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My pledge to the failing Church, my pledge to Christians.

 

I promise to not let your choice to be weak, set the standard of strength in my life. 

I promise to not let your lack of character affect my desire and choice to continually build mine. 

I promise to not let your lack of integrity affect my belief that morals do exist and to apply them wholeheartedly to mine. 

I promise to not let your choice of comfort over growth affect my choice to continually push myself to be better and develop in every trial and every struggle.

I promise to not let your talk of love give you the appearance of of being a genuinely loving entity but rather let your actions define your current capacity to love.

I promise to employ the love He talks of, not the love you show.

I promise to look at your predominantly negative impact to this nation as a representation of your actions, character and personal disciplines not who you claim to follow. 

I promise to look at your wounds and your fears and compare them to the strength in your heart, before I assume you will choose to be strong enough to be the person you appear to be on Sundays or on Facebook. 

I promise to not let your decision in choosing to let division tear apart relationships be a representation of God’s desire for unity, his passion for growth or his ability to heal. 

I promise to not forget your potential or purpose. 

I promise to let your actions define your character not the character of your God. 

I promise to let your choice to settle for subpar in so many aspects of your life be a representation of your weakness, not God’s. 

I promise to let the choices you make to live inside your walls and choose protection over healing or restoring relationship be reflective of your wounds and not the worth of those around you. 

I promise to let the stupid things you do and say go, but still forever wish you see how many people you are hurting. 

I promise to not hate you for the self-righteous words you speak to people who have more character then you, and to not choose to be angry at you for the pain others have felt from your lack of self-control. 

I promise to not assume that your role as a leadership means you live righteously. 

I promise to see all the hearts you have left in ruin while you walk in self-righteous ignorance of your salvation and to try to love those hearts in the ways you have failed. 

I promise to not look to you as a reflection of my God. 

I promise to recognize his grace but acknowledge the expansive affect of your choices. 

I promise to set myself apart from you.

I promise to love you, but not be part of whatever you claim to be. 

I promise to recognize that you are failing miserably to represent the God you claim to follow. 

I promise to try to be a conduit of healing in a world that you have helped shatter. 

I promise to love you and God alike, but to recognize that never in my life has there been such a vast difference between the two of you. 

 

I have believed in God for 26 years. I have seen him move in my life, I have seen him do things only he can do time and time again. I have also grown up in the church, and while I absolutely believe in God, I do not condone nor support the choices I see in much of the Church today. If you call yourself a “Christian” then at a minimum you should be a genuinely good person, if not then at least be accountable for your choice to be a below average human being. The church is caught up in what I like to call “ignorant grace”, and its this idea that because you have salvation you somehow don’t need to give as much care or concern to how you handle your heart, life or relationships. You are wrong. If you claim to live covered by grace, then you are also claiming to be a christian which in turn is claiming to be a representation of who God is. Therefore you have subjected your life to a high mandate to give all you have to be a person with integrity, character and love so great that your actions speak louder then your words.

I refuse to let the way “Christians” handle relationships, friendships, challenges and trials change my belief of the standard to live with integrity, character or love.

I will build my life daily. I will love even when its hard. I will grow, I will develop in character and I will live my life in excellence. I will fight for relationship. I will continue to push for more, greater and bigger things then I have seen. I will continue to make an impact, and I will continue to not settle. I will live my life in a way that shows that I love God, but make no mistake that I do not share an association with the current reflection of “god” you, christians and the church alike, are giving the world.

 

 

 

 

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Where’s your “safe-world”?

A portion of a series entitled “Conversations with my Heart.”

Me: “Sometimes I wonder why you have to feel so much. I mean don’t you understand that when you let yourself feel, it’s not always going to be good? People won’t always take care of you like they should and you won’t always get the treatment you should and sometimes people will just suck….why feel?”

My Heart: “I’ve learned that if you don’t let yourself feel the bad, the ugly and the hard then you also short yourself the rewarding feelings as well….like the ones of massive impact, deep friendships or love.”

Me: “But you get that logically speaking that’s a really stupid decision at times right? People are mean. And a lot of people just don’t care. Why feel then?”

My Heart: “I do but I also have found that when you let yourself feel, you also help yourself see. I have no idea how these two are connected because it defies everything I learned about my five senses in preschool. But when I let myself feel, I can start to see the hearts behind the hurt they are causing.”

