Friend

Here we are, at the dam.

Damn.

Easy rhyme, without the glam.

Perfectly imperfect,

The art is worth it.

We’ve been holding back,

Afraid of the flack.

Drop the gates, let it flood.

Drain this lake, your heart’s at stake.

Mourn the loss of youth,

Been told so many lies – what’s the truth?

Relationships are fiction without friction.

Get along with everyone and you’ll lose yourself.

If you come in close, you’ll find

Chaos in this mind.

Too much for you to handle,

So hold this candle.

Let the light shine. 

Come closer and you’ll see,

Me.

Broken, battered, bruised.

And by some even used.

The current’s flowing, feel the tempest.

I’ll flood your feed with thoughts to read,

But that’s not always what the world needs.

Sometimes it needs the pain.

Sometimes it needs the rain.

Sometimes it needs the anger.

Sometimes it needs the danger.

A white-washed tomb you won’t find,

I’m alive.

Make space, hold space, I need space.

But come closer and you’ll see,

Me.

All of the emotions, flood this page like an ocean.

All this heart wants is…

Relationship. Authenticity. 

We aren’t a PR campaign to be managed,

I’m not a patient to be bandaged.

So friend, come on in.

It’s messy in this house, but I’m living.

This is the line that turns to Jesus,

And we’ll get there.

But here’s the thing I’m learning.

The truth in my heart that’s burning.

How can we be with Him in the End

If we don’t learn how to be a friend?

Impact

One of the things that Bill Snyder is famous for is his handwritten notes. He’d take time to write everyone – his players, their families, coaches and players of other organizations, senators, and more. Part of the legend of Snyder is the legacy he’s left behind in spreading love and encouragement. In “My Football Life And The Rest Of The Story” he makes mention that he wishes purple ink did not fade, but I assure you his words never will.

Countless interviews and first-hand accounts tell the tale of these words touching souls to the point that young men believed in themselves enough to become hugely successful in the NFL and beyond. He knew that Manhattan, Kansas was a difficult place to recruit to so he didn’t always go after the 5 Star Recruits likely to play at Alabama, etc. He’d focus his energies on players with character and a desire to grow in self-discipline. You didn’t want to do that? That’s fine – you just were not going to be a part of his program.

An asteroid races toward the earth at thousands of miles per hour (I’m guessing…research lacking here on my part) and if it doesn’t break up all the way in the atmosphere, it crashes into the earth with great force and magnitude. The impact leaves an impression in the ground known as a crater, forever changing the character of the landscape surrounding it.

I’ve found myself a little annoyed with my writing and thinking lately. I feel that writers tend to have a certain theme in their material and eventually, everything you read from them starts to sound the same. Francis Chan writes about epic faith. David Platt writes about the radical church. Bob Goff writes about whimsy and enchantment. Justin Meyer writes about grace, truth, and reaping what you sow.

However, there is no denying that these idea sharers have launched their words into the atmosphere with such velocity that whatever life they land upon is sure to be impacted, leaving a lasting impression on the character of their landscape, forever.

So what’s so bad about that? What if God placed someone as zealous, bold, truthful, and emotionally deep as myself right where I am for a reason? A writer with a limited audience, full-time successful job in another field, and a dwindling desire to be “famous” or well-known.

You’ve heard of the Angel Gabriel, but have you met my wife?

I flirted these words her way this weekend as she celebrated her 30th birthday but it’s not far from the truth that my wife is an angel sent from the Lord into my life. When she met me, I had spent nearly a decade of my life entrenched in an addiction to pornography, was sleep-walking into an alcoholic lifestyle, and was working a completely dead-end job making barely enough money to maintain my hot-tub membership – I mean…gym-membership.

Allie is the epitome of grace, love, and mercy. She is selfless to the point that I assume if there’s leftovers of something that I like, they’re mine. Her beauty demands respect. Her heart warrants loyalty. Jesus used her (and the prayers of my family and friends) to save my life from the hell that is simply living your life to satisfy your flesh’s every desire.

