The Conflict With Comparing Yourself

I aspire to be Donald Miller, Carlos Whittaker, and Pete Wilson. If there was some insane way for these guys to collaboratively produce a child — I would want to be that strangely conceived offspring.

I read their tweets, look at their Instagram photos, and gobble-up everything on their blogs… and 3 things happen.

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I applaud the things in which are taking place that just seem so radical & revolutionary in their lives.

I dream about everything I hope will transpire in my life one day.

Then I begin to find myself depressed & defeated as I face the facts regarding elements of failure & folly in my life.
Continue reading “The Conflict With Comparing Yourself”

Gay Marriage, Politics, and Social Media Soapboxes…

Opinions. All of us have ’em.

As soon as I open the Facebook app on my iPhone, it seems as though I’m bombarded with a variety of view points from all my “friends”. If you’re anything like me, you’re acquainted with a wide spectrum of folks ranging from progressive liberals to staunch fundamentalists. I repeatedly see content shared by my “friends” that exhorts those reading it [that would be me] that I better like or comment on the photo they’re sharing or I should just consider myself an inconsiderate jerk that hates unborn-babies, puppies, Jesus and/or the LGBT community if I scroll past their propaganda.

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I hardly ever ‘like’ any of those sorts of things — not because I pride myself on being a PETA-hating, gay-bashing, anti-Jesus bigot… on the contrary — I love kids, dogs, Jesus, and folks that identity themselves within the LGBT community. Continue reading “Gay Marriage, Politics, and Social Media Soapboxes…”

Questioning God

“…if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” — Gideon [Judges 6:13 ESV]

There have been times when I thought it was inappropriate to question God. I’m learning more and more that’s its better to question Him than just criticize Him, or assume something about God’s will that might not be entirely true.

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Last year when my wife & I filed our taxes, I had this preconceived notion that we were going to receive a huge return. We were mistaken. All of the toys & trinkets we thought we were going to acquire quickly escaped our imaginary grasp. We left our tax agent’s office defeated & a little dumbfounded. Continue reading “Questioning God”

THE COST OF INFLUENCE

Most of us want to influence the lives of the people around us. We want to impact people with our thoughts, dreams, and beliefs. The problem with that is we open ourselves up for others to cast judgment on our opinions & actions.

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Criticism is the cost of influence.

From 8:15am-5pm, I work among a collective of cubicles for an enormous organization. This occurs all the time. Our executives decide to move forward [or NOT move forward] with some sort of initiative. Within a day or so, there are over 3,500 different opinions that are cast because of the decisions made revolving around health insurance or technological advancements.

This happens incessantly online. We post a status update on Facebook or tweet something on Twitter… almost instantly, people begin to affirm your idea/action with a “like” or “retweet”. Sometimes, people pipe up & disagree with your status and/or add their own two cents on the matter. Or even worse, no one reacts to your virtual voice. You go unnoticed. Silence can be one of the loudest forms of criticism.

Whatever response you might receive from the thoughts you share or the things you do, we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to capture that opportunity to influence others. In some critical cases, the information you have to share could mean life or death for people. I believe that the lives we live hold eternal consequences — for yourself & those around you.

This is a pivotal point within the dichotomy as a Christian.

When it comes to expressing our core beliefs, we fear the fact that the bar will be raised. We can no longer fly under the radar & live up to low expectations that might be held by folks around us. Well, it might be true that people will dissect your words/actions/attitude a little more than usual. It’s true that there will be instances where you don’t fit the mold that folks typically assume Christian people to maintain… but there lies a wonderful opportunity for your peers to re-think their preconceived notions regarding Christianity because of your willingness to step out & speak up.

Grace is absolutely key in all of this. We aren’t called to promote our ideals from a slant of condemnation for those that disagree, but — on the contrary — our purpose for proclaiming our passions in life should stem from a heart of love that is ultimately sharing the hope that we have found with a great desire to see others consider our values as their own. This, in turn, creates influence.

We all risk the chance of being mocked for an idea or a dream that we hold dear to our heart. That is the price that we pay to impact people’s lives. Consider the cost & decide if its worth it. If Jesus is part of the equation, then it probably is…

What are some roadblocks that keep you from stepping out in hopes of influencing others?

What sort of approaches work for you when it comes to effectively impacting your culture?

*** P.S. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you think that this could benefit your circle of friends, please use the social buttons below & share it with others. I appreciate your support & encouragement. God bless. ~A