Just say, “NO”. 

How many times have you taken a day off and said, “today is my day”. And then you pick up your phone…. And the day is no longer yours. In order to have time to give away, you need to make time to get away. 
We live in a world of busyness. REST is just missing a few letters to read as STRESSED. We add too much to rest and then it becomes stress. Stress is DEADLY. Many evidenced based studies show the negative impact of stress on our life. Rest is the easiest cure yet we never get enough. 

We need rest. Sometimes when we get away from everything we take a vacation and we take our friends with us. This is not getting away from everything. This is taking your life with you and you are not truly getting away from it all. There is a difference between traveling and vacation. 

So many times, we find our identity in our work. This is not who we are. The problem is that we feel as though people need us. That’s just it. People don’t need us. Everyone is replaceable. That’s life. We can give more of ourselves when we are fulfilled and recharged as opposed to just being and constantly draining ourselves. How can you be inspiring and of use to somebody if you are no different and no more passionate than before, because you never stepped away to learn more and get rid of the old and allow yourself to receive the new. 
On the 7th day of creation, God rested. How in the world do we think that we don’t need what God wanted. We need rest. Sometimes we need to simply learn to just say, “no”. …. And when you say, “no”….. Be okay with it. Otherwise the stress from your regret or saying “no” will eat you alive and ruin your rest. Set boundaries in your life. 
We live in a world that doesn’t stop. We work so much and push ourselves so hard that we are literally killing ourselves. 

You don’t have to have the answer for everyone, everytime, everywhere. Take time for YOU. 

The Purpose of Hurt

Light can only enter through an opening. People who go through trauma are left with open wounds. When we recover from our traumas and prove to be resilient we are enlightened. The trauma happened but now we have experience, wisdom, and insight. Our open wounds allows an opportunity for our new found light to shine through to show others what we have accomplished. Others who are struggling will see our hurt and how we react to it. If we hide our traumas and never share our stories or experience with others than the trauma had no purpose. Once we turn our struggle into an accomplishment then we can help others get through their current struggle. You cant have a testimony without a test.

We are often afraid to open up because of the fear of judgement. There needs to be a change in our society. Society looks down on those who have negative pasts. As much as we like to think that we are non-judgmental, the truth is, we are!

What drives change?  Change does not always come from an organizational level. Change comes from individuals willing to come forward with their stories and break through walls of silence in order to break open doors of freedom. We all have a story. The most prestigious people that we know have a past that they would never want their peers to know. If those who are in leadership always pretend that their life has always been great, then those who are struggling have less motivation to pursue their dreams because they don’t think they will compare to the current leaders.  Transparency is a must in leadership. The song “started from the bottom now were here”  really does prove that point. When you see a strong leader who has accomplished much in life, come forward with a rags to riches story- that will be a huge inspiration.

If you are struggling and broken, you can be helped. However, nobody will know that you need help unless you humble yourself to ask for help. When you acknowledge your vulnerability, people will be able to help you. We all go through periods of struggle and periods of prosperity. At each of those stages in life we have different tasks. When you are prosperous- help others. When you are struggling- accept help. It is a part of life. We will all need help at some point and we will all be able to give help at some point. Participate in the rotation. Build your community. Life is short- but life is good.

http://www.lavitanova.orgIMG_6733

Friends vs. Acquaintances

A bomb just went off and all the banks have been destroyed. Money is no longer an element in society. Anarchy is taking over. It is now, every man for himself. Homes are being broken into and innocent people are getting murdered. Supplies are limited. Who are the people in your “circle” that you would stand next to in that scenario? Who would have your back and share their supplies with you until your time ran out? Who would you want to spend the last week of your life with if you knew there was an impending air raid? Who are your “friends”? Who can you trust? Who do you invest your time in, and why?

