Be the change…

When I was a child, I always wanted to be a grown up, do my own thing, and defy the structure of the world around me with the supernatural power we called “being and adult.” Funny, I look back on my life and no matter what ridiculousness I had to go through to get to where I am today, those times seem so much simpler and understandable.
 
Today’s world is terrifying. So many unknowns, people hating and bashing others constantly for any little thing, random shootings, corrupt politics, etc you name it. Grant it, these have all been around since the beginning of time, but for some reason they continue to escalate.
 
There is a feeling in the pit of my soul that longs for a simpler life, a calmer time, a meaningfully rich existence. It makes me think about something too: why is it that we all cannot put aside our differences and live that kind of life where ever we are? It sounds like a tall order, but is it really??
 
Not to be cliche, but what if we all learned to love each other. It sounds great until you realize what that really involves. It is made up of random acts of kindness, putting down your cellphone and patiently listening to your babbling 3 year old, honoring and respecting our elders instead of being a know-it-all, and treating our annoying neighbor the way we want to be treated. The list goes on and on.
 
The arts of love and kindness are being lost and destroyed daily. We are so selfish wanting what we want out of life right now. When are we going to step back and ask ourselves where are we making a true difference in our communities that will better the existence of our children and grandchildren? What is it really going to take?
 
I know this is long, but just wanted to share some thoughts.
 
I have always said, be the change you want to see. I have not always taken my own advise. Here lately though I have have been, and I have seen some real changes. Changes in my attitude, the way I talk to people, interact with my kids, deal with my depression or anxiety, and even the path I am pursuing as my future. What if we all adapted to that mindset? What kind of dent could we leave in the world around us? Who cares about political correctness anymore.
 
You know what I gained? A little more clarity each day, a developing sense of accomplishment and healthy pride, the strength to stand up to situations that would beat me down, and a hope for the future. This is not a quick-fix for your life or selfish mentality/ambition. These are natural by-products of working towards change you want to see in your life and the world around you.
 
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Restlessness of the soul

Changes have slowly but surely been coming. Mostly good things. But something is still missing. Its like this feeling of being on the brink of a dam overflowing or bursting. The problem is you want it to burst, but if it doesn’t you encounter yet more disappointment.

My soul is restless. It wants more. It wants to be fulfilled. Maybe I am just impatient?

Oh that my borders would be expanded….

A cedar home

I feel lost today. It’s like everything I am trying to do is crashing over my mind like waves on the sharp rocks. Unhappiness, loneliness, shame, and worry are really eating me up in ways that make me want to give up.

After I got off work I sat on my couch and started watching TV. Kind of strange for me because I really do not watch much TV at all. There is just this ache in my chest, a loneliness, feeling homesick, but not really sure which home I feel sick for. What I would give to just have my little boy in my arms giving me one of his hugs. They seem to do the trick.

Turned the TV off. I know this funk all too well and I know that I can easily go crazy. I decided to go read my Bible, though I have to admit I do not feel much better, but it did give me something to think about. I read the portion slotted for today. It was about when David looked around his beautiful cedar home and decided he wanted to do something for God and build a temple for the Arc of the Covenant. Seemed like a pretty solid gesture.

God told him no. But God also told him that he was going to make his family great, and he would conquer all his enemies who apposed him. Wow. Must be nice to have a God do things like that for you. I can’t even get God to give me simple direction in life. Regardless I said a prayer. Still do not really feel any better about things. There are so many uncertainties. So many unanswered questions. So much fear.

I simply need Him to show up. I need some clarity. I need to start moving in SOME direction for crying out loud. I’m simply sitting here going stir crazy, but every time I try to make a move I get knocked down.

Addiction and a Journey

New definition for recovery from addiction has been releasedThe topic of addiction is so ominous and looming. It feel so vast and uncertain, in-explainable and dark. Just search WordPress, and you will find blog after blog of hurting, suffering, lost, broken, depressed people whose lives are falling apart every day. It truly breaks my big bad biker heart.

I too struggle with many shapes and forms of addiction. My entire life I have battled an addictive personality. A little over 9 years ago I went clean off drugs. Over 6 months ago I was able to quit smoking. Both were cold turkey, difficult, and painful in a lot of ways. Yet I wrestle with other addictions that steal from my joy and happiness, but numb the pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Despite addiction, I see hope. Maybe it is only a faint glimmer, but it is there. I recently started going back to Celebrate Recovery and it has been a good support. It is not the answer, but it is a good aid.

