Monday, July 11, 2016

Confidence and Humility



            Confidence and Humility tend to be thought of as opposites, two that cannot exist together. I have believed that for many years. Thinking that folks that are overly confident are cocky, full of themselves, etc. I thought that if you were someone who had plenty of confidence, than you probably were not someone who had much humility. It was impossible, you either were someone who was humble and lacked confidence or you had confidence but you don’t have an ounce of humility in you. I’m discovering that part of the reason I thought that way was an issue with my own self-image. The fact that I would get hung up in the comparison trap over and over again. Comparing 100% of my good and bad to the 5% best of the best material that a majority of our culture shares. Especially with social media, you can scroll through and see 100’s and 100’s of people, reading the best of the best of what is happening in their lives and then if your not careful you can fall into that comparison trap too! If we are not careful that will take us into a downward spiral. Which to prevent that we need to remind ourselves of who are in Christ and the love that He has for us. We must choose to rest in that and have confidence in who He says we are! 

            The last 4-6 weeks I have been subbing for a few different indoor soccer teams and after my last game I began to feel my confidence come back. My touches were getting better, made some nice passes, had a few decent defensive plays and all around feeling better about my field game. It was at this point, when I felt my confidence coming back in my field play that doubts started to rise up. “It was a one time thing.” “You got lucky.” “Your touch will be gone next game.”  And the list goes on. These thoughts began to fill my head because I had that moment of confidence come up. The doubt begins to seep in again and then fear takes over. We need to be careful not fall into this trap and apart of this process is not being afraid to fail. It is important to allow yourself to be confidant in who you are, the things your learning, the ways your growing, etc. Moving forward in that confidence humbly knowing that you still have lots to learn, areas to grow in, and there are others that are more advanced that we can learn from. You must celebrate the victories, learn from the defeats and be confident in who God has created you to be; loving and serving others with the things that He has blessed you with!

Moving forward, don't be afraid to fail, don't compare yourself to others, celebrate your victories (big and small), and remain humble with a desire to learn and grow! 

It's not an easy thing to do, but it is an area of my life that God is working on in me. I am far from having it figured out, would love to hear how God might be teaching you in this area, things that you have experienced in the world of Confidence and Humility, and any other thoughts that you might have! Thanks for reading and please feel free to join in on the conversation! :)

Phil 4:8 A great reminder of the things we should focus our attention on, what we should spend our time and energy thinking about, and pursuing instead of falling into the comparison trap. 

.Love.

*Photo Courtesy of Abigail Keenan: https://unsplash.com/photos/8-s5QuUBtyM 


Monday, June 27, 2016

Perspective




            Perspective changes everything. Before I worked for a window cleaning company, I never thought twice about the cleanliness of a window. Now I don’t know if I could ever look at a window the same way again. I’m no longer able to be ignorant of the smudges, streaks, and spots that may exist on the windows, which then makes it difficult to not want to clean them. When it comes to our every day lives there are many smudges, streaks and spots that we are ignorant of until we get a change of perspective. If we are not looking at life through the proper lens there are many things that we miss right in front of us. When we choose to only think about ourselves, we tend to neglect those around us, which in turn prevents us from experiencing something that is truly good!
            We need to become aware of the smudges, streaks, and spots in our lives, not so we feel judged and condemned, but in order to truly understand how great God’s love is for us. Despite all of the junk in your life, God loves you for who you are. He created you to feel, experience, and know His perfect love for you and to know that you are valued. It is through this understanding that we are able to know more about how God desires for us to experience life.
            When I was learning the art of window cleaning I had to learn what to look for, how to look for it, and what to do to clean the glass. In our lives we need to be reminded of how important it is to know what to look for, how to look for it and what to do moving forward. We must shift our perspective to look for God in creation, in His people, and even within the simplest moments. We need to learn who God is and who He says we are, through studying the Bible, spending time in prayer, being with God’s people, spending time in His creation, and sharing His love with others. Remember you are valued and loved more than you could ever know! Allow that to shape your every thought and action. We are called to be His hands and feet, to serve those around us loving them with a Christ like love! If we can do these things, imagine the shift in our perspective. If we truly shifted our perspective to seeing things the way God would have us see them, loving as Jesus loved, imagine how the world would be changed.

Be the change you want to see, be overwhelmed by Christ’s love for you, and allow that to shape the way you see and experience the world around you!



.Love.
*Photo courtesy of Teddy Kelley https://unsplash.com/photos/sYZ4bIBt1o4

Friday, April 29, 2016

No Water


 

            Today, after a long run, I came back to my house looking forward to taking a shower, but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. I went to turn on the water…and NOTHING!! I was immediately infuriated, went over to the sink to make sure we had absolutely zero running water in the apartment and NOTHING there either! I called our property management company to discover that we would be without water for 1 hour due to road construction happening right outside. Then after feeling upset about not having water for one whole stinkin hour, I got convicted.

