The Fear of Being

Growing up I always felt different from others, my interests and passions were not similar to my peers. I loved history, a trait I probably inherited from my grandfather. Not only did I love history, but I also loved reenacting historical events and pretending I was apart of great moments of times past. I lived to talk about anything-history to anybody who would listen.

Later in high school, my parents enabled me to do Civil War reenacting. I loved that time, but I eventually moved on. Later in high school, I also started making videos and putting them on the Internet. I was passionate about getting young people on fire for Jesus. Then, I just stopped.

A lot of things happened in my life during my high school years, but ultimately I was suffering from a lack of identity. I was insecure as to who I was. I would try and dress, talk, and act like my peers hungry for any acceptance I could find.

I feel confident in saying that I know that I am not alone in the lacking. The feeling of inadequacy that consumes you. I went from being a very outgoing person to person trying to blend in, not wanting to rock the boat. I was suffering rejection from those close to me so to avoid more hurt I tried to fit in to prevent any more of it.

I gave up my passions because I feared what others thought and I was unwilling to pay the price that putting yourself out for the world to judge costs.

I let the world steal my passion for change.

I was at a Spirit lead bible study the other night, and I felt the Lord speak to me. He brought to my attention that what I was passionate about was not a thing that I should be ashamed of, because He put that passion inside me. That passion is the work He wants to do through me.

We are all God’s original masterpieces, and we take our identities and sell ourselves short of the person God created us to be.

Fear has always been a part of being alive. The fear of what other people think consumes our thoughts. It dictates how we act, dress, and talk to others. We want to be a winner and receive the accolades from our peers, but even if we receive it, we will still feel empty inside. No amount of praise from man can replace what a God who knew you from the before the womb has to say about you.

What am I saying?

Embrace what you love! That is could very well be the thing that God placed you on earth to change the world through. What does that look like? If you love skateboarding, dive head first in perfecting your craft. If you love telling stories, don’t stop it. If you love to read, dig deeper. Perfect your Passion. Grow in that facet and let the Holy Spirit use that as a way to connect with others. I truly believe when we embrace the identity that God has given us we can be empowered to change the world. We don’t have to live in fear of man anymore.

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How to Find Adventure (Like Walter Mitty)

Adventure is within your grasp. All you have to do is decide in your heart to take that first step into the unknown.

I spent this Christmas in Colorado with my family, near the hip city of Boulder. At our Airbnb, we sat down over the holiday to rewatch one of my favourite movies The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I love this movie because it tells the story of Walter Mitty who is lost in the mundane responsibilities of life. His confidence has been robbed from him due to his past. I connect with Walter because Walter is a dreamer, and like most men, he longs to be revered as dangerous and adventurous.

In the past four years the Lord has blessed me and allowed me to travel all over the United States. I travel quite-a-bit, and the question I get asked by folks is how do you afford such endeavours? I’m not a wealthy person, but I budget for traveling. I think the only thing that keeps people from finding adventure is taking the first step out the door. It’s having the courage to go somewhere you have never been or do something you have never done.

Adventure is not about where you go or the dollar sign on your travels. It’s about finding the courage to go into the unknown. The only way to grow is to try something new.

One of my favourite scenes in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is when he decides to find the elusive photographer Sean O’Connell. You see the inner turmoil, and then Walter just begins running down the halls of Life Magazine’s office to the music of Arcade Fire’s Wake Up. Walter Mitty finds the courage to do something crazy. Go to Greenland and look for a recluse photographer.

What The Secret Life of Walter Mitty leaves out, is where can one can get courage. People can dig within themselves to find enough resolve not to be paralysed by fear, but true courage comes from God. You can only find your adventure by understanding who God is and how He views you in Christ. When you receive your validation and courage from God, you can walk on water like Peter.

All of us are Walter Mitty to some degree. The story of your life is happening right now. The clock is ticking and every moment counts. Being adventurous does not mean you have to climb Everest or wade streams in Vietnam. You can find adventure in just trying that new restaurant or visiting that state park a few hours away.

Whether the adventure in front of you is talking to the stranger about truth or going and climbing a mountain; I pray you find the courage to go. All you have to do, to change yourself and possibly the world is walk into the unknown, and honestly, that’s what’s Jesus has called us to do. Go find your adventure!

