Blessing in Suffering

Abraham may have spent his life wandering, never seeing his descendants “Become a great nation”… but still was blessed wherever he went.
 
Joseph may have spent a long time as a slave and a prisoner in Egypt, but he was still the HEAD slave and HEAD prisoner.
 
Moses may have spent the last 40 years of his life wandering the wilderness with a bunch of complainers, but still he lived to around 120, and still had perfect vision and strength. Yeesh! His shoes didn’t even wear out!
 
David may have had to wait after being told he would be the next king while he was out back as a Shepard, and later on pursued by Saul for years trying to kill him through every means possible. But even has an outcast David had an army of supporters. He was even accepted by the very people he fought against.
 

We often mistake “God not putting us where we want to be” with “God not working in our lives at all.” But even in the hardest times, God is there.

 
We often think things like “My life can never get any worse!” but… not to be depressing…. but it honestly can. The problem of hitting the bottom of the barrel is that the barrel has many false bottoms to it…
 
So what? Are we failing as Christians if we don’t enjoy the fact that we are sitting in kind of hot oil but still not boiling oil? Of course not! God does not ask us to become masochistic. I have heard it said in regards to martyrs that there is no glory in seeking death for a cause. The glory comes from holding onto what you believe in even if doing so will lead to death.
 
Every one of those people mentioned prayed to God REPETITIVELY for their situations to change. Some even got to see it change.
 
The thing isn’t about enjoying your life doing the things you hate. Nor is it the belief that “If you truly are strong in your faith God should reward you with everything you desire.” The trick is to, even on the paths we do not wish to tread, see the beauty and protection of God throughout it. Not so that we will love the path, but so we can remind ourselves that even here in this dark place, God is still working in our lives. And if God is still working in our lives, that means He can not only rescue us, but use this to make us stronger.
 

So take comfort in that! Not that the path is lovely, but that God is still with us through it.

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Job’s Comforters

I have been rereading Job (which is a horrendously undersold book… especially if you are struggling) and I think one of the scariest aspects of it is just how much we undersell Job’s comforters.

 
We tend to view Job’s comforters as “Well they just didn’t get God’s will!” or “Well they were just weak in their faith!” as we do to many people that the Bible say were wrong…. but if you look closely at what Job’s comforters said, you realize….
 
They actually were 98% right….
 
There observations were pretty accurate. Their wisdom shines through in their words. These were wise men giving advice. Probably pretty high in rank too. They were 98% right…. the only place they failed was that they systematized God, and extrapolated His will from it.
 
And how often do we do that ourselves??
 
We often lose sight of how real the people in the Bible are… because the Bible clearly tells us (most of the time) “These people did right. These people did wrong.” This can give us a big head. It can make us blind to our own lives thinking “But we haven’t lost sight like them!”
 
We can….. so easily we can….The Pharisees, Job’s Comforters, Israel in the desert…. We can and DO fall for those traps so very very often.
 
Remember: Following God is not a chemical equation. This is not a system we memorize and follow. It is a relationship!
God leads us all differently. We go through and experience things differently based on who we are and where we are skilled and not. Where one person the door is open, the other the door may be shut. Where one may be allowed to test God 4 times to prove it is Him, another may be told off the moment he tries to test God.
 
What stays consistent for all of us however, is that God loves us. That God pushes us to grow. That if we follow God, all things we will experience; both benefit and loss, are for our good and for His glory.
 
Beware the trap of only seeing the results. Remember there are many ways to reach the same results. Remember there are many paths that lead from each result. Know what you can and cannot see. Pray and give advice accordingly

A Simple Reminder

Have You Ever Heard Any of the Following??

 
-“If you think that’s bad you should hear what ____ is going through!”
 
-“Well there are people who have it worse than you!”
 
-“___ is going through ____. Makes you feel better about your own issues now doesn’t it??”
 
-“At least you aren’t dealing with _____”
 
…I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who hasn’t heard something like these in their life…. and I think I’ve met just as many people who have found it to be encouraging or improve their view of their current situation…
 
We often judge “life circumstances” based on a level of “severity” which is entirely based on what we ourselves feel like we could or could not handle… This isn’t how suffering works though. Suffering is about the severity of the change, not what you change into. The acceleration, not the velocity if you will.
 
