Something’s gotta Give!!

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I can’t believe it’s been a few weeks since I made my last post. I’ve been spending the time mostly reading and responding to posts, thought I’d give all you real bloggers out there a chance to do some real writing :-). All kidding aside though, it’s been an interesting few weeks, like many of you who read this, I too have my moments of absolute joy, and my darker moments of turmoil. It’s always interesting what I notice in those moments though, what picks me up. I’d like to share a few of those things with you.

My main struggle these days, in addition to embracing my singleness, and discovering who I AM. I seem to be struggling to find a job that calls me, one that I can say “ah ha this is my PURPOSE, this is what I was made for” In my last post “Finding your Purpose might be easier than you thought!!”, I talked about how we can find happiness by letting “Our Light” be our purpose. I incorporated that into my daily life this past few weeks, and it made a noticeable effect on my attitude. Some days at work are brutal, but by embracing my positive attitude as my purpose. It has allowed me to reset more quickly after dealing with a bad customer experience. Although this is a good tool for the overall work motivation, I still felt as though something else was missing. I’m someone who will only do things if I can predict the outcome. At this point in my life I have absolutely no idea what the future holds, I don’t know what I’ll be doing Career wise 1,2 or 5 years from now, and I’m not very comfortable with that feeling. While I’m generally not worried that I won’t find something that’s the right fit for me, just the uncertainty is hard to deal with. So why not do something you ask? So far the things I’ve set out to do haven’t worked out, and I believe that it’s because I’m still in my growing phase, I’m still learning something else that is part of the lesson I’m to learn. I have faith that God has something bigger than I can imagine in stored, so I’m learning to let go.

Live as though Heaven is here NOW!

So before I go on and on about my uncertainty about my career path, let me tell you what I saw this week that helped put things into perspective. For me I have to remember to be in the PRESENT, while having goals and future plans are important. If I’m not living in the present how will I know what path I’m supposed to be on. I believe that the signs are always there, you just have to look and listen. I may call it God, you may call it The Universe or Destiny; there is still a force that pushes us in the direction that is aligned to who we are at our core. Just as how last week the sign was to let “My LIGHT” be my purpose, I came across something else that points to the same concept.

This is an excerpt from a Song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

” This Life passes in the blink of an eye. But the Story has only begun. So go, Taste and SEE the goodness of God”

Secondly while watching the Movie “Heaven is for Real” a familiar Bible verse was highlighted. Many know it as “The Lord’s Prayer.” “…may your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10 – NLT

So I know that these were all biblical references, but bear with me a bit more if you don’t share my Faith. You see all of these references are about enjoying Happiness NOW, rather than waiting for something to come by and sweep you off your feet later. Whether it’s that awesome job, or perhaps you’re in search of “The One” you don’t have to wait to find happiness. You see true happiness comes when you learn to embrace and enjoy where you are now. If you fall into “and then” thinking, you may never find that happiness, because you’ll be constantly chasing a goal that will keep eluding you. To be clear I’m not saying that EVERY goal you’ve set for the future can be actualized now! If your goal is to be a Doctor, and you haven’t gone to Medical School, you cant just go start treating people :-). Take myself for example, I see myself becoming a Counselor, I see that as my purpose. While I don’t have a Masters or PhD in Psychology now, being a Counselor involves helping  those in need, those in personal conflict and relational issues. Although I don’t have a degree in psychology, I can still help friends and those close to me. I can even write posts such as this one that will help to lift up and encourage others. In my case I don’t have to be a Counselor or Life Coach to help others, there’s other ways to fulfill my purpose in this case. So what I am saying is to find what makes you happy, learn how to incorporate that into your daily life. Just as Christians believe that Heaven (a future time, when there will only be happiness and no pain) will come later, there is nothing stopping you from having some heavenly traits here now. Just as the verse said “your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” I believe that we can have a little bit of heaven here now, we don’t have to wait for it sometime in the future.

While you might still be on the road to happiness, remember that you don’t have to wait until you get to your destination to find happiness or fulfillment. It’s possible to enjoy some of that now. By shifting your perspective, and realizing that it is possible to actualize some of your dreams today, it will get you in a better mind-set to accomplish more later.

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What if I tell you to Keep Going, even if you’re not Successful!!