She’s not perfect and neither am I. But if you knew me in the 18-25 year-old age-range and haven’t spent any time with me in the last 5 or 6 years, you really do not know the same person. Jesus sent Allie and the consequences of my sin flying my direction at hypersonic speeds. Once set free, I was surrendered wholeheartedly to the Lord again; there was nothing the enemy could offer me that would compare to my relationship with God and my wife.

So how do you make an impact if words aren’t your thing? Allie and I decided to write our own wedding-vows when we got married. She affectionately joked that it was hard to write hers as she wasn’t a writer, but I’d tell you that she’s spent the last 5 years walking out her faith and loving with all her heart. Her selfless actions leaving an impression upon the heart of every friend and stranger she cares about.

When people encounter you this week, will they be impacted?

Some forms of impact are destructive. You can use your words and deeds for good and for evil. One of my life’s gifts is persuasion; it does help that my college-education was in Relational Communication, but I’d argue the majority of those skills were already there before I entrenched myself in student-debt to place a few fancy words beside concepts that I already understood. I used to use that persuasion for evil, but now I use it for good.

What kind of impact do you want to life behind? And what would you argue would be your life’s theme as you do your own idea-sharing?

The Grave Is Empty – Now What?

One of my favorite inspirations and writers is Bob Goff and he has a very whimsical take on Resurrection Weekend. He says, “Day turned to night, His friends scattered and death thought it had won. But heaven just started counting to three.”

For the disciples and for us, all hope was lost. If Jesus didn’t defeat death and rise from the grave three days later then the wages of sin would still be death – our death. But death has been defeated, the grave is empty, Christ sits at the right hand of the Father on the throne, and all you have to do to accept the free gift of eternal life is surrender your heart and life to Him.

So we’ve eaten our jellybeans, participated in Easter egg hunts, and attended the Resurrection Weekend worship-services at our church. The grave is empty – now what?

This has been the question that I’ve found myself pondering this week. I think it’s a question that every Believer should wrestle with in their heart and take to the Holy Spirit for illumination.

If Christ died for us so that we could have a relationship with the Father and then we spend the remaining 362 days of the year ignoring Him – does the resurrection really make a difference for us, personally?

If death has lost its sting but we live our lives in fear, has it lost its sting?

If we know that satan ultimately loses the war and we are currently just barely getting by, letting the worldly culture determine our household culture, surrendering our convictions for the sake of convenience; are we letting the loser be the winner of our daily battles?

Do we think we can rule our Kingdoms and lives better than God can? (I know that I can sometimes look down and recognize that I’ve taken the throne and allowed God the gracious opportunity to sit in my cabinet of advisers. It’s a humbling realization and one that I quickly repent of and put myself back in place, giving Christ the throne.)

And what about mindset and your level of selflessness? The grave is empty. Death has been defeated. Christ is on His Throne. Are you going to continue living in self-pity, considering yourself a victim for your weaknesses instead of praising Him for the strength He can provide you with? Are you going to keep this blessing and good news a secret? Avoiding the opportunities the Spirit provides you with to share your heart, extend empathy, and offer an olive-branch to another hurting soul.

The Grave Is Empty – Now What?

There’s murmurs of excitement in the town-square, sightings of the Holy One, miraculous signs and wonders. The “Roman Empire” rules your country, but will you let it rule your soul?

The Grave Is Empty – what are you going to do about it?

Opening Day

As my wife told me the other day – “it’s your second favorite season; baseball season!” The only season better is Fall and the part of Winter right around Christmas time where Allie lights up the world with her joy.

Today is Opening Day for the Kansas City Royals – players young and old will start the long season with a fresh slate. Their records as of right now are 0-0 for the season. And it got me to thinking, maybe you need a fresh start too.

What if today was “Opening Day” for your heart?

Perhaps you’ve been putting in the work at Spring Training or you’ve had a tough off-season. There’s been some hurts, hang-ups, and habits that have held you back but you’re ready to lace up your cleats and get back on the field. Come to think of it, your butt is starting to hurt from sitting on the bench so long anyways. It’s time to field some ground-balls and pop-flies.