I live in chronic pain throughout my whole body. There are costs to this. Bad headaches, an inability to keep up with others physically… there are definite hardships that come from dealing with this… but I’ve been like this for over twenty years now. I didn’t even realize other people didn’t deal with this until two years ago. For me, waking up with sore and stiff muscles is just business as usual. For others who are used to not feeling in pain, it is a limiting factor that makes it hard for them to do anything. It isn’t what you are dealing with that controls how big a crisis it is for you. It is how much it differs (negatively) from what is the norm for you.
 
And so I’m going to say three things that I personally find IS encouraging to people who are dealing with hardships. (Spoiler Alert: Literally everyone is to some extent). It is something I’ve said a few times before; but something I feel people still need to hear… at least until they finally appreciate just how large the implications of it are…. They are three things that I don’t need to know your life circumstances to know it applies to you… in fact; I don’t even need to know YOU to know it applies to you! It applies to all of us who have lived long enough to read this post.
 

1. What You are Going Through IS Hard!!!!

 
Don’t belittle it!
Don’t be ashamed of how much you’re struggling with it!
Don’t be afraid to talk about it lest you be made fun of!
Don’t think you are just some weakling for struggling with something like this!!
 
I don’t care if you are starving with no money to buy groceries, or you’re having a down day because you accidentally hit a squirrel on your way into work… What you are going through IS hard because to YOU it is hard!
 
Remember… Being strong doesn’t mean you will never struggle… that just means you’ve never been tested. Being strong means that you will keep fighting forward in spite of struggling!
 
Don’t shame yourself for struggling. Everyone does it and it is honestly what drives us to grow. Accept your struggles. Mourn if you need to. But then get ready to pick yourself up again, because there are still two more things to say!
 

2. You are NOT Alone!!!!

 
I know how it feels… no one checks in on you…. or maybe you’re the one everyone turns to but have no one to turn to yourself… maybe you feel like you’ve just messed up so much that no one cares… maybe you think no one ever did care…
 
These are lies! The fact that you have lived this long… no matter what you’ve gone through… no matter how much you’ve felt neglected on… the fact that you are still breathing right now means you are not abandoned… because human beings are not self sufficient like that!
 
In addition to that; human beings aren’t isolated creatures… Every life we interact with we touch, and they touch our lives the same. Even the barista you bought your coffee from this morning… that 2 minute exchange can have an effect on them and on you as well.
 
Whether it be family, friends, a church, or professional services… I promise you there are people out there who care about your well being and may even help you if you ask. You are not a nobody. No one is! Your life is precious and one of a kind. Irreplaceable and needed. You Matter!
 

3. You CAN Get Through This!!!

 
It’s easy to feel like it’s too much… like you’ve messed up too badly… that the mountain in front of you is too big and it’s too late anyways… You look at your friends around you holding the things you want… Yeesh! You see those kids 10 years younger than you getting the things you should have by now and think “What did I do with my life??? Why am I so bad at this?? What even is the point anymore?!?!?!?!”
 
Life doesn’t run on rails!
 
In spite of what we often think, there is no set path to life. No time schedule (well for the most part. They do apparently frown on taking nap time past kindergarten but hey!) There is no quota or even order you are supposed to meet.
 
Life is a walk through the wilderness. A winding path which each person travels differently. Don’t feel like you failed just because someone is further ahead walking down a straight path while you traverse hills and curves. You are gaining things you will need down the way that they don’t even know exist anymore!
 
But it can be scary… and hard. Well meaning people will often ask you when you will get your life together, or if you are even trying. On top of that, most resources and systems that people rely on are tuned assuming people are all walking the same road… You are not a pedestrian though. You are a trailblazer! You need to think… be creative… look for what you are gaining and think of how you can use it to your advantage!
 
Your mountains may not seem much smaller as you continue to walk down the path…. in fact, there may be days they seem much bigger…. but guess what. You’re going to be bigger too. You may not always succeed just for giving life your best; but you will always grow. No matter how many times you fall, as long as you get up, you will be a little stronger than before.
 
Keep walking the path before you. Trust the one who set you on it. There is no “Game Over” screen in life until you die. No matter how far you think you’ve fallen… you are not beyond getting back again. Keep walking until you realize that you’ve gained more on this journey than you’ve ever lost.
 
