Childlike Faith – Living and Loving Your Life With God's Perspective

Category - strength

How to Conquer Fear

conquer-fear
In my last entry, I talked about how sometimes we are just unstable, and it’s not a fun place to be because it makes everything seem so vague and confusing and even arbitrary.  When we are unstable, it feels like we are slowly going blind, or slowly losing our mind.  Sometimes it is just life being life, but sometimes it is really our own fault.  And I guess it stems from attitudes and actions that we just go back and forth about instead of us taking a tack and staying the course.

This is what I am thinking: we just need to make certain choices firmly.  And just commit to them and be settled in our hearts about it.  And stop waffling all the time.  If it is something He has brought up repeatedly, why do I dismiss it repeatedly?  I mean, He keeps popping it into my heart and head.  But I am like…eh….hmmmm….gahhhh….doop de doo…can’t really think about that right now…don’t really want to think about that right now.  Why?  Because it’s not convenient for me and my stubborn will, wanting to do things and do life my way.  Even though I pretty much don’t have a clue.  Even though He has shown me that often, and tried to get it through my thick-headedness.

I am also realizing that it takes a lot of mental energy to wrestle with the things He keeps bringing up on a daily or weekly basis that I haven’t settled – the things I am unstable about.

I am also realizing that it takes a lot of mental energy to wrestle with the things He keeps bringing up on a daily or weekly basis that I haven’t settled – the things I am unstable about. They linger in the back of my mind, they pop into my head at various times, they weigh on my conscience and heart. And I would definitely feel more freed and lightweight and peaceable if I would just, once and for all, make a firm choice and stick to it at all costs.  That would bring stability, for sure. But it’s scary.  Because what if we’re wrong?

Sometimes I just feel like I can’t make (and hold fast to) that firm choice because honestly, we never really know what the future holds.  And we hate to miss out on certain things.  And sometimes we go through seasons where nothing amazing seems to be happening.  But I have to believe that if it’s supposed to be part of my life, and God has everything under control, then I’m not going to miss out on what He has for me.  I’m just not.  Decisions I felt like I should make as prompted by God and guided by the Word and tons of prayer (and even fasting) and by those who mentor me and hold me accountable will not cause me to miss out.  They just won’t.  God has to be bigger than that.  And I know He is bigger than that.  We also sometimes just don’t want to deal with what we are going to have to give up and not have in our lives anymore (even if it brought more negatives than positives).

If I think about it, the root of double-mindedness that leads to instability is FEAR.  Fear of the unknown, fear of the bottom falling out, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of the grass being greener everywhere else but where you have decided to stand.

If I think about it, the root of double-mindedness that leads to instability is (you probably guessed it) FEAR.  Yep, fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of the bottom falling out, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of the grass being greener everywhere else but where you have decided to stand.  And I remember what [one of my favorite authors] Donald Miller taught me – that the most frequent command in God’s Word is “Do not fear” (mentioned over 200 times!).  It’s like He knew we were really going to struggle with this, more than anything.  And all of this, then, brings us right back to our desperate need to learn how to trust God and rest in His promises (as outlined by the Word) more and more and more.  I know that I cannot trust and rely on my feelings, but that the feelings are real and I can’t pretend they don’t affect me (sometimes so very much).  I need to know that it’s okay to struggle and wrestle with them.  And bring them back to Him.  My friend Tammy once reminded me that God is not insecure – He can handle whatever we bring to Him and help us work through the confusion and pain, and not love us any less.  And He is the source of the answer and solution we are looking for anyway.  Everything begins and ends with him.  Everything.

I want to be someone who chooses, and chooses the right things as led by God – who I want to stay incredibly close to all the time. This is how we become single-minded and stable, instead of double-minded and unstable. This is what will set you and me apart. We will have listened to His leading, made the choice, and then the matter would be settled. And then it wouldn’t be kicking around in our heads all the time. And He can tell us to ease up or slow down or change directions, but we would stay the course until that point.

