Category Archives: Help

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…

Driving With Eggs in the Trunk

Yesterday, after grocery shopping, I was half way home when I realized my 18-flawless, all-natural eggs were accommodating my trunk space, intermingled amongst other seemingly impenetrable items of importance.  Quickly recognizing the apparent predicament, speed was decreased, turns were slow and meticulous, and gentle stops plagued my journey home.  As methodical as the trip became, the more cognizant I became of my surroundings, specifically other drivers.   Some may have been infuriated, some may have been annoyed, and some may haven’t even thought differently; or they may have been simply indifferent and unmoved.

Instantly, I realized it was no longer about the eggs; it was no longer about the principle to get the eggs home safely.  Instead, just as God continues to show perspective through a new lens each and every day; today, the catalyst was a measly package of eggs.

Now you have this elementary, yet necessary picture in your head; what’s the importance?  What’s the significance?

As mentioned above, I became conscious not only of the drivers around me being frustrated and confused by my highly conservative driving, but also recognized their unfamiliarity and distant perspective they had on my predicament.  They didn’t know me.  There’s no position to hold that would recognize something as little, yet profoundly important and fragile my baggage was.

These infirm, easily hurt, particular constituents were personal, they were unknown, they were in fact unique to my car and life only.  These eggs resemble our personal life.  We all travel through rough times.  We ALL experience hardships, whether that’s a loss of a friend, family, or relationship, we cannot go about the world, being disciples of the Lord to the rest of the world if we aren’t considerate and accommodating to others.  Some people may be going through the toughest season of their life and even though we aren’t aware of their eggs in the trunk, we can transform and alter their day by simply holding the door open, helping them with their groceries, or just saying ‘God Bless You.’

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’-Acts 20:35

Believers go through tough times too.  Even though we may be exhausted or unsettled, we still must serve others as the Lord designed us, with respect, love, kindness, and courtesy.  Just remember, we’re all imperfect.  We will mess up.  We will have those moments of inferior treatment towards others or regrets, but the next person God brings along, it’s your time to shine for them and most importantly, Jesus Christ.

We weren’t meant to let these eggs break, but instead, encourage, empower, support, and confirm their existence.  We ALWAYS want them to safely navigate their burdensome climate with their eggs unscathed and unbroken.  

Zombie Commuters

Recently, I moved to the windy city, Chicago, Illinois.  And as quickly as the weather changes, I realize how people are zombies.  I don’t say this because of the latest infatuation with zombies, but honestly, people are easily programmed.

A zombie is a person who acts automatically, an automation, a drudge, mechanical, robot.  You’re probably wondering, where is he taking this???

The next time you find yourself in a crowded area, whether that’s walking downtown, commuting, or at a local mall, watch how people act.

From my already numerous CTA (public transit) trips, this fact is evident, there are zombies living among us.

The unemotional, humanly contact between people is superficial, irresponsible social behavior.  Giving up your seat to a woman on the bus should be a given,  but to not do anything or speak up when someone cannot get the door open because people are simply “plugged in,” is simply insensitive behavior.  When people care more about playing games on their phones and contaminating their characters with unGodly music, this lifestyle is the perfect storm to a ‘zombie apocalypse.’  Sad to say, but it’s already happened.  People are stuck in their daily routines; wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc, etc, etc, repeat, all systematically formulated over days, months, years of automated rituals.  Granted, there are so many exceptions, but as a conglomerate, we’ve lost the touch of intimiate social interaction.  We’ve lost sight of holding doors open, we’ve forgot to thank people for a nice gesture.  So why has this happened?

We’ve become comfortable and satisfied.  We don’t like change.  We like consistency.  We like regularity.  Any alteration, any detour, or stepping out of our comfort zones, we become disoriented because it’s not our norm.

Maybe it’s our employer, maybe it’s the bus schedule, maybe it’s the culture we live in.  Yes, those could be explinations, but they shouldn’t define our lives.  We shouldn’t be products of our daily conformity we’ve established.  In other words, we have gotten so caught up with pleasing our bosses, pleasing ourselves, or pleasing others, we’ve forgotten to please the one and only who needs our attention.