 
So, I don’t know what you’re dealing with right now. Maybe you’re struggling with singleness. Maybe you’re struggling with unemployment. Maybe you’re struggling with not being a parent. Maybe you’re struggling just with life never seeming to work out. You could be wanting to just give up… having lost all motivation to get out of bed in the morning. You could be scared out of your mind and hiding from all the things that could be wrong. You may even be considering destructive behaviours to distract yourself, or even just ending it all as there’s no real point left anyways….
 
Whatever you’re going through… no matter how bad you feel… no matter what well meaning people have told you in the past that has pushed you farther down the path…. let me tell you right here and now….
 

What you’re going through IS hard! Don’t be ashamed to struggle with it!

 
You are NOT alone! Don’t feel like no one cares if you live or die, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help even for things you feel like you SHOULD be able to carry yourself.
 

You CAN get through this! Don’t give up before you see where this road ends.

 

Keep on fighting 🙂

Do We Cause More Harm Than Good?

Full Disclaimer: This isn’t a subject I have a good answer for…

 
We live in a day and age where everyone seems to be fighting something. We’re either fighting for it or against it. We want to “Rid the world of evil! “End all suffering!” and other broad yet good sounding phrases that get shared to hundreds of social media sites…
 

But are we actually having the reverse effect?

We live in an age of sensationalism. People are hooked on it. A disaster happens and we’re all running to watch and record it. Someone’s kicking against something and we all want to run in and kick and throw insults at it as well. Someone is told off and we suddenly have thousands of blogs analyzing the pros and cons of the criticism and how we always knew secretly that this person was truly an evil person we just couldn’t say it because society wasn’t as insightful as us yet….
 
It was the Charlottesville protest that first made me wonder this… For what felt like forever, every day I would wake up to see people reblogging videos of a black man getting surrounded and beat up recorded and posted online saying how cruel and one sided this event was. Two posts lower I’d see another video recorded directly across the street of a white man getting ganged up on and beat up saying how cruel and one sided this event was. It was a horrendous historical event, and I know people who witnessed it who were never the same again afterwards.
 
But the part that made me question how to approach such subjects took place almost a year ago. See, a couple of dumb people went to go protest something dumb in town…. it really seemed like 4-10 people were going to get drunk and yell dumb stuff on a street corner for a day then get bored and go home…
 

Then people saw it…. and were offended…

 
People reblogged it and reported it. People claimed how wrong it was and called people together to retaliate against it.
 
This of course did not go unnoticed as people around the world who sympathized with the cause got offended at people getting offended. They began to raise money to go and support their fellow believers and counter protest the counter protest that was rising up against the original protest.
 
This spread like wildfire for way too long. People around the world were sharing about the event, calling people to save money and come and support one side or another… what it led to was a small city turned into a warzone, and a world shook up for quite a while after.
 
Now I’m not here to argue which side was right and which side was wrong. Only to say, this escalated into something far greater and damaging than it was originally going to be, because we raised an army to fight against a handful of people which grabbed the attention of an army which assembled to fight against that army. In all honesty, I don’t think everyone there even cared about the cause one side or another. I think a large portion of people just showed up because there was a sensational thing happening and they wanted to be part of it.
 
The scary thing is, that no matter how viral something gets… unless it leaves literal scars like Gamergate Wars or Charlottestown, or certain people voted into government roles…. no matter how many people on your friendslist are reblogging, and how many people are claiming “WE DRAW THE LINE HERE AND NO FARTHER!” …. the truth is, in 3 months time it will probably go silent again. There will always be that one or two people who are constantly discussing the matter, but for the most part, the moment that people stop reblogging, people stop caring…. What seemed like the whole world had gone into chaos and was trying to destroy each other seeps back into normality scarily fast.
 

So what’s the answer? Do we not fight for causes anymore and not draw attention to problems lest we make them worse?

No… I can’t say that because we’ve already proven that Ignorance is NOT Bliss, it’s simply making us unaware of when the inevitable will hit….
 
