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 ALIVE 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!

 

 

Thoughts

I was currently sitting here working on a teaser trailer for another author today, and I could not help but think about some of the things in my past. I’m not talking about like what I ate last week, or the events that happened last year. I am talking about the distant past about 10-11 years ago. In high school when I thought that was the make it or break it point of my life. Which college was I going to attend? How imperative it was to make straight A’s? Or these friends I currently have, will they be around in the next ten years?

The funny thing is none of these things really pulled through in my life so far. Friends… gone. College… dropped out. Now, I look at all of the photos and people I knew from high school on facebook and think, Wow! How simple it would be just to say Hey,how’s things been? Haven’t heard from you in years? Want to go have a beer?

Yeah, those kind of thoughts run through my mind, and I can only think how busy we all have become in out twenties to the point we forget. Our memories from when we were 17 or 18 kind of just dissipate into the air, and no longer have any significance in the back of our minds. Until we see pictures from the past. It’s funny how someone who lives thousands or even millions of miles away can have a great impact on a person’s life than the one that is simply a few blocks away. Are we becoming more reliant on the internet to meet our social needs? Or are we simply too shy to dive back into the waters that we were treading through a decade ago.

Honestly, I have lost a lot of friends over the last two-three years. It wasn’t because of them really. We had goals that we wanted to reach NOW! But we forgot about the ones we grew up with. We kind of just see them as tiny grains of sand in a pile. Is it just me or do we sometimes just turn to our past just to see how we are doing? I mean seriously, there are times when I actually research people just to see what they are doing now so I can make sure I am keeping up with my own life.

I know I felt like throughout middle school and high school… Even college I felt like I was sprinting. I didn’t think about anyone around me, much less care what they were doing at the time. Is it when we fall into a deep depression and want to take our own life that we finally realize this life is not just about ME! Honestly, it was for me. It took me almost ten years to realize the “I” and “Me” syndrome would be my ultimate downfall. Yes, I was a selfish person. Yes, I didn’t give people the amount of attention they should’ve received, and yes, it was all about ME.

When I sit here typing about this, the thoughts of who I was keep creeping in. I was consumed by my own pride for a long time. Then, I hit a speed bump and asked for Christ’s help. I didn’t go to my friends from the past, my mentors, or my own family. I went to the one person that I had abandoned for a decade, and you know what that did for me. It healed me from the mental and physical anguish I was going through. It brought me to a place of peace.

I sit here a year later from when I was in the darkest places of my life,and I’ve realized that community is the only way to pull yourself out of your ruts. Yes, life has been a struggle. There have been rough patches where the fear consumed me. At one time, I remained locked away in the dungeons of my own mind, but some how the key was revealed to me. I’m thankful I am still here to write books and show readers the world of my imagination, but I can’t accept all the credit. It was all the people who are currently impacting my life they have given the motivation to keep pressing on. For that I thank all of you.

How God has Played a Roll in My Life

I’ve been digging deeper into my own spiritual journey these last few months. Especially since I’m currently participating in a bible study and a Disciple 1 class at my church. I never really dug too deep into my past like I have recently, and it’s funny that it all had to come to one of the darkest moments in my life so far.

Last year, I had stepped down from my management position at my job and realized that life should not always be about work. Then, I lived the part of the guy who has money and lives miserably, but now, I’m happy but living with less than. I’m looking at both of these men that I lived in my life, and I’ve realized that sometimes having less is better for the soul. Although I do see many people that are living happy lives with a more than comfortable living, I can’t help but hear all of the same stories from these people. The rag to riches story where God intervened and brought them to where they are at today. Now, I can’t say that God did or did not intervene to bring them to paradise in their own lives, but I can say what I am currently experiencing in my life.

When I was at the age of thirteen, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I wanted to pitch for the Atlanta Braves and become one of the All-Stars of today. It was a dream I had wanted since I was about six or seven years old when I discovered baseball. I remember performing very well as a pitcher and third basement, but I was a very weak batter. Everything in my life at the time seemed easy, and I had all the tools to bring me to the point of stardom if I had practiced and pushed myself to that point.