For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not  be a servant of Christ.-Galatians 1:10

Don’t be distracted by others.  Don’t find yourself trying to please others when you should only be focused on Him.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.

Wake up, don’t be a zombie!

The Meaning of Life

Have you ever experienced a moment of clarity, a moment of life transparency, a moment where you realize your life is exceptionally worthy?

Today, I responded to such question, thankfully not being apart of a mournful incident.  Earlier, a gunman held up a real estate agency here in town, holding hostages for over 6 hours, only to end the holdup by heartbrokenly shooting himself.

Can you imagine being one of the several hostages?  One inevitable thought I guarantee going through all of their minds was, “am I going to get out of this alive?”  And respectfully so.  Wouldn’t we all think this?

The worth, the importance, the price we have on our lives is my daily embrace proposition.  Yes, we may all highly value our lives, but do we truly understand the meaningfulness of why we’ve been put on this Earth?  Why we live each and every day?

Not to burst your bubbles, but it wasn’t to be the Mark Zuckerbergs or Oprah Winfreys with all the riches in the world. Fame and fortune isn’t our ultimate goal.  Obtaining your dream job isn’t the pinnacle of your life.  Money cannot be what you’re always seeking out.  Money doesn’t satisfy.  Things we can buy only holds temporary atonement value.  Because what happens when we buy something new?  We ‘play’ with it, show it off for a while, then store it away until a newer ‘toy’ comes along.  We continually seek out the next and newest item.  Why?  Because we’re always trying to fill a void.  We’re always trying to seek out contentment in things.  But do we want to be known by the things we own?  When someone mentions your name, do you want to be known as the “guy with the car collection” or the “woman with the most beautiful jewelry?”  How superficial is this when you take a step back?  Do we really want this status?  Don’t you want to be more meaningful to others?

Think back real quick on the person who’s had the most influence in your life….

Did they have those expensive items; did they flaunt them?  Or were they caring, motivating, giving, or simply friendly?

You’re answer is probably the latter.  So what does this all mean?

It means we’ve been created for a purpose.  Created by Him.  Created by Jesus Christ, the Creator of your life and this world.  The meaningfulness of your life can be found in His Word and through Him alone; not through the media, the popular crowds, or the celebrities of Hollywood.  God made each and every one of us for a purpose.  We were designed and formulated not to buy the latest and greatest gadgets, but to worship Him and give Him our attention.  If you can put Him first in your life, you will be fulfilled and begin to see how exceptionally unique and meaningful our lives truly are.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.”-1 Corinthians 6:19-20

So what is the meaning of YOUR life?

9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Today, my dad challenged me to research/find out about the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  And to be honest, I wasn’t familiar with them.  I vaguely remember him talking about it a while back, but nothing significant comes to mind.

After some website skimming, I realize how important this topic is.

If you aren’t familiar with the 9 fruits, it’s essentially character qualities God wants to instill in us.  Whether we have a few of them already or need to rid ourselves of bad traits, these qualities or fruits are as follows: love, joy, peace, longsuffering(patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Essentially, bearing these fruits or qualities tells you how much you’re being led by the Holy Spirit.  The closer you are to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual fruit you will bear.

By showing or mainifesting these fruits throughout each and every day, whether when we’re at work or at a neighborhood barbecue, we bear testimony to the God we serve.  It’s not about what we say because (no offense), but anyone can say they’re a Christian, but we’re judged on what we do!  It’s similar to how we communicate with others.  The majority of communication isn’t even about what we say, or how we even say it, but through expressive, nonverbal means.  And it’s unbelievable to the percentage of actions over words that take place, 55% and 7% respectfully.  Meaning, our actions truly do speak louder than words!

So if you are led by God, the Holy Spirit will brightly shine through your behavior and actions, more so than what you say.  By bearing these fruits, Jesus can move through you, being the vessel of His word, ultimately living and fulfilling His calling for you.

The key is to open yourself up to bear these fruits and to do this, one must give your life to God, seek Him out, and put Him first in your life.  By focusing on Him and not just his blessings and gifts, we can begin to see why He has gifted us with such talents and abilities to fulfill his will for us.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”-Matthew 6:33