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 🙂

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A public letter to my dad as I graduate

So this was just a shout-out to my dad as I graduate… sort of a public letter so that you know how amazing my Dad is!!!

 

Dear Dad,

 

Well… the day is almost here. In ten days I will be graduated from high school and in two and a half months I will be at college. I can’t fully describe how much of an impact you’ve had on my life. I used to think (like all teenaged boys do haha) that I didn’t need your advice and that you couldn’t help me out… nothing could’ve been further from the truth! You’ve always been there for me and just everything you’ve done for me… it can’t all be accounted for. Whenever I wanted to pursue a goal you encouraged me, told me I could conquer it and help me out the most you could along the way.

 

 You played baseball, basketball and football at your high school, (then baseball at Community college) but you didn’t really like soccer so you quit that in 4th grade. So I played baseball and basketball for awhile but at the end of jr. high I just lost my love for basketball and in baseball (our favorite sport) I got benched in 9th grade. I’d been playing soccer and always really liked it but it was on a level playing field with all the other sports. You weren’t that big of a fan of soccer but you realized that I had fun so you let me keep playing despite the fact that it went into basketball season and that it started during the end of baseball season. Sports schedules when two sports were going on at the same time were CRAZY, thank you (and mom of course!) for driving me everywhere. When I told you I was quitting basketball and then baseball to focus on soccer I could tell you were a little sad, but you said go ahead son. You supported me fully and did absolutely everything to give me the best chance to succeed. Now, my skill in soccer has improved immensely and I play so much soccer. I didn’t play high school soccer this year because of that stupid physics class that was taking up 5 hours of my day 😛 but when my buddy who is almost at the same skill level I am made the all-conference team as an honorable mention the first thing you pointed out was that I could be that good. Plus you put up with my constant talking about European soccer and local soccer… that takes a lot of patience! Sticking to sports just a tad longer thank you for coming to so many freakin’ games!!! If we had to count all the baseball, basketball and soccer games I’ve had I’m sure it is upwards of at least 500. You only missed maybe 19-20 games and counting both you and mom it was probably only around 10 games without a fan. You missed a few because you had big events, you missed a lot of my high school soccer games simply because they were during your work and you had to take time off just to see the few you did and then you just let me drive myself to a few soccer games this last year. But you came to nearly every game I’ve ever had and you actually understand quite a bit of soccer now. Thank you for always being a great fan (I mean you only let those “unfair” soccer referees have a piece of your mind every few games haha) and praising me for my excellent plays on the field and cheering me up after I made some big errors or just had a horrible game.

 

Moving on… you taught me Godly principles from an early age- that has had such an amazing impact on my life. You set the ground work for my life and you followed exactly what the Bible says in Proverbs. Train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Thanks to everyone who has helped my faith (but mostly you and mom) I know God is the only thing I will ever need and I will never leave him and I have completely surrendered my life to him. You taught me other good principles like honesty, gratefulness, wisdom (which you had before you got some grey hair hehe)… and SOOO many others. You’ve shown me how to work hard and when other people give me compliments on how hard I work… I always know that it was because you taught me how. You’ve always been there if I wanted to ask you questions, and have just helped me through life. You’ve taught me how to forgive and forget even when people hurt me. You’ve taught me how to take responsibility for my mistakes. You’ve taught me how to be strong… I’m saying this with absolutely no bias. You and mom are literally the strongest people I’ve ever met. You’ve went through this whole thing with adopting my brother and then realizing he was deaf. Plus his medical appointments and constant therapy, his being in the hospital etc. it’s amazing how much you work to help him. You didn’t have a job for a while and I know it’s been very hard to make ends meet since you’ve been making less money but you have never complained. You’ve simply worked as hard as you can to make the best situation possible. You’ve also encouraged the dreams I have to be a history professor/teacher.

 

I just can’t thank you enough (now I’m crying while I’m writing this lol… and I don’t normally cry). You have been the best father anyone could ever ask for. If I could ever be half the man that you are I would be absolutely estatic. When I go off to college I know you’ll be calling and checking up on me (thanks to the long-distance phone that comes with the dorm!). Like the song Welcome Home (You) from Brian Littrell says, when I come home some weekends (and someday only a few when I get my own house, family etc.)  you’ll give me a big hug and say welcome home son. And you’ll be proud of everything I do along the way in life. Love you so much Dad…

 

Your son 🙂