Me: “Sounds like an exhausting savior complex if you ask me.”

My Heart: “I think the best way I’ve ever heard it put was that my caring is at slut level. No joke, someone close to me told me that and I really couldn’t think of a better way to describe it. It’s very accurate. I just can’t, not, care. Most people have sooooooo much potential inside them, they just need someone to see behind the hurt, behind their actions….they need someone to tell them its safe to let go of the mask.”

Me: “Does everyone take off the mask?”

My Heart: “Absolutely not. Some people like to hide. It’s comfortable. They know the world they’ve created, it’s their “safe-world” and to believe they are bigger then themselves would cause them to go outside that world. They don’t want to do that, their world has been sculpted and carved into something they can predict. It’s a safe haven. And honestly, I don’t blame them for wanting to stay there.”

Me: “Did you ever have a safe-world?”

My Heart: “I did. I’d have to think on when and where… I think I built mine in a war zone. ‘Safe-worlds’ are interesting to me because they are such a representation of each person. My ‘safe-world’ was a war-zone. Where I was thriving, constantly the victor, but I was also the only warrior. No one was beside me, no one was before me. No one. I fought everything alone. Yea, that’s definitely mine….My ‘safe-world’ was me, alone. I knew what I would do, I knew what I wanted, I was predictable. I didn’t want to rely on others and I didn’t want others to fight for me, because I didn’t want to be indebted to anyone either. Alone was better.”

Me: “How did you break free of your ‘safe-world’ and into a world where you wanted more, and let yourself thrive?”

My Heart: “I’m not so sure we ever break out of our ‘safe-worlds’ alone. I think it’s always a two-person ordeal. Someone has to be outside of you, they have to be able to touch you, care for you, reach you…and you have to trust them. You have to trust their eyes, their judgement, their love… You have to be able to look at them and say, ‘Alright, I don’t know what’s out there but I know that if you’re telling me it’s greater then what I’ve created, then I’m gonna risk it’.”

Me: “So who broke you free of yours?”

My Heart: “Mine? Hmmm….. it was a process and still is, but for me it was to this day one of my greatest friends. She kinda just had this way of reminding me that what I had created has my ‘safe-world’ was a place that was super intense but it was ok. That as I let me become more me she would still be there. That my intensity wouldn’t scare her. And naturally this enabled me to become even more me which was more intense, driven and motivated…. I guess you could say her belief in what I thought would scare her is exactly realize victory didn’t have to be a solo battle.”

Me: “What happens when they fail?”

My Heart: “People who break trust when you are coming out of your ‘safe-world’ in my mind do some of the worst damage to a heart. One person can literally shatter the believe of another’s heart to think they are worth more, could find fulfillment or ever see their dreams become reality. One person screwing it up can do so much damage.

People like this…. these people who have been put through so much pain, the ones that have been shut down, the ones that have been hurt…..these hearts. That’s where heroes are hidden.

The heroes in hiding, that’s the reason why I feel so much. Because when you let yourself feel their hearts, you’ll see it. Greatness can’t hide forever…sometimes heroes just need reminding that others DO see them. Calling out greatness, you can’t do that if you don’t feel, because feeling is sight. I feel because it helps me see, it helps me see heroes and unearth them.”

Me: “If you could tell people one thing about feeling what would it be?”

My Heart: “I guess I would say to first decide if it’s good for you. No I don’t mean does it feel good, is it good FOR you? If it’s grief, feel it. If it’s love, feel it. If it’s depth, feel it. Then look at what you are able to see when you feel. Remember feeling enables sight. Is this keeping you inside your ‘safe-world’ or pushing you outside of you? Level up. It’s ok.”

 

…To be continued. 

 

 

Step 2: Who’s behind the mask?

The great writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote….

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

We all wear masks, we all have different faces we put on…..we all have parts of us we hide. However there comes a point where under the mask we have to find a common ground, that common ground is our character.

In the prior post, Superhero Chronicles: Step 1, we discussed who we believed ourselves to be. Now it’s time to take a look at this list and ask ourselves, is that who we WANT to be.

Masks are powerful, because masks enable us to hide. But the truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

The truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

Did you catch that? I’ll say it again a little differently. Making an impact on the world isn’t about choosing a powerful career, or partnering with an influential organization, it’s about becoming a person capable of massive impact. It’s about becoming a person of character worthy to wear the mask of a hero and make the type of lasting impact they would.