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Have you ever had that feeling of being tired, tired of doing the same things without the effect you desire? A few days ago it hit be like a brick, while I’m continuing to move forward, I was just tired of running the race. I needed a break from the Rat Race. In a few of my other posts I may have mentioned that I’m single, and that I’m also struggling to figure out what to do for a career. The past rear has been great spiritually, I’ve made a lot of progress in finding myself, and becoming a better man. I feel much more prepared to one day be a husband and father. With all my progress it dawned on me that in a few month it would have been 2 years since I was in a Relationship. I’ll be the first person to tell you to take YOUR time, don’t let anyone else tell you when’s a good time to move on. But I couldn’t help thinking, wow has that much time passed already. I also celebrated by 34th Birthday a few weeks ago, and while I’m on a path, I don’t have a clear picture of my destination. I have a job that has a potential of becoming a career, but it’s also not part of my vision for myself. So in a nutshell, both of these realizations hit me all at once, I’m so not where I’d like to be. You’d think that this would have sent me into a tail spin of depression, but a few days later, I’m actually very hopeful. The past year has thought me one thing for sure, I always have what I need when I need it. I just need to tap into it. So today I’d like to share with you why I’m still in a great mood, after I realized that I’m not as close to my dreams as I’d like to be.

I’m blessed with certain Gifts by my Creator, because I’m ME!

Living my the mantra, I’m where I need to be, has served me well. Last year around this time, I began to move towards figuring out myself, and what my purpose was. I took a course through my church that helped me to figure out what my Spiritual Gifts were. It was interesting that I took a few Personality Inventories that I was already familiar with from my Undergraduate studies, but I had never made the connection before this. Understanding how I could give back to others helped me with my focus. I also learnt my gift at just the right time, I was able to help close friends through their various break-ups. Through my relationship woes, I began to focus on how people behaved, and tried to find keys to have a better relationship. If it wasn’t for my relationship problems it would never had been my focus. I’m blessed with the gifts I have because I’m me, and those gifts serve ME well. My gifts aren’t something abstract, they are rather part of me.

Do what works, continue to do it even if it hasn’t paid off yet!

“One must, from time to time, attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity. The pain passes but the beauty remains” – Pierre Auguste Renoir

I never knew that the famous Painter Renoir suffered from severe arthritis, so much so that his hands were deformed, yet he continued to make beautiful works of art. Would you have done the same, given his severe handicap and excruciating pain, why go on? When I think of my current struggles in finding a career that’s right for me, this gives me inspiration. Sure I might not be where I think I should be, but that doesn’t mean I’m not where I need to be right now. With each passing moment I learn new things about myself, I learn what I’m capable of and what my limits are. Those are valuable traits to learn when you want to invest time into a career. While I’m not in that career now, it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to get it eventually. I’m in a good place, I know how I can help others, and even though it’s just on a small scale right now, I don’t know what the future holds. Today I went for a Hike/Run (meaning that I run unless it’s a very steep climb, then I hike), there was a point where I wanted to stop all together, it was yet another steep incline. Although my muscles felt tired and tight, I kept going, then eventually I began to pick up speed again. Before I knew it I was running at my normal pace, it seemed that I was even picking up speed. This reminds me of life, sure sometimes you want to stop, to quit, but if you can push through, soon you’ll be running again. The steep climb that you were experiencing is behind you, you don’t even think of it anymore.

 “Maybe we are not supposed to find the pieces. Maybe we are the pieces.” –  Peter Sollett

In another post I was reading Labels and Independence, while this talks specifically about relationships, I found worth in this statement. Instead of looking for what we need out there, as in I’m going to find the perfect career, I’m going to find the person that makes me complete. We should start looking from within, start with what you’re good at, or perhaps find something about your current job that you like. Then make that something that you focus on, and find ways to improve it. Similarly with relationships, start with yourself, don’t look to someone else to define or make you whole. Sure we want to find a partner that enhances who we are, but we should be able to define ourselves without someone else. This week was easier than last week for me, I made a small change to by daily routine. I made it a point to incorporate something I love doing into each day. There’s something satisfying in knowing that I helped someone solve a problem, or made their life better. So each day I would try to write a comment to at least one post I read, and it did improve my overall mood. Despite what was going on at my job, I was still doing something that made me happy.

May your week be filled with joy, peace and love. I hope that we can all continue to run the race, even though you might want to give up, keep going you’ll find your pace again.  Also I hope that you recognize that you already possess everything you need to succeed. The people and resources you need now are already in front of you, it’s just a matter of tapping into them.

Why I’m going to start my next Relationship in the Friend Zone!!

Just FriendsSo are you saying you want to be “Just Friends” or you want to “Be Friends”?

