Transitions

In life, we always have the times of transition where we have to adjust to a lot of different things. How we adjust to new situations in life can determine who we are, what our purpose in life is, the people around us, and how we serve God. As I have reached the end of my undergrad career I’m about to enter a time of transition in my life. I enjoyed the last bit of the semester, but I can’t help but look ahead because life will be quite a lot different now that graduation and finals have rolled on through. Will I miss being at Northwest (like that is even a real question)? Yes, but I also know that God has a lot more in store for me as I move in a new direction. I’m gonna hit on a few different parts of transitions, and there’s a few important things that go along with them.

Firstly, there will be new activities that you will participate in. In the short-term you may yearn for the previous activities that you had but take advantage of the new ones that are placed in your life. Keeping to the norm is so easy, but God calls us to move outside of those boundaries. He pleads for us to jump headfirst wherever he sends us because in doing that his mission for us is fulfilled as we rely on him for assurance and guidance. He cherishes and loves you with a deeper meaning than our human existence can even comprehend. He knows every single part of you, and because of that God knows what we are capable of. New activities and opportunities that fall into your life are never accidents, they are his way of showing you how to serve his Kingdom. For me, I don’t know what plans that he has for me. I will be returning home to the same area code, but I don’t want to live the exact same life that I did before high school graduation. College has changed me and I know that God will show me the new, unique path that he has prepared for me. Some things will be the same, I’m not saying that’s bad at all. I’m just saying that God will carry people in transition in new directions, and we should be all-in for doing that as he calls.

Additionally, you and the relationships you have in your life will change as you go through changes in your own life. In transitioning to a new surrounding there are different people in your life and they play a new role in your development. People who have been in your life already will play different roles in your new environment. Time and space changes relationships in so many different ways as some relationships will drift farther apart and others will stay close together. The old saying says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver but the others gold.” I love this because it really applies to transitions. Those friends that you keep throughout the transitions in your life are the most important to you, but at the same time you need those new friends because they can directly relate to your life. I have a core group of friends that I know I can lean on anytime. They are wonderful people that God has placed into my life. With that said, I’m excited to see what new friendships are on the horizon, and how those are going to impact my life.

Most important of all is the fact that you yourself will change during a time of transition. Things that mattered to you before may not matter as much or you may put them on the back burner. New things will become important to you as you find yourself in a new atmosphere. Your personality may change to a certain degree. Your ways to spend your free time may change. A lot can change. The priorities in your new life will be in a constant fluctuation, and the level of different priorities may change quite often in a short amount of time. The level of your relationship with God should remain constantly on the top of your priority list. It sounds like a really simple thing (Duh!) but it honestly is not that simple in actual implementation. It is extremely easy to rely on what you’ve learned throughout your life, especially if you’ve been a Christian all of your life. So just don’t forget to read your Bible every day and pray to God whenever you can because that’s where true growth comes. I’m not gonna lie, this is something that I have struggled with at different times. Yet, I always find myself running back to God because I know that no matter how my life is going in the end He is by far the best thing for me. True growth comes when you do something on a consistent basis. The longer you pursue God the more you realize that he is crazy into you, and wants to love you more than anyone else in this world ever could!

So hopefully that’s a short message that resonates with you. This applies to anyone’s life, whether you are going through a transition or not!

 

P.S. I’m graduated from college! It’s pretty cool! I’m excited to see what happens in the next part of my life, but I will be more free to write this blog so expect more posts!

 

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Why ____ Should “Stay” Dead on The Walking Dead

There’s so much talk about the last Walking Dead episode on social media right now I decided I wanted to throw in my two cents. If you haven’t watched episode 3 of Season 6 there are SPOILERS ahead.

So, if you were watching The Walking Dead on Sunday, we were all taken on a loop during the episode when a beloved character (supposedly) bit the dust. I’m not mentioning his name because when I post the link to my articles I know it shows the first few sentences haha. I mean, I had it spoiled by someone on Facebook so I wouldn’t do the same thing to anyone else! Either way, many people had a smooth, relaxing and normal weekend which was majorly crashed by this extremely dramatic episode. I mean sure, The Walking Dead has always played with our emotions hardcore, but this episode really hit people hard.

Okay, I’m far enough. So Glenn probably died. I think there was almost no one who actually saw this coming before the episode. They dropped multiple hints during the episode. Glenn looking at his pocket watch from Herschel. His last words to Rick on the radio were the first words he uttered to Rick 5 years ago when Glenn first entered our lives. Nicholas’ weird mental moments were a cursor as well. Still, especially gauging from the reaction of the Internet after the incident occurred, people were still very surprised. Honestly, I think that the show has to make him dead now. There are so many theories circling around the Internet that he survived. I’m a realist so I refuse to believe that he survived without anything happening. Also, I think that the show would be cheating all of us if Glenn survived unscathed. The very essence of The Walking Dead is that the post-apocalyptic world is cold and deadly. It’s a rough world. You could die literally any day, and there are no second chances. Now, the show has put itself in a really hard place. Does it kill off Glenn permanently? Does it cop-out and let him live? It’s the whole darned if you do and darned if you don’t scenario. In my last paragraph I’ll tell you what seems to me as the most likely scenario.