In my life personally, I have always been a wanderer. Never happy or satisfied, always seeking the next best thing. Sometimes I wonder if that alone is an addiction in a way. I embrace certain types of change that tend to emphasize who I am. The mindset is very similar to that of the junkie looking for the next best fix. It can be reckless and dangerous, but also a strength that I think God can use.

This year I am setting out on a journey to discover who and what I am. I am spending the next several months taking care of my affairs, then leaving my job and home behind as I embark on a road trip to Redding, CA. In this time away, whether it be a month or two, I intend to blog daily and share what I am learning. Not necessarily for my readers, but because I want to be able to look back and see the progression, the progress, and how that all came about.

My search is for the unattainable. My desire is to find peace. As a very dear friend of mine (my former counselor) recently told me, “If you cannot find peace in God, then why don’t you go where God is and immerse yourself in His presence.” Such a simple thought, but potential for profound results.

Bethel Church is in Redding, CA. Years ago, I was given a word that I would need to visit this church at some point in my life to receive something God has for me. It has not been able to take place to date. But this year is different. There has been so much loss, heartache, struggle, confusion, and pain. Its like I have been burning both ends of the rope, yet still holding on while I am free-falling. So I believe the time is here. It will be me, my motorcycle, a backpack, and a sleeping bag traveling 1,000 miles. There is no certainty other than the destination. There is no place to lay my head at night, no guaranteed meal, no roof of the car if it rains.

Its a journey, an adventure of the unknown. A longing for a heart filled with peace.

Wake up.

I’m trying to wake up. After I wrote yesterday’s post, a brother of mine told to basically wake up and smell the coffee. I’ve been fighting such a losing battle, and I don’t know how to get out.

When I got home from work I was sitting down with a drink in hand and realized I am sick of this pattern that keeps surfacing over and over again. The unhappiness that haunts me daily, the lack of joy in my life, both terrify me.

I googled local CR programs, and low and behold there is one right down the street that started in 45 minutes. I swallowed the rest of my drink, invited a buddy to go with me, and got ready.

It was awkward, but good. Topic was on releasing control basically and embracing the changes God wants no matter how hard. We left. I went home, tried my hardest to pray, and read my dated reading that interestingly enough coincided with the group topic.

I don’t know. I fell asleep trying to pray. Does God really listen to me anymore? I woke up and tried praying again. Feel a little bit of peace, but so overwhelmed.

Dangerous words

IMG_1047 You’ve heard of The Prayer of Jabez; maybe listened to a sermon on it; maybe prayed it for yourself. The speaker starts telling you how radical this prayer is and how it can change your life, or that God will bless you immeasurably.

Every Sunday you sit in church listening and singing along with the latest and greatest of praise & worship music written by today’s popular artists. As you listen to these popular teachings, you nod your head, maybe clap your hands, or shout out an AMEN! This little “tickled pink” feeling floods your mind, heart and soul as you raise your hands and hit the floor foaming at the mouth. *humor*

Now that you are grinning ear to ear and thinking fuzzy thoughts, let me slap you and bust your bubble. You are singing dangerous words. You are praying dangerous words. You are unleashing the powers of the deep on your life and soul. There is no going back.

Yes you heard me correctly, but do not despair. There is more!

I would like to pause and share some irony. As I sit here typing this, a very specific song comes to mind that I was planning on sharing. This song literally just popped up on my iHeart Radio that I have blazing in the background. Dangerous words…

You are singing dangerous words. You are praying dangerous words. You are unleashing the powers of the deep on your life and soul. There is no going back.

These words are beautiful, they make my soul so hungry…

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Equally as beautiful, are the words that Jabez prayed to God (1 Chronicles 4:10)…

He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.

Dangerous words.

Now I can picture you sitting there right now with your arms folded tightly, ready to get all up in arms defensive of my supposed slander of these words and lyrics. Rest easy. All is not as it seems.

These words are dangerous for one reason: every time you say them or sing them, you throw an atomic bomb on the enemies plan for your life. Stop and THINK for a moment what you are saying. Feel the movement of each word on your lips, let them echo in your heart and mind. Do you hear the explosion?

Both the prayer and song I have listed have a parallel theme: you are inviting the Spirit into your life, surrendering control of your mind, will and emotions. But there is a catch!

Where in the Bible did God ever say he was going to hand us the life we want on a silver platter? If you ask God to physically expand your borders, is he just going to hand you 100,000 acres of land? No. He is going to hand you the tools to obtain that land if it is within his will for your life.

