Falling from the Peak

climb-a-mountainHave you ever found yourself hysterically scratching, excessively grabbing, intensely pulling yourself up the hill of life, only to unexpectedly lose your grip or footholds and fall from the peak?  Wherever you may be, we’ve all experienced this abrupt fall, the sudden callback, the rediscovered pain, the reckless reminder of brokenness. 

To summarize the above said, we can simply say relapsed reminders.  Have you ever tried to walk/run up a wet or muddy hill?  It’s nearly impossible, always slipping back, struggling to keep your footing, only to slide further and further away from the top.  In these moments of struggle, in these moments where we find ourselves stuck in the same place as before, our pace is delayed, but now our focus is tactfully reexamined and reimplemented into finding sturdier ground, with each step cautious and more sensible than before.

It’s in these moments when we fall from the peak, when we fall from the near top, whatever your personal metaphor may be, we can choose how and where we take our next step.  Will you continue to claw your way up, only to risk falling again, or are you simply going to keep falling…and falling…and falling? 

Recently, God has exponentially been moving in and around my life and as I reexamine my past and my current state of affairs, I quickly realize how much I’ve carelessly disappointed, thoughtlessly hurt, and recklessly dealt with situations.  At the time, I never had these moments of falling from the peak, I never had these feelings of “what am I doing” or “why did I just say/do that.”  When I fall down now, I promptly diagnose and distinguish the factor/s that led to the fall.

I can only point to one thing, I now have the ultimate lead climber, and that is Jesus Christ.  When I fall, I can be reassured He will always catch me, He will always be right there saying, “it’s ok, you can climb, do not fear, for I am with you.”

For all the falls, for all the inevitable mistakes I’ve made each day, I’ve learned the hard way; forgive yourself and forgive the ones around you because this life is getting shorter and shorter each day, so why hold onto these burdens, why not give your regrettable grievances and excess baggage to the Lord?

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.-Psalm 55:22

So the next time you fall, turn to God, for He is the only one who can put you on the right course to conquer your mountain.


Transparent Afterthoughts of my Backwards Thinking: Part III

renewal“I woke up a few years ago and realized that I no longer had a grip on who I was…the me that I was living with was this dude who changed himself all the time to try and get other people to like him…and my entire identity was wrapped up in everyone else’s approval of me……so this is me – breaking loose of that piece of bondage and concerning myself with the approval of only One and not the many.”-David Dunn

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post (Transparent Afterthoughts of my Backwards Thinking: Part II).  If you also haven’t read the first part (Transparent Afterthoughts of my Backwards Thinking: Part I), please do so before reading this post as well, thank you!

5)   Reflect on Your Journey.  Just like anything else in life, you don’t become an expert by simply reading or scanning over it once.  The same perspective is necessary for your life and future.  We must look back on where we’ve been and where we’ve come.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment and where we’re presently going, that we forget about our past, we forget about the moments of hardship, the times we wanted to give up.  I found myself all too often getting through a tough moment only to put it in the back of my mind or hidden beneath many personified layers, holding it in, so no one will find out or realize I have a weakness.  How are we ever going to grow if we don’t let these things out, if we don’t ever look back on our lives to appreciate, to know, to realize everything is bigger than us.  And while we’re reflecting on our past, we can begin to discern and dissect problematic issues and circumstances, which led us into those difficult moments, empowering us to make more critical decisions later in life.  Reflecting on your journey simply creates a new perspective, conveys a position change, removing yourself from an unhealthy lifestyle into something healthy and life improving.   Sometimes we get stuck into a negative mindset of, “oh we/I had it so much better before” or “I was soo thin back then,” but look at where you’re at now, look at all the other things you can be thankful for.  God doesn’t take us down dark alleys only to be mugged and robbed, but instead guide us to safety.  It’s in the moment we step into the sunshine to realize, God was always at our side…

6)   Look Forward to the Unknown.  How scary is that word, unknown?  Don’t we have this automatic philosophy of insecurity and negativity with the unknown?  It’s like the phrase, “you need to drink water for all the health benefits;” as you read that, I’m sure you got a little thirsty or even reached for your cup of water because we always know to drink more water.  Well, it’s like that with the word, unknown.  We begin to walk on egg shells when we don’t know where we will end up for a job or how we will pay our next bill or will our loved one recover from a health issue, we don’t know, it’s obscure, it’s simply untold.  It’s so hard to think positive and recognize the silver lining in all situations and predicaments, right?!  Even though we may not know what tomorrow may bring, we should embrace the unfamiliar and mystery because as we open the curtain of the unknown, it’s all too often the reveal is surprisingly pleasant and rewarding.  Especially living a life for Jesus Christ, we have no idea where He will lead us, but I’ll confidently tell you, He’s already “been there and done that,” and there’s no need to worry or be concerned because “therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”-Matthew 6:34; so the only thing you can do is, be excited and ready because who knows what or who the Lord will bring your way!

