Who Are You?

This is a huge question I’ve been asking myself so far this year. As I traveled to Seattle a big part of me was looking to take the time to recharge, talk with God & truly start to dig into the deeper truths that God has for me.

I think it’s a very critical question we all need to think about. Who we are? What are we allowing to define us? Does “who we are” line up with who we want to be?

If it doesn’t, what are you & I doing to change it. For years, I did the yo-yo dieting. Wanting to be a healthier individual, but never changing anything.

For years, I wanted to make the time to travel & explore. Wanting to get exposed to other cultures, but never changing anything.

For years, I felt myself yearning to TRULY look myself in the mirror and NOT want to look away. To be able to look myself in the eyes & know that I am valued and I made changes.

Regardless of where you are at right now. If you can figure out who you are & who you want to be then you can start heading in the right direction.

Before any goals & plans can be set in motion we have to take the time to find out who we are…

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Would You Be Satisfied?

It starts with you…

Something interesting happened to me today in Church. I was in Seattle, so I decided to join ChurchHome while I was in downtown.

Judah Smith was kicking off their 6-week study on the book of James & it was incredibly encouraging to see what God is doing in Seattle!

This post realistically has nothing to do with what Judah spoke on, but during a portion of his message he painted a picture of the reunion of James & Jesus. The joy & beauty of that union and how Jesus will be so very proud of all that we did.

My heart broke. I sat there & for some reason I quickly became flooded with the realization that we do not have much time on earth. Within this limited span of time it is my hearts desire to bring all that I can to God. To bring forth everything I did on earth as an offering. Not as a way to “get” a better place into to heaven but to simply say THANK YOU for it all. I want to utilize every possible resource, moment, talent & passion as leverage for building His kingdom!

What broke my heart is the idea of ALL the opportunities I may have missed when I wasn’t focused. All the moments that passed me by when I was so focused on my own hurts that I didn’t take the time to look for others who are hurting. I sat there thinking, “If Jesus took me home right now, would I be ready.”

And the answer was NO! There is no way I’m ready to go home yet. There is an abundance of young men & woman walking around in this world desperately seeking love, acceptance, community, etc… in all of the wrong places. Whether that be jobs, relationships, hobbies, Crossfit, drugs, alcohol or whatever! And when I say “this world” I AM talking about believers as well.

As a Church, we should be different in all the best ways. Sadly, we aren’t. If anything, it is the complete opposite. As a church we have done a TERRIBLE job of creating a safe space for people… The Church should be known for our crazy radical love, our incredible generosity, living with complete abandonment for those around us.

The big question would be trying to figure it where to start! But realistically that is simple… it starts with ourselves. The simple choice of living & loving everyone in the best way we can. Tipping a little extra for the waitress or waiter after you eat. Holding the door open for someone, waving & smiling at strangers, asking how someone’s day is going in a LEGIT manner instead of as a bridge to start conversation, etc… it’s simple.

The church doesn’t need some 10 step plan on how to bring our best to God. We should be so incredibly in love with God & His grace that we can’t help but offer the same love and grace to all of those around us!

It starts with you…

Choices Show What We Value

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“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May you shelter them, and may those who love your name boast about you.” 

All throughout the word of God, it is plainly shown that we must choose. There is a choice to be made, that shows what we find valuable. That choice for what we find valuable ultimately leads to an outcome.

One of the best examples of this is found when Jesus speaks about the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. In Luke 15 we see a story about a man who had 100 sheep and one came up missing. We also see a story of a woman who had 10 silver coins and loses one. Both of them sacrifice something to seek that one lost “thing”. Why? Because they see value in it! The man leaves his 99 sheep to go and find the one. The woman lights a candle stops everything she is doing and diligently searches her entire house!
After the sacrifice is made and the valuable thing is found they both celebrate! They rejoice over finding that thing of value. All of their friends and family knew how important that thing was by the way they sought to find it.

Same goes for us in our lives. People should know what we value in life by what we seek after and the results that come from it. If we seek to take refuge in God in the midst of trials, people will know. If we seek to have healthy body & minds, people will know. If we seek financial freedom, people will know. If we seek after community, people will know. If we seek after a loving relationship, people will know. If we seek long-lasting friendships, people will know.

