On Gaps, Struggles & Purpose

I’ve been through some trials in my life, but this season of life I’m currently in seems to be one of the biggest struggles of my life. It’s not anything really big that I’m going through, it’s just a collection of a bunch of little things. A collection of family issues/worries, pending decisions, pending moves I need to make, pending hard conversations I need to have. As I’m writing this, I realize that a lot of things just require me to take action but it’s really not that simple, either. I very much feel like I can’t make certain moves because I’m waiting for other things to happen first. However, I’m also at this place wondering if I’m wasting my time? Am I waiting for things that will never happen? Am I hoping for things that will never change?

Here’s a little something only few people know about me. I have a big tendency to hesitate or maybe you could call it procrastinate. However, I was never that person in school to procrastinate on homework, projects, etc., however, it seems when it comes to other things, adult life sorts of things, I do have a tendency to procrastinate. Give someone an answer, step out of my comfort zone, make a tough decision or confront someone about something uncomfortable.. these are things I definitely will hesitate to do.

Living in the GapAt church on Sunday, our pastor taught us that The Gap is the Gift. The ‘gap’ being the gap between where we are and where we want to be. I’m definitely in a huge gap right now. Where I am in life is definitely not where I wanted to be. You might have heard me mention on social media lately that I really need to be better about being content in the present and wanting to flee from certain things. I am able to look back and wish that I had been happier where I was, I wish that I had appreciated more instead of being so focused on the reasons NOT to be happy. I am able to realize that there is a reason for everything and I need to stop being so depressed and down about where I am right now and just appreciate what IS good. They say gratitude is the antidote for negativity. If we stop focusing on the negative and what we DON’T have and be thankful for what we DO have, we will be much happier in life. The gap IS the gift. We ALWAYS have something to be thankful for. Now that’s something to get excited about!

On a somewhat related note, I’ve really been wanting to write about something else that has been in my mind and heart lately. On Easter this year, March 27, 2016, my brother, Aaron, would have been 34 years old. This time of year he’s always on my mind more, but this year especially is weighing pretty heavy on my heart. 10 years ago.. he was starting what would have been his last age here on this Earth and what would be the last few months of his life. Just a few short days after turning 24, he would find out he was in heart failure and there was no other further course for him other than a heart transplant. When I think about that time and that emotional roller coaster ride that started right around that time I am also able to look back with such gratitude. Such gratitude that I was so fortunate to have such an inspiring young man as a brother.

Aaron & ReeseMy brother’s life also reminds me to be thankful for my health and take care of myself better (which is something that I have not been so great at lately). He struggled with his health since he was born. He never got the luxury that so many of us have. He never knew what “normal” health felt like. But did he ever live his life that way? No! In fact he lived his life in spite of his health and lived a life fuller with more purpose with more gratitude than anyone I ever knew. He lived more like Jesus than anyone I have ever known since. He was a nice guy, a joy to be around and if he didn’t like someone, he never ever let it show. I spent 22 years of my life following in footsteps that I could never ever fill. As he grew older he grew so much wiser. He had such strong faith and though he faced some of the greatest struggles he was never afraid because he knew, without any doubt, that if he left this world, he was going to heaven. When people visited him in the hospital where he was waiting for a heart transplant and they asked him if he was afraid. He would tell them with 100% confidence, that he was not afraid because it was a win-win for him. He would either get a brand new NORMAL heart and get to continue living his life or he would leave this Earth and get to be with his Father in Heaven. Wow! I still struggle to hold back the tears when I think about that. Not to mention, instead of being down and out about living in the Gap of his life.. he was instead going around to the other residents in the hospital talking to them about Jesus. He was such an incredible guy.. and I miss him every day. I miss all the little ways he would purposely annoy me and I miss those moments of pure joy and laughter. Nobody could make me laugh harder than him, especially when he was with some of his best buddies. Being with them together was always a total riot!

AaronHe has gone on to heaven because his purpose here was finished, but I am still left behind which means I still have some work to do. I need to be better about telling people about Jesus. I need to be better at sharing my brother’s story because I know that part of my purpose, part of the reason I was blessed to call him my brother is because I am now placed perfectly to be able to share about his story with others. You hear people say all the time.. “Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?” sometimes we can’t see the whole picture when we’re struggling, but sometimes our struggles are exactly what helps save others.

MV5BMjkyOTI5NzgxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjg4MzQzNzE@._V1_SX640_SY720_I went to see the movie Miracles From Heaven with my Dad last weekend and both of us absolutely bawled most of the time. I’m sure we were a lot more emotional given what we had been through with my brother, but also it really reminded me that I need to be doing more to share my brother’s story. Last year I was perfectly positioned in a city that really needs Jesus and I should have been better about sharing the story. There are many others here in Virginia whose lives were personally touched by Aaron’s that can continue to share his legacy here, I should have done more when I was in a new place and I intend to go back and do just that, eventually. Not to mention.. in this GAP that I’m in right now, I need to remind myself that I am still here. I need to be thankful for my health and take better care of myself, physically, emotionally and especially spiritually.