Think about it like this. Your kids are running around the house driving you nuts. Grandma gave them a can of Mt. Dew and there they go bouncing off the walls. You mutter under your aggravated breath, “God give me patients…mumble, mumble…” Do you really think God is going to give you patients? Not likely. In fact, just about that time, the caffeine really starts to work it’s magic and the kids go straight bonkers. Guess what, God just answered your prayer. He gave you an extreme opportunity to exercise your patients. It’s called disciplining your mind, will, and emotions. If you do not use and maintain the tools in your workshop, they get cobwebs and start rusting.

You see, God has already handed us the tools we need in this life to make it. The question becomes, are we maintaining those tools?

So, these are dangerous words. Are you starting to follow me a little bit? Lets break it down:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders — You just got an endless, dark path. He has already given you a Guide to light the way. Your feet have already been shod with the gospel of peace to walk with confidence wherever you go.

Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me — You just opened a floodgate. Get ready to be washed away! If you have faith, the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains, part oceans, crush any trial in front of you. So, that shield of faith is not just for shielding yourself from the arrows of lies from the enemy, it is now your spiritual water-board.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander — What? Now you are asking to be drowned? Are you going to be a Peter and walk on those rough waves, keeping your eyes on Jesus? Or are you going to freak out that God is working miracles in your life, and start stumbling all over your problems?

And my faith will be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior — Remember asking for patients a little bit ago? How is your faith going to be made stronger if it is not being exercised? Get ready for all hell to break loose on you. You want to be stronger? You hit those dead-weights and start pumping.

Now it’s your turn. Go pick apart The Prayer of Jabez.

Dangerous words indeed.

All irony, humor, and jokes aside. These thoughts humble me. You see, I have prayed that prayer many times. I have laid on the ground in reverent worship singing those lyrics, many times.

You want to know about my day? I woke up depressed, frustrated, my spirit felt crushed. God has had these thoughts on my heart for weeks. Every week a still, small voice telling me to write them down. This morning these verses were laid on my heart:

I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing. You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing. For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.

Isaiah 41:9-13 NLT

God has no interest in destroying us, or making us teeter on the ledge. He is interested in enabling us in overcoming our fears, being victorious, and overcoming all odds while we give him the glory.

It took all day at work, mulling over these thoughts to come to peace with the chaos that is taking place in my own personal life right now. The question is, am I diligently excising the tools I have been given?

This week I am fasting a few things. Every time I think about wanting food, or partaking in some activity I have given up for a week, I am going to stop and pray, thank God, and praise him for all the blessings he has put in my life. Then I will worship him and seek for his wisdom and guidance on whatever matter eating away at my heart.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

Peace

13614999_10210021434835319_5553602689575572597_nBefore you think I have lost my marbles with this post, please read to the end. I say that with some humor. They call me Wired. That is my road name. There are several reasons for that, but it is very fitting. I am wound up pretty tight about beliefs and ideas I hold, and tend to be over zealous and passionate about what I stand for. In my past life, going to blows was easy and exciting; violence was justified by cause. Do not misunderstand me, there are quite a number of individuals today I would love to give a good pop in the nose. But there is another way. Love your enemy, and do good to those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). 

Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27) With all the current events going on in today’s world, it is hard to find that peace. Fear, anxiety, hate, racism, and murder seem to run rampant as you watch the news every day. Most find it so depressing they give up trying to keep up with it.

Where do you turn for peace and comfort?

Personally speaking, I turn to my bike. I mount up, hammer down on the throttle, make those pipes scream as I listen to the wind blasting against my ears, and I pray. Sometimes I scream. Ultimately, I cast my fears and anxieties of the world around me on God.

Who are we suppose to love?

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

~ Matthew 22:34-40

Think about those verses for a moment. No this is not a message of “lets all love each other and get along and sing kumbaya around the campfire.” This is a message of hope, and peace. You can believe something I completely disagree with, yet I can still love you as my neighbor. You can be an ISIS member, a murderer, a racist, and whatever else you want to lump in there that I disagree with; yet I can still love you. It is hard? Yes, very.

I believe in a very simple saying: be the change you wish to see in the world around you. 

If I choose to love you, I can hold no malice toward you. That does not mean I support you. It means I am called to view you as a human being that is loved in the eyes of God. THAT is what the world around us needs to do. That is what I need to do.