But “Opening Day” is going to require something of you. It’s going to require your presence.

If you remain in Auto-Pilot, fail to take the time to run the drills and make adjustments as necessary to succeed, then you are destined to find yourself right back on the bench. And here’s the truth that no one wants to tell you in a world that wants to coddle your ego, it won’t be anyone’s fault but yours.

Efficiency requires effort. And effort requires sacrifice.

You won’t have a winning season sitting on the couch eating French-fries. (If you figure out what sport that is, let me know, I might just give it a try.)

So what does opening your heart have to do with anything?

Have you ever succeeded in any of your goals without the help of others? Have you ever managed to successfully, in a healthy manner work through a mental-health crisis without the help of someone on your team? Probably not. I know that I sure haven’t. When I try to do it on my own, that’s probably when you’re going to find me on the couch eating French-fries and feeling sad about it.

We need each other. We need our teams. As a Royals fan, I think back to the World Champions that had Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain – along with speedsters Terrance Gore and Jarrod Dyson. Those guys had CHEMISTRY. And Salvador Perez. They also had Salvador Perez – the heart-and-soul of the team. But ask anyone in the club-house what made that team successful and they’ll tell you it was that they had fun, played off one another’s energy, and called each other to greatness.

And I’d be willing to bet that when the team had a tough stretch, a string of losses, some dips in batting averages, that they weren’t afraid to open up to each other about what was distracting them or holding them back – what was going on in their personal-lives and relationships and how that was impacting their swing.

So be a world champion. It’s Opening Day so open your heart. Find your team. Be present, available, put some effort forward, and build some relationships with your teammates.

It’s time to take the field and work towards that winning season.

Who’s The King?

“If you have two cents to share about everything, your two cents isn’t worth very much,” I shared with my wife as we were on a walk last night. (This statement was not at her directly but at the big C-Culture, in general. I like being married.) Thinking about this, I wonder how many cultural issues I’ve attempted to interject any opinion on that I didn’t really know that much about or how perhaps I’ve overshared apathy or passion over inconsequential things.

I’ve wrestled with writing the past couple weeks as you may have noticed by my silence. I didn’t want to write just to write but at the same time, I felt guilty for not keeping up with the goal that I’ve set for myself and established with my readers this year of writing once a week.

I want my words to matter. I want to matter. But it’s not about me, it’s about Him.

There was a time in my life where I thought I would be a pastor or full-time author. I wanted to have a “voice” that was heard and well-known. Some days I think I still want that, but as I’ve walked through the first year or two of my 30’s I’ve seen just what an undertaking that would be and how much flack one can receive if they have a “significant” amount of influence. So many judgments given in haste. I think about my own pastors that I’ve only really met a time or two and how I’ve thought to myself, “it sure would be nice if they were in town more often,” but I don’t know the whole story – perhaps there are excellent reasons for their double-residency or perhaps there are not, but who am I to judge anyone other than myself?

So the past couple weeks I’ve been looking at the man in the mirror; examining his heart and mindset, his drive, goals, and ambitions. I’ve had coffee with friends, taken long walks in the Spring air, enjoyed beers on the patio while watching March Madness unfold, and focused on continuing to become the very best sales professional I can become.

As I’ve looked at the man in the mirror and examined his heart, I am happy to report that it is truly, fully surrendered to Christ. I really have no desire to be my own king anymore. I’ve relinquished my daily desires to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, continued to cultivate disciplines that will lead to a healthier person holistically, and placed God back on the throne – Scripture back in the legislative branch of my soul, small group and pastors back in the jury box, and counselors in my cabinet. I may be president of myself or even president of an organization some day, but I’ll answer to God and to God alone.

Are you surrendered?

It’s exhausting trying to do it all on your own, isn’t it?

There’s a sign at a local church in Bonner Springs, KS that I pass on my way home from work every day that currently says “If you died in a nuclear war, would you go to Heaven?” (Heavenly Father, forgive that church for their delivery…)

While I 100% believe that’s not the appropriate way to reach others and ask them tough questions, I do believe that we have to be willing to ask ourselves and others the harder questions if we want to get anywhere in life.