Also, this scene really supports the new morality that we see on The Walking Dead, and I love it for that. Remember the days where Rick had his black-and-white morality? Watching Rick slide into the gray zone and drag most of group with him has been one of the best sub-plots to the entire show. In addition, nearly the whole group has adopted this type of morality. One big part of this newfound morality is that if someone tries to kill you then they don’t get a second chance. It’s either you or them. However, Glenn is the only major character (barring the arrival of Morgan) that stands against this gray zone morality construct that Rick has moved to. Let’s not forget Glenn is the only one in the core group who hasn’t killed a human. Glenn makes the decision to give Nicholas life after he literally led Glenn into the woods to kill him, and we start seeing this redemption narrative start coming on Nicholas’ behalf. However, we also see multiple times in the episode that Nicholas is having a serious mental breakdown, and can’t handle the pressure. Then, he decides to cap himself, and thanks Glenn for the apparent redemption/grace he feels. Although, if you decide to cap yourself and another person dies from it I think that works against the redemption narrative so sorry Nicholas you are still a d-bag in pretty much everyone’s eyes. Thus, Glenn is punished in the most extreme way possible for holding on to a code of morality that is quickly fading. So while the death of Glenn would be an extremely big moment on the show, it would actually be a deeper reflection on the morality of the show itself. Bravo Walking Dead.

People are wondering, did this really need to happen? I think the answer is an overwhelming yes. The show has been very hesitant as of late to kill off someone from the original ring of our lovely gang of zombie killers. The last time it happened was back in 16th (and final) episode “Welcome to the Tombs” in Season 3 when Andrea finally paid for all of her stupid decisions in that season and capped herself after being bit by the Milton dude who was zombified after the Governor killed him and left them in the same room. That was over 2 seasons ago. It would be ill-advised for the show to build-up a ring of invincible zombie slayers. You can’t kill Rick, because we entered into the life of this show with Rick, and he is the main protagonist of the entire series. He is the bastion of The Walking Dead. I’m not the biggest fan of Carl, but with Rick already on the edge of the deep end you can’t kill Carl or else crazy stuff will happen. Carol has proven herself to be a freaking bona fide ruthless bad-ass, if it wasn’t for her way more people would’ve died in Alexandria. She is the strongest female in the show right now (sorry Michonne), and the bodacious nature of her character is essential to the show. Daryl. Where do you start? He’s the most popular character on the show, three times more than the second-closest (Rick). He’s also a complete bad-ass archer who does absolutely amazing things on the show. He is a character that I can’t see anyone else filling the shoes of. You can also throw Michonne and Maggie into this group of seemingly “invincibles”. Don’t get me wrong, Glenn was an absolutely amazing character on this show… but at this place, time and the projection of the story line I think he is the best character in this group to kill off. We needed jolt of Walking Dead reality, and we’re getting it through Glenn’s death. There is so much buzz on the Internet right now, and this discussion is the most we’ve seen out of Walking Dead fans for awhile. It’s a simple ideal… controversy creates attention and attention often generates ratings. It was the 5th highest ratings that the Talking Dead (show right after TWD that discusses the episodes’ events) has ever had (highest ever for a non-premiere/finale/midseason episode). I’m expecting that Live+ 3 days ratings to be absolutely through the roof (perhaps breaking the 20 million viewer mark?). Well done by The Walking Dead.

Honestly, I believe that Glenn should be dead. Yet, I also realize that the show didn’t kill him off right away, and there’s probably a reason for that. But here’s the crucial point… the first three episodes of Season 6 have been about 3-4 hours of “real time” in the Walking Dead. So it is 100% conceivable that Glenn could get infected, crawl under the dumpster, and be around for the rest of the first arc of this season through the mid-season finale. From what the Walking Dead producers have said, there’s a strong chance we only cover 1-2 days worth of time on the show through this first arc. He could be saved (not sure how, but it could happen), and then he would get to return to Alexandria. He could then get the closure that he deserves as a key character. Let’s not forget that Maggie did not get any closure with Herschel (head chopped off by The Governor), or with Beth (she came just too late) so she 100% deserves to get some with her husband Glenn before he bites the dust. If the show allows him to escape unscathed it will lose a lot of credibility, and I think a lot of fans will stop watching the show. I could perhaps buy the fact Nicholas was having a hallucination… the evidence is there and I could understand the show moving in that direction. I just don’t think it would be the best move for the show. The Walking Dead is realistic in the sense that it is a cold world where your actions lead to consequences, and I think that construct would be harmed if Glenn came out of this situation unscathed. He’s surrounded by hundreds of zombies on the ground. If he gets infected and slides under the dumpster I would say that’s an extremely lucky scenario that I find not really realistic, but I could also see a world where he pulls it off because he’s Glenn.