There is a difference between friends and acquaintances ( people you have met along the way) people who invest in you and build you up as a person are friends. People who you say “hi” to at social functions and have as a Facebook friend don’t necessarily count. Who is investing in you as a person and your future. Who can you go to when your car breaks down at 3 am…who do you value as a person? Who will bail you out of jail when you get a DUI and wont tell anybody else about it and wont treat you differently? These are things I think about when I decide who I am going to put time and effort into.

We put so much time, emotion and emphasis on the relationships we have in life. That is good- community is key to survival. In life, one of the biggest hurts we face is the loss of a person close to us. We lose people daily in many ways. Some die and some move away whereas some are romantic relationships that ended and others are friendships that grew apart. Either way- it is a loss. It is important to validate that each loss causes pain. With every goodbye, you learn.

The key point is that each person you come across in life is for a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to get us through a hard time in life when we didn’t think we had anybody. A person will come out of nowhere to be “your person” through that trial. In time, that person may fade out of your life yet sometimes they stay. Sometimes we enter into romantic relationships that don’t last. We have to go into relationships knowing that each relationship you enter into will either end in a breakup, or you will end up together. That is part of the process. Each person that you meet may not be the one you end up with- however, they were there for a purpose. Yet each breakup we face we are devastated- why?

When romantic relationships end, we tend to get lost in aloneness and lose self worth thinking that we will be single forever because we lost the one that we wanted to be with. If you ended the relationship then you made the right choice- it wouldn’t have been an option in your mind if it wasn’t the right decision. If that person left you it is important to remember that there is no use wasting your emotions on somebody that LEFT YOU. What you do with yourself and your future no longer includes them. It is hard to face that but it is true. You WILL miss them. That is also part of the process, but remember that you weren’t the one who gave up. When the relationship is right, that person wont just walk away. If it is TRUE LOVE then they will love you unconditionally and work through ANYTHING. When you experience a broken heart think of it as a blessing from God. It is your reminder that He saved you from the wrong one. You dodged a bullet, so to speak. Nonetheless, it will still be painful and it takes time to make peace with that.

When your friend circle dissipates and you start to feel alone, it is natural to feel lonely. Your best friends may enter relationships and start investing their time in a significant other rather than you. That is hard to accept and it is easy to resent their new love. However, if the roles were reversed you would do the same. It is a natural part of the process. Some of your friends may get married and start having kids. It is fun to see the baby here and there, but eventually you realize that you as a single person don’t fit in with the married people and their babies. You just don’t. Not yet. That is hard to accept as well. The key here is to accept that as normal. It’s the cycle of life. Singleness is NOT a bad thing. It is fun and exciting and it is typically only for a time period. Don’t waste that season of singleness in misery worried about who is the right one. If you don’t remove yourself from that previous scenario of your previous friend circle and create a new one then you will get depressed. We all do.

We have to realize that our community of friends is ever-changing. People will come and go from our lives at different points in time. We need to be open to making new friends and entering into new circles in order to avoid getting lost in aloneness. Holding on to the past of how things “used to be” is delusional thinking. Move forwards not backwards. Things will NEVER be the same…that doesn’t mean that is bad- It will just look different. People will be in your life for a specific reason….or they may just be there to help you through a season….and sometimes, JUST sometimes, people stay in your life until the end. Those people are rare and those relationships should be cherished. It is important to note that a relationship takes two people. That means each party needs to invest time and effort into it.

If you come to a point where you are investing a lot of effort into people and you are not getting the same return as you used to, that may be the point where you have to stop and realize it may be time to let go and move on. You only have two hands. Holding on to two hands that don’t want to hold yours back will take up your energy and your hands. Free yourself up for people who WANT to put the effort back into you. Stop crossing oceans for people who wont jump puddles for you. Life is short. Spend your time wisely with those who want to spend it with you. Don’t force relationships. You will be fine….just fine…..