7)   Things Happen for God’s Purpose.  Simple as that.  I’ve written about this all too often about the ups and downs of life and how God is THE orchestrator of all things.  How often is a moment so hard that we beg, “why God why, why me, what did I do to deserve this?”  In these moments, we need to reflect on the importance of giving Him all our love and attention because if He took us to this moment, He will get us through it.  As humans, we continually get stuck into a detrimental, pessimistic mindset once hardship rears its ugly face.  God never told us to do this.  There’s nowhere in the Bible does it say to sulk, regret, and dwell on what just happened.  We should embrace these moments because “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”-James 1:2-4.  In the past year or so, I’ve quickly realized this.  As I continue to grow spiritually in my walk with God (yes, I struggle, I have my hard days too), I realize He’s in complete control, we’re simply pawns in His ultimate game of chess; if we try to move one way and get turned down or blocked out, He always provides us another move.  If a door closes, He provides another door for us.  From the obscure and odd timing of all the recent experiences in my life, I cannot simply say it was all a coincidence, the Mexico mission trip, providing loving friends and a random family to live with in Chicago during my internship, graduating grad school, my brothers wedding, the Super Bowl volunteer experience in New Orleans, and now, He has blessed me with a job; all has been provided by Him and only Him alone!  As a believer, I’m not in the business of randomness and coincidences, but rather ALL THINGS happen for God’s purpose!   “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”-Romans 8:28


Transparent Afterthoughts of my Backwards Thinking: Part II

renewal“I woke up a few years ago and realized that I no longer had a grip on who I was…the me that I was living with was this dude who changed himself all the time to try and get other people to like him…and my entire identity was wrapped up in everyone else’s approval of me……so this is me – breaking loose of that piece of bondage and concerning myself with the approval of only One and not the many.”-David Dunn

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post.  If you haven’t read it yet, please the first one first (Transparent Afterthoughts of my Backwards Thinking: Part I), so the following makes sense.

3)   Stay Determined and Focused.  In the face of trials and tribulations, it’s easy to get lost, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and others.  I’ll wholly admit I was navigating a rough sea without any direction, getting tossed and turned, being engulfed in my own waves of confusion, resentment, and unfulfillment, losing sight of the precious lighthouse to light my path to safety.  In those regards, avoidance and turning to unhealthy behaviors pushed me farther out to sea, immersing me into complete and utter desolation, forfeiting my life to engrossed thoughts and actions, hurtfully inattentive to ones around me, simply because I was wavering and wandering in my thoughts and actions.  You must not only be determined, but also be determined to keep your focus on your life’s purpose.  We all have passions, we all have a “sense of purpose.”  Everyone has been gifted with a talent.  As we lose sight, our gifts and talents also become obscured, altered, or even redirected in a negative light.  In other words, instead of using wellness, nutrition, and fitness (which encompasses my talents and passions), I was using it in a highly adverse and detrimental way.  So as I gained refocus over my life and determined to maintain my focus, my gifts and talents began to realign with God’s purpose, using them to please Him, serving and loving others, as I always should have been doing.

4)   Love and Embrace Close Family and Friends.  Once again, as you have noticed from the aforementioned disciplines, once you lose sight of yourself, purpose, and drive, everything else is lost at the waist side, including close family and friends.  Once you become so overwhelmed by personal issues and consumed by egotism, others are haplessly afflicted, even if those people were/are trying to cultivate corrective behavior.  In your “world of I,” constructive criticisms and questions about faulty resolutions are either ignored or criticized, alienating and most often hurting the only ones who have been indefinitely at your side.  Regularly hurting loved ones around you will only make everything else more difficult.  As I started to be renewed, the love, closeness, and guidance being offered by others, in which I was condemning, was actually sympathetic and improving all the aforesaid disciplines.  So embrace the precious love and support from others, encourage closeness among your family and friends because friendships and relationships are mutually exclusive, there must be an exchange of self-surrender, with both parties complimenting and coordinating feelings, thoughts, and actions in an intimate or socially appropriate manner.  You can’t conquer your fears alone.  The fool is the one who thinks they can conquer the world on their own.