So those are my thoughts. We’ll see where they go with it!

P.S. I absolutely love the ending scene as Rick is stuck in an RV that won’t go, and is quickly becoming surrounded by hundreds of zombies. Situation sound familiar?

Why Being Single is Perfectly Fine

*Some of you may remember this as an earlier blog post of mine about a year and a half ago. I have recently revisited my past posts, and this was one I really feel that cannot be emphasized enough in our society. If you haven’t read this before, please enjoy! If you have, I urge you to re-read through it because you may pick up different things from it than before.*

So something that is really pushed in today’s society is this idea that being in a relationship is better than being single. If you’re single, people wonder why, and a lot will say that you have something wrong with you. We live in a world where updating your status to “in a relationship” is viewed as the best thing that could ever happen to you, and that it is so great you aren’t a single anymore. First of all, to clarify, I’m totally not bashing couples here. I know a bunch of great couples and I’m really happy for those who are in relationships. You guys have done well! What I’m going to be presenting is two areas of where it is a benefit to be happily single, and that it’s totally an okay thing despite society telling you it’s not. Not an in-depth look, but just a general look that I hope gets people’s minds going.

Spiritual Growth

To be very honest, my greatest moments of spiritual growth have been when I’m single, and that is the opinion of quite a few people. This is because when you are single you are obviously only responsible for you, yourself and you. You are able to focus on your own spiritual growth because you don’t have the burden of having to help your significant other (not a bad burden, you just don’t have it as a single). Yes, you do still grow spiritually with the people around you whether you are single or not, but the degree you are growing with them compared to growing with your significant other is drastically different. I know that the greatest moments in my life are the ones where I am single and I can pursue God with all of my heart everyday. In Corinthians 7:32-35 it says,

“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.  But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.  I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”

Essentially, this scripture is saying that if you are a single, you can be completely devoted to God. Once again, Paul points out that neither path is wrong; yet, there are different benefits to both paths. God should always be on top of your life at ALL times, but if you are single it is fairly certain that you will be more devoted to God and what he is trying to do in you. When you are in a relationship, you will try to please your significant other right? There will be days where God will get squeezed out, and that time slot will be filled spending time as a couple. It is just natural that you will want to do whatever makes your significant other happy, and there is nothing wrong with that; however, it hinders your ability to spread the gospel. You won’t have that undivided attention toward God and that is one thing that you can have as a single.

You don’t rush into a relationship

If you are single what is the first thing a lot of people say? A lot of times they will say something like this, “You’re single? Well, I know somebody who you’d really work well with…” The singles out there know that feeling… when you feel you’re getting pushed to get together with someone. I’m sure we’ve all seen it happen before. Two people feel socially awkward as singles, and they think they will work together with someone so they get together with them. Then, over time, they realize that perhaps they don’t mesh quite as well as they thought. They start having problems and before you know it they break up with each other. Then (for a lot of people) they try it again… and again… and again. They keep telling themselves if I jump into this relationship then everything will be okay. In our society, we look at a couple and think that they are completely fine. If you are in a relationship people always say that hey, they have it pretty good. There is this false image that if you are in a relationship then the sky will be blue, and that you get to ride unicorns. Well, maybe not unicorns. You get the picture though. If you are single, you aren’t in the cycle that quite a few other people are in! So, you may ask (or may not because you know you shouldn’t question my awesomeness) is the question, “Well Caleb, that was a really great speech you just told me. So what is exactly leading up to?” My answer to you is that if you are happy being a single, you won’t rush into a relationship. You will take more time to get to know the person, more time to pray to God about it, and more time to talk to your friends about it. I personally know this approach works out well. I can honestly say I’m happy being single. I am a pretty carefree person in the first place as most of you know haha, but being single is something I am totally fine with. I am in a place where I know that I can take my time and not be rushed into a relationship. I’m going to take my time and at some point it will happen. Probably here at my college because it is pretty good at creating relationships. That’s why we students call it (college name left out) ___Mingle. It’s like Christian mingle, just in a real-life setting hahaha. Either way though, if you are a single BE FINE where you are at!!! Just continue to grow with God and take your time finding that person. It’ll work out in the end 🙂

One of Us

“What if God was one of us?