Maybe you could about one choice or decision or thing that keeps being brought up in your mind over the course of weeks…or months…or even years.  If it keeps being brought up over and over again by God, and you’ve prayed about it a bunch, and sought extended and meaningful counsel about it, and things are still the same and you still feel unstable in this area, why don’t you just make a decision one way or the other the next time He brings it up? And settle it. And be done with it. And then just trust Him and rely on Him to help you stick to it…to do your part so that He can finally do His part, now that you’ve made a choice.  I mean, we are always wailing and asking Him to move in our lives…but what if our instability is what has been holding Him back all along!!!!?!?!?!  That would be so awful.  And such a shame.

We are always wailing and asking Him to move in our lives…but what if our instability is what has been holding Him back all along?

I don’t pretend this is going to be easy. But it feels right. It’s like, you make a good decision and you gain some ground. And you grow just a little bit more fully into wisdom, and discipline, and steadfastness. And you become more stable over all. And then you do it all over again…making another good decision, and gaining a little bit more ground.  And more stability.  And over and over again.  That is for sure what I am after, and in time I just *know* that the good effects of it will ripple throughout all areas of my life. It will.  That’s just how He works!!!

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Living on the Edge

I‘ve been thinking a lot about the edge recently. And living on it. I know that sounds vague. So I’ll try to explain.

I’ve been going to yoga relatively regularly for the last few months. The goal has been to really try to increase my flexibility and balance. My hamstrings, for instance, are always tight because I’ve been running around on fields for decades and I guess I don’t really stretch religiously afterward. And balance, of course, is a key to success in many of the board sports I like. Plus, I don’t want to topple over when someone jumps on me. I want to be solid like an tree. And, they say you can’t hurt steel. So I often talk about wanting to be a steel tree. And I think yoga will help towards that end.

It is making a difference. It is super hard. The 1.5 hour sessions pretty much destroy me. But I love the challenge – it just really suits my personality to endeavor through the struggle to get better flexibility and to get better balance. My instructor talks about getting to “the edge” in certain poses or stances, and she basically is referring to that point where it starts to become difficult and painful (the good kind of pain when you are working out). And for sure, you want to quit, you want to cheat, you want to ease the discomfort – and you are faced with a choice right there at that moment. You can relent – which is okay, for sure, because we have to be good to our bodies and know when we are completely spent and need to back off a bit – or you can push through the edge, which will bring more strength, and flexibility, and balance. Succinctly put, if you really want to get to the next level, you can’t shy away from the edge. Rather, you have to embrace it (“embrace the suck!” as my friend Dan always says).

The edge is where things are physically challenging. Or emotionally challenging. Or relationally challenging. Or even spiritually challenging. Our desire for taking it easy and avoiding pain leads us to not spend a lot of time on the edge – which makes sense, because we are not masochists. But we also know from living enough life that growth happens on the edge. It may not be super fun or pleasant, but we know it tends to lead to results. My friend Jenny always reminds me of that.

Our desire for taking it easy and avoiding pain leads us to not spend a lot of time on the edge – which makes sense, because we are not masochists. But we also know from living enough life that growth happens on the edge.

Many of us want some sort of change in our lives right now. A good change. Particularly with the turning of the calendar, we may have a new hope in the core of our being that 2013 is going to be a good year, a better year. And yes, hopefully it will be. But I think that we will have to do our part to contribute to the change we want to see. Nothing crazy, but just in line with the notion that growth and good things happen when we live on the edge.

People talk about “the box” a lot. Thinking outside the box, etc. You know it, you’ve heard it. I’m actually so tired of that phrase, and perhaps you are as well. But conceptually, it makes sense when we think about living on the edge. *Inside* the box is within your comfort zone. Where you are not pushed to do anything different at all. You are just existing, and continuing to do things the way you always have. We know this typically doesn’t lead to growth, and sadly, it doesn’t even seem to lead to maintaining the status quo either. Invariably, inside the box, things just seem to deteriorate over time. Usually subtly, but then more obviously. And you look around, and you are like, what the HECK has happened to my life and dreams?!?!?!

The way I see it is that we should be okay with the unique way in which God has wired us. And not try to force change by doing something that is completely against who we are at our essence.