Chances are, if you’re feeling lost, it’s because you’ve cut out all of the authority in your life and made yourself king and queen. Netflix has told you this is okay – “do what feels good now, don’t worry about the consequences later.” God says, “you will reap what you sow” and I promise you that there’s not a man on earth that has ever outwitted God’s Economy.

So friend, I ask with love, if you died unexpectedly (whether via a potential WWIII or random bout of illness), would I see you in Heaven?

“He will speak against the most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and a half a time. But the court will sit and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over the the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.”

Daniel 7:25-27

Evil may have authority in the world now, but it will not forever.

Christ will come swiftly and will not be defeated; His Kingdom will reign forever.

Building Rhythm

Jocko Willink tells his cult-following “discipline equals freedom.” In his book “Extreme Ownership” and others, he lays down the framework for owning your day, making tactical decisions, and taking responsibility for your team.

So there I was sitting in my favorite chair, sipping my favorite coffee out of one of my favorite coffee-mugs. Typical morning scene. We had breakfast, conducted our Bible Study, and as my wife was getting ready for work the “to-do list” for the day started playing through my head. “Oh yeah, I’ve got that appointment and that appointment and that thing and some cleaning and laundry to do…and I said I was going to consistently exercise and write…

“I don’t want to,” I thought.

Old me would’ve had that thought and given in, right then, right there. The day would have been lost. I would’ve cancelled some of my appointments, zoned out to my favorite TV show, and betrayed my desire for personal development.

“Not today,” I thought, as I went to the bedroom, began folding the laundry waiting for me. Followed by sweeping and mopping the hardwood floors and then cleaning out my CPAP (shout-out to my fellow sleep-apnea sufferers out there).

“That’s good enough,” I could have told myself.

But I didn’t. Down the stairs I walked, purposefully taking each step. To the weight-set that has been utilized a couple times a week the past few weeks, more often than it has since the first month or so after I received it for my birthday two years ago. 30 minutes. Not bad. Getting stronger.

“Time to shower now, right?”

Wrong.

MacBook on its charger (I knew I had to charge it up to eliminate that excuse). I carried it over to the table and started typing. Which leads us to this moment, the one you’re experiencing now, sharing in my personal growth. Relating to the story.

You can read all the books, tweet out all the hashtags, sing all the songs. And it’ll help.

But it won’t do it. Eventually, you’ll have to put in the work.

And when you do, you’ll begin to recognize the truth behind “discipline equals freedom.”

You see – I used to waste my mornings, sleeping in as long as I could, casually going about life and giving into every impulse. Drinking as much and as often as I pleased in the evenings. Sure – these still happen every now and then. But more often than not, you’re going to find me in bed asleep by 9 or 10, awake and productive by 6, and doing the things that I may not want to do in the moment because I know they’ll bear the most fruit in the end.

Cleanliness and organization brings peace. Exercise ironically brings energy. Purposeful reading, writing, prayer, and conversations bring adventure and challenge.

So awake O sleeper, rise from the grave. This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.

Time to hit the showers. I’ve got some more things to do that I may not want to right now, but they’ll bear fruit in the end.

Turn Down The Dial

You’ve had a long day at work. You get in the car and turn it to your favorite rock-band, hip-hop artist, or folk music, turn up the volume, roll the windows down and drive home a few MPH above the speed-limit. Once home, it’s time to let the dog out, start dinner, take care of the kids or the trash your housemate failed to take out earlier. You turn the TV on – news of Russia putting it’s nuclear-defense systems on high alert is broadcast across every network, Ukraine stands its ground, countries across the globe offer up sanctions and arms, perhaps bringing troops within closer distances to NATO Allies but not deploying them directly into Ukraine or Russia.

Stress from the day, stress from the news…your phone goes off and your mate is going to be home from work late but you’ve already started on dinner…looks like you’ll be eating by yourself, again. Another day, another dollar. Coworkers ask how you’re doing when they see you at work. They probably don’t want to actually know and even if they did, you’re not sure you could answer them honestly. “Living the dream,” you absent-mindedly answer.