Just a slob like one of us?

Just a stranger on the bus

Trying to make His way home?”

“One of Us”- Joan Osbourne

So the four lines at the top of the blog are from a song called “One of Us” written by Eric Bazilian and released by an unknown singer named Joan Osbourne in 1995. I wrestled with the song for a whole, nearly sleepless night a few days ago, because it really is something that Christians take for granted. Yet, so much of the world struggles with this ideal of God being relatable to them, and whether or not they can have a personal relationship with God.

Personally, I heard the song because it was covered by Glee in an October 2010 episode. Now, stay with me here. While many of you may hate or be in support of Glee, what the show was known for was tackling the tough issues of society. In this episode, a Glee club member’s father has a heart attack, and the episode is about how the different members of the club try to help that character deal with the event based on their religious beliefs. Ryan Murphy (Glee creator) hoped to create a balanced view of religion that ensured that there was an equality between pro and anti-religious ideas presented. The episode received critical acclaim by achieving that. This song was the end of the episode.

Personally, I haven’t had many times that I pondered the question, “What if God was one of us?” I grew up in a Christian home and learned about God from an early age. I was blessed to have great parents who helped me mature in my faith. The Bible clearly explains that Jesus Christ came down to the earth and lived in the same world with the same temptations, successes, failures etc. that we have to go through. Yet, lately, I’ve been trying to understand how people who do not believe in God view him. I feel like this view is one that Christians often overlook. In order to reach those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ, we have to be able to connect with them where they are. Whether unbeliever or believer, I believe that this question of whether God was one of us is something really important when it comes to the faith known as Christianity. This song really gets down to the mark.

“What if God was… just a slob like one of us”. It truly recreates the deep yearning of the human condition that we all feel for a savior. The brokenness and emptiness of this world truly breaks my heart. No matter how much society and the world tries to bury it, people know deep inside that there is something more to this world than what is on the surface. Yet, to these people, God is a larger than legend myth legend. The mosaic that the human population have created of God is absolutely brilliant, but it makes Him seem inaccessible to the population. How many times in history have people sat crying in the alley, park, bedroom, back of the bus etc. and wondered if God hears them? How many times do these people just wish that God walked the earth and would walk up to them and solve all their problems? Is that you?

Now, for those who came from the same background that I have, here’s the question. Can you imagine being in this position? Left in a place where you are not sure if God can relate to you? Here’s the kicker… we all have. Whether Christian or non-Christian we have all at some point seen God as that huge holy figure that we can’t relate to. We all imagine, “What if God was… just a stranger on a bus”. Even though we’ve heard the stories, we still oftentimes wonder… was Jesus really like all of us?

Our culture attempts to answer this question with different pieces of literature and entertainment. One T.V. series that I watch is Supernatural, and the basic premise of the show is that there are two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) who understand the “supernatural” of the world. They interact with (and often kill) the things that human culture have put in this “supernatural” box. Ghosts, Vampires, Wendigos, Djinns, Demons and Angels. In later seasons (Season 11 starts soon, so excited!) they heavily deal with Demons and Angels. In this world, God has been “missing” for longer than almost anyone can remember. While many characters voice their beliefs about God (some believe him dead, uncaring, a simple story etc.) the most striking one is from an angel named Castiel.

Castiel is the main protagonist aside from the Winchester brothers (and my favorite character!). In earlier seasons Castiel is seen struggling with this idea of who God is and what he means to Castiel. He often calls out to God, begging him to return to the world and fix it. However, Castiel’s faith begins to disappear as God continues to “not show up” despite horrible tragedies rocking the world. He doesn’t understand why God isn’t, “Trying to make his way home.” Questions run through his mind constantly. Are the stories that Castiel heard really true? Did God just make this creation just to leave it in the dust? What if God is just another really powerful angel who decided to dump the world and go relax somewhere else in the universe? These are the powerful questions that Castiel ponders, yet, are a reflection on how many people who do not have a faith in Jesus Christ think about God and Christianity. Castiel is stuck between fully embracing free will, and believing that God will come back and control the heavenly realm. This depiction of Castiel fully describes so many people in the world. It is one of the underappreciated storylines in the Supernatural saga, but one that I very much appreciate for its honest portrayal of the human condition.

The beautiful thing is that God truly was one of us. He lived with people, ate with sinners, healed people, and died as a common criminal. He felt all the same feelings that we do. The surrounding environment is obviously different because as pictures clearly show us Jesus was the only white man in an early A.D. Jerusalem (catch the humor?), and we live in the 2000s. For real though, he had the same human experience that we do, and can relate to us through our troubles. Honestly, even as a long-time Christian, it is still hard to grasp how the Almighty God understands the way I feel. It’s absolutely breathtaking, but impossible to fully grasp.