What It Means to Be An American

At the beginning of this year, I saw U2 perform at their 30th-anniversary concert of  Joshua Tree album. It was a humble, reflective celebration of what is probably Bono and U2’s most famous album. There is an emotion that while the album touches on social issues around the world is undeniably American. Bono has stated in several interviews that he loves America and what it has been for the Irish people.

During a San Diego concert, Bono spoke these words: America “has become our second home,” Bono said. “It’s not just a country, is it? … It’s a great idea; it’s one of the best ideas ever.” “A country built on hope cannot be driven by fear,” Bono went on to say in the brief address in between songs. “A country founded on equality cannot allow hate to pull it apart.”*

America is a nation of immigrants. Unless you are a Native American, your ancestors came from another country usually in search of a better life. It is a crazy thought that people in a day and age where they were not as readily connected as we are now would leave all things familiar to travel to a land they have never been. Not only a place they have never been but a land full of danger and trials. My first question is why? What would drive someone to that place? Well the answer I have always grown up being told is freedom, and while that is very true, it is an oversimplification.

Freedom alone isn’t the only thing that draws people to America; it’s goodness. It’s the words written on Lady liberty. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” –Emma Lazarus Those words send a message of hope in a nation built by refugees of political, religious, or economic persecution.

It seems though, that we have chosen to forget that part of our history. When I look that those in the conservative thought camp I hear constant anti-immigrant sentiments, and the fact is none of this is new. The Irish were met with hatred and contempt, and the newcomers versus old comers have been a battle waged since the inception of America.

It seems that when we have tasted of the goodness of America, we have no interest in sharing the blessings.

What it means to be American is to be able to be something new, it isn’t just freedom. It is the freedom to dream and to know that the only thing stopping you is you. While you may believe that the systems are out to destroy you, the opportunity to succeed still can be done in the USA. It is that ideal that has brought millions into this country. Maybe the system is crushing you, and all you can see is the injustice. Instead of pointing our fingers at immigrants and others in general. Maybe it’s time to better ourselves.

U2 has released a single off their new album Songs of Experience. The track Get Out of Your Own Way I think speaks to all of us.

Love hurts
Now you’re the girl who’s left with no words
Your heart’s a balloon, but then it bursts
It doesn’t take a cannon, just a pin
Your skin’s not covering
And resistance
Love has got to fight for its existence
The enemy has armies for assistance
The amorist, the glamorous, the kiss
A fist, listen to this, oh

[Chorus: Bono]
Get out of your own way, oh, I
Get out of your own way, oh, I

[Post-Chorus: Bono]
I could sing it to you all night, all night
If I could, I’d make it alright, alright
Nothing’s stopping you except what’s inside
I can help you, but it’s your fight, your fight

[Verse 2: Bono]
Fight back
Don’t take it lyin’ down, you got to bite back
The face of liberty’s starting to crack
She had a plan up until she got smacked in the mouth
And it all went south
Like freedom
The slaves are lookin’ for someone to lead them
The master’s lookin’ for someone to need him
The promised land is there for those who need it most
And Lincoln’s ghost said…

[Chorus: Bono]
Get out of your own way, oh, I
Get out of your own way, oh, I

[Post-Chorus: Bono]
I could sing it to you all night, all night
If I could, I’d make it alright, alright
Nothing’s stopping you except what’s inside
I can help you, but it’s your fight, your fight

[Chorus: Bono]
Get out of your own way
Get out of your own way
Get out of your own way

[Outro: Kendrick Lamar]
Blessed are the arrogant
For there is the kingdom of their own company
Blessed are the superstars
For the magnificence in their light
We understand better our own insignificance
Blessed are the filthy rich
For you can only truly own what you give away
Like your pain

We are the only ones who make ourselves victims and only we can decide who we want to be. The opportunity to be more is what America is made of. This is the freedom that caused people to sell everything they owned. This is the future that so many died for, and give everything in defense of. The opportunity to become more is the American dream. That is what it means to be an American.

*Source: http://www.glennbeck.com/2017/09/26/a-country-founded-on-equality-bono-encourages-americans-with-this-stirring-speech/?utm_source=glennbeck&utm_medium=contentcopy_link