What We Give Back to God

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about talent and not wasting our days. I’ve been thinking about procrastination, scrolling on social media, and browsing the internet. I’ve been thinking about work and responsibility.

I’ve been praying for change.

Last night, I was sitting in my car outside my parents house. My wife was finishing up a phone call while I stared out the window. There I saw a tulip with a light shining on it.

A single tulip just resting in the light.

The tulip I saw

I started thinking…

God has given us all a tulip when we are born. A gift to grow and water. We know what waters our tulip and helps it grow. We all have the duty and the responsibility to care for this gift. Using our talents we water the tulip and feed it with the light it needs. When we watch our days go by the flower withers. When we head off course the flower loses its brilliance.

At the end of our life the tulip will be finished growing.

What will your tulip look like when you give it back to God?

Feelings and Truth

At the start of a half marathon you feel good.

The wind is pushing you forward. The sweat has yet to start dripping down your face. The sun is out.

Yet, a few miles in things start to feel different.

Your breathing quickens. You feel a small side cramp that seems to grow larger each minute. Your legs start to feel like steel beams.

How you feel is totally different than how you felt minutes before.

________________

In life we are faced with many different feelings. Feelings that can motivate us to do good or cause us to feel downtrotten.

Feelings are like waves. One minute they are barely visible and the next they topple us over like a 5 year old who was too close to the shoreline.

What we need to remeber is that:

Truth is constant.

In the above example of the half marathon, your feelings would be all over the place. However, the one thing that is constant is the truth of the race. The truth being: You need to finish the race regardless of your feelings.

I have noticed within myself and others around me that at times we allow our negative feelings to define who we are. At many moments this discouragement we place on ourselves paralyzes us and prevents us from living the life we are called to live. When we feel rejected and unloved we forget the ultime truth.

God loves us unconditionally. He is merciful.

No matter how we may “feel” about ourselves at any moment, we are made in God’s image.

We were placed on this earth to make a difference and spread light.

If certain feelings are preventing you from bearing the fruit of love remind yourself of the truth:

I am loved by God. God has placed me here for a purpose.

Now no matter the feelings…lets take a step forward and finish this race.

Where Is Your Light?


You are the light of the world…Matthew 5:14

What does it mean to be the light?

This is a question thas has been on my heart over the last few months.

How can I be the light at home, in my community, or with strangers?

There is a lot of darkness this year. A lot of pain. Much suffering.

I know within each of our hearts there is a call to help. A call to mend what is a broken. A call to carry the weight for someone even if for just a short amount of time.

I’ve seen how light works. When I was a young child, I remember having to get upstairs from the basement. It was pitch black. I was scared. The darkness meant uncertainity and fear.

I recall sprinting up the stairs and staring as my shoes lit the way. They were the classic light up sneakers.

Through this light, I felt a wave of calmness. My path was laid before me and I could carry on without anxiety.

I think this is what it means to be the light.

To be the light is to scatter the darkness.

To be the light does not mean to be a small flickering candle.

Being the light, is like being lightening piercing the night sky.

Light is powerful, it collides with anything in its path.

Loving others is to be the light.

When we love others we put ourselves out there in a very vulnerable place. Love requires sacrifice. Love can lead to pain. Just like light, when we love there is a sharp contrast with darkness.

I think to be the light in our modern world is to recognize the humanity in each other.

To be the light, is to call others by their name and to recognize their gifts.

Instead of trying to think how can I be the light, lets think about when we felt the light shine on us.

To me this has been most apparent in my life, when I am called by name.

When light shines on others, it sees them for who they are and not a numerical value.

Recognizing and appreciating the gifts of others is essential in building others up.

In the passage above, Christians are called to be the light of the world.

To be the light means to love deeply, call others by name, and recognize their gifts.

We all have the ability to be the light.

It is our choice if we will choose to flicker or pierce the sky.

Love Through The Chaos

I think it is safe to say that 2020 has been a year of chaos in many respects. Uncertainty has lingered through the air for most of the year. We are running from a virus that we cannot see, yet its effects are devastating. We have all been impacted this year. Some of us have lost a family member or a friend to COVID-19. Others have become consumed with anxiety with no where to go due to isolation. Some of us had big plans for 2020 that had to get pushed off to another year.

There is chaos in our midst. Real chaos. And with chaos comes confusion, fear, and anxiety.

However, like the light from a lighthouse bursting through the fog, there is love.

I know I have seen it first hand. The chaos surrounding us, only makes the love that much more apparent.

I’ve seen videos of loved ones going out of there way to find a safe way to see one another.

I’ve seen friends calling more to check in on one another.

I’ve seen the family unit grow stronger as they are stuck under the same roof.

These small acts hold so much weight. When we are forced to find creative solutions to love; the effort is memorable. The sacrifice shown to us by others leaves an imprint in our minds that does not seem to fade.

COVID-19 is invisible, yet we see the impact.

Love itself is invisible, yet we see the impact.

I hear everyone saying lets just move on to 2021 and get over 2020. I don’t agree. In this chaotic year where everything seems to be falling apart, we have learned the impact of loving others deeply.

The truth is clear.

When we love, we carry on.

You Are Flammable

It is both a terrifying reality and a wondrous opportunity when we come to know that we are flammable. Everyday we have the capability of burning with love and kindness or with destruction and hate. We can choose to carry a fire that spreads ferociously into the hearts of those we love. This flame eradicates darkness and showers the world with warmth and light. We are also capable of infecting the world with a fire, which has an end goal of covering everything with a cloud of ash. 