In all honesty this is where I get stuck. I can’t say “Ignore those who suffer or those who harm others.” because it goes against pretty much everything my life stands for. On the other hand I can’t say that protests, reblogs, or even angry facebook statuses (yes I do realize I am self criticizing with that one) have ever or will ever do anything to make this world a better place. There are however, a few things I have noticed which I will point out now in hopes that maybe you guys can find answers where I cannot.
 

1. DON’T FAKE YOUR FACTS OR USE ABUSIVE TACTICS!

 
Okay, this one is fairly obvious but I’m writing it anyways because too many people don’t get it. If your cause is just your cause is just. Don’t use shock factor posts that use an out of context picture to blame something you’re against. Don’t beat up someone who stands for something you stand against. Don’t be an idiot in any of these regards.Partially because you need to be better than that, partially because if your cause is true why do you need fake facts to begin with?? And MOSTLY because people who are in the other camp WILL call you out on it and in the end you’ll only add fuel to their fire showing how dumb people who argue against them are!
 
Treat people like human beings even if you disagree with them
 
Don’t exaggerate or feel you need to shock people into following you
 
Don’t force people to follow you or hate them if they don’t believe what you do
 
AND PLEASE FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD STOP USING HORROR MOVIE SCENES OR FAKE PICTURES TO SHOW THE EFFECTS OF NOT LISTENING TO YOU! SNOPES IS WAY MORE EFFECTIVE THAN YOU THINK AT CALLING YOU OUT!
 
In the end I’ve seen more propaganda FOR causes used AGAINST causes than for them
 

2. You Can’t “Remove” Evil From This World

 
I’ve said this before, but… “Evil” isn’t a thing. “Evil” is an absence. Can you dig all the empty out of a hole? Can you turn anything off to remove darkness from a room? Can you remove silence from a room? No! These states are all the absence of something so you can’t “Remove” them, you can only fill the room with something else. In the same way, you cannot “Remove” evil from the world, you can only “Fill it” with good.
 

3. People Are Not Out to Destroy You

 
I know a lot of people who hurt me. I know some people who actively look for ways to find any fault in what I say or do so they can turn others against me. I have known people who actively sought me out to harm and torture me. So believe me when I say
 
No one is out to destroy YOU!
 
Even those who actively try to hurt you, they aren’t doing it SPECIFICALLY to hurt you! No one wakes up in the morning and is just like “Oh! What evil do I do today! I need to do evil!” NO! This is a belief we’ve instilled due to our culture of “Us vs Them” of “You’re either born good or born evil” or “Only evil people can do evil things!”
 
The truth is, people do things because they feel they need to. Someone attacks someone, it’s not because they want to attack that person. It is because there is something they feel they will accomplish by attacking them. It may be as noble as protecting someone important to them. It may be as dumb as “I get excited and feel big when I manage to beat people up in a fight!” But what is important is NOT beating you up but what is achieved from it.
 
This is fairly abstract to wrap your head around but is important to understand. Because when we face a cause we tend to view those against us as cruel heartless people who wish to destroy everything good in this world… No one wants to destroy everything good in this world. Everything YOU think is good in this world maybe, but not what they think is good in this world.
 
In probably about 90% of arguments I’ve seen… When you listen to both sides of the argument they are often fighting for the same thing. “We want to protect our kids!” “We want equality!” We don’t want this country to fall!” …But we’re human beings. Our perspective is finite and limited. Of course we’re going to have differing ideas as to which is the right way and which is the wrong way. Sometimes there is one side that is actually the only right way. Sometimes there are several ways that are right. Sometimes NONE of us are right!
 
What’s important to take away from this is not that “Everyone is right in their own way.” but that you are not being personally or intentionally attacked and victimized by someone even if you are indeed being hurt by their actions.
 

4. Hate Begets Hate

 
Now that we’ve shown that people make their actions out of what is logical to them (no matter how much or little effort they have put into said logic) we can go onto the next point.
 
NO ONE LIKES BEING TOLD THEY’RE STUPID AND WRONG!
 
Do you like being told you’re an idiot and you’re wrong? Probably not. So why would anyone else??
 
Yet we so often feel like the solution to a problem is to confront people head on. “You’re wrong because you’re being cruel and hurting innocent people! Everything people like you do is cruel and selfish and idiotic! People like you are the reason this world is falling apart! You aren’t capable of good! The world needs to be rid of you!”
 
