Wasted on Worry

Originally Posted March 13 2016

How many hours, days, months are wasted on worry? When God puts something on your heart but no path forward lies ahead. How much time is wasted on plotting and planning, looking for what little crack you are missing to get in and help when the obvious lies right before you.

Pray. It is so simple it is often overlooked, yet so essential that our lives are changed by it. How I wish the day would come where I would stop trying to force God to let me carry the loads I am incapable of and instead fall to my knees in prayer that He do what only He can in areas where His heart must break even more than mine

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Why We NEED Fantasy

Have you ever wondered what it is that we find so attractive about fantasy? Is it the amazing worlds? The existence of magic? The concept that wearing capes in public is socially acceptable again? Maybe not… Well save for that last one… Capes DO need to come back into style… Like now…

If you think of it, most fantasies really aren’t that different from reality. Sure there are different races, creatures, and laws of reality, but the best fantasy stories out there are usually highly relatable to the psychological and political problems of modern day society. There’s corruption, cowardice, discrimination, naivety, greed, you name it.

So why fantasy then? What makes fantasy so different from a slice of life show? I think the answer simply comes down to the concept of having the power to change things.

In our modern world we have ourselves so convinced that life is hopeless. There are lairs upon lairs of legal structure that you would need a degree to know how to defend someone from corruption. You want to have an impact on your company? Well unfortunately you are merely a number in a machine to those in charge and most likely will never be able to talk to those who have the power to make decisions, let alone actually make an impact on them. You want to learn skills? Sorry, unless you can afford another degree and another 5-10 years of your life you are nothing more than a hobbiest. Want to discover stuff? Well really we already know everything there is to know, so anything else is just fantasy.

In a fantasy world most society is usually based off of medieval or greco Roman times. With the lack of proper communication and smaller community focused towns the impact your character is able to have is suddenly far greater. Yes there is still usually a government and politics, but the true fantasy is a world where one person can, by simply wanting to grow as a person and help those around them, become strong and change their city, country, or even world! Ideals leads to progress in a fantasy world as it shows up corruption and it can in the end prove that standing for your morals is far more powerful than focusing on gaining wealth or power in itself.

So why can’t we do this in our own world?

Okay, I am going to say it up front. It doesn’t matter how much you shout about something, repost stuff on facebook, or hold up signs outside of public locations in hopes of getting on the national news, You with your $5 and a tank full of gas is not going to overthrow ISIS, stop slavery, purge the world of discrimination, nor stop certain people from being voted into government… In fact you most likely will have the reverse effect you are aiming for as all you do is glamourize and spread word of ways to be evil and how fun it looks!

That being said though… That doesn’t mean we are helpless.

I always hate it when people blame readers, theatre people, movie watchers, or video game players of being “Escapist personalities who can’t handle reality” because in my opinion, a good story doesn’t take you away from reality, but inspires you that your own can still be better. That being said, the road is hard.

No, I mean, REALLY REALLY hard…. Like… If it involves feeling comfortable and making yourself feel powerful, I am sorry you are probably doing it wrong. The best heroes aren’t the ones who feel like they can do anything. They are the ones who take on anything in spite of feeling like they can do nothing because they would rather fail miserably trying than accept the reality that is being forced upon them.

What can we gain from this? Quite simply, if you want to help anyone in life, the first and greatest enemy you have to overcome is yourself. You have to WANT to make a change even though it seems hard, to keep fighting even when you feel like you accomplish nothing, to be willing to face enemies who seem far too big to be conquered, to stand strong even when it looks like you stand alone, to make your life about those around you NOT ABOUT YOURSELF!

If your “Changing the world” is about making the world better for yourself, or showing how you know better, or making people more like you… Just stop. It doesn’t work. Fighting for yourself is just far too small a motivation. I mean self esteem alone proves this!

Second thing I want to focus on then is that once you have conquered yourself, don’t be blinded by the big picture. I mean yes. I am a big picture thinker so of course I am going to say the big picture needs to be seen and understood. But don’t be so blinded by the big picture that you don’t move at all. I heard it put once, “If you can’t do it then don’t. Focus on what you can do!”

Truth is that a hero in a fantasy story rarely sets out to save the world, and if saving the world is the first thing he takes on he usually gets his butt handed to him. Frodo needed to focus on watching the ring first, then getting to Rivendell, then a bajillion and five other things before he tossed the ring into mount doom. Lucy had to first prove that Narnia was real to her siblings, then go to Tumnus’ house, then to the beavers’ then a ton of other things before stopping the White Witch and leading Narnia into its’ Golden Age.

What I’m trying to say is that you focus not on what’s wrong, but what you’re needing to do. Yes you may be broke. Yes you may be underemployed. Yes you may get horrible grades. Yes you may be single, poor, a bad cook, the world is at war, people are dying, your friends are being abused, there are countries that mistreat people for stupid reasons, people around you think that becoming violent and mean will stop violence and meanness, the corrupt seem to succeed, and the righteous or broken seem to suffer, etc…. There is a stinkin lot wrong with this world! But the thing is that if you focus on saving this world in one go, you’ll lose it. Focus on what you can do.

Be someone people can turn to, improve your own flaws so you can better help others, learn what you can, put yourself in other peoples’ shoes. If you can help support businesses that will affect others then great! If not financially maybe with advice, maybe with support, maybe with encouragement, maybe with marketing. Help people to help people!