Check back tomorrow for Part III…


Transparent Afterthoughts of my Backwards Thinking: Part I

renewal“I woke up a few years ago and realized that I no longer had a grip on who I was…the me that I was living with was this dude who changed himself all the time to try and get other people to like him…and my entire identity was wrapped up in everyone else’s approval of me……so this is me – breaking loose of that piece of bondage and concerning myself with the approval of only One and not the many.”-David Dunn

As I reflect on the year or so, my mind isn’t wrapped around a hyperbole, but rather a conciseness of where I’ve come and what has happened in my life.  The adventure, beyond the words of this blog simply may seem as a misconception or oversight, or even a fabrication of the truth, but I promise you, the sincerity and candid thoughts behind these words are the essence of my true self.

With that said, separate from anxiety and fear, I’m going to reexamine and recollect on the journey I’ve experienced through this blog.  If you have read my story (who am i?), you’ll quickly realize I use to be a perplexed individual, having no sense of direction, focus, or motivation for my life.  Through the difficult remodeling experiences, maturation of habits, and the rediscovery of my true personality, there are SEVEN disciplines cultivated about myself as well as life in general; with all highly essential and conducive to continued consistent growth and well-being.  Not limited to, but highly profound learned disciplines are as follows:

18704876_JEdJdnIX_c1)   Face Your Fears.  No matter where you are in life, you must not shy away from the difficult moments.  Whether it’s apart of your previous habits of turning to “comfort food” or some other procrastination outlet, we MUST deal with the situation at hand. However difficult a situation may be, there’s always a solution, there’s always something that can be done.  Repetitively not acting upon certain circumstances creates a personal culture of accepted accommodation.  In other words, the more you avoid a situation, the more you create excuses and reasons not to do something or make a decision.  And that means, according to yourself, inaction equals permission, the opposite of what kind of internal thoughts and conversations that should be occurring.  Once you start to undertake and face all problematic situations and decisions, you’ll quickly recognize avoidance is the worst way to deal with an issue.

Responsibility-ahead-Blog-142)   Be Accountable for Your Actions.  Adding to the first discipline of facing your fears, you must be accountable for your own actions or even inaction for that matter.  Once you start avoiding things in life, whether it’s either inaction or distasteful decisions, you must be willing to suffer the consequences of egregious actions.  Negative decisions=negative consequences, right?  Isn’t that what all our mothers taught us when we were little, if we didn’t make our beds or clean our bedrooms?  It makes sense.  With a properly instilled discipline system, whether that’s internal or external, we know there will be consequences because consequences breed future knowledge of what NOT to do.  But it’s all too often, we don’t realize or recognize our faults until we’re looking from the outside in.  Luckily, facing your fears and asking for help from trusted family and friends, we can appropriately diffuse our internal battle, solving an issue at hand, and lessening the negative ramifications.

Check back tomorrow for Part II…


Up Down

up-down-arrowsAs one chapter ends, another begins.

Life’s perpetual motion is cyclical, spinning and twisting oneself up and down, left and right, from valley to mountain, to mountain to valley.  Put it simply, life is seasonal.  Good seasons are great.  Bad seasons are of course bad.  But guess what?    It’s a pretty difficult task of embracing such negative seasons or down points in your life, but why not?  Why don’t we use these valleys in a more productive manner?  Instead of simply rolling over and asking, “why, why did this happen to me,” we need to pick ourselves up and know, this is only temporary.  This hard time, this stressing moment, this jobless, bankrupt period is only-short lived.  I need to endure, I must endure!

You may ask yourself, well about the times where people are going through permanent difficulties, such as divorce, cancer, disability, etc, etc?  Granted, from a human perspective, these are enduring concerns, but what will an individual do with such a difficulty?  We’re all familiar with the saying, “it happened for a reason,” I’ll give you one better, it happens for God’s reason.  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”-Romans 8:28.  What may look or seem like a downfall or weakness to some can be used to encourage and motivate people for God’s kingdom, it’s as simple as that.  The tools God has gifted us with, the hardships He takes us through have been orchestrated for a reason.   Where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you are going is exactly apart of His plan.

God didn’t create us to dwell and fall short when we’re in trouble.  We aren’t suppose to dig ourselves a hole and stick our heads into the ground.  We were all created for a purpose, even through the hard times.  We must embrace the fun and happy times, but we also must embrace and endure the hard times, and cling to His trust, that God and only Him will see you through.  No matter the sorrow, no matter the predicament, God is there for you, He’s just waiting for you to call out to Him, “I need you Father, I’m lost without you, I need you now in my life.”