Wow… that is… so convincing….
 
Yet this is what majority of arguments these days sound like!
 
Don’t attack their person or their actions. Focus on their reasons! Dispel their fears and explain why it is beneficial for them.
 
“I don’t want ____ because it will make us lose jobs and we’ll all be broke and serving ____”
 
“Actually by ____ coming in it frees us up to do _____ and will most likely improve the economy by giving us time and energy to do ____! It may take a few years for people to adapt, but if you’re a hard worker and willing to grow, this could actually be a forefront to a new age of industries like _____ and _____”
 
“I don’t like _____ because they do _____ and force me to do ____.”
 
“That is fair, and you are allowed to think that way. But have you realized that by retaliating by ______ you look like you’re _____ and it is just in the end going to make ____ retaliate more?”
 
“I deserve the right to _____ because if I don’t I was told ____ and _____ and ____ will happen to me!”
 
“I see why you would be worried for that, but those stories are not quite accurate. Here are the actual stats behind it. Also realize that if you do _____ it will mean that _____ will also suffer by _______.”
 
I can’t guarantee anyone will be convinced by these arguments either, but do you see how it can make people think and approach a subject a little more readily than “YOU EVIL PERSON! IT’S BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU THAT THERE IS SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD! PEOPLE LIKE YOU SHOULD ALL DIE!”
 

5. Escalation Escalates

 
This is the scariest one. In western culture especially we have this unrealistic, romanticized dream that we can overpower and overthrow anything that stands against us… The sports star who sneaks past the entire team due to his great skill. The soldier who defeats an entire battalion due to superior weapons, the zombie plague survivor who manages to survive waves of zombies due to ingenius thinking.
 
The problem is that reality is not so one sided. Everyone is trying their best. Everyone is growing. If you push against someone hard enough, they will push against you equally hard.
 
I’m always surprised how few people remember these, but as a kid, “Chinese Finger Lock Puzzles” were really popular. They’re these little woven tubes you stick your fingers in, and the harder you pull apart, the tighter they hold onto your fingers. The only way to escape them was to push in and then pull out.
 
In the same way, fighting against people harder causes them to fight against you harder. This leads to the gamer gates, the Charlottestowns, all sorts of experiences online where things escalate and get more and more violent.
 
Don’t Make the World Your Enemy. It Meets You at Equal or Greater Force!
 

6. You Become What You Focus On

 
What you put your focus on you will become. If you focus on the racists of this world, you will become racist. If you focus on the sexists of this world, you will become sexist. If you focus on the proud of this world, you will become proud. If you focus on monsters in this world, you will become one.
 
Now note, this does not mean you will become supportive of their causes. It simply means you will develop similar tactics and habits.
 
A lot of people believe hate is the opposite of love, however both involve obsessing with and giving some level of control over to someone else due to strong emotions. And both lead to some level of mimicking later on. Whether you do something because someone tells you to or don’t do something because someone tells you to, you’re still choosing your actions based on that other person not your own decisions. You’re still being controlled.
 
The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.
 
 

So then what is the answer?

 
As I said before, I’m not certain of this myself. But I think I’ve brought up a few points that can be helpful.
  1. Be a Good/Honest Person Firstmost.
  2. Don’t View Those Against You as Less/Worse People Than You
  3. Focus on What You can Put Into This World, Not What You Take Out
  4. Aim for the Reasons Behind Peoples’ Actions, Not Their Actions
  5. Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Escalation
  6. Realize Your Own Perspective and Strength Are Limited Too
  7. Your Job Isn’t to Change Their Minds, but to Encourage Them to Keep Thinking
 
Other than these, I am unsure what is the best way to move forward. If you have ideas, let me know, because it is a problem I’ve mulled over for quite a few years now and still am pretty far from where I need to be.
There are times you will have to fight in life to protect someone…. but you will never save anyone by fighting.

Screwdrivers and Hammers

Imagine if you were a screwdriver in a world of hammers:
 
All your life was spent learning how to be a hammer. All jobs and processes were designed to be used by hammers. All infrastructure and technological achievements had been designed in order to help hammers be the best hammers they could be.
 