Dinner’s about done and you look up in the mirror. Have you been sleeping enough lately? Is that a gray hair? How quickly you’re growing older, how quickly time is passing away, how fast your dreams seem to be fading away into the oblivion of to-do’s, obligations, and perhaps even “good” social-outings.

Why, then, are we exhausted? Without hope? Trying desperately to drown out…

What are we trying to drown out?

With music, liquor, coffee, sugar, picking up extra shifts at work. Another coffee-date with a friend. Another meeting. A few more episodes of a TV show.

Life turns into a frenzy of movement with little substance. You don’t know what you want, because you haven’t asked yourself in a while. You’re not sure why you’re worried because you don’t really want to ask yourself. You’re mad at that one friend but don’t really want to put in the energy to call and have a conversation about it. “That’s a lot of work,” you think, easier to let bygones by bygones, easier to be a lone-ranger. People have let you down. Friends have faded into the abyss without you. You don’t need them anyway.

You’re fine. They’re fine. I’m fine.

Friends, it’s in these moments of humanity that I can get lost right alongside you. NF’s moody albums, Jim Beam, and snack-attack land offer up a brief reprisal. It’s all okay, but it’s not enough. And it never will be.

So I want to ask you a question.

What is your hope in? What are your dreams? And how are you going to get there?

Turn down the dial. Cancel something you don’t actually have the energy to do. Switch to water or tea a little more often. Try journaling, reading a book, or taking a walk – perhaps one night a week to start, and then more often after that.

You’re not God. You can’t save the world. You have weaknesses, vulnerabilities, emotional needs, physical needs for exercise and rest, mental needs to be challenged and to think critically, spiritual needs to be outside in nature. Allow yourself the space to be human. Offer up the same grace to yourself that you’d offer up to someone else.

What are you feeling? What’s on your mind?

You don’t need to tweet it or come up with a clever way to post it on Insta. It’s yours.

For me…it’s His.

I’m surrendered.

I have peace. I have hope. I have enough bread and water to make it another day.

I turn down the dial more and more often now. And it’s the best thing that Jon Acuff in his book Soundtracks has brought into my life by God’s grace and divine appointment.

Grace And Peace,

Justin Meyer

Winter’s Surrender

It’s been a minute since I’ve stroked the keys,

Found some rhythm and rhymed with ease.

Walked away from art effortlessly,

Fighting back now, typing away.

Flurries fall and stick to the surface,

Bitter cold and wind-burned cheeks,

Feels like we’ve been at this for weeks.

Winter holds tight,

Holds back the sun’s light.

The warm rays of spring struck though,

But they’ve retreated another week or two.

The tug-of-war of seasons,

Dreaming through the reasons.

Is freedom seasonal too?

Freedom from depression, freedom from the blues?

With the end in mind, I know the war is won.

But it doesn’t lessen the damage these battles have done.

It’s snowing harder now, looking at my compass.

Looking for direction, feeling helpless.

White-out conditions, roads are icy.

Life can quickly become quite dicy.

The magnetic forces of relativism,

Have lessened true north’s magnetism. 

Are we walking North, South, East, West?

Perhaps Kanye will tell us the rest.

The compass is useless so I toss it aside,

My heart’s exposed now, no need to hide.

Years of effort, striving, and pride,

And here we are, barely alive.

“Lord Jesus, come, and be my King.

Come and fill this longing.

My heart has ached with loneliness,

But I know I’m not alone in this.”

“I’ve been driving long enough, take the keys.

Drive me where you will – may I suggest the Florida Keys?”

Friends

Friends come in all shapes and sizes. You never know exactly when you’ll need one and you’ll never know exactly when they’ll need you, but we all need friends. Really, we need connection more than anything. It’s one of the deepest desires of the human heart.

Something happens as we get older. Maintaining friendships becomes much more difficult. You get married, become more involved in a career or non-profit, and there are so many things that can demand your talents and energy, so what gets put on the back-burner? Friends.