As far as the movie, everyone should go see it! Great movie.. very touching and it’s a true story! Here’s the trailer:

It’s Been A While

One of the things I used to love doing was posting blogs, sharing my thoughts, feelings, struggles, inspiration, and all the little things that excite me. However, at some point I allowed myself to stop doing so because there were people in my life who looked down on it. They thought the only reason for doing such a thing was to draw attention to themselves. That’s never what it’s been about for me. I don’t post things out in the world just to get attention, I don’t care about likes or comments, I don’t want fame or to have a huge following that I need to keep up with, and I don’t do it to let people in to the deepest darkest innermost thoughts and personal problems in my life. I try to only draw inspiration from the things I’ve been through or are currently going through without airing my dirty laundry or letting everyone in to my private life. In fact, I’m actually a very private person. I guess if you follow me at all on social media you probably know a few things about me and my interests, but I’d like to think I’m still very much a mystery to most people. I don’t open up easy. I don’t tell people I’m struggling. I keep smiling. I keep my head up. I don’t talk about everything, in fact, I struggle talking about myself, I don’t like to ask for help and I even struggle to ask for prayer when I most need it. I don’t want the attention. I don’t want to burden people with my problems because everybody else has enough on their own plates.

So here’s the thing.. the reason why I use social media and the reason why I really used to love posting blogs is mostly for myself. Writing is one of the best outlets for me and often looking back on my old posts is a great help to me but also if by posting something I help inspire even ONE person or I help ONE person get through something they’re going through, then that’s worth it to me. I hope in being positive and keeping focused on being more excited about life that it helps others to focus on that, too. The world is full of enough sadness, stress, heartache, harsh criticism, tragedy.. what harm is there in sharing a little bit of the good parts of life?

I’ve been going through a lot the last few months. I’d venture to say I’ve probably never struggled more or been more lost/confused about life and if I had kept writing not only would I have probably felt more at peace and relieved but I think I’d probably have a better idea of where my head and heart are at. If there’s one thing that is true about me it’s that I’m not good with the spoken word (but I am getting better). I have a tendency to jumble up words and forget what I was going to say or just completely lose my train of thought when I’m speaking.. but with writing, it’s easier. It’s more fluid. It keeps me focused. Written word has always been my forte and because of that, the written word is more meaningful to me when it comes from others too.

I don’t know why I let other people try to change that about me and try to discourage me from being me and doing the things that help me. But here’s to a new chapter. Here’s to getting back to doing the things that make me feel better. Here’s to getting back to sharing the excitement in life a little more. I’ll maybe try to post once a week to start and see how it goes from there. After all, it’s been a while and I can’t be too hasty, gotta ease back into it!

What is the cost for acquiring everything you ever wanted?

These days it seems we’re all striving for something. Striving for money to make ends meet, striving to climb the corporate ladder, striving for that dream job, striving to lose weight, striving to buy that luxury car, or striving to make our dreams come true. There’s always something and while it’s a good thing to have goals, I see so many people who get so driven and focused that they completely miss what’s right in front of them. They’re so busy chasing after the next thing they want that they don’t even see that they’re losing the blessings they already have. They climb to the summit of the mountain only to discover they dropped their bag of supplies halfway up.

I’ve been told that I just don’t understand the urgency, that I don’t care enough about the importance of making money and perhaps there is truth in that. But even when I was barely scraping by and not making enough money to even afford to live on my own, I have never felt this attachment to money. I’m not a frivolous spender but I do allow myself to buy nice things from time to time, but overall I’m responsible. I save my money and I’m not in any debt other than my monthly car payments. Money is just a thing to me. I’ve watched people close to me stress about the dollar. Stress about making ends meet. Talk about how much better life would be if they could win the lottery. What kind of life is that? I know money is important and I know the burden men carry when it comes to making enough to support their families and those are all good things. But I think the part a lot of people miss… is the balance.

What good is it to have all the money in the world if you have nobody to bless with it? What good is it to have all the money in the world and still have poor health? What good is it to have all the money in the world and be alone? What good is it to have all the money in the world and still be left wanting more?

I’m using money as the example here but really you can replace “money” with anything that we tend to chase after. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and it makes me really sad. I’ve been on the opposite end of this. I’ve been the child wanting to stay up late so I can say goodnight to Daddy who has stayed late at work. I’ve been the child who wanted nothing more than to have my parents come see me perform in a talent show. I’ve seen people close to me waste their life away trying to make a living and then are broken and full of regrets as a result. I’ve seen people want want want want and then when they finally have what they thought they wanted, they realize that in striving for that very thing, they lost what was really important and they’re still not happy.

I don’t write this post to change your minds or make you feel guilty if you live your life this way. I write this as a reminder… while planning for your future, don’t forget about your present. I write this as a reminder that no matter how far you climb, you’ll always want to climb higher. No matter what you acquire, there will always be a void. We all feel a void that nothing on this earth can satisfy. For me being a Christ follower really helps. Praying, reading His word and singing his praises, it gives me a certain peace. It makes me feel like everything will work out. Some people don’t understand this perpetual positive thinking. When the world is falling apart around me, I still have peace and hope and I know that beyond this world and beyond this life there is a life where those voids will be forever filled and we will no longer have to chase after companionship, love, money, success and life’s luxuries. We will have everything we need and be completely content!