Now this is a problem… you see… it is not complicated to be a hammer. You can hit stuff with a screwdriver. You can even hammer in a nail with a screwdriver…. but even still, screwdrivers make lousy hammers. Their balance is off, their weight is insufficient, and they lack the durability any hammer has.
 
So you probably spent your life being told “Just put in effort like everyone else!” or “You can do it if you just try!”. Meanwhile you were faced with the conundrum of how could you possibly try harder? Were you just incompetent? Was there something wrong with you? You were trying harder but still failing at even the simplest tasks and your handle was getting beaten and tattered from repetitive misuse.
 
 
. . . Know that just because everyone else seems able to do something one way doesn’t mean YOU can! We as humans are not carbon copies of each other. We do not fit into metrics nor do we all have the same path set before us.
 
But not all is hopeless. You aren’t just fated to a life of “not measuring up to others standards.” it’s not simply “A burden we must endure.” Because in this world screws also exist.
 
 
Now hammers do not like screws. They don’t understand them. Screws are hard to hammer in, don’t hold on well when you do, and really just cause more damage than they’re worth. Screws are dangerous, frivolous, and wasteful…. At least if you approach a screw with the abilities of a hammer.
 
For a screwdriver though, screws are simple and smart. They hold tighter and last longer than nails do. It takes less force as with a simple twist, the screw does the work for you digging itself in and holding things together.
 
 
. . . The same way you need to realize that there are things others can do easily that you can’t. Realize as well there are things you can do easily that others can’t. Don’t limit yourself to others’ weaknesses as well as your own! Just because it was impossible for them does not mean it is impossible for you!
 
 
Now I am in no way saying that we should just toss aside all advice given to us as “Them simply not understanding and appreciating us!” No! There is wisdom from the words of those who have experienced things we have not…. but always realize those people are not you. And also realize there is very much a bias in this world!
 
“An Average Person” may not actually exist, but there IS most definitely a range of “mainstream culture” that is better supported and considered “normal”. People who fit more into this range than others may live their entire lives without realizing that not everyone is that lucky. They have information about how to move ahead provided to them, they get complimented on the path they take, they always have loads of other people to enjoy the path with and ask advice from.
 
NOT EVERYONE HAS THAT LUXURY!
 
If you’re a screwdriver in a world of hammers, there is most definitely a place and path for you in this world. You may even find it to bring more powerful results than the path you were told to walk with everyone else. But YOU HAVE TO LOOK FOR IT! Because there aren’t as many people there to point it out.
 
I’ve heard it argued “We think so we can stop having to think.” I’d argue that we should “Think so we can then think of even greater things.”
 
Don’t give up!
 
Don’t stop searching!
 
Keep Growing!
 
Keep Walking!
 
You’ve Got This!

Two Years

Welp, two years ago today this crazy road began.

 
I say began, but I had already been on that road for 20 some years at that point. It just got significantly harder and forced me to realize I was on a road those around me were not.
 
-These last 6 years have been rough
 
-These last 2 years have been deadly
 
-I’m still unsure how I’ve made it through these last 7 months.
 

There have been many hits… and quite honestly I’m just tired at this point…

I’ve dealt with:
-Tests that backfired and caused more damage;
-Coping methods that are 10 minutes of extreme pain for almost a week of survivability;
-Increased headaches and brain fogs as most of my coping methods have been taken out of my diet;
-Short sighted rumors spread and the backlash that came from them;
-Pets dying,
-Relatives dying,
-The lifestyle I knew being torn apart.
-Constant pain no matter what I do
A world without a safe zone… a place to relax or think through everything that has happened. It’s honestly been so long since I’ve known what it feels like to…. feel… excitement? Happiness? Relief? Worry, anxiety, exhaustion, and regret have been my closest friends.
 
After two years of clawing at walls in an attempt to even slow the descent, I stand here fairly battered and bruised. You want the future to come, but there are days you wonder what’s even left to survive?
 

But then let’s look at what was gained in this time.

Because I may have lost a lot, and feel wiped out…. but the thing about hardships is that it builds our muscles and causes us to grow.
Besides, I never write these things just so I can whine about my life… but for the sake of all those who have told me they can relate.
I’m open and honest about how much it hurts and how weak I am, because there is no shame in admitting you’re weak. You may as well have shame for having two ears or a nose! It kind of comes with who we are.
 