Seeking a healthy body & mind is one that many of us attempt, especially around this time of the year. People will know that we value it because of the sacrifices we are willing to make. For myself, I get called “grandpa” by my friends at times because I am in bed at 9! But I value my rest, I value my body, and I wake up at 4 am! It’s obvious to those around me that I value my health because of the way I sleep, the way I eat (or attempt to), and the way I get up early to make it to my local Crossfit gym. I see value in it so I sacrifice for it.

Seeking financial freedom is also noticeable. People will know if we value financial freedom if we are tithing, saving, and paying off debt (or staying debt free). They will know that we value financial freedom because we take the time to set up a budget, and stick to it. We monitor what we spend, we say no to things that aren’t in the budget, etc… I see value in it, so I sacrifice for it.

If we value community we seek after it. We will make the choice to go out of our way to help the community around us. We get involved in the local church. We volunteer our time. We feed the homeless. We serve at church. We get passionate about those around us and do whatever we can to help. We see value in the community so we sacrifice for it.

We all want a loving relationship. It’s apart of us all. When we fall in love we make the choice to love them with all our hearts. We take risks. We learn to change. We learn to forgive. There are many sacrifices that are made for the one that we love. We’ll go above and beyond to show them that we love & appreciate them. People will notice the love we have for the person that they are with by the choices they make for that person. Not out of obligation, but out of love. They find value in a loving relationship so they sacrifice for it.

Long lasting friendships are by far one of the most noticeable things. If we value a friendship, we go out of our way to continually invest time into that friendship. We make the effort to hang out, to help, to travel, to talk, to be there in times of need. Like many things in life, friendships take effort.

The Psalmist expresses such a beautiful truth in this passage. The psalmist see’s value in taking refuge in God. He knows that when someone takes refuge in God, that the benefits are incredible. He knows the Father’s heart. He values his relationship with God, so he invests. It’s apparent throughout all the psalms! The Psalmist is desperate for God and because of that choice to seek God, there were sacrifices made….

Where ever you are at today in your life. Remember that our choices send a message to the world around us. The choices we make send a message to those we love. The choices we make send a message about what we find valuable in life & someday those choices will be shown to the world with the results…

You’ll have the healthy body and mind.
You’ll have financial freedom.
You’ll see a vibrant community around you.
You’ll have an amazing marriage that portrays Christ.
You’ll have a consistent group of friends that are family.
Most importantly, God’s light will shine to the world in the darkest moments of your life…

God sent His one and only Son for you. He loved and adored you so much that He bankrupted heaven JUST to have you. That’s your value. He didn’t need to, He made a choice to. 

Comfortable being uncomfortable

One thing I️ hear constantly from my friends at my local box (Crossfit Gym) is that I️ avoid getting uncomfortable. When it comes to pushing towards that point physically where things hurt, where I️ can fail, where I’m outside of that “safe” comfort zone, I️ back off.

Over the last few weeks, I️ have come to realize that it’s a pattern in my life. The risks I️ take are always calculated. The chance of failure is always minimal & the damage done if I️ do fail is pretty much non-existent…

Not anymore. God has done some amazing things over the last 4-6 weeks & is calling me into an entirely new & extremely uncomfortable decision to leave my comfortable, salaried, steady & safe position to be a Financial Advisor.

I’ve gone back & forth over this for a while & at first, it started off as a slight joke. I️ reconnected with one of my first mentors, he referred me & within weeks the job was being offered to me by the grace of God.

At first, I️ thought it would take months so naturally I️ wasn’t too nervous. I️ had a few months to “help” God out and try to save some money just Incase, BUT…. that’s not what God had in mind. He made it loud and clear to me that He is going to push me out of the boat and leave Himself as the only option for survival…

This journey is by far the biggest leap of COMPLETE faith I have ever taken… Pay cut, extra costs for medical, cell phone, etc… I’m excited to see what impact God will have on the financial industry through this situation.