Ok so now that I’ve lost 90% of the people who first saw that I posted something new I’ll tell you why we should all want to be in the Friend Zone! In today’s age of technology and information that’s readily available, it seems as though we can all use a lesson in Friendships, remember when you would talk to someone for hours on the phone, or you’d sit and actually have a face to face conversation? Now it’s a Text “hey what’s up?” I’ve been fighting this Smart Phone craze, while it’s easy to send a quick “hey just wanted you to know I was thinking about you” or “check out this cool thing I know you’ll love” We’ve become too complacent with our friendships. A few weeks ago I decided to open up a bit more and talk about my sexuality Coming into my Masculinity Full Circle, and as the weeks go by of this abstinence journey, some things are becoming clearer. As I focus on not letting my libido control my actions, as I learn to not react to every arousal I feel, it’s changing the way I see the world. In a conversation with a friend last week, we talked about not reacting every-time you feel an attraction to someone, sure there may be some chemistry, but what else do you know about them? As I reflected and listened to my friends words, it seems there’s two options when you feel attracted to someone. It’s either you let the opportunity go, or once you interact with them the only other option is a Romantic Relationship, or acting on the sexual chemistry you feel from them. For me I think there’s many more options, I’m sure we’ve all either heard or used “I’m not ready to be in a Relationship”, what about getting to know the other person first, why are we jumping the gun?

Sexual Chemistry isn’t the only criteria for a Relationship!

If we’re coming from the perspective where we’re controlled by our libido, we allow sex to play a bigger role than it should. As I spoke about in my last post, I’m learning how to feel sexual energy and not react to it. No one goes around having sex with every person they feel attracted to, yet if we feel attracted to someone, we neglect getting to know them if we can’t or don’t want to have sex with them. That is the main point I hope sticks with you. As we go through life, we will meet many people, and they’ll all bring out various parts of our personality. While we may be physically attracted to them, that doesn’t mean that we should be in a relationship with them, what about just being their friend, what about getting to know them first? Now you’re probably thinking, sure I already know what you’re saying, this isn’t anything new. I challenge you to examine your thoughts the next time you meet someone you’re attracted to, I bet you’re not thinking that it’s ok to get to know them, and not have to act on your attraction to them. We all know this in concept, but I feel that it’s in our thoughts that we’re missing this subtle difference. My Pastor Steve gave a great explanation of a few things that we should all have in a Romantic Relationship. He also believes that there’s an order to them too:

  1. Friendship – The kind where you know every detail about the other person, their likes, dislikes, want, desires …(As Steve put it, you’re fused together)
  2. Gardening – Then the  lord  God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” – Genesis 2:18. (NLT). Imagine if you will that men and women were created for each other, to compliment the other and be a helper. There is also a clear distinction here that they are going in the same direction, for a garden to grow everyone involved has to be doing the same thing. You can’t have one person pulling up the soil after another has just planted a seed.
  3. Sexuality – Sex was meant to be a very pleasurable experience, if not our bodies won’t react to it the way we do. Not to be graphic or anything, but imagine how different it is when you know what every little sound that your partner makes, and you know what excites and makes them more aroused. That’s why friendship is important, you foster a relationship where communication is key, you tell and share your most deepest secrets. After all it is called Intimacy (into me see).
  4. Family 

With this kind of a road-map can you begin to see why the order of these things are important, can you begin to see how sex shouldn’t come first?

Does “The One” really exist?

Men and Women are different, there have been many books and Speeches given about this subject. Yet despite our differences, together we can create a Family, together we make life. While I don’t claim to understand Women or even Men for that matter, we’re all carrying around this image of who or what we expect our spouse to be. When we’re single we have a long laundry list of qualities that we’re looking for, and they’re all non-negotiable. At some point we end up with a person sitting across from us that might not either measure up to our list, or even if they have many qualities they don’t have them all. This is quite a leap, but I’m wondering if “The One” is more of a fictional character that no one person will ever embody? If you’re in the situation where the person you’re with isn’t all that you desire, you may end up putting too much pressure on them to be something they’re not. How come we don’t embrace the qualities they do possess, and recognize that someone else may be the person for the other things you’re lacking. Now I want to be clear here though, within the chastity of Marriage, if your partner is lacking sexually, you’re not to go find it somewhere else. If we are to follow the Road-map from earlier, we should be able to foster a better relationship through genuine friendship, and by communicating I think it’s still possible to achieve what you’re looking for sexually. For clarity, lets say perhaps your spouse isn’t driving you to achieve your career goals, perhaps a mentor can fill that void. By understanding that we can have genuine relationships with people that are not sexual, but still fosters growth, and helps you accomplish your goals, I think we can ease our spouses from some of those burdens. Imagine if you will it’s not “The One- who encompasses all that you’re looking for” but rather “One person who has …” another “one person who has …” and yet another “one person who has…”

