The Difference I want to be


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The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men. – George Eliot

What a great reminder that there is success in failure! I need to tattoo this somewhere….
I tend to hold myself to an unrealistic level of accountability, not only for myself but with others in my life. I am learning to realize that there is in most cases positivity in what seems to be a negative situation. It has been called provision and it has been said that there is provision in every situation.

In the moment “heated or not” it is hard to calm my mind enough to allow myself to see the provision in any situation, I usually think of it as chance or dumb luck. Finding the positive in any appealingly negative situation is not my first choice; my mind tends to drift to the worst case.

Hearing the word provision seems to me a bit “out of place” when used in the context of a hardship.

Provision:

A preparatory step taken to meet a possible or expected need:

The act of providing or supplying something:

Something provided or supplied.

Living as a father and a husband, life is not what I had expected. In most cases I feel blessed far beyond what I deserve or have ever planned for and in other areas I thought it would be a bit less messy. I thought to myself in the past “I have it together”, the older I get that statement is seemingly farther and farther from the truth and THAT is the provision!  The provision lately has been wisdom, the wisdom and understanding that I need change and a renewed vision. Life if lived without a plan, goal or vision is seemingly meaningless. Like walking a path with no destination or direction in mind it can easily become misguided in the purpose we are in existence.

– Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NIV)

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”

says the Teacher.

“Utterly meaningless!

Everything is meaningless.”

Life lived without faith in that there is a much greater purpose and a reason for why we are where we are in life (wherever that may be) can be seemingly meaningless. If you remove faith (in anything, not only God) you limit your life to remain where you are. Having faith in something brings a driving purpose to life and having faith in the Lord brings a divine driving purpose. I have faith that one day I will provide assistance to others in need or guidance through life, marriage and raising a family. That is my vision and if I allow Jesus to guide me into that the little faith I bring to assist in that is nothing in comparison to the divine purpose God has planned for me.

I struggle with the battle between science and faith, no I do not believe in evolution or Darwin’s theory (not condoning anyone that does) I simply choose to put my faith in faith that God is who he says he is and that the plan is much better than I can imagine!

I catch myself thinking “one day, one day I will see the fruit of my labor in life” looking back I have been missing it all along. I am what my dreams were! I have an impact NOW, I have a wife, children, family and friends that read what I write and when I slow myself down enough to look, I am the difference I want to be.

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A Life Worth Living


“Nothing worth having come without pain and struggle”.

I’m sure you have all heard this 100’s of times before but have you ever thought about what that means?

Over the last month I have had some of the best of the best and the worst of the worst times in my life and this statement is beginning to make sense.

What is “it” worth to you? What ever “it” may be. If it is worth giving your life for or to then why would giving up even be an option?

One day this will all be over and when that day comes what do you want your friends, family and sounding people to be left thinking of? I want to destroy the word divorce, I want our children to have confidence in their decisions and want my friends to celebrate a well lived life full of memorys.

My wife told me once “live life like you want your life to be”. Not to have everyone snowed into thinking everything is perfect, to slowly change your thought pattern.

I want live a life full of pee holding laughter, tickle wars, movie nights, morning kisses and late night conversation! I want a passion that destroys fear and a love that infects everyone around me….. A life worth living

The Depths of our Eyes


The first time I can remember feeling the pain in the eyes of another was my freshman year in high school. I had a friend that had a similar home life, single mother with far too much to handle for one person while he fought with the desire to leave home as soon as possible.

The pain I saw was not what you’d expect to hear, the pain was not in his eyes it was in his mother’s eyes. As he verbally abused her in front of me calling her bitch and to shut the hell up with every other word, all she wanted try to express to him is her love.  The feelings I saw in her eyes made my chest heavy, it made every breath harder and harder to take, so the struggle to not feel begun.

As a child I had this curse to feel others. Now I’m not saying that there are tears in their eyes therefore I can see that there is something wrong.  I’m talking about looking into their eyes and having waves of emotion cover me to the point of me wanting to leave. Over the years I began the task of talking myself out of feeling what the eyes of others told me and to push the “I don’t care” feelings a bit higher. I had it hidden very well with everyone with the exception of 2 others.

The only others on earth that I could not disregard the emotion from was my brother and sister. No matter what, no matter how hard I fought I could not push the feelings away. I moved out in my early teen years due to many reasons I choose not to talk about and that was the last of the emotion from the eyes of another that I ever wanted to read.

