long enough for her time to shine; what are a few more hours?
Annabelle sits and daydreams on the bench of expectation about her train. It is plush, comfortable and it serves the finest of foods and beverages. There are dancers, singers, comedians, entertainers and other public figures. She can’t wait; she knows her train is going to be perfect. As Annabelle adjusts her legs to keep them from falling asleep, she notices that she is alone. The once, busy, loud and exciting train station, is now quiet and barren. Everyone had found a train but her. The sun has passed, now giving way to darkness. Annabelle looks at her ticket, broken but still holding out hope that her train will come. Suddenly, she sees a light coming down the train tracks. A loud, majestic horn blows as it approaches the station. She bursts with excitement, the train is getting closer and all she can notice is how breathtaking it looks. It is better than she could have ever imagined. The beautiful train stops in front of her. As she smiles at the conductor, he announces, “This is the final train dear, please board.” Annabelle reads her ticket and she looks at the train’s name. Her heart sinks as the conductor takes her ticket, closes the doors behind her and pulls off. The train leaves the station, taking Annabelle and her dreams to their final destination. The conductor announces, “We hope you had a chance to take advantage of every train that was presented to you. You are now aboard your final train, destination: Death.”
You are more than the labels you live under and you're not who people say you are. You are not a weed, you are a flower; clothed in the beauty of God. Your life is purposeful. You are powerful and uniquely made. You are a masterpiece. Say it! Mean it! Believe it!
We are programmed every day of our life to live on this earth as "weeds": an eyesore to the beauty of nature. We are told that we are no good and that we must do things to show our worth and justify our existence. We have the freedom to prove who we are but not the freedom to be. Oftentimes, who we are is not good enough so we try to be like someone else. We try to fit in with the "flowers" but we feel we don't belong - we feel out of place and the world agrees with us. We fight for a seat at the table but we don't even know what they're serving for dinner. We just want to be in and not out, included and not excluded. We want it so bad that we don't see who we truly are. We "sit" in the dark and complain about the darkness, yet, we refuse to find the light. We look for darkness to tell us who we are, when the darkness is actually longing for our light to shine on it.
When my oldest daughter was about four years old, we went on a walk in our neighborhood. As I was appreciating the sun and the nice weather, my daughter said, "Look at the flowers, Dada." I looked around but all I saw were weeds. I said, "Those are weeds, I don't see flowers." She said, "No Dada, those are flowers." She picked one up and had the biggest smile; she was in awe of its beauty. As I looked at her, I didn't see weeds anymore, I saw love. The label of "weeds" was lifted and I saw the beauty of God's creation.
We may not look like "flowers," but we are God's creation; uniquely made with a purpose that is designed for just us. When we realize that we are created in love, we don't have to compare ourselves to anyone else. We are who we are and in God's eyes, we are beautiful. God's love lights our path and overtakes any limitation that we thought existed.
You are created powerful and purposeful but most importantly, you are loved. When you understand that, you will not accept a cheap imitation of love when you can have the real thing. No more lying to ourselves! We have a place in the world and we don't have to prove anything. Be encouraged to be you.
Until next time....
A nurse, Jill, stands by the bedside of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The CEO, John, hired Jill to take care of him when he was diagnosed with cancer. John was a fighter. He never took ‘no’ for an answer and he refused to let this disease stop him from working either. So, he took his meds and hired Jill to make sure he was able to do his work.
John’s job was his life; he had never had time for a wife or children, but as he was confined to his bed, he longed for a family. He had all he could ever imagine. Two houses, a yacht and a garage full of cars, but his possessions were silent. They were empty and could not fill the void of connection. He looked into Jill's eyes and saw a strong woman; one that loved her job. She listened and was very compassionate towards him. He thought about how he would be mean to people like Jill when he was at the top of his game. He would play off of their emotions just to pad his pockets. He thought about all the pain he caused in his life for a profit that could not even get him out of his bed now. No money could defeat the disease that was eating away at him inside. He was dying and he knew it and was afraid that no one would remember him. He was afraid that his work would be forgotten and his life replaced by someone as heartless as he was.
Jill looked at John and saw a broken man; a man that was so strong before but now dependent on another person for help. Jill took his hand and said, "Everything will be alright. You will see." Her smile touched John in places he never felt before. He felt loved. He knew all of his mistakes and the hurt he caused for many, however, in that moment he felt none of it mattered. He was loved in spite of his actions. Tears fell down his face and his lips curled up as he whispered, "Thank you.” A weight lifted off of his shoulders, taking with it, shame and hurt; leaving in its wake, love and peace. He closed his eyes and fell asleep crossing between worlds with the words: everything will be alright, leading the way.