There is so much heartbreak in the world, and so many people that need to hear about God. Not the religion called Christianity. They need to hear about the God that can fill that large hole in their heart. They need to hear about the Father that is always there and listening to their every single word. They need to hear about the Jesus Christ who walked this earth, and can relate to their struggles. This is the true goal of those who call themselves Christians. Not to build churches. Not to isolate themselves from the world. Not to go to church once a week and to forget about it. This is the real purpose of Christianity. To bring people closer to the living God who is the only thing that can fill that void in the hearts of billions of people who cry out for help in this world.

P.S. Can’t believe I’m already over 1/4 through my last semester of college! Life is really busy but I’m able to hang out with old friends, make new ones, and also still finish my schoolwork in between. Life is awesome!

Hiatus

Hiatus- “a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.”

Well, I think I would define not blogging for 15 months as a bit of a hiatus. Sometimes you lose track of the things that you love, and as you get really busy some things fall to the wayside. Unfortunately, that has happened to this blog as I had originally felt like I needed to take a break from it, and that break ended up turning into an extremely long time. One positive was that at some point over the course of the last year or so I did finally eclipse the 3,000 view marker! With that said I’m back, and let’s actually dive into what you guys came to read this blog for.

Clearly, I am not the same person now as I was 15 months ago. That seems pretty obvious. If you compare my blogging in the past to my blogging over the next few weeks or so you will probably see very large differences. If you know me then you will know that who I am has evolved, and while there are parts of me that are the same I’ve become a different person. But getting back to the heart of the post, I want to come back again to this word hiatus because I find it actually very important to who we are. As it says at the top of the page, a hiatus is “A pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.” I include the definition twice because I asked some of my friends what it meant, and I got a lot of… well interesting answers…

“Airplanes but stalled I guess”

“Someone that has a better vocabulary than me haha”

“Waiting for one season of Arrow to start after the other just finished 😉 “

“Taking a break”

“It sounds like a word that would go with the Macarena.”

Interesting observations to say the least 🙂

Now, in common speech hiatus is usually used when someone is taking a break from some activity like, “So-and-So will be taking a hiatus from teaching or “So-and-So should be taking a hiatus from playing golf”. If you didn’t pick it up, So-and-So in the last example is definitely Tiger Woods. I (Speaking for the American Public) absolutely beg Tiger Woods to take another break or just flat-out retire from golf for the benefit of literally everyone on the face of this earth. Anyways, these two examples are how we use hiatus in the common American vernacular; however, I would beg to differ with that. I think that the word hiatus isn’t only limited to activities or events, but hiatus also can refer to a lifestyle, certain qualities of a person, where their priorities are etc. and has a much deeper meaning than we would give the word to.

There are times in our lives where we are in transition, and it is in those times of transition we can often lose sight of who we are. Whether it is work, school, family, friends, or just anything happening in life, these segments of our life slowly chip away at and transform who we are. In order to deal with different parts of our life we often take different approaches then we normally would and take a break from acting in a certain manner. For example, maybe there’s a certain time in our life where we have more positive thinking. That doesn’t mean you’ve become a positive thinker, it just means that you’ve taken a break from a maybe more cynical viewpoint. Or, perhaps you are a person who has a short fuse on your temper, but you realize that innocent yet completely clueless intern working at your business was you once upon a time and you give them more grace than you normally would. It doesn’t mean you have less of a temper, you’re just taking a break from being as angry as you normally would.

Personally, I’ve seen this change in the way I view life. I’ve noticed that in the last few months I’ve started to become very cynical, and that is completely different from the positive person that I normally am. I am usually somebody who really enjoys whatever life has to give me and finds the positives in anything and everything. My favorite quote about this was when a friend told me that I handle life “like water off a duck’s back”. Basically, everything rolls off of me. Now, has that been true the last few months? No, I have let things get to me. I have lost my rational grip sometimes. While I had slipped into this pattern of behavior to deal with stressful things, I had forgotten what had got me to that point. I had taken a hiatus from my normal behavior, and now that I see how it did not work out. So I’m going back to the positivity that makes me who I am, and I’m going to just enjoy life. It’s sometimes easy to forget that every second of life really is amazing, and I’m going to fully return to the idea of fully enjoying every part of it.

Of course, a hiatus does not have to be a bad thing. For example a person who didn’t normally open up to people could start opening up to people, and that could make their life better because they could actually share it with good friends. It could be where someone maybe decided to start being responsible for their actions when they didn’t before. Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t giving hiatus a negative connation because it can be positive or negative.

