39 Chapters in One Page | Just my Prologue
It has been a while since I've written here; to say that this year has been a little bizarre would be an understatement. I don't think anyone expected it to unfold the way it has. This post is not about any of that. I may share my thoughts about that some other time. But I will say that I believe this year has presented us with some powerful spiritual questions that are begging us to be introspective. I'll officially turn 39 in six days - my last year in my 30's - and that has had me reflecting today, which is why I wanted to write this post.
These are a few of the things that I have been pondering:
In my short time on this planet, having survived tragedy, overcome death, and having pulled myself up out of my own ashes with the help of God (who did all of the heavy lifting), I have learned that life is not what we often think it is.
Life is not about reaching goals, checking off lists, or destinations; it is about the journey, making progress, and finding fulfillment in "the gap". Which is the space between where we are and where we we want to be. Arrival at a destination can feel good momentarily but it is hardly lasting. Life is about finding fulfillment in the unfolding. The need for certainty (Certainty Sickness) is often what robs us from appreciating what life is truly about in each moment. Progress, appreciation, and gratitude are the anecdotes.
Identity is Everything
One of the greatest spiritual lessons that life is teaching us, is to figure out who we truly are - to come to know ourselves and find our "why" and "what for" in life. The absence of identity is the pathway to misery. The ultimate suffering is living apart from the very nature of who we are. The greatest achievement is coming to know oneself that we may tap into the fulfillment that awaits us there. Identity answers life's greatest issues, empowers us to live it to its fullest, regardless of external circumstances.
Don't shun The Wilderness times in life. Every Promise Land is on the other side of The Wilderness. These are the blessings that initiate us, shape us, and propel us toward the things that will be most fulfilling. We often cannot see or sense it while we are in it. Embrace this part of the journey and it will work for you and not against you. Perspective is everything! Find the empowering meaning in everything and always look for the "gold" in every situation, even if you feel like there is nothing but ruin or ashes to be found. There is ALWAYS a treasure in a pile s*%t! Pearls are formed from the "dirt" within.
Never Give Up
Hope costs nothing; giving up costs everything. Better late than never. Never give up.
Protect Your Peace
Above all else, protect your peace! The two most valuable resources that we cannot reproduce are time and energy. What are you investing your time and energy into? Are the things you prioritize in your life getting you the fulfillment you seek? If not, why is it worth your time and energy in the first place?
Focus Determines Your Fulfillment
Whatever you focus on will determine your fulfillment. Our time and energy follow our focus. What we focus on expands and grows.
I believe that the purpose of all human beings is to uncover the higher meaning of life. I believe the meaning of life is to experience the love of our Creator, experience the love of others, then take all of the love we have received and give it away to the world around us. Or as Jesus put it, to love God and to love others while loving ourselves.
Age is Arbitrary
Experience is more important than age. Don't get caught up in "time served" in your life so far; focus on what you are learning - we never lose if we learn!
No one else's life is more important to live than the one you have in your possession. You cannot live anyone else's life anyway. Whatever someone else is doing, wherever they are, or going, is inconsequential to your journey. Be a student of life and learn from those around you, but never fall into the trap of thinking that someone else's life is more important, meaningful, or powerful than yours. Your life is equally a contribution to the story of humanity if you/we choose to live it. As we say in the I.T. industry, "It shouldn't take two people to do one person's job". It shouldn't take two people to live one person's life. Live your life un-apologetically.
Judgment is soul cancer. Judgment is playing God - period. No one knows everything about everyone - only God does. You do not know everything about yourself. You do not know all there is to know about your life and future to come (or anyone else's). When we judge others and ourselves we are judging the Image of God we are created in also, thereby judging God. Don't do it. Judgment is a spiritual cancer because it is a spiritual law. The judgments we "send out" are bound to come back.
Dream Out Loud
Imagination is the doorway to manifestation; it is the proof and power within us that we are (indeed) created in the Image of God as co-creators in this world. If you can picture it in your mind you can hold it in your hand. Nothing is impossible for those who dare to believe and pursue it passionately. Everything that exists in the material world was first imagined.
Genesis 6:11b - "(God speaking)...now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."
Think For Yourself
It is our God given right to question, investigate, explore, and decide what things mean and what conclusions to come to. If you do not think for yourself, someone else will think for you. The strongest force in the human personality, is the need to stay consistent with the way we define ourselves. We define ourselves by the meaning from the knowledge we inherent. This is by far the most intentional act of awareness we should live by, practice, and understand. Once we hand over our minds we have over our lives. Don't be a lazy follower; think for yourself.
It's Never The End Until You Die
Everyday is a great day to start over, clean the slate, clear the deck, do better, improve, keep going, don't give in, don't give up, and keep reaching for the next best version of ourselves. Don't waste your life sitting on the sideline because you falsely believe you "missed the boat" or your best days are behind you. We can all change the meaning of life consciously. The end is never the end until you die.
Fear is your Enemy & Comfort is its Twin
Fear, comfort, and the need for certainty (above all else) are the enemies of fulfillment, peace, love and life. Stop buying into the "be fearless" BS; that's impossible. No one is fearless. Instead, learn to be courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear, but taking action while feeling its presence. Practice courage not fearlessness. Let go of perfectionism and self-preservation and pursue the way of love. Love is an identity and verb; not a noun.
Fear or Love
You can have fear or you can have love, but you cannot have both. If you want love then divorce fear. Be courageous. Be willing to go through a 1000 divorces (so to speak) if you have to. Never allow fear to become the definition of love. And never allow someone else to define love for you because of their fears. Be wary of falling in love with your fear; it is one of the greatest addictions humans can have.
The Not Good Enough Lie
The two core fears that all humans have is the fear that we won't be good enough, and as a result, the fear that we won't be loved. These lies get anchored into our subconscious because our brain was not created for pleasure but survival. The best way for our brains to protect us is to fabricate stories that are projected into our minds as conversations we have with ourselves. Our self deprecating "self-talk" is nothing more than our brain attempting to shelter us from pain. If our brain can convince us that we are not good enough, then we will never risk taking the steps to acquire peace, love, and prosperity. We will never risk feeling rejection or failure; therefore, we will never try. Understand what is happening when this happens; conquer it, and be courageous to dis-empower the lie. We do not have to live in fear and survival mode, even if our brains are wired (by default) to protect us. We can learn to control it, instead of "it" controlling us. Master your mind and you master your life.
While there are many more lessons I have learned, life is calling me to become the reflection of them. I have come to believe that the first 40 years of life is just the initiation period - the prologue before the real story begins. This time next year, I hope to be well on my way toward all of the things that God has created me for.
Just when you might think the journey is over or that the best parts of your story have been written, please know that you are only getting started. I hope to find you written in pages of my story, and I hope that I am a positive highlight written in yours. Do not let this bizarre and crazy year interrupt and stop you from living full-out!