So I don’t want to always be inside the box. But with that said, I am actually not a fan of living life *outside* the box. I feel this sometimes gets us into trouble. The way I see it is that we should be okay with the unique way in which God has wired us. And not try to force change by doing something that is completely against who we are at our essence. For example, maybe you really want to meet a guy right now. And it’s not happening at school, at work, at the grocery store, anywhere. But you really, really would like it to happen. And so there is always the option of going to a bar. I don’t have a problem with you doing that if you want, but let’s just say you never ever wanted to meet a guy at a bar. It just wasn’t “you” – something “you” would do.

If that’s the case, I just don’t think you should do it as a way of “living outside the box” because it is contrary to something you’ve felt very strongly about up until now. That’s all. I just don’t think things end well when we are not true to our heart. Maybe it helps for a little while, but I just don’t think it will in the long term. When I step insanely far out there, just to “make something happen,” it usually backfires or at least doesn’t turn out as well as I would have hoped. And then I end up kicking myself because I knew I didn’t have a peace about it in the first place, because it just wasn’t me. It just wasn’t me not because I was scared or nervous to do it, but because it just wasn’t me. I hope that makes sense.

When I step insanely far out there, just to “make something happen,” it usually backfires or at least doesn’t turn out as well as I would have hoped. And then I end up kicking myself because I knew I didn’t have a peace about it in the first place, because it just wasn’t me.

So, anyways, what is left? At least, when it comes to the box…. Well, boxes have edges! I really like the edge. It’s out of our comfort zone, and requires something of us that is not naturally easy. But it’s not too remote to our God-given constitution, where it seems completely beyond ourselves to do – where it’s like, we’re just doing it because we desperately need something new to happen in our lives because we are sick and tired of how things currently are.

I was talking to my friend Lindsay the other day, and she was saying how she really wanted this cute guy at the YMCA where she works to come and talk to her. And we were just chatting about whether she would feel okay going up to just chat with him, randomly. And it made me think about the edge. Keeping to herself and being afraid of what he will think or if he will get weirded out doesn’t lead to any change or improvement or good thing at all. And she definitely doesn’t feel led to venture completely outside the box and go up to him and be incredibly forward and ask him to coffee, or for his number. I mean, she could, and there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with that – but it just isn’t who she is, and isn’t how she is wired, and I want her (and she wants) to stay true to her heart.

So, could she live on the edge in this case? And just be the one to initiate a quick, casual, starter conversation? Yes, it makes her nervous. Yes, it challenges her to do something she wouldn’t normally do. But, like I mentioned when I was talking about yoga, it will help her get better. It will grow her confidence – regardless of how he reacts – because she *did* it. She pushed through the fear and didn’t let the thoughts or opinions or reactions of someone else keep her from being her – in the truest sense. She will now know through experience that she can tackle something that is uncomfortable, and these events will build upon each other over time to honestly make her better, and better, and better. To tackle life, and to succeed in it.

So I’m going to keep trying to live on the edge, in yoga, and in the other areas of my life. And Lindsay is going to do the same. And so is my friend Dan, and my friend Jenny. What about you? Is there an edge that you’ve been avoiding, but realize the importance of spending more time there – even though it’s going to be a little rough? Maybe a lot rough? Deep down, if you’re thinking that it is probabably worth it, I hope you make the decision to go there. I think we both know it matters.

 

The Beauty of Being Vulnerable in Relationships

I‘ve been thinking a lot about one of C.S. Lewis’s most famous and most profound quotes:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
~ *The Four Loves*

Deep down, I know that in order for a romantic relationship to really work, both individuals have to be incredibly and constantly vulnerable. And it’s definitely scary sometimes. Which makes it not easy. But, as we’ve all learned, the things that are worth doing and worth keeping are never easy. Amazing is not easy. And I definitely want amazing, in all areas of my life.

Deep down, I know that in order for a romantic relationship to really work, both individuals have to be incredibly and constantly vulnerable.

It’s really quite fascinating to witness the reciprocal interplay of vulnerability between a guy and a girl. Let’s just say at the beginning of a relationship, that it is