A class sits in silence as they listen to their principal share the chilling news that their algebra teacher had just been shot and killed by the police. Silent tears fall on hollow hearts.
A girl thinks about the time she needed help with an assignment and Mr. Brooks took time after class to help her, but she didn't to say thank you. A boy thinks of the time Mr. Brooks stopped two boys from bullying him because he did have expensive basketball shoes on.
In shock the silence is deafening. The principal sits down overwhelmed. In the midst of sorrow a boy stands up in front of the class and speaks.
"Mr Brooks deserved better. He was a good man. They killed not only a good person they killed a hero. They deserve to die but that is not what Mr. Brooks would want. He would want us to keep fighting for ourselves. To keep beating the odds. To love the unlovable. That is his legacy. That is his message he shared with us every day which we refused to listen to. We refused to do our homework or study for a test. We refused to be kind to each other. We refused to be kind to ourselves. He fought for us because he believe in us. We didn't appreciate it but I do now. I see now in spite of my anger Mr. Brooks love has reached my heart."
Fighting back tears he continues.
Mr. Brooks loved us. Now it is time to love ourselves. We must fight for hope of a better future. We must not let his death end in silence. We must be his voice now. WE must do the work now. All of us have lost someone in this war. We need each other. We need to be heard. We will be heard.
The boy takes a knee as his classmates surround him. In silence their voice shakes heaven.
What does it mean to live your dream life? Honestly do you know?
I have been in pursuit of my dream ever since it came to me. As adversity followed me the dream resembled more of a nightmare. No matter how many good things came to me doing what I loved, it was never enough. I wanted more. I would write a life changing book and share it with the world. Then move on to the next book. I never took time to rest because I was in pursuit of something greater. I would work so hard that I would forget to eat or drink for hours. My eye would twitch and I just kept on working. My pursuit of the dream clouded my vision. I lost sight of what I loved to do because I was blinded by ambitions of greater. You see, I wanted it so bad that I was stressing myself out. My grip was so tight that I was squeezing the love out of the dream. What happened then is the work took over and love sat on the sidelines. Like Peter on the fishing boat toiling all night and not catching one fish. I doubled down on the work but was getting further from the dream in the process. Peter had Jesus on the sidelines. Jesus was on the shore and yelled out to Peter to cast his net on the other side. He obeyed and caught a full net of fish. Peter was in position but needed direction and vision to receive what he desired. In my situation I was praying about pursuing the dream and God spoke to my heart. "You are living the dream." Light flooded my spirit and a heaviness was lifted. I had it all wrong. I did not need to pursue anything. I had all I desired living inside of me the entire time.
Love directs us to look inside of ourselves for answers and vision.
When you can see again you don't have to work for the dream it works for you. You can do what you love and love is the prize. Nothing outside of you can satisfy you. You will always long for more. But what is inside of you can satisfy you.
The divine spark that caused you to dream is the same energy that will cause you to live the dream.
Until next time.
My writing projects have been stretching my writing gift. I am learning to embrace all of me. Every one has a gift and it is important to our well being to use it. I learn more about myself through my gifts than I do any other way. Gifts have no expiration date they never get old but they are not meant to remain on the shelf. It takes using your gifts to show you how precious life really is. I am thankful for every opportunity I get to write. It does not matter what people think about it, for my joy comes from writing not accolades or praise. When you do what you love that does not mean others will love what you have done but no one can take away the joy that comes from creating with your gift.
Anyone that reads this blog I hope that you find your gift and use it. It will change your life. It will change your world. A great sign to find what your gift is, is recognize what comes easy to you. When you find what your gift is, start spending time learning more about it and it won’t be long before you are sharing it with the world.
I overlooked my writing gift for years, doing other things that I was not as gifted in. When I discovered my gift I found life. Now I am excited about each day for I love what I do. It does not matter what life brings I have a way to express myself that frees me from the suffering and challenges in this world. When you discover that gift you will never be the same.
There was a young man that just graduated from college with a degree in philosophy. He wanted to become a college professor in the field. One day he met a young lady at a coffee house. She was beautiful and he saw her reading the book As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. Uncharacteristically he asked her if he could join her. She smiled.
A year later the young couple are engaged to be married and on the advice of the bride to be's father they were in need of premarital counseling. The office was quiet and peaceful and an older man walked into the room with a warm smile and greeted the couple. The couple relax as their anxiety of the session flees. The old man sat down and looked at the couple in silence then said
"Do you know why you are here?"