I think it’s a natural cycle of life. We wake up one day in our 30’s and wonder, “What happened to all of my friends?”

Perhaps you changed and they didn’t change with you. Maybe trauma entered your own life or theirs. Pride got in the way. Reputation won the fight over intimacy.

I was playing disc-golf this morning with a friend that I’ve recently reconnected with from high-school. And it got me to thinking that I was so thankful to have a friend, to be with, and talk with, to be active with, to do life with someone and admit our challenges and things we are praying through. He even told me that he was feeling led to/challenged to fast himself, after learning about my ongoing 40 Day alcohol-fast. I just told him that it must be the Spirit leading him because it’s certainly not my doing as I still wrestle with emotional impulse and desires every day.

But anyways, I was thinking about friendships. What happened to them? What got in the way? How come we stop being good friends?

And this is just a blog. Just speculation. External processing, at its best.

Would you like to know what I think?

I think at some point we begin to value who we want people to think we are more than allow them to know who we actually are. I think at some point we fall down, get entangled with sin or questioning God, and we let that pull us into isolation. “It’ll be better if everyone still thinks I’m doing fine. They probably don’t want to know that I’m struggling, anyways. I don’t want to inconvenience them.” And we believe that lie to the point that we act on it. We stop checking in on so-and-so, they stop checking in on us after turning down enough invitations to grab coffee or see a movie, and then…we are left to ourselves.

For a while, we kinda like it.

Autonomy! Yes! I have full control of my day. No outside forces. No one else questioning or challenging my thought processes. Hallelujah!

But then…left to our own vices…quite literally. Desire left unchecked will surely lead to destruction. Think an unsupervised child with access to the junk-drawer full of snacks and goodies. They’re bound to end up with a full and very upset stomach. Perhaps it’s food. Maybe it’s alcohol. Maybe you spend 7+ days/week at work and you’re proud of it. You’ve left no time for yourself and you wonder why you’re irritable and frustrated. Maybe you just get really lazy. You barely want to work or read or anything, really. Your lethargic tendency gives birth to full-fledged sloth mode and you can’t seem to pull yourself out of it.

Then…

Depression sets in. Anxiety. The Devil has the upper-hand now. You’re alone, isolated, confused, sad, overwhelmed. Just where he wants you.

I know this, because I’ve been there myself. I’ve got my own vices. I’ve overcome my own addictions and periods of isolated self-destruction. And the devil has an absolute party dancing on my spiritual grave when I allow myself to wallow in self-pity and stay away from my friends. “I can’t go play basketball with the guys; I’m too fat.” (Oh yeah…that’s really going to help you lose the weight you’re concerned about…And oh yeah…your “friends” are really that shallow that they’d rather not spend time with you than see you sweaty and out-of-breath every now and then.)

So there you are, just where the devil wants you.

And you have two choices:

  1. Stay where you are and let him win.
  2. Call your friends – and if you’re a Bible believer, call on Jesus too.

There is no better cure for depression than connection. No better stress reliever than walking and talking with a friend outside in the sunshine. No better anger management than talking about your problems rather than immediately reacting to them.

So, I’d like to be your friend. I don’t have it all figured out. I am 100% not put together. I have bad days and I have good days. Lately, I’m just trying to bat a little over .500 and have a few more good days than bad. And you know what’s been helping?

Community.

Small Group at church, reconnecting with old friends, become more physically active, eating healthier and drinking more water. Sharing what I’m learning with others and allowing them to grow with me, at their own pace.

So before you spend another week. Another day. Another hour. Alone.

Call your friend.

And ask the Holy Spirit to help them answer the call.

And then. Now, this is the hard one.

Be honest.

About what you want, who you are, where you’re going, what you’re dreaming about, what you’re wrestling with.

Don’t be fake. Don’t try to have it all together.

We have celebrities for that. I don’t need a celebrity. I need a friend. And you do too.

One Step Forward

One step forward, two steps back. Anyone else set goals for themselves and expect themselves to fail? Come on now, I can’t be the only one.