If you really think about it though, a hiatus is also important because it can lead to permanent change. If a change in behavior happens and you don’t revert back to your normal behavior, you do get permanent change. That’s really the question I’m trying to hint at. How do the hiatuses in your life affect you? Are they simply seasonal changes, or do they become permanent? Are the current ones making a positive or negative effect on your life? How have past ones changed who you are? These questions are just part of the myriad of thoughts that I’ve had lately, and maybe they are something that you’re interested in thinking about.

If this just didn’t really apply to you and you feel like you have all that stuff down at least you learned about the word hiatus. Because from the quotes I had received… well, you get what I’m saying. Some people needed to learn the definition! Anyways, this was a little more analytical than I normally write, but that’s how I was feeling so that’s what you get! Posts in the future will be more flowing and easy to settle into then this one. First post back is always the toughest. That hiatus doe.

P.S. To all my college friends, I miss you all! I’m having a great summer so far, and I wish I could spend it with all of you. I started my summer job on Monday and I think I’m going to love it. I’m just super excited for this summer, and can’t wait to see (through social media) how all of your summers go as well.

Why Do We Fall?

This is, in my opinion, the most famous quote from the Batman trilogy. I’m sure we’ve all heard it before, but here it is in its complete form when Bruce Wayne and Alfred had just escaped Wayne’s burning house in Batman Begins. “Why do we fall sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” That is from Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler. There has always been something in us as human beings that makes us wonder how to bounce back from rough times and tough results. In Batman, Alfred points out that we can do it on our own as long as we try hard enough, and sure enough Batman always does just enough to succeed. However, I feel like that Batman doesn’t tell the whole story. This is what I believe: I believe that when we fall down, we can’t pick ourselves up by our own power. We need the help of our family, friends, and most importantly God. Even Batman needed help from those like Gordon, Alfred, and Catwoman… but with that said, he is still the best superhero ever. PLEASE DON’T STOP READING if you disagree with my selection. I’m just putting it out there haha! In reality though, we can’t do everything ourselves, and we truly need the help of God in order to help us be able to truly pick ourselves up. I’m going to divide it into a few different categories.

First, how do we fall? Well, most of the time that we fall it is because we think that we can do everything by our self, and we quickly find out that we can’t do it. This stems from the sin nature that we have. Our sin nature (and ironically our culture) tells us we can do whatever we want, and that there will be no consequences. First of all, I think we all know that there are consequences to our actions no matter what society tells us. There’s no questioning that. Secondly, we aren’t capable of making everything go according to our plan. A lot of times people act like they have it all together, just because we’ve set up this society where failing is looked at as bad. The problem is that instead of hiding our insecurities and problems from each other, we need to share them with each other. Now, I’m not telling you to go stand in front of a ton of people, and tell them all your problems. What I’m telling you is find a few of your best friends/family and tell them what you’re dealing with. This is because we fall when we are alone. Christian loners don’t stay Christian loners for that long. They also don’t stay Christians for that long. James 3:2 says,

“We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”

Obviously, none of us are perfect… so the conclusion is that we truly need others. There is no substitution for growing with other Christians, and helping with each other’s highs and lows. That begs another question…

How do we learn to pick ourselves up? The obvious answer would be that after the fall we can look back and see everything that we have done; then simply don’t repeat it. However, I would say we learn to pick ourselves up through praying to God and studying his word. If God knows everything about you, knows what is best for you in every way… then you should be praying to him. If you are in love with somebody, do you spend time with them? Absolutely. It’s the same way with God; you should spend time with him in prayer and reading your Bible. A side-effect of this is that we start to see more and more of what God sees. We see where we are really failing, we see where we are doing well… but most importantly we see what God has made us to do. That leads to the last step…

How do we actually pick ourselves up? We pick ourselves up by seeing the path that God has put ahead of us, and running straight toward it. Don’t look back, to the left or the right… go straight ahead. When we realize what we’ve done in the past (when we’ve fallen) is nothing in comparison to where we’re going that’s when we are where we need to be. We also realize that we need other people to get there, and that God has put people in our life for a reason. We pick ourselves up by bonding with them in the community of Christ, and all working together for his glory. We rely on the amazing grace of God to help us get through whatever we need to get through. Philippians 4:13,

“ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Such good words. We always need to remember, we don’t have to rely on our strength to do things. God will give us the strength to conquer any challenges that come our way, and he will put the right people into our life in order to fulfill his great plan.

What happened to Batman? Well, after his house got burned down did he dwell on what had happened? No, he saw the destiny that was beckoning him to save Gotham City, and he went straight toward it. No matter what happened, he knew his calling was to save the city from harm and he stuck with it. That is how you pick yourself up… forget all the rough times you’ve been through, see the path God has for you, and stick to that path!