But there has been growth as well throughout the hardships. Good news amidst the sorrows.

It was finally proven that I didn’t have liver cancer. That is a diagnosis I was more than thankful for.
 
God not only let me (the kid who was told by counselors he wouldn’t make it past grade 7 for context) graduate with a bachelor’s degree but even managed to gain Summa Cum Laude for getting a 4.0 GPA in every class!
 
I have had to become a lot more conscientious about things… My exercise, my diet, my finances… Sure this is also a bother. I’d much rather be eating triple patty burgers with pop, sit back, and go to Europe once a year like those around me…. but these aren’t bad skills to learn… and they mean I’ll be able to do more with less when the time comes again.
 
I lapped the Bible. Read through it once, and now am halfway through on lap two. There’s a lot of things I’ve managed to pick up on through reading it this way as well. I definitely recommend doing it cover to cover at least once in your life.
 
People are still as loud and obnoxious as ever… and I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are still twinges of bitterness as to those who lied to others about why I lost my last job, why I live at home, the validity of my condition, or have even told my parents to throw me out of the house for my own good and theirs… But at the same time… the world has gotten a lot larger around them as the world they live in has gotten so much smaller.
So much of our world just runs on rails of what is the right way to live our lives. What is expected of us. So many people fall through the cracks of this illusion. There are many people out there who are introverted, highly sensitive, chronic illness, shy, unemployed, in debt, or more… and in spite of what those on rails say; these people are NOT weak all the time! Actually, often times I’d say they have far more strength than those who maintain their illusion of the “Majority”
 
Speaking of the world not being on rails… I’ve learned how to find the un-walked path a lot better.
You can get into pretty much any industry easily for a lot of effort and $5000.
Want to publish a book? The publisher wants $5000 for professional marketing and editing. Want to get into Voice Over? Well unless you have a $500 demo that only comes after $4000 worth of lessons to go on your $40 website…. no one will ever dream of looking at you! Want to learn a language? Sure! Just spend $5000 on lessons! Streaming? Set up. Sales? Products. Accounting? Certification. Programming? Computer Degree. The list goes on, and each industry will tell you it is the ONLY way in!
 
Listen… There is NOT only one way forward because the people who founded these paths didn’t have these luxuries to begin them. If you can afford them, take them. It’s much easier to stay on the main road. But don’t let yourself feel trapped because every industry wants $5k just to reach the starting line!
 
I’ve also learned to do the best I can with what I have. Because I don’t have much. About 10 months ago, I was driving to Toronto with my laptop in my car and it struck me “If I got into an accident right now I’d lose pretty much 100% of the marketable assets I have left!” But do what you can with what you have! Don’t worry about the results! Don’t worry about the end goal! Don’t freeze in place because of how much lies before you! Focus on taking one more step right now! Then do a step after that! A step after that! And a step after that! Move at your own pace! Don’t let others berate you for it!
 
I’ve learned the importance of rest. There are days I wish I was even half as lazy as people assume I am. Each day, I do physio exercises, I make meals, I apply for jobs, I study language, business, and computer sciences, I read my Bible, I pray, I clean, I try to keep in contact with people from over 12 different countries…. I’ve learned there are days I need to just rest…. and I am not a failure for doing so!
 
I am not sure who made up the belief that you are ineffective if you take breaks. It was very short sighted and dumb. People are an investment. Not an asset. Give them rest and they will come back more awake, refreshed, and more effective towards you!
 
A large eye opener for me was when I started taking the nerve blocks and went from a 6-7 to a 4-5 on the normal pain scale…. I saw how much energy I had given back to me… I realized just how lazy those people who said I wasn’t working hard were if they were sitting at a 1-2 and had THAT much energy! I also realized how much I really needed to pace myself and take rest.
 
One of the big ones I learned was to ask for help. From doctors, from friends, from others. I have never wanted to be a burden to others. I was put into a place where I was forced to be. I was forced to realize it was okay, and to do it more often. We can’t make it through this life on our own. Stop trying!
 