Unsure of what he was asking they didn't respond. The old man said
"What I mean is do you believe in destiny?"
Confused even more the couple stared at each other as if to say what did we get ourselves into. Seeing their confusion the old man laughed.
"Do you believe that Love brought you here?"
The young man grinned and said
"Yes, of course."
The old man nodded his head then said
"Good, then I can help you. Believing in God is the foundation that will make your marriage a success."
The young man jaw tightened
"I don't believe in God. I believe we get out of life what we put in. God does not determine what I do or who I marry. I do."
The old man sat back into his chair and looked at the young lady. He waited for her to respond. She took her time then said
"I believe in God and I believe Love has brought us here too."
Surprised by her response. Her fiance said
"You never told me you believed in God."
"You never asked."
The old man interrupted them
"Now we can begin.."
The couple sat in a car unsure what the future holds for them. Things were not as simple as they imagined. Their differences seemed irreconcilable. The young man loved her with a love he never had for anyone else. But how can he accept her beliefs in God when he knew she was wrong. How could they move forward when they were headed in different directions? Nevertheless they decided to meet with the marriage counselor one more time. After the last session which ended abruptly, they were both curious to see what the counselor had to offer them. The couple had barely talked since the session and neither knew what the other was thinking.
As they sat down in the counselor's office. They saw a puzzle on a desk in front of them with a note "complete me". The young woman immediately started to work on the puzzle. The young man watched as she is completely engaged with doing the puzzle. She was making light work of the puzzle and it appeared she would finish without the help of her partner. She has used every piece but the puzzle was not complete; there are 3 pieces that didn't fit. She was frustrated and thoughts of their engagement and how complicated it has gotten came to the surface. The young man saw her frustrated and started to try to force the pieces in to place to help her. It was not working no matter how hard he pushed the pieces didn't connect. In desperation the young man asked his fiance to hold one piece as he held another and they would place their individual pieces around the last piece. She agreed to and when they did, miraculously the puzzle is complete and they smiled and embraced.
As soon as they completed it the old man walked into the office looking at the completed puzzle and said
"Now you are ready to get married."
In disbelief the young man said
"But we have not even started our session. You have not given us a chance to work out our differences or given us any guidance."
The old man pointed at the puzzle and said
"You worked out your differences right there. You see, no matter how hard one of you tried the puzzle could not be complete without you working together. You were holding a piece that only you could connect. When it is connected all the rough edges disappear and all that remains is a beautiful complete puzzle. You walked into my office as individuals but like this puzzle you will become one. When you tried to connect your pieces together it didn't fit. It was not until you both connected to the last piece; one on each side that you were able to complete the puzzle. What do you think that last piece is symbolic of?"
The young man eyes widened and he said
"Yes, God! You see, You believe in God because you love her. God is love. Without Love you will not be able to connect with your fiance on a deeper level. It is Love that will keep you and it is Love that will complete you. Your love for each other will overflow into everything that you are connected to. You are no longer at odds because of love. Without love you would not be able to become who you are meant to be."
The young couple smiled and embraced again as they thanked the counselor. Their session has ended but their life together had just begun. A life of many ups and downs but one lived together.
I am thankful. I am thankful for the good days and yes I am thankful for the bad days too. God has never failed me. Though I have lost my way countless times. God has kept me. Not only has God kept me, I have thrived. How can I thrive even when I am not where I should be? It is the grace of God. God's love is not rooted on my compliance, it is rooted in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Here is the thing I am not trying to convert you to a religion. I am not trying to make you believe in a higher power. I am just sharing my experience. An experience filled with doubt and fear. The path has been dark more than light. I have felt alone more than I have felt God's presence but through it all I have discovered peace. An unexplained peace that in spite of the adversity I face, everything is alright.
You see as a writer I spend a lot of time alone. When you are alone that is when you lose connection with the world. You think things that are not true. You see things that are not true. Meaning you can perceive things that are not how they really are. Jesus was alone in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan to lose sight of who Jesus was. To question his purpose and identity. When you are alone and you have to face the person in the mirror you can begin to question if your purpose is truly your purpose. You question if you are just wasting your time and even the existence of a relationship with God. You see, you may believe in God but that does not mean you believe you have a relationship with God. When you are surrounded in darkness God does something in the midst of stillness that will cease the questions. God shows you the light within. When you see the light all ignorance fades away and all that remains is the overwhelming truth. The truth that you are purpose and more importantly you are loved by God. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. Your weaknesses don't matter. Your insecurities don't matter. Because they don't matter you don't have to own them anymore. You can give all of your being to God. Allowing God to use you. You see, when I want use my new lawnmower I don't use it right out of the box. I have to put oil in it. I have to put fuel in it and I have to set the levels to my preference. Everything I needed was in the box but I have to set it up to be properly used.
