He Leads

I’ve been really thinking back lately to where I was mentally last year. There was many struggles in my and more worry than I can even imagine. It’s kind of amazing the 180 I took after I submitted myself to Jesus. It’s empowering to say that because before last April, I don’t think I could openly have said that. I will say, I was extremely selfish and stubborn for about seven to eight years of my life. (Possibly longer). It’s amazing what changes have occurred in my own life but simply saying, “Yes, I’ll do it.”

I used to say, “No,” many times. It was like the one word that kept me from having to obligate to anything. When I made the decision to finally break that chain of being comfortable and walking outside of that zone, my world changed. I use to be scared to even walk into a church without feeling like judgmental eyes were watching my every move, but it’s funny how those people were not like that. The churchgoers that I once thought were the most judgmental are some of the most loving and supportive people I have ever met in my life. It’s amazing how God has actually steered me away from the people that were actually causing all of my pain and suffering. It’s even more remarkable when he leads me back to those people and speak his word when they are in trying times.

The last two nights I performed in a play called “The Way of the Cross”. Honestly, I didn’t know how powerful the experience would be until last night. The last performance hit me harder than I could have ever expected. Although the last month or two has been a bit trying with all of the situations that only the deceiver could cause, somehow this amazing group of people came together and brought it to life. These moments are definitely the ones where the power of God roars in all of us.

I’ve met some amazing people over the last year and it has been amazing being able to walk this spiritual journey with Jesus. I have told many people my testimony and put it out there for many to see through this blog. Some of the most uncomfortable situations I have openly talked about without a flinch. Although my story is not as dramatic or chaotic as some, it’s still amazing to know that I was healed from my depression. It’s amazing how quick just being around a community of believers can pull you from the ashes of your own self pity and make you realize there is more to life than dragging your feet and worrying. Yes, concern is okay to have, but worry causes all kinds of mental illness.

Believe in Jesus. His Way is the only way. Much love.

Let Go, Let God.

I know many of you have probably heard this phrase many times. “Let Go, Let God.” I’ve been living by that for the last year. In all honesty though, I was that guy who continuously tried to bargain with God in my prayers, hoping that if I asked for something I could get it by adding that little “… I’ll do this… etc.” at the end of my prayers. What’s funny is all of those prayers were not answered at that specific time. It took three and a half years for me to finally realize what I was truly craving for in my life. Although having plenty of money and owning a yacht was the top picks on my cravings list, it was neither one of those. I found out that I can’t really live life without Christ in it. I was living in fear my whole life and yet the answer was right in front of me the whole time.

I remember last year when it finally hit me that God and Christ were always there. Yes, leaving my job as an assistant manager and failing at publishing a successful first novel were heart breaking. It was like everything was being ripped from me in an instance. Even depression decided to make itself comfortable inside of my unsettled mind. I lived through the thoughts of “What if” and “I hate this” for a long time. It took a year after stepping down from me position, at my job, to finally lay it all out to God and just ask “What are you trying to do with me?” At this time in my life, it was a weird question to ask because I lost my faith many years before. I was asking the same exact questions as anyone else I hung out with. “Why would God do this to good people? If he is real, why is there no proof of him?” All of these questions were not painful for me to ask three years ago, but now, I’m shocked at how losing my identity led me to BELIEVE again.

Here’s a scenario:

Imagine leaving your part time job for the night with distress and pain deep inside of you. You are struggling to pay the bills, you are questioning your relationship with your significant other, and you simply have lost all hope. The raindrops outside your windshield are enough to reverberate those emotions even harder inside your chest. It’s almost like everything around you knows what you are feeling. Tears fill your eyes and they are so swollen you are forced to pull over. First reaction, slam your fists against the steering wheel in anger. It doesn’t help. You reach for your phone and flip through every contact but you feel like the whole world is against you. You toss the thing in the back seat. A sinister thought creeps in your mind whispering, “Just be done with it. Be done with your life.”

The anxiety builds inside your chest like a balloon. You can feel the pressure against your chest and you almost want to explode. All hope is fading and the only thing that keeps creeping into your mind is, “You are already LOST. You SIN. No one LOVES you. There is NOTHING left for you. All you are is a washed up musician without any real talent or worth. Even writing has failed you. What worth are you to society?” These questions are tough for you to hear. All you can think is, “Yeah, you’re right.” You decide that taking your life would be better than watching everyone suffering around you by your choices. The only thing you can think of is to ask for forgiveness from Christ for being so weak and giving up.

I was the person in this scenario a year ago. My depression had run so deep to my core, I was ready to kill myself. Although the deceiver had me at his fingertips, something pulled me away. I prayed in fear because I did not know what as going to happen when I got home, but the remarkable thing is, goosebumps rippled across my arms and chest. It felt like I was being held. One of the scariest, yet memorable moments of my life. This was enough to prove to me that he is ALIVEĀ in all of us. I ended up going straight to bed when I got home and woke up refreshed. I decided to go to church that next weekend because I had been inspired by a play my parents were in “The Way of the Cross.”

When I went to that play, I didn’t realize the impact it would have in my life because I would have never thought to go straight to Jesus. I continued to go to church on a regular basis and heard the phrase “Let Go, Let God.” I had a friend that I had not spoken to in almost eight years, possibly more message me on Facebook to see how I was. She even told me that something pulled her to talk to me and check and see if I’m okay. I mean, how crazy is that? At a time when I was living through chaos and rediscovering my identity, someone from my distant past steps in to minister to me. God brought a blessing to me to help me on my spiritual journey.

My financial struggles started to lighten. Of course, I lost material things that I loved, but I discovered those things weren’t the root of my happiness. I lost my car, my smartphone, my computer, but I did not lose my love for Christ. I joined a disciple study with the church, went to smaller bible studies, and now, I’m in that play “Way of the Cross.” I have met a plethora of people and even found my love for writing and editing cinematic trailers for books. All of these gifts that were useless when I was working a dead in job decided to return to my life and bring back my drive. I eventually found the courage to leave my job and start my own business. Even found time to write a book which will be out March 19. Now, I have discovered a hidden gift that I was always shy about, acting. I never thought I would be able to have the courage to stand in front of people to act out an event that means so much to the Christian community.

I wanted to write this because I struggle just as much as anyone else. The deceiver sits on my shoulder everyday, waiting for an opportunity to whisper in my ear. Today, the deceiver decided the opportune time was while I was acting out a monologue. The thoughts slithered in my ears. “You can’t play this part. You hardly know how to pronounce the words. Do you really think your shivers and shakes are unnoticed in the crowd? Ha! You are pathetic!” These were the thoughts drilling into my mind. I felt like a lost lamb, trying to escape a wolf. I sat in my car when I got home and pulled out the script, scanning through every line trying to figure out what I was getting myself into. With starting a business, promoting a book, and trying to memorize lines, I was frightened. It wasn’t until I heard the song “Who Am I” by Casting Crown. It really pulled me out of my fears. God is on my side and rooting for me. He led me in this direction for a reason, and I’m not going to let him down. I will never give up!