Above all boundaries are important in relationships. Relationships are supposed to be mutually beneficial, allowing both people to get what they desire out of it. I caution you here though, if you have a friendship where you’re taking, be warned that it may not last very long. Even if you can remain friends, you will leave your friend feeling drained, and who likes being with someone they feel is a leach. In most romantic relationships the problem arises when we haven’t fostered a true friendship, as I’m sure many people know sex usually becomes infrequent at some point, what do you do then! Life isn’t easy, you have to WORK at everything you do, a friendship and a Marriage both require work to make them work. Complacency is the enemy of Growth, it doesn’t matter the type of relationship, we should be continually growing together. If you find yourself using the words “Oh you know me, you know what I want” you’re probably in danger, the other person may be asking a question because they don’t know the answer. Unfortunately relationships don’t grow by osmosis, time together doesn’t constitute actually knowing each other; we have to actually communicate for that to work.

May your week be filled with joy, peace and love, and let’s all make an effort to be more intentional in our Relationships. Also I hope that you recognize that it’s ok to be physically attracted to someone but not have to act on it. Who knows how fostering a friendship with that person may positively influence our lives.

Is it a Good idea to push the Easy Button!!

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I’ve been on a particular theme for the past few weeks now, and it seems it’s not time to let go of it just quite yet. It’s the notion that I have to be willing to put in the work to reap the benefits. Not surprising the sermon from church added a few more layers to my flow of thoughts.

Have you ever been in a challenge that was so tough you didn’t think you could get through it on your own, and you finally asked “God please help get me through this!” But to your dismay the problem still persisted, and in some cases it got worse before it was finally over? It left you feeling drained and completely exhausted, do you find yourself asking how come you still had to go through the problem. So a few questions for you to consider, because for me I think it’s a matter of perspective. When faced with challenges, do you believe that they are there to cause you to fail? Do you believe that sometimes you face challenges because it’s building you up for something greater to come? When you asked for help to get through the problem, did you actually want to get THROUGH it or AROUND it.

Dictionary.com defines through as: in at one end, side, or surface and out at the other; from one to the other of; over the surface of, by way of, or within the limits or medium of.

For a Biblical perspective, we read in Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;  when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. – ESV

Sometimes if we’re not clear of our intentions it’s easy to have a misunderstanding. From the 2 references alone above, we see that getting through a challenge means that the challenge will persist, but you will survive. In contrast going around something means that we avoid it completely. When we ask to get through a challenge, do we actually mean we’d like to get around it? I know that with myself included what I’d like to do is get around the challenge, but also gain all the benefits as if I had endured it. Do you find that you sometimes adopt this philosophy too?

For me with every new challenge I face, it’s my belief that it’s preparing me for something, or perhaps there’s a lesson to be learnt, we just have to be open to it. In the past week I feel that I’ve increased my overall satisfaction and happiness with my life because I changed my perspective.

  1. I’ve stopped looking for the Perfect … I’m learning to embrace what’s actually in-front of me. If it’s something I don’t like, then move on to something else. Don’t get too hung up on what I don’t have.
  2. Understand that if I desire something specific, that I will have to work to get it.
  3. Remember that sometimes things don’t happen in my timing. Take for example the universe, I know there is debate about how long it took to create it depending on who you talk to; but it took time to make everything we see. Sometimes things may not come when I expect them to.
  4. Everything happens in due time. You don’t learn how to ride a bike the very first time you get on. It takes time patience and practice. If I want to become an expert, I can’t expect to do so without putting in a lot of time and devotion.
  5. Recognizing that I will always have support and guidance, I just have to be willing to accept it. No matter the obstacle, I have faith that if I’m to overcome it, I will have the help I need. Sometimes some challenges aren’t meant to be conquered, they are supposed to humble us.  

Life is messy and complicated, the future isn’t guaranteed, but what is guaranteed is that there will be challenges. We live in a world of opposites, having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you won’t have a negative attitude from time to time. Similarly once you find happiness, it doesn’t means that you can’t be in despair or pain anymore. Remembering that helps you to get in the right frame of mind, to know that things will always get better. As someone who writes, I see so many stories of others who have chosen to not let bad things effect them. I read a story last night about a young woman named Sara, here’s The Story of Sara Fry. Sara has transcended her illness and is literally living life to the fullest, if anone has the right to complain, it’s Sara. Yet she is choosing to not let an illness stop her from Living, we should all take a page from Sara’s life.