Some Pointers on Life

So I decided I was going to take some of my best paragraphs in my posts about life and meld them together. I feel like I’ve gotten some wisdom (and it’s been like a mini time machine) from looking at these, and I really feel like God has put this on my heart to share them.

Don’t be afraid of the future because it is whatever God has planned for you! Some people are afraid of messing up before they even get started… you just need to trust God. Pray to him before you do anything and commit all the things that you do into his hand. I know the future can be intimidating, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up for money in college or it’s the reality of having to get a real job. Put that behind you because it really doesn’t matter. God has the final plan and if it means the path seems unsure to you then that’s God’s way of getting you to trust him more. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled Psalm 17:5

Basically, if you know in your heart that the Holy Spirit is telling you to go one way, GO THAT WAY!! There are so many things that we don’t feel like giving up. One of the hardest things I had to do was give up playing high school soccer this spring. I had been training harder than anyone else trying out for the team and felt like I was hitting my stride at just the perfect time. About two weeks before the tryouts God clearly told me you’re not playing high school soccer. I will admit, I wasted a few nights of my life trying to argue with God. It didn’t work haha. Now, a month later, I know (for one) my grades would’ve slipped pretty far down if I had been playing soccer the last month or so plus I feel like God has something he wants me to do with the spare time I now have. Can’t wait to see what it is! That whole example just is a personal example of how I realized that the direction of my life needed to be changed according to God’s plans. Like I said before, please don’t think I’m setting myself up as a perfect Christian. I have had many times where I haven’t done what God said and it’s come back to bite me. So I’ve had experience on both sides of the coin. Just remember God is out there and he CARES about you SO much. No one in the universe wants you to be in a personal relationship with him more than God does and no one is more crazy in love with you than Him! Always remember God is in complete control of the situation and He wants what is best for you.

Also, I’ve figured out that no matter what you try to fill your life up with if it’s not God it doesn’t work. Sports, school, girls, success, work, drugs (haven’t done that haha) … whatever it is you always have a hole in your soul. I’m not saying that these things aren’t good because they are sometimes wonderful (cept’ drugs lol. They aren’t good for you!) but you just have to keep God at the forefront. Because you have to remember, he gave you everything that you have and everything you will EVER need… pretty sure He should be #1 in anybody’s book! There is just a point where you have to realize that and wake up. You know, I’ve played a lot of soccer and have been around guys that have the ability to go pro… but I’ve seen that they aren’t satisfied. All that happens is that they keep pushing and pushing for better results because they can’t feel satisfied with what they’ve done. I’ve known absolutely brilliant people in school that I can tell they just aren’t filled. Even with all their success and their 4.0’s and everything else they still don’t feel at peace… they just keep doing it because it is what people expect of them. I’ve never really struggled with any of these except sports. I used to play 3 sports and I literally devoted my life to playing them. All I did was finish school in the morning/afternoon and then off to soccer, basketball, or baseball practice. Oftentimes the sports overlapped and I would end up training for one sport while the end of the season was happening in another sport. My whole weekend would be preparing and playing whatever game I had to do that weekend. Any spare time I had would be spent going to the middle-school to practice soccer by myself or practicing baseball with my dad at the elementary school. The only thing I didn’t do was get upset at losing. I never really dwelled on anything… it was just “that’s the result and when do we play next?” I mean there were still a few moments I dwelled on… a few that I still do. The biggest one was when I screwed up my club team’s undefeated season in the last game a few years ago. We were losing 1-0 with about six minutes to go and I was on a breakaway. Only the keeper to beat… and I kicked the ball right into his chest and into his hands :/ still can’t believe that one. Sorry, that was off track! My point is that I was consumed by sports completely. I honestly cared about nothing else. I didn’t care about school; how I was acting, God etc. it was just playing sports. It was my life. I’ve learned that lesson. For those who know me I still love soccer TREMENDOUSLY but I’ve made sure that it is not my life focus. Just do everything for God because he was the one who gave you the situation and the talent and the ability. I succeed in life with the gifts in life that he has given me and I know it makes him proud. When I take the soccer field I feel him right beside me. Whether I win or lose soccer games I always remember to praise him or when I score a goal or when I make a brilliant defensive play (this happens frequently ;)). For the few people who have seen my goal celebration it always starts with hands pointed up in the air. Because I REALLY feel God’s pleasure at those points since I’m using the natural ability he has given me to bring glory to him  So to wrap this section up… stuff in life is okay. Sometimes it’s simply amazing  Just remember to keep God firmly above all else and you’ll be right where you want to be!!!