Over time with this ability you tend to personalize so much of others worries and fears that you almost lose yourself in what others are feeling. This begun to create a shell between who I was and what others felt and a constant battle took place between what I feel and what I absorb from others.

Now almost 20 years later I have learned that this curse I have been given is a very special gift and if this gift was under control and filtered through my heart and mind properly can be a huge blessing. The gift is called empathy, and not to be confused with sympathy. The gift of empathy allows me to hear someone talk and look into their eyes and feel the emotions they are feeling. Let me clear something up before the confusions starts, I do not feel “their emotions” exactly I feel with an area that I have experienced in my life and that allows me to relate my past emotion to their present situation.

My best example of this happens every day, with my wife and children. I spend a lot of time looking into the eyes of my family hoping to not see an emotion from my past. More times than not I see exactly what I do not want to see. Pain, confusion and longing for more and the battle begins to not personalize it and think “yep, I’m the issue” as so many of us do.

Looking back in history of humanity there has always been the exact same emotions as today. Looking all the way back to the days of Jesus men and women have struggled with the exact same hurts we deal with today. It is no coincidence that we see the same failures over and over as we pass them onto our children and them to their children.

A couple weeks ago my wife and I attended an amazing marriage transforming conference that has set in motion our renewal of our vision for our marriage as well as many other areas we were stuck in. During one of the exercises we were asked to sit back to back with our spouse as we began to hear the soft voice of the conference leader speaking, she asked us to close our eyes. First thought for me was” thank God” I won’t have to look into her eyes right now. As she continued to speak she asked us to picture our partner’s lips, to imagine their nose, their hair, to smell their skin. Then she said it, I want you to imagine their eyes, look deep into their eyes and now I want you to think of what you would do if you never saw them again. Let me tell you, I broke down, not the tear in the eye break down, I’m talking about the sniffles and wet shirt break down. All the emotion I have been suppressing for so long all came to the surface at that moment and my heart broke for what we have become.

People that know me will tell you I do not make eye contact to this day. It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, I’m telling you I believe that and struggle with the balance of mind vs heart with this gift of empathy. My first instinct is to personalize it and think “what part have I had in their pain” and I’m finding that the only task that is covered by doing that is removing the gift for what it is intended for, human connection. Today I am hoping that our eyes remain empty of the tears of pain and filled with the joy of what we share and learn from one another. Today I am learning to master the gift I have been blessed with as my daughters face life and my wife and I learn to dance again.

What Our “Mind Talk” Has To Say about it!


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Sometimes our friends in life decide to separate from our lives. At times we are not the best representation of what a friend is or should be. I have trouble with friendships and community. I know, people that know me are most likely laughing and thinking I’m losing my mind when they read that statement.

Truth is I have no problem meeting others and beginning a friendship with them that strikes a cord in the heart of others. My struggle comes when a friendship reaches a depth of “personal level” that requires the exchange of “heart felt” intimacy and commitment. Over the years I have met quite a few people that have touched my heart, and I have touched theirs and that is where the struggle begins.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple years and what I have been discovering is that I have a hard time with commitment. If I commit to something it begins to open an area of vulnerability in my heart that makes me fearful of what others might think or the judgments of the things I have done.

My “mind talk” says “man you have a hard time explaining to yourself what you do and why you do it, imaging what others think”. So I search for the reasons I lack the will to be vulnerable with the intentions and desire of a long term commitment. With that said, I have been with my wife for 16 of my 33 years, some of that has been co-dependency issues more than commitment however most has been the desire to destroy generational sin and to break the chains of divorce. With very limited personal resources (Faith not included) this has been quite a ride! My faith in the promise of God to get me through has been a rock I hang from. Learning to stand on faith has been another journey that will have to be another time.

My views of topics like commitment, Vulnerability and intimacy has been completely re-focused and renewed. What is Vulnerability?

Vulnerability:

Open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.

Capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon.

This is a part of life and without pain there can be no love. Life was not given to us to be cautious of living or to walk on egg shells with everyone in life. This statement is not saying we should not be cautious of what we say, it simply means to say what you need to say when you need to say it and to be open to criticism. I am learning that to have a true friendship you must have open communication from the heart and to be open to the hard conversations that WILL happen. Why live guarded and destroy the gifts that God has given us!