Alone you are just one person…. But one person can touch many lives, who in turn can touch many lives, who in turn can touch many lives. Touch enough lives and you start to notice things changing.

Does it seem slow? Unglamorous? Hard work? Impossible? Yes… I have bad news for you though… Heroes only seem cool because we know how the story ends, and have devoted the time to get to know them on a personal level. Truth is most heroes spend most their time being the outcasts, the dreamers, the ones everyone says focus on worthless things and waste their lives away.

Luckily we are not alone… Because I don’t know how to live such an unrewarding life if you were alone. We have God, who is here to lead and to guide. He is rewarding when the world is not. He is wisdom where we lack perspective. He’s seen the ending when we aren’t even past the prologue. If you want to take on this task alone, I’ll say your chances are slim. But there is an ally who has your back. One who believes in you more than you do and can do amazing things through you by His hand. Trust, follow, be the hero, save the day

You are Alive NOW!

Originally Posted March 2 2016

You are alive now! Even if you are single, you are alive now! Even if no place will hire you, you are alive now! Even if you are buried in debt, you are alive now!

Your life doesn’t start when you are married, when you have a house, or when you have kids. Your life isn’t on hold until you have a sustainable salary, that new degree, or some other metric to measure by.

If you are breathing, you are alive, and your life will start when you decide you want to start living.

It’s hard to realize… It’s easy to think the responsible choice is to wait until you have security to fall back on. But what is security in this world? The only security comes from following God, and that doesn’t require waiting for him but walking towards him.

Don’t feel like your life is on hold. God made you for a purpose and this world needs you! Live your life!

Adulthood?

Originally Posted February 29 2016

Me at 14: “Man! I’m so mature and good at making decisions I won’t regret years down the road! I am such an adult!”

Me at 16: “Wow, I was such a naive child back then. But now I know better! I’m such an adult now!”

Me at 18: “Man, no more high school life for me! I am independent and such an adulty person!”

Me at 21: “Okay, I think I am getting the hang of this adulting thing…”

Me at 25: “I AM NOT AN ADULT! I HAVE NEVER BEEN AN ADULT! AND I AM FAR TOO YOUNG TO UNDERSTAND ALL THIS ADULTY ADULTING STUFF ADULTS DO TO ADULT!”

Lesson: Apparently adulthood is accepting you have no clue what you’re doing but are trying your best anyways

Benefits of Shame?

Originally Posted February 28 2016

Shame is an interesting topic now a days. It has become the new enemy which we must irradiate from this world. We need to stop shaming people! We shouldn’t feel shame about the things we do or are!

But the more I think of it, the more I find that shame (much like fear) is not as evil as we make it out to be.

We feel shame when we feel like something we did was wrong. It’s called a conscience and it is actually a good thing to have. Now while I say shame is not evil, how we approach it, I believe is wrong.

Shame is not meant to limit us… to lock us away in a room feeling like we can’t do anything. No, actually it’s meant to do the opposite. If you feel ashamed of something you did or are doing, don’t cry in a corner, use it as motivation to live better! To still realize something might be wrong is a good thing to do! If you are able to do whatever you want and feel no twinge of regret or shame then be scared. It is possible to do and is a very VERY scary place to be!

Now that being said, there are things we feel shame for that we shouldn’t. Don’t be ashamed of standing up for what you believe in, or standing up against injustice, or not being a walking floor mat. Shame is not meant as a way to hold us back but as a reminder that we need to slow down and analyze. That we need to ask ourselves, “Is this really worth the risk you’re taking on, and the dangers you may create?” and… sometimes it is… other times it isn’t. To stand up for someone everyone else makes fun of is a noble purpose… to write a letter to the head office of Tim Hortons to get the guy who skimped half a container of cream on your double double fired is… not so much.

You are not a slave to your emotions, but we have fears and regrets for a reason. Don’t feel like you have to destroy your emotions lest you be a slave to them. You were created with them, you are meant to work with them!

Using the Sword of Truth

Originally Posted February 21 2016

Anyone who has known me long enough knows I have a slight obsession with ancient weapons and martial combat… ESPECIALLY when it comes to swords!

However, because of this, it really makes me think when I read in the bible how the word of God is a sword sharper than any two edged sword…

See, here’s the thing. A lot of people read that and think “HEY! The Bible is powerful! Let’s throw around verses when we need it just like picking up a blade to fight off a bad guy!” But this kind of thinking overlooks one VERY important detail about sword fighting… No one can just ‘Pick up a sword and beat the bad guy’… At least not without a heap load of dumb luck!

Swords are heavy and clumsy. You can’t hold them too loosely nor too tightly. If you simply swing one around randomly you’ll be so full of openings and tire yourself out so quickly that it won’t be too hard to overpower you… Provided you don’t lob off your own arm first…

To make any use of the sword you must practice daily. You must study it, care for it, use it to the point that it is not a tool to hide behind, but an extension of your body you can move forward with. Picking up a sword will not save you, practicing during your times of peace is what will.

In the same way with the Bible, don’t think that you can just turn to it when you need it. Doing so is dangerous and foolhardy. If you want the Bible to have any benefit to your life you need to read it daily, pray about it, study it, learn the context that it was written in. You must understand it’s context and subtext so deeply that it no longer becomes words to hide your arguments behind, but wisdom that guides your path forward.

The way of the sword is difficult to master. But most things worthwhile in life are.