If I could be granted one wish in life, perhaps it should be to have courage like Sara Fry.

 

 

Patience Redux!!!

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Today I woke up with a renewed sense of clarity, and I really felt great about the future. I still don’t know how tomorrow will go, but boy am I excited to see where it’s going to take me! For the past few weeks, I’ve been encouraged and seen that I’m on the right path. They’re places that I’d like to go, and I think my faith is taking me there. Although the future is uncertain, I don’t feel burdened by that uncertainty. I’m actually really excited and feel like I want to go out and shout from the mountain top. Actually I’m heading out on my  Sunday Hike/Run, and I will be on a mountain top at some point, maybe I will shout from that mountain top; hopefully I don’t scare some of the other hikers.

So what is it that I’m so confident about, and feel like I finally have clarity about? Lately I’ve really been focusing on my Purpose, and my specific Gift. I’ve felt that it’s really important to be able to give of my natural talent, and I’ve wanted more than anything to be in that place in my life. Ultimately I see myself being a Counselor/Life Coach, that’s something I can be excited about everyday. Although I have a good JOB now, it’s not related to my passion, and I so desperately want to be on a path that gets me to my dream job. I’ve been trying to practice being Patient, and recognizing that if I continue to persevere, I’ll eventually get to my goal. I was reminded by a friend what it means to be patient. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s been in a job that she was not happy with. Just when it seems that all of her life was falling apart, it all came together. She’s so in-tuned to who she is, she now has a great job that she’s beyond excited about, and all aspects of her life seem to be going the way she thinks it should. After what probably seems like a lifetime, she’s in her season of growth. What that reminded me is that she was patient for years, she’s worked at the kind of life she’s longed for, and now everything is playing out perfectly. Although she’s seems to finally be on the path she’d like to be, there is plenty of work ahead.

Patience 2Thinking about her success, to some level made me a bit jealous, I’d like to have my season of growth now too. I think I had an “ah ha” moment today. Ok so I want to be a Counselor/Life coach, what do I know right now to make that come true? What do I still have to learn so that I can nurture and grow that career when it finally comes. My moment of clarity came in looking at where I am in a different way. It’s not that I’m not on the right path today, but that what I’m doing today is preparing me for what comes tomorrow. So that when I do get that awesome career, I’ll have all the right tools and training to be successful. I’ve been talking about embracing where I am, but I don’t feel as though I’ve completely embraced it. Despite what I may think about my current job, what if even it is helping me for what comes next. Instead of seeing it as something isolated, looking at it as part of the larger purpose, I’ve seen it as an opportunity for further growth.

So what does all of that mean. It’s time for me to stop focusing on things that are far in the future, it’s time to live in this moment, to be aware of what I can learn for my current circumstances. It’s important to acknowledge that ever aspect of where I am now, is an opportunity for growth. Most importantly I should trust in my Faith, I’m not quite sure what the future has in stored for me. I can be assured that it will be great, I may not even become a Counselor/Life Coach. That’s ok too, it’s more important for me to have the maximum effect to others despite the role. From my friend’s example, I can also rest assured that when it works out, it’s usually perfect. By trusting and having faith, things work out much better than I could have hoped for. So this is what I’ve learnt and what I have to look forward to.

  • Enjoy my life, go out and live every moment. Each moment is part of a larger plan to get me to where I’m needed the most. Even being single is a good thing. I know that especially during the Holidays it’s hard to do that. If I’m looking for love, what better way to attract it by being happy, and showing love to all those around me.
  • My life is playing out just the way it’s supposed to. I trust in God, and I can rest assured that he has my back. I’ve made a lot of great progress this year, I know myself even more, my faith is stronger than ever. I’m one day closer to love, and having that dream job. It’s time to enjoy where I am, go out and LIVE.
  • Sure I’m not as happy as I’d like to be, but I’m on the right path. Every aspect of my life now is preparing me for the next, and I’m learning what I need to be successful later.

What about you, are you in the same boat as I was? Are you frustrated that you’re not moving at the pace you think you should? Rest assured that you will get to the future you desire, but also recognize that you may not have all the right tools now, and your current life is preparing you for the next. Whether it’s your current job, your relationships, or other aspects of your life. It’s all preparing you for what comes next.