We look at our life and feel out place and purposeless. We try to make things work but we have not given our life to the One that created us. We don't know how to set ourselves we need God. When we surrender to God. God puts us in position to be used the right way and our lives line up with our purpose. Guess what? We are happy. We are relieved and we are thankful. When you see someone doing what they love, you see God's beauty. In awe, the tool and the canvas are thankful to be used.
In a society that wants to present a perfect image. I rebel against it. I don't want to blend in. I don't want to have my life filtered into an image of who I should be. I just want to be who I am. I want to be my best; living at a standard set in love.
Why should I hide behind filters when who I am is good enough. I feel I am not alone. I believe there are many that are tired of hiding who they are. Our beauty lies in being ourselves. Giving the world a true reflection of what perfection is; the person you see in the mirror.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.....without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11: 1, 6
Faith is the evidence of things not seen. You can not convict someone of a crime without having evidence that they committed the crime. There has to be proof first then comes the trial. Faith is not merely speculation. It is real. It is the power that frames our entire world. We all have faith just sometimes we are ignorant to how to operate it. Like a car without a key we remain stuck until the ignition is turned. Our faith gets us moving. It inspires us to purpose our dreams and live a purposeful life. Having faith does not mean you won't get frustrated or lose your way it just means you are empowered to persevere through the adversity that comes your way because you have evidence that there is more than what you see. Yes, there are obstacles that redirect us but if we just keep moving we will find our way to where we want to be. Detours causes us to evaluate if we truly believe in what we are doing. Will we stop or will we continue?
The scripture says he that comes to God must believe that He is God and that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. So our pursuit or journey is not one to obtain things but to be aware of the presence of God in our life. When we discover God's presence we have found our reward and there are benefits to being in His presence. Many times I am pursuing things instead of God. I place my trust in what I can do and don't give God the space to reveal Himself in my life. When I get frustrated I want to quit but faith refocuses my attention and gives me the inspiration to turn back to God. When I see God I don't stress the small things and it gives me confidence to do what is purposed in my heart.
Be encouraged, wherever you find yourself now, know God is with you and if you believe God will direct you to your calling and purpose for this moment. Don't give up, just keep moving.
Until next time....
I yearn for peace. One that is not rooted in the external. I want an internal peace that rests in hope. A hope that bleeds passion and positive energy. Peace can fade in hands of one that places it in the shallow waters of opinions. Unstable is the footing of minnows. I don't want to be a minnow when I am a whale.
What is the point of being alive if I don't live on purpose? I don't get it. Why following people that are afraid of deep water? Is there peace if there is no evidence of adversity? Is there growth if there is no pain? I don't want people to follow me if I am not going anywhere. It makes no sense.
We empower people to tell us what to do, what to eat, how to live yet these same people don't participate in living on purpose. They are spectators that have no vested interest in our success. They want followers but have no clue on how to lead. Don't follow me if I am not walking.
Non action is death covered in laziness. Our mouths speak but are feet sink. We dig our graves in the words we refuse to follow. Allowing worry to be our shovel and fear to be our coffin. We rest in everything but peace and pass on the slow death to our witnesses. We tell stories. Our fiction is our existence and the roles we live only masks the person we are.
I don't want to hide anymore. I am insecure and that is okay. I am afraid and that is okay. I am aware and that is where I find peace. A peace that tells me it is okay to not be perfect. It is okay to not have all the answers and have it all together. A peace that leads me to live in spite of my perceived weaknesses. A peace that frees me from the casket of fear and uproots the worry that has covered me. Resurrecting me to the present and clothing me in purpose. I am free and regardless of the results my life is ....all I discover it to be. I don't need to know to act. I choose life so I live. Let the chips fall where they fall.
With Open Arms
As I slip into deep sleep.
My mind ponders the events that just happened.
Could it possibly be any worse?
All that I have been is lost in a moment.
All that I have possessed taken in an instant.
Is this the end?
Will I live again?
Will I be released from the sleep that has captured me?
If I could just live again.
I would be different and not conform to the world that I just left.
As I reflect on who I was.
I realize that who I have been is not who I am.
The life that I lived was no more than a mask covering the real me.
What has happened was not to kill me but to reveal me.