Please Help–HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

Please Help--HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

As many of you know I published my autobiography this past year. It is a raw, organic story that tells the ugly side of my past with the explanations of how I turned it into success. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, it is available to order online at http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-The-Pen-Predestinated/dp/0615874436
IF you have read it, I am asking that rather than letting the book sit on your shelf, please pass it along to somebody in your life you believe can benefit from reading it. I didn’t write it to sell a million copies or for the fame. My intentions in publishing it were to bring hope and change in peoples lives and to inspire those who struggle in life….which is ALL of us. I want to get my story out there so people are not afraid to open up and seek help when needed. everybody has a story! Please pass my story on and continue to love people and appreciate stories because we are all walking through life together.

If you have not ordered it yet, please order one and read it yourself and then pass it on to somebody in your life who you feel may benefit from it

Dream Job,or Dream Community

“I went through with it. I sold my car, gave away half of my clothes and left my friends back home to move to the big city to pursue my dreams. I should have been living on top of the world, right?

And yet there I was, alone on a Saturday night, sitting on the dusty wooden floors of my over-priced, dilapidated apartment in Washington D.C. Thousands of young professionals mingled in bars and nightclubs a few blocks away, but I could not bring myself to force another surface-level conversation with people I had never met before and would probably never see again. I felt isolated.

Although I had recently enrolled in a prestigious graduate school and landed an internship with an innovative communications firm, I could not help but ask the horrifically difficult question—Was this worth it? Should I have left my friends, family and church community for the ‘next step’ in my career?

Our generation values professional opportunities and ambitious dreams over most other aspects of life. We often sacrifice depth in friendships, closeness to family members and commitments to local organizations and churches for the sake of adding lines to our resumes. Sometimes this takes the form of moving to new cities to start new jobs, but other times we simply overwork ourselves at the expense of the most important relationships in our lives. Sure, we have ambitions to run HIV clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa, to inspire inner-city students in underfunded U.S. schools, or to launch start-up companies with innovative tech solutions, but at what cost?

A generation in flux

Although we desire rich community and genuine relationships, we often do not stick around long enough for these connections to flourish.

Today, most young adults delay buying homes, getting married, having children and settling in long-term careers for the sake of flexibility. Ninety-one percent of Millennials expect to change jobs in less than three years, and this often involves transitioning cities or living situations, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey. As a result, we’re a generation constantly in flux. Although we desire rich community and genuine relationships, we often do not stick around long enough for these connections to flourish.

Describing young adults today, pastor and author Tim Keller illustrates this tension by saying, “I’ve never seen a generation more interested in community, more desirous of it, [but] the younger generation doesn’t want to make the sacrifices that enable community to happen, which means you have to limit your options. You can’t just move every two years.”

So what is the answer? Should we simply graduate high school and go to college, work jobs, buy houses and raise families in our hometowns for the entirety of our adult lives? Perhaps some of us should, but I believe with the proper balance, we can pursue both community and opportunity.

Thoughtfully, prayerfully consider each transition

I once saw a documentary on a guy who spent 13 years traveling around the world on bikes and boats. Although he saw amazing sights and met incredible people along the way, he completed the majority of his journey alone, and when he returned home, he lost his ability to relate to others. If we live in perpetual transition and do not take the time to root ourselves, we grow further and further away from relationships and the chances of finding genuine community decrease. For this reason, we must thoughtfully and prayerfully consider each transition before completely reshuffling our lives.

The writer of Proverbs says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” While God gives us the ability to plan, dream and pursue opportunities, we must recognize that He alone determines where we go and what we do. In other words, we are not the gods of our own lives; He is. Therefore, we must weigh our decisions in prayer and wisely consider the options. If a transition requires abandoning current commitments and only serves selfish ambitions, it is probably not a wise choice. On the other hand, if an opportunity enables growth, learning, giving and connection with others, you should feel the freedom to pursue it while asking for God’s will to be done.

Stay in touch with family/friends

The Apostle Paul embarked on three separate missionary journeys along with a trip to Rome, a distance that some scholars estimate to be about 10,000 miles total. While he repeatedly joined and left different communities, he consistently maintained relationships by writing letters and relaying messages. In addition to sending epistles, he asked his recipients to share his love and thanks with these past communities with requests like, “Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea.”