Our friends serve a very important purpose, that purpose is what creates our community. Without community we are alone with our thoughts, and that can be a dangerous place.

For me personally being away from others feels uncomfortable. Now I’m not saying I do not want alone time, I’m saying in general I like people. I like talking to others, hearing about their issues, feeling their pain, listening to their stories and making others feel that they are not alone. The deeper I look the more I love to be surrounded by others and in community. Alone with myself can feel like the beginning of a battle that neither of us will win. Sounds confusing, welcome to my mind!
My “mind talks” and he is not a very nice guy, he is abused, abandoned and has been neglected. He needs love and affection from me and my community. I desire to show him that life is more beautiful than ugly, that it’s more positive than negative and that it’s worth the act of opening up to others.
“Today I found a friend I haven’t seen in a while and he not is not only in my head, I found him in my heart. He has always been there and he will always be there! Nothing I can do will separate us. Why do we fight? Why do we hate one another? Let’s put my heart with your mind and we could be unstoppable”.

Today I learn to be nice to myself and open my heart to the “what if’s” of life. I will no longer fear the pain that is life and I will allow myself to love from the heart with commitment.  Let love flow and be received for what it is not what we are expecting it to be.

Little Eyes


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The picture is band I wear, see the scratches, the dents and see how warn it is.
Think of this as a representation of the choices that are made in life.

As bad as it looks, as rough as it is its meaning is as strong today as it was the day I got it. You see its not how it looks, its not how shiny it is or how new it is, its the vow that is attached to it.

I remember the first movie I saw as a child, it was on USA up all night. I remember thinking wow hot, and so the searching for more a beautiful woman begins ….

Not seeing that there was anything wrong with how a child views a woman this began the slow change in my mind of what a woman should be. I have always had posters and magazines in my room. It was never an issue growing up and that is what led to the addiction to pornography. I would like to say I have struggled with the addiction for as long as I can remember however that is not the case. To be honest it wasn’t as issue until we began to start a family or so it seemed, it has always been an issue I just didn’t know any better. What was seemingly innocent and secretive became emotionally numbing and created unreasonable expectation that no woman would ever meet. What seems to be secrete and harmless became one of the most destructive actions in my life. Over time the degradation of “the woman” in your mind will change and how any woman in your life is viewed and in turn how you interact with them as a woman. With the mindset that women are made to be beautiful and for us to look at was the lie that I told myself and 100% reinforced by the world we live in the struggle to overcome is astonishing. With the “sex sells” mentality and the youth being taught with lustful eyes this issue will continue to destroy families and it is up to us to break the ties that we keep secrete.

I can say I have struggled for less than 3 years with this addiction and have now been free for quite some time due to my faith and some friends help with accountability. I no longer think lustful at the sight of a woman nude in a movie or the occasional billboard on the highway. Now I can begin the process or redeveloping how I see women. My wife and I had a conversation about a year ago and we decided to make a vow to one another and in that vow a band had been bought. On that band that is worn on my right ring finger symbolizing my vow is 1 Thess 4:3 (It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality) and the word Purity engraved on the inside. To me it has as much meaning as the wedding band I wear and holds just as much value in my life. Each band is a representation of a vow I make, one to God that I cherish my wife and one to my wife that I cherish my heart.

These times and this world we live in is full of evil and that evil has no care for the destruction or the loss of our souls, it doesn’t care if you are male or female, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, it doesn’t care if you are old or young. What it does look for are the lost, the lonely, the fallen, the broken, the ones who believe the lies we tell ourselves every day. It could be me; it could be you or your son or daughter. Evil wants to separate us, it wants to single us out, corner us and it is sneaky. It will not come from front and confront you; it will whisper a quiet little question “are you good enough”? “Are you sure” and then it sets back, fully knowing the “human nature” and watches as we self destruct. We are created to have both, the capability to build up and tear down any area in our lives and one another, its part of our free will.

Remember the song “be careful little eyes what you see” there is a reason it is sung to children, it is to plant the seed as a young child to think of what we do before we do it. From experience, remember what has been done can never be undone, what has been said can never be unsaid.

Treat life as the most fragile and most precious, think of loving as most important next to our faith. Chose wisely the path you take and who you take it with or one day you might end up in a swamp with only the lies you tell yourself running through your mind.