Being on fire hurts. Because when we are on fire, we are allowing ourselves to wither, our pride melts away, and we are transformed into who we are meant to be. St. Catherine said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Yet, it is so easy to seek to be a log our whole lives: safe and hidden. 

There is a holy fire ablaze within each of us. There is no need to harness it.

Let our love be boundless. 

“In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless Love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature, for by the fire of love you created us.”

St.Catherine of Siena

 

Let the waves carry you

Today, I was at the beach reading.

The theme “Following God’s will” has been on my mind a lot lately.

After quite some time the heat of the day came.

I usually enjoy going in the waves, but today I was not really feeling it.

However, when at the beach, you got to do what you got to do.

So I decided to dive into a wave. Then another one. And then another one.

As usual, it was awesome

When I was in the wave, I could feel its power.

I decided to let it carry me and send me wherever it decided.

 

This is how we must follow God’s will. 

 

We must let God be God and go with the flow of the waves He sends us.

We must use the wave to drive us forward.

The waves of life come and go and pull us in a million directions.

This tossing about may make us feel a bit uncomfortable.

Feeling powerless is the fear many of us harbor deep in our hearts.

Today, I encourage you to let the waves of life come.

Do not fear the awesome power of God.

Dive in and let the waves carry you.

Carry you home. 

 

 

 

Microwave Moments

You go into your freezer and pull out that ice cream you have been waiting to eat all day. You grab a spoon from the drawer, open the lid, and dive right into the pint. Yet, the ice cream is as hard as a rock. You keep trying but you are just getting ice cream shavings. So you do the microwave trick.

You take the ice cream and put it in the microwave for ten seconds.

When you take it out it has softened a bit and now you can enjoy it.

Like the ice cream, there are many people whose hearts have hardened by their environment.

You try to talk with them or form relationships with them, yet whenever you try it’s like you are talking to a wall. They are cold. Some people can become quite ruthless.

It may be difficult to be kind towards these people. It takes a big dose of humility and a giant amount of patience. Yet, this is what we are called to do.

When we are kind, loving, patient, generous, caring, etc. towards individuals with a hardened heart it turns into a microwave moment. Though on the outside they may appear cold, a transformation is occurring inside of them. It doesn’t have to be big acts of kindness. Sometimes the smallest acts slip into the cracks of their heart easier.

People may condemn you and laugh at you. They may tell you that said person will never change. They will tell you to just leave them alone and move on.

However, this is not what Christ has called us to do. He has called us to live lives of pure love towards EVERYONE.

So continue to choose to love those with a hardened heart.

You may be their last hope.

Time to eat!

“I know the demons in the room say it’s more than I can chew but now all I hear is the dinner bell.”

-Jon Bellion

In life, the voices of self-doubt are going to swarm us like mosquitos in the summertime. It is inevitable. I remember reading about a saint who said something along the lines of ….the closer you get to God’s plan for your life the more difficult it will become.

The demons all around us want nothing more than for us to fail. They are aiming at destroying our desire to do God’s will. The more we glorify God with our lives the more they are forced to flee.

Confidence in God is our greatest weapon in defeating the evil all around us.

I love the above quote by one of my favorite artists Jon Bellion. #beautifulmind

I think it does a great job reminding each and every one of us that the voices all around us are going to tell us we can’t succeed. The voices are going to keep pecking at us and make us feel afraid.

These voices are not the voice of God.

The voice of God is reminding us that it is time for dinner.

It is time to show up and live the life God intended for us.

It is time to studying hard for school, to sacrifice for loved ones, to feed the homeless, to visit the elderly, to do His will.

We can and we will do these things.

It is time to drown out all the noise and listen for the dinner bell.

Time to eat! 

 

Go Get It

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 

The most difficult part of the race we are running is remembering we are running a race.

We have a goal.

Go get it.

 

 

 

 

 

humble me Lord, but not yet

Humility is an antidote to so many of our problems in life.

It is the enemy to pride, which causes us so much internal pain.

Pride leads us to be ever fearful. Pride causes us to constantly watch how we are perceived. It prevents us from loving others selflessly. Pride is a telescope pointed at oneself.

Christ shows us that humility is the answer to following in His footsteps.

As He washes the apostles feet, He models humility for us.

It takes a minute for me to wrap my head around. God Himself, washing the feet of humanity.

There is so much love in that thought it hurts.

Tackling pride in a world that constantly tells us to watch our backs is extremely difficult. From the time we are in elementary school we are told that success in school, life, relationships makes us great. We become so afraid of not achieving success and finding stability that we fear so much. This fear morphs into pride rapidly and instead of washing the feet of our neighbor we commit our eyes to only staring at our own feet.

Humility is hard. To be humble is to be a disciple of Christ. There are many ways in which we can go against the tide and find true humility.

1.We can let it go. Any grudges or resentment from the past we can choose to release it to the foot of the cross. Humble yourself in accepting what has happened and choosing love and not resentment. Your focus on your self is just like adding salt to a wound. Give it up to God and choose to live with a selfless joy.

2.Do the small things. Help around the house. Help a friend with something that may be tedious. Don’t think you are above the small tasks of life. Choose to take time out of your schedule to help someone out, even if it is just for a moment.

3.Live with joy. There is a humility found deep within joy. When we are joyful we are filled with a deep trust that God is who He says He is. Though we are small and powerless, through Him all shall be well. Live with joy and prove your trust in Him. Trust that He is God and you are not.

Humility hurts because there is a dying to oneself. 

Out with the old and in with the new.

A new self who chooses to follow in the footsteps of Christ.