In the age of iPhones and social media, staying in touch with family and friends should be much easier. We simply have to be intentional with upholding connections to those that matter the most in our lives while making ourselves available for new connections. A phone call to your family matters much more than finding out via Facebook who your high school lover is dating, yet in times of transition we often lose this perspective. Sometimes the mere act of picking up the phone can mean the difference between losing a friend and strengthening a relationship.

We should feel the freedom to chase our dreams, so long as we do not isolate ourselves in the process.

Pursue community wherever you are

After wrestling with isolation and the lack of stability that came with my move to Washington D.C. last year, I decided to make a change. I moved into a community house with 10 other people in the heart of the city. Although some of the guys in the house struggle with honoring “personal space” and do not understand the concept of “inside voices,” the friendships I’ve made have been invaluable. I now have both community and opportunity, and I could not be more thankful for the transition I made.

None of us should trade friends and family for jobs, but in an age of global opportunities, we should feel the freedom to chase our dreams, so long as we do not isolate ourselves in the process. As a poet once said, “No man is an island.” Wherever we go and whatever we do, we should seek community and willingly make sacrifices to foster depth in our relationships.”

I could not figure out a way to share this from the site I read it on so I copied and pasted it. But I really connected with it. Curt Devine is an insightful writer I follow.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/career-money/dream-job-or-dream-community#zXYlDuIyXJbKi2FF.99

FIRE!!! Losing everything and gaining perspective

I experienced my first fire!! The past month of my life has been quite a learning experience. My apartment caught fire the week before I had hip surgery. All of my belongings had to be removed from my house and repairs need to be made on the whole apartment and nothing yet has been started on the repairs still to this day. What I was left with was a backpack of clothes to get me through a week. My first priority was, where I was going to live. I was blessed to have been offered to stay at a friends house during the repair time of my apartment. The fact that I had hip surgery on top of it and have not been able to walk has only complicated things. I have needed a lot of help every day due to the disability.

In the past three weeks since the incident not once have I been lacking anything. I have enough clothes to get me by each day. I only have a backpack full of stuff but it is more than enough. As I think about all of my belongings in my apartment that were removed by the fire restoration company, I wonder how necessary all those belongings are. Everything I owned the clothing the knickknacks the books the toiletries and anything I have bought in the past are all boxed up and attempting to be restored at this time. Part of me thinks about things here and there and I wonder if this particular item will ever come back to me or this particular item will be able to be cleaned. In the bigger picture I look at the last three weeks and I have to remind myself have I really needed those items I am worrying about? I look at all the things I have and all the things I collected over the years and when it comes down to it they are only material items. I have been just fine without them. I have been living minimalistically with only the things that I need and I have not suffered once. In my situation I got lucky that everything was not burned to the ground during the fire and only smoke damage was done. In some cases people lose everything they have ever owned. For me, this was just enough of a loss to allow me to gain insight, because most things were salvageable, to remind me of what is important in life.

I want my goal to be to live the minimalistically. I have learned that I don’t need very much to get by. So why go out and buy one color of everything that I like or the latest and greatest version of anything I own. I have been Americanized and spoiled. Don’t get me wrong; nothing I have just come easy to me I have worked hard on my own for everything I have. The take-home is that I don’t need everything I have. Some people may never experience a fire to realize how quickly everything can be lost but I encourage you to re-approach the idea behind why you have what you have and why you buy what you buy and where your efforts can better be spent for a better purpose. That is one of the many lessons that I’ve learned through this fire experience. If I had two backpacks full of belongings right now instead of one I would still have too much,because I have been living fine with just one. So then; what is necessity and what is comfortability??

#detroit #fire #autobiography #liveandlearn #liveminimalistically #shopping

To read my autobiography “taking back the pen” on my crazy life experiences and wisdom gained visit: https://www.createspace.com/4271634

 

 

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