My relationship with my parents hit a major improvement through these last two years. I think the same way that all kids; usually in their mid teens, though if they’re more responsible usually in their early-mid twenties; hit a point where they realize their parents’ AREN’T right on everything, and they have to decide how much they’ll cling to what they were taught, and how much they’ll decide to do differently that we call “rebellious phase.” I think every parent falls into the trap of believing “I know my kids better than anyone! Even better than they know themselves!” which of course means they stop looking for how you’ve grown and changed and start missing things. These last two years have forced communication to open up again… and it has been incredibly healing.
 

So here we stand as year three of this all starts…

my mountains seem no smaller, but the world seems a lot bigger. Honestly I don’t know what lies ahead, and if it weren’t for God I’d really see no point in even trying. (Yeesh! I was burnt out November of 2017!) But I remind myself… even though I don’t want to be paying off the debts of these last 2 years until I’m 40. Even though I don’t want to be alone nor living at home. Even though I don’t want to be a burden to my parents who have done so much to help me through all this. I know that if God wants me to stay here then there is nothing I can do to stop it and He will provide through it. I also know that He has taken people from prisoners to second in command of a country over night throughout the Bible. If God wants to… no mountain is too high for Him to topple.
 
I do however pray that this third year… God just does something ridiculous. Partially for the selfish reason that I am wiped out… emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted… I don’t have anything more to give unless He gives it.
 
At the same time though, I want Him to do something ridiculously from Him because I think this world, ESPECIALLY in the church… needs a reminder. We DON’T serve a dead God! It is NOT by OUR works but by what HE does THROUGH us!
 
“You may say to yourself ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ but remember the Lord your God for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth!” – Deuteronomy 8:17-18
 
In the end, it is not my place to command God. If it were, He wouldn’t be God! I would be! But I humbly concede that everyone’s success; from the greatest saint to the lowest tyrant; only has success because He has allowed it. And I cling to hope that He is merciful and does all things for our good.
 
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening to this broken man’s ramble. I pray that it was encouraging for you, and that you find hope in it. Remember you are not alone!

What is Strength?

Every now and then people find out about all that has been going on these last seven/two years and tell me that I am strong…
 
This always catches me off guard… I don’t really feel strong…
 
Stubborn? Yes…
 
A sore loser? Most definitely…
 
Abnormally low amounts of self preservation? Probably…
 
But strong? not really… The amount of times I have felt overwhelmed… like I couldn’t take another step forward are numerous. The amount of times I feel over my head and have no clue what on earth to do… the same… But still… people tell me that I’m strong…
 
Not that I really mind… I mean it’s a lot nicer than some of the things other people have called me. But if I’m strong, then let me give you a little insight into what strength is… because I feel like we have a wrong picture of it in our culture.
 
Strength is crying yourself to sleep at night.
 
Strength is losing your appetite over worry.
 
Strength is wanting to be alone.
 
Strength is desperately needing a hug.
 
Strength is being unable to fall asleep because you don’t want another day to begin.
 
Strength is admitting you can’t do it.
 
Strength is needing to take a day where you just can’t accomplish anything because you’re too broken.
 
Strength is accepting that hard work isn’t all it takes to get what you want.
 
Strength is realizing this world is much bigger than you know.
 
Strength is realizing just how many fall through the cracks.
 
Strength is being willing to beg for help and guidance.
 
Strength is putting up with those who throw insults at you and turn those you know against you.
 
Strength is days when you keep moving forward for no other reason than you don’t remember how to give up.
 
Strength is when you can no longer hide how weak you are.
 
Strength is when you’re scared for how things turn out because how can things ever look up?
 
Strength is feeling things so deeply that your heart feels like it is being torn apart.
 
Strength is the numbness that comes when you’ve burned out everything you can feel.
 
If you’ve felt like any of these things before and are still reading this… that means you’re still alive… congratulations, that took strength…
 
Don’t buy into the world’s lies that strength comes from insensitivity… from never feeling scared or overwhelmed… from boldly never showing weakness or faltering at all. Such a life isn’t strength. It is simply a life that has never been tested.
 
There is no strength in such a front. And the day may come when all fronts may crumble. Realize now who you really are. For THAT is the person who will survive the trials.
 
Don’t give up.
 
You are strong.
 
You are not alone
 
You’ve got this
 
Keep on fighting