This year I’m setting out with some goals in mind and the enemy is already fast at work trying to slow me down and keep me from pursuing them. One goal is to write one new blog each week I possibly can and due to my work schedule, those will probably be written on Mondays or Thursday mornings pending how crazy my personal schedule is on those days. The other goal is going to be losing 32 pounds on my 32nd year here on this earth.

I wrote a rather lengthy Facebook post for my friends that I figured I may as well share here to help you gain a better understanding of what I’m wrestling through on a personal level right now. (There will be some additional thoughts added at the end, so feel free to skip ahead if you’ve already read this.)

It’s been a minute since I’ve asked for prayer or posted about any mental-health struggles…

But here it comes…turning 32 felt…different.

Allie has found a few gray hairs here and there (I should clarify, on MY head), the warm(er) weather is typically “shorts” weather for me at work but those aren’t fitting ‘great’ right now, and I’ve got all sorts of ‘weird’ emotions/thoughts swirling through my mind this time around the sun.

– “Am I becoming the man I want to be?”

– “Is making healthy diet and exercise choices literally always going to be a struggle of mine?”

– “Why is my faith so weak when it comes to trusting God to help me overcome my pitfalls and shortcomings?”

Our church is participating in a 40 Day challenge of fasting and praying for our church’s leaders and toward “breakthroughs” in our own personal lives and via my wife’s fortitude and encouragement, I’m hanging in there so far on Day 24 of fasting from alcohol. It would be so easy to numb the emotions with a drink and break the fast, but I know that God is here with me in the struggle and the confusion of self-betterment and personal-growth.

Something I struggle with is admitting a personal goal that I have out loud or in writing. That means that there’s a chance I could fail! And if I fail at something, then that means I’m a failure. Not just that I’ve failed at one thing but that my entire identity now becomes that of a failure.

And I’m trying with all my mental and emotional intelligence to fight that with all of my strength, because I know it’s not actually true.

So here’s my outlandish goal for this 32nd year of my life – I’d like to lose 32 pounds.

I know I can do it but I don’t “believe” I can do it.

There are plenty of other internal battles to work through like loving myself as I am regardless, anyways. Learning to use healthy eating and exercise as a coping mechanism for stress/anxiety/depression, rather than excess food/sugar and alcohol. Learning that my influence is not determined by my title. That my legacy will have a lot more to do with the way people see me living every day than what I write weekly.

So if you’d add me to your personal prayer list, I’d appreciate it!

I’ve hit a bit of a rough spot and I’ve always made it a personal habit of mine to maintain a level of authenticity online with my friends and family. It’s easy to share the “wins” but not as easy to share the “struggles”.

So this is my current “struggle” worth sharing and asking for your encouragement and prayer in – what is yours and how can I be praying for you?

(End of Facebook Post. Beginning of some additional thoughts.)

As I sit here in a coffee-shop, contemplating what I’d like my readers and myself to learn right now. I would say that it’s focusing more on the taking of one step forward than the potential opportunity to take a couple steps backward. Is the possibility there? Of course. But it’s also possible to take just one more step forward every single day.

I took one step forward by waking up for breakfast with my wife this morning and completing our Bible Study. I took a second step when I hit the weight-set in our basement for 20 minutes before showering. And a third step when I made up my mind not to be talked out of sharing my heart with those that faithfully take the time to read my blog.

We can’t let ourselves grow weary of doing good, friends.

We can’t give up on our goals and ambitions so quickly.

Most of what’s holding you back in your life is yourself.

That’s why I took some time to reach out to a counselor again and plan to start seeing someone weekly again for a little while.

What are you holding yourself back from? What are you doing to get out of your own way?

Lord Jesus, I pray for those reading this and myself. Help us surrender every moment of every day to you. Trusting you for enough strength to accomplish the good works that you’ve set out in advance for us to do. Help us set our eyes on the cross and on the redemptive power of your blood shed, your victory over death, and the Holy Spirit you’ve blessed us with. Help us each take one step forward. Amen.