“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