In and out of season, we must turn to God.  If life is up or down, the season will end, and another will begin.  Look to Jesus next time your season goes down.


Consistent Inconsistency

SINCON_375_1I’m sure you know the answer to this question even before I pose it to you, but have you ever found yourself being inconsistent?  It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s not exercising 4 to 5 times a week OR diving into the cookies/potato chips OR watching too much television OR answering significant others in a few words rather than having a deep, intimate conversation.  Do you simply find yourself saying, “I should be doing this,” but continue to find yourself doing the opposite; the same exact unhealthy behavior day in and day out, repeating the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again?

Looking back on my posts (can’t believe it’s almost been a year blogging!), I’ve alluded to this topic several times, primarily in the last post Destroy What Destroys YouThe impending proposition is a play on words, thinking critically about the title, understanding what occurs when we have consistent inconsistency in our life.  And most importantly, how do we manage such a dilemma. 

First of all, it takes a lot to recognize your own inconsistency.  It takes an attentive discernment of one’s character to say, “wait a second, this isn’t good, this isn’t bettering me as a person.”  It not only takes a lot to be cognizant of ones’ flaws, but most importantly, takes an abundance of tempered attitude to refine and adjust private weaknesses.  It’s imperative to note, we’re all fundamentally exhausted.  We’re all quintessentially afflicted.  We have our own secluded predicaments and complications.  We’re all simply imperfect.

With imperfection comes inconsistency.  With inconsistency comes commitment dominance (and not all imperfection leads to inconsistency; that’s not the extent of the following, but rather an analysis of the adverse/unfavorable influences on our lives).  In other words, habit forming.  And in this case, negative habits; dominating negative habits, fulfilling the majority of ones’ thoughts and actions.  To understand habits, we must appreciate the science behind habit forming.  Essentially, habits are developed through frequent repetition and reinforcement, links between stimuli and responses.  Most habits we have today were shaped during our early years as well as being passed down from our parents.  Also, we’ve learned through observation and modeling, being most often consistent with our personality.  Therefore, frequently repeated thoughts or actions create neural pathways in the brain and the more frequent the repetition, the stronger the connection and the wider the pathway will become.  The constant recurrence decreases the biochemical resistance to that certain thought or action.  That is why we can perform certain thoughts and actions almost unconsciously.

Ultimately, as we begin to realize and recognize a negative habit forming, we should quickly do all things possible to extinguish its damaging wrath.  Because it’s oh so often, we relinquish control to the repugnant behavior.  Sometimes, we get so lost, so deep we become uninterested, unwilling to change because we begin to disparately believe, “well, I’m too far gone to be saved, I’ve already gained 50 pounds, why stop now, I’m comfortable and “happy” with what I’m doing.”  Once friends, family, or even yourself recognize the denial or resistive posture to change, then you must cut it out of your life, Destroy What Destroys You, seriously.

It’s so easy to float through life, staying up late, sleeping late, sitting and watching television all day, eating junk food, with not a responsibility or care in the world to change.  Granted, I know there are a plethora of circumstances well beyond one’s control that may limit one’s alteration, but why not change, why not take a risk, why not take a leap of faith?  There is one guarantee, if you DO take that risk, you won’t be alone, I promise.  You won’t have to suffer, feel alone, or turn to risky behavior anymore because Jesus Christ will always be at your side.

“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”-Ephesians 4:22-24

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”-Hebrews 13:5

If your day-to-day schedule is filled with inconsistency, develop a new one and start by getting rid of the things in your life causing or leading to so much anguish, so much anger, or so much regret.  If it’s the television, get rid of it.  If it’s your smart phone, get a “dumb phone.”  If it’s friends pulling you down, cut them off.  It may seem foolish to others, it may seem like it’s over the top, but if you’re going to overcome inconsistency, you must remove yourself completely or remove IT completely, whatever that IT may be. Once you remove these things that have been destroying your character, destroying your relationships, you can begin to mold and mend a new life; a holy life God has always designed for you to live, and only if you allow Him, turn to Him in these troubling times you can be completely and thoroughly refreshed, renewed, and revitalized.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”-1 Corinthians 10:13

Post Script-an ensuing post MAY follow because…1) some of you like post series and 2) we must learn what to do after removing a bad habit from our lives.


