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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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.

Faith conquers fear

oxen-yokeThis is a very bitter sweet post for me to be writing tonight. The irony is staggering in all actuality, but what an amazing opportunity for me to stare the greatest of enemies in the face, and charge head on?

So a couple of days ago, I was browsing through my XM radio and stumbled across a sermon. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I listened to the entire sermon because it was by someone I am not a fan of at all. But I will digress. The point is that the topic caught my interest and left me thinking some deep thoughts that sound so basic, yet they are mind shattering when you implement them into the reality of your life.

Faith conquers all fear. Fear is the absence of faith. The truth of the matter is, it does not make any difference which one you embrace, they have the same working property. When you embrace either one, you give it the right, the authority, to take root in your life, and the outcome will be affected whether you like it or not.

This story was told:

There was a guy who had a bad habit of worrying about something bad happening to him. He was at work one day, and the boss said everyone could leave early to attend a birthday party for one of the foreman. This guy was about to get out of the frozen box car he was working in to leave as well, when he came to the startling reality that the door had closed and he was trapped inside. For hours, he screamed and banged on the door until his voice was horse and hands were bleeding. He was very aware he was in a box car freezer and he became consumed with fear that he would freeze to death. Hours went by, he only got colder and colder. He found a piece of cardboard and road these words: “It is getting so cold. These may be my last words.” Sure enough, when the crew got back to work the next day, they found this guy in the boxcar, dead. According to his autopsy, he had frozen to death.

But…this was a huge mystery. You see, the temperature in the boxcar was only 61 degrees.

Shocked? I was too. You see, when you give in to fear, you allow it to play with your mind, which will play with every other area of your life. His fear became his reality. It consumed him, robbing him of both faith in being found, and ultimately his life.

All you need to do is pick up your Bible. It will not take long before you start reading promise after promise from God. I am not going to give you examples. Why? Because it is each individuals duty to seek our own relationship with God and to find His promises for us.

When we implement faith into every scenario, not only do we allow it to take root in our lives, we are also relinquishing our fears to God and basically telling Him that these are not our problems, they are His. So lets say something bad or awful still comes to pass. Do we give up on faith? Not at all. If you were able to look back at the bigger picture, you would see that God can take any circumstance in our lives and turn it into something far more amazing than we can imagine.

You are probably wondering why this is such irony for me to be talking about right now. Well, if anyone had any reason to fear right now, it would be me. For three years I have sacrificed for my family in ways you cannot even begin to imagine. Tomorrow, the fate and totality of my small little family will be in the hands of a judge. The final judgement will be made, and it could make us whole, or shatter what little we do have.

Here is the greatest part! I am not afraid! God has given our family so many promises! Not only of a future, but of a mission, even a ministry. In fact, I am confident in these promises and the future.

God has been so faithful in my life. He does not set us up for failure. He does test our faith, but explicitly asks us to trust him and leave our biggest fears in his hands.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)