We often think that if we find the right opportunity then we will be able to achieve our goals. If we find the right job, if we find the right people, if we find the right network…..strangely enough that never works long term. It would be like if our military men went to war but had zero tactical training prior to combat. Or if policemen went out on the streets to keep the peace but had no idea how to resolve conflict. Or if a doctor went to operate on a patient but had no idea how the body functioned and what did what and just started to cut things open!

These ideas sound insane. No one would do that! And if they tried we would all look at them as if they had lost their mind!

Yet, this is often times exactly how we choose to try to make a difference. We get an idea of what we want to accomplish, we make ourselves look good on paper (get a degree, find the right connections) and we look for our next big break.

We search for the opportunity for impact before becoming the type of person who can handle it.

And I’m not going to say that the motivation behind this is inherently bad, I’m just saying it’s not an expression of someone who is 100% worthy of the mask of a hero.

Personally, I’d rather become the person who gives character to the mask rather than allow the mask to make up for my lack of character. Wearing a mask may enable me to win a battle but my character will determine if I win the war. My character is what makes me sustainable. My character is what withstands storms and overcomes obstacles. My character is what determines if I am strong enough when no one else was. My character determines if the impact I make will last. And is that not the ultimate goal?

You see, the mask doesn’t make my character….My character makes the mask. And if I want lasting impact, if I want to build something huge that matters, then it starts with who’s behind the mask. If I’m not who the mask portrays……then I’m going to eventually fail to live up to the ideal of who I’ve said I was. And let’s be frank, I’m going to avoid failure at all costs.

Step 2: Take a look at the list you wrote from the prior post and cross out any words that you don’t want to be a representation of your character. 

Feel free to post your thoughts below or send me a tweet to chat more.

 

Photo Credit 

To the dreamers. To the heroes. To those who say, YES.

Bold enough to be first. Brave enough to go where no one had gone before. Strong enough to press on when everyone else runs in retreat. 

…That says hero to me, that inspires me. That is the route of chasing my dreams into reality. But what would happen if I did it, what if I lived my life with heroic proportions? What if I dared to go where I know life is desperate to be awakened?  What if I chased him and what I know to be so real with a desperate love nothing could deterrer? What if I truly knew what I was capable of, and then had the courage to act on it?

“What if’s” only matter if they push you to become brave enough to make them reality, otherwise they will always make you feel alive, but you’ll never really live there. It’ll be a beautiful dream, but are you willing to risk, to take a jump, and make it real?

This is where my heart lives. When I push the world I see away, I see this….

I see the world of my heart, I see what I know to be true, I see what’s more real, and more alive, and I love it.  Honestly, part of me just loves the dream of it, I’m afraid that it won’t be what I imagine. But to fear inadequacy like that, is to put faith in the inferior realm, and therefore to defy what I know to be real.

I have two choices, I can live afraid and keep it a dream, or…

I can live in faith and make it reality.

You see, My God is capable of insanely ridiculously, huge things that defy every bit of reason, so to live in a dream would be to not realize who I am in love with and how desperately he loves me.

It starts in the heart, but it moves with the power of freewill.  I must decide this is what I want, passion without willpower to move is simply an excited heart chained to the earth.  It’s a choice that’s mine to make, he gave me the decision, and the ability to make it.  He gave me freewill so I could co-labor with him, so I could dream with him, so I could recklessly love him.  He cares what I think!

It’s all pretty insanely cool to me. He gave me a chance to stand at the brink of living in all I dream, and in essence asked me, Do you want this?

God knows all. He knows what I want. Of course I want it. But he asks, so I could have to chance to see me. To see who he sees. To see what he made me capable of. Because my answer of yes, doesn’t just mean, Okay God, you can give it to me. It means, Okay God I finally see the hero you made in me, I finally see that you made me strong enough to move. I finally see that I was made to be in love with you, and that its safe to dream in you. My yes, is an expression of identity, an act of complete trust, and a move made with desperate love.

God could drop dreams into our lap, but then we would miss the beautiful picture of becoming who we are in him while finding them.  We find the identity of him he wrote in us, we become the desperate lovers of the bridegroom, heroes called to rise and we realize we are radically beautiful.

He gives us freewill to chase the dreams he inspires because he knows what we really achieve when we finally make the choice to say……..

YES.