Destroy What Destroys You

6175770250_5f3805cdbb_zI want to sincerely apologize for my hiatus.  It’s been a very long two months, with end of semester papers and projects, bachelor party organizing, graduating from grad school (with highest honors-all credit goes to the Lord!), moving, applying for career jobs (any leads in sports, fitness, recreation, please send my way!) and my brothers wedding.  The aforementioned should not be used as an excuse not to spread His gospel because no matter what we’re doing, as busy or as unbusy our lives may be, we must always be willing to be a beacon, to reach out to those in trouble as 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  Moreover, this comes to the topic at hand, and as you read the title, Destroy What Destroys You, we must embrace this idea as instrumental in growing and evolving as a believer.

Think about this for a second, if we all had the control, all had the patience and determination to stop sin in its tracks, we wouldn’t be sinners, right?  If we were able to recognize and realize our actions and behavior were turning detrimental, then we would be living in a perfect world, right?  Well, there’s our problem, as humans and especially as believers.  (If you haven’t read my previous post, Jesus Loves Pornstars, I implore you to stop reading this now, and read it; it’s highly conducive to the idea at hand.)  In other words, self-control is either absent or becomes subject to failure.  Furthermore, what sets us apart from other creatures of God’s creation is our consciousness.  Most often, we think in terms of an angel on one shoulder, and a demon on the other, so at least that’s the depiction of society.  This conscious behavior, thoughts, and actions precede a choice; a choice to choose what is right or wrong, a choice of yes or no, a choice that aligns with His or not.

For non-believers, this right/wrong dichotomy is parallel to their upbringing, societal norms, or even religion.  It’s in a sense their personal standard of living, able to clearly define what’s right or wrong, even with the Jesus Christ not in the picture.  As believers, our one and only way of living is through His Word, through living each day as Christ Jesus wants us to, not based upon society or other standards.  Innumerous studies have been done to investigate how and why people act the way they do, interestingly studying mentally unstable and felonious individuals.  Researchers Cima, Tonnaer, and Hauser (2010) examined how psychopaths process and control their decisions.  Specifically, they found that psychopaths and criminals alike have a “normal understanding of right and wrong, but an abnormal regulation of morally appropriate behavior.”  Even though the vast majority of us aren’t psychopaths or criminals, this study and many alike positively demonstrate we all have an innate moral compass.  So as criminals are beginning their sinful thoughts and actions, there’s always an escape route, there’s always an angel telling them they can be saved, there’s a definitive way out.  But all too often, the devil overcomes these Holy voices to say, “no one likes you, this will show them, it feels good, you’ll be happy, etc, etc, etc.”

Oh so often, after such sinful behavior, we’re fall back to square one, we come back to the dichotomized thoughts of regret and excuses “gosh, I shouldn’t have done that, it felt good, so it was ok, I’m in a tough situation right now, so give me some slack.”  It’s not until we’ve fully committed our lives to serving the Lord, praising His name, that all worldly things don’t mean anything, don’t have value to us, including sinful behavior; lust, selfishness, wicked hearts are lost at the waist side.

So you’re asking, how can I stay consistent with my faithful, devoted, loving lifestyle, being bigger and stronger than temptations?  Well, it may seem easy, but you must take up the Cross daily.  Whatever this may be, reading a daily devotional, studying/memorizing a few scriptures of the Bible, conversing with other Christians, or going to church, we must be involved one way or another with His Holiness.  Establishing these Holy habits is a must for change to occur.  If it’s reading your Bible before you head to work, do it every day, no matter the circumstance.  Once you do it for about two weeks (when the action begins to be neurologically imprinted), it’ll become commonplace in your life.

As you begin this process of seeking out new and healthy behaviors (e.g. by inserting God into your life), you can begin to see/recognize how your sinful thoughts were devastating to relationships, friendships, productivity, and true feelings of love and closeness.   Think about this; is it easier to give into temptation or fight it?  What does it say about your character and faith in God?  The more change that occurs in your life, the more you’ll realize that if He’s taken you to a tough situation, He will get you through it.  No sin, no mistake is bigger than Jesus Christ and His forgiveness.

So when you come to a crossroads of sinning or not sinning, recognize the underlying problem and purge it from your life.  Whether that means getting rid of a television, computer, iPhone application, friendship, or whatever is spawning sinful behavior, sever ties!  You cannot expect to grow in Christ if you’re not willing to let it go completely.  You cannot have one foot in and one foot out.  To have a complete transformation, you must let go of ALL things.  Because Matthew 6:33 says, “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I challenge you today, destroy what destroys you!

Resources

Cima, M., Tonnaer, F., & Hauser, M. D. (2010). Psychopaths know right from wrong but don’t care. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 5(1), 59-67.


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