            I was reminded of how incredibly BLESSED I am, from the roof over my head, food on the table, clothes on my back and running water 24/7 except for this one measly hour. I began to think about how many people in the world don’t have access to clean water (around 1 Billion), let alone running water. Living with many luxuries that we have in the United States, we often forget how much we have in excess and what necessities truly are, me included. This can be a hard truth to hear, but it can be inspiring. It can lead us to reevaluate what we consider as essentials and challenge us to think about what can we bless others with.

            Let’s take today and truly reflect on what do I need and what could I use to bless someone in need. How can we be an instrument of God’s love and grace to those around us? Let’s take today and not get upset about the small stuff (like being without water for 1 hour!) and remember how richly God has truly blessed YOU!

.love.

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “

1 Timothy 6:7 (NIV)
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

Cannonball

To Invest or Not To Invest

            Life is full of uncertainty. We face many questions like, what will I do when I “grow up,” where will I live, how long will I be there, and so on. When we arrive in situations where this uncertainty seems to be at an all time high (at this point in our lives), we wonder whether or not we should invest in the people and the place that we find ourselves in. If we know that we will only be in our current situation for a short amount of time, but don’t know exactly when our exit will happen, our tendency is to hold back.
            Last year I found myself asking the exact same question. I had just completed a two-year residency at a church, where I had hoped to be for much longer than that, but God had other plans. We moved into my parents’ basement, which we had anticipated on being for a VERY short time. In the meantime, I was in the process with a few different churches and non-profit organizations. There was one non-profit, that I had interviewed with for several months, which we thought I was nearly guaranteed a position. Within a few weeks of moving in with my parents we had anticipated that we would be moving across the country for my new job. That position ended up falling through, it turns out that again God had other plans for us. After we came to this realization, I continued to apply to various churches and organizations across the US, without knowing for sure how long we would be living with my parents for. As the first couple months went by, I struggled with whether or not to get involved in various groups, investing in relationships without knowing how long we would be in the area.
            After leaving our previous community that we had poured two years of our lives into and not knowing where we were headed next, I wrestled with whether or not I should fully invest in the current situation that we found ourselves in. I was so thankful for the opportunity to serve in our previous community, but it made saying goodbye very difficult. Reflecting on how hard that experience was and the fact that God had seemingly placed us into a holding pattern, We were unsure what our next step should be.
            We took some time to visit various churches in the area before we started attending Southfield regularly (our home church). In September of last year, through the invitation of my parents, I joined the running journey group. I began to get to know more people within the church and grew a love for running that I didn’t know was possible.* Despite the fact that I was interviewing with various organizations throughout the country with the imminent possibility of moving in a matter of weeks, we began to invest more and started to feel more apart of the community. It started simply by dipping my toe in the water by joining the running journey group once a week and then we went for the cannonball. We would touch base with various people on a Sunday morning, continuing to invest in those relationships. My wife and I joined the workout group at church, which met twice a week and began to get to know more people that way.
            Then in December I decided to make an even bigger splash and reached out to Brian, the youth pastor, about getting involved serving in the Junior High Ministry. We had a great conversation, talking about the unknowns that were in Ab and I’s future but the fact that I wanted to serve any way that I could. He graciously welcomed me to the team and the investment grew richer and richer.
            Fast forward 5 months later, Ab and I have moved across the country into a new community starting a brand new investment. There are many things that God taught me during our time in the “holding pattern.” One of the biggest things that I learned was to not be afraid to invest! No matter how long you plan on being in one location, don’t allow that minor detail to force you to miss out of God’s blessings that are readily available to you. God is good all time, He works all things for His good and it’s time for us to believe it, even when you’re not sure what’s next!
            By investing in the relationships that I made during my time in the “holding pattern,” I felt God’s love and felt embraced by a great community of believers. If I had withheld myself from the experience, just keeping to myself because I knew that we were not planning on being there long term I would have missed so much! I have made memories that I will cherish, learned lessons that I would have missed out on and made friends that I hope to have for a lifetime! It’s time to stop dipping your toe in the water and go for the cannonball! We spend too much time thinking about the questions of what if and that I’m only here for ‘x’ amount of time, which is surely not long enough to make an impact (or be impacted). It’s time to forget that lie and jump in, do a cannon ball with everything you got and discover what blessings God has for you in your current situation! I know I am so grateful that I did and in regards to the future, I am committing to not waiting as long!


What are you waiting for, invest in the community around you today, that’s the only way that you’ll discover the blessings that God has for you right in your (current) backyard!