Then, before I went into high school, I was playing in a minor league game at Dacula Park with the away team. I watched the batter move up to the plate and on the first pitch, the batter connected the bat to the ball. The ball shot towards me at third but took a nasty hop before it go tome. I couldn’t react in time and the ball connected with my eye. I fell over dizzy and couldn’t breathe. My eyes were spinning and all I could think of was getting the ball to first base. The player was safe and all I could do was collapse in pain and feel blood dripping into my palms.

I don’t know why this happened to me before I got into high school, but I ended up not making the team because I was scared of the ball. I kept putting my knee to the ground when a grounder came instead of using proper techniques. For me, it was very disappointing to see a dream shatter right before my eyes. Especially, the first one I ever had my whole life so far.

I ended up joining the school band and marching band my freshman year. What I didn’t realize was I was great at playing Tuba. I was asked to perform in the Wind Symphony which was the highest group of musicians at the school. Then, I traveled across the state to play in the marching and I met some amazing people through the whole experience. During my senior year, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe and perform the tuba as well in seven different countries. It was a very memorable experience.

All of this lead to my love of creation. I wanted to be able to create a work of art through music and through writing. It’s funny that this happened to me though because I had always enjoyed playing music and writing short stories, but I seemed to find myself caught up with baseball before high school though. Now, I had the time to do things that I really did enjoy. I even learned about myself through all of these journeys I took.

In Exodus, Moses was claimed to be a murderer among the Egyptians and the Hebrew slaves, but God still came to him to deliver his people from Egypt. Moses left a new life that he created in Midian and never had the slightest clue that he would be sent back to Egypt to free the slaves. You may be asking, what does this have to do with what happened in your past, Will? Well, if Moses didn’t kill the soldier and run away to Midian to create a new life, he surely would have been sentenced to death by the Pharaoh. If God didn’t intervene and appear to Moses as a burning bush, Moses would have never brought himself to go back to Egypt.

If I had not been hit by that baseball on the field, would I still be writing today? Or would I be living a luxurious life without any life lessons that have turned me into the man I am today? Yes, life would have been easy, but sometimes the rough roads pull the humble from the ashes and prepare them for what lies ahead in the future. Whether it’s pulling the slaves from Egypt, losing a job to rediscover yourself, or simply taking care of the sick, sometimes God will give you a nudge, or a baseball to the face, to deliver you from your hardships.

MY Recent ReBlog

I scoured through my past posts and was amazed at how long ago I posted my Testimony on here. I read through the whole post, which I am sorry if it was too long for anyone that read it, but it was my story last year. We all have a story where we fell to the darkest depths of our inner selves and tried so desperately to pull ourselves from the ashes, but we continued to scrape against the small stone walls of our world. It’s kind of funny though when God uncovers your blind eyes and reveals what is waiting for you. Yes, it may at first seem like an uncomfortable change for yourself, but once you do it, the world starts to turn again in your life.

Psalm 139: 11

“If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is light to you.”

At the church’s Men’s Group Breakfast today, a young woman named Jessica Banner spoke about how God has been working with her to bring her to where she is now. This was a verse that she read today, and I was instantly pulled to it because I was in this same place for a long time.

It’s funny how this speaker today fell into my life at a time, where I was still having questions towards God. I was still pondering what my life really meant and why I was continually satisfied with everything around me now, even though not much has changed other than my attitude. I know I have been more active with my blog recently, and I write more frequently with my novel. These two things were the only two changes I’ve made in my life so far, and I have been immensely blessed with joy being able to have the opportunity to spread my thoughts with my words.

Today was a realization that God did many of these things so quickly this last year because I had too much pride in myself when I was an Assistant. I decided I didn’t need him anymore, and as bad as I hate to say it, I returned to him in the darkest hours. I hate to say it only because I wish I would have glorified him in my brightest days. I’ve learned to be more humble towards him and the ones around me that have pushed me in this direction, and I plan to keep moving in this direction.