Also, with people I’ve learned you just have to forgive and forget. Yes, I know sometimes the people you forgive still treat you the same way… but don’t hold on to grudges… all the grudges do is bring you down. If a lot of people had the big picture and realized how much grudges were hurting them they would let them go. People can lie to you, act fake around you, gossip behind your back, throw your friendship down the drain, hurt your heart, gang up on you or whatever else but remember that a majority of the time they are only doing it to boost their own self-esteem. I’ve been figuring this out the last few months. So it’s not a shot at you as much as them trying to be in complete control of a situation and making themselves feel better. Sometimes people do take a purposeful crack at you because they hate you or whatever but just stay strong. Those people want to see you fall and get upset. The greatest thing you can do when somebody does that is to just keep going like nothing ever happened because that will show them that their insults aren’t working and they most likely will stop. If a friendship doesn’t work out maybe that was God putting somebody in your life for a season in order to accomplish something in your life. All in all though… you seriously have to let it all go. Don’t let something become such a huge distraction and sideshow that it ruins the rest of your life and don’t let little distractions and sideshows ruin your life either! Just forgive the person and forget… live life like it never happened. If you make a mistake… make it right! We’re all human and make mistakes so just realize that.

                How do you live a life that shows who God is? By sticking to the standards that are in his word no matter what happens to you. Everywhere I go: school, work, sports, boy scouts etc. I strain to praise him every way I can. Don’t be discouraged if you think that nothing is happening because you don’t know what goes on inside of a person. I am an Eagle Scout (top rank in Boy Scouts, only 4% of Boy Scouts reach it) but I’ve also been the Chaplain Aide of my troop. There certainly much more glamorous positions in our troop, but when I reached a high enough rank to have a leadership position God just said be the Chaplain Aide and I have been for just over three years now. To be honest, I don’t really do much in my position lol. I just glorify God and occasionally have conversations with other scouts in my troop. Over the last three years I’ve had 3 or 4 very serious conversations about Christianity with unbelievers and while they haven’t become come to him I know it has affected them. Another one is my soccer team. I had been playing with one guy for five years and I never knew he thought anything different of me until our last team party about a month ago. It was our last year of club soccer so our coach had a paper with each player’s name on the top and each player wrote what they thought about that person. My teammate wrote “… I have also respected how you control yourself and never swear.” I honestly thought I had absolutely no effect on this guy until I read that  I had a few other guys say that they appreciated the way I acted. I really didn’t know until the end how many doors God had opened up for me to affect these player’s lives. I didn’t do anything, don’t think that haha. All I did was submit to God in obedience and he made everything happen  Just don’t be afraid to act different, always remember who you live for and that nothing matters besides him.

This is a nice little poem they read at my high school graduation:

“I pray that you will wake each morning and search for God throughout your day.
That you will meet the challenges life tosses your way with prayer and confidence.
That the toys and noise of this world will not reflect in your eyes.
That life will be an adventure with Christ; not too predictable or overly planned.
That you will make time to be available to Him.

I pray that when you see a need you will do your best to meet it.
When you see fear you will give comfort.
When you see anger you will respond with patience.
When you see injustice you will defend.
When you see a life without Christ you will make an introduction.

I pray that when you are in need you will go to Him and graciously accept the help He sends.
When you are afraid you will curl up in His loving arms.
When you are angry you will look at the situation through His eyes.
When you are treated unfairly you will seek His comfort and guidance.

I wish you joy with just enough discomfort so you will appreciate the joy.
I wish you prosperity with just enough struggle to make you responsible and generous.
I wish you peace but not enough to make you complacent.

Embrace the life He gives you,
Always seek His face,
Always hope, always dream,
Work hard, pray hard
Serve often, laugh often

And love unconditionally…
As He has always loved you.”

                To wrap this up, just don’t hold ANYTHING back. Just let God rush through your soul and don’t try to stop him. Imagine how refreshing it is to stand at the very bottom of a calm waterfall and just feel the water slowly rolling down your back. The sun is shining and you feel a little warm, but the water is making you feel at peace. That’s how God is, except that he is always there. He is a moving waterfall (I know this sounds funky but stick with me lol) that will follow you wherever you go if you let him. You may not always think he is there, but that’s because you refuse to let him be an active part of your life. Give him everything… your dreams, your life, your future, your sports, jobs, school etc. he can make everything in your life work together for the advancement of his kingdom. Never let go of his hand because he is the best Father you can ever imagine. He’ll lead you wherever you need to go as long as you glorify him with every single second of your life and give it all to him

I hope this all was a blessing to you. I keep getting older and the more I look at life the more I realize I can’t control it. That’s okay though, because it’s not my job to control it. My job is to trust in the Lord, obey him, and follow him. Life gets a little easier when I live to forgive and forget, to let go of my fears, and just to live life in a mostly carefree manner. I’m excited to see what God has in store, and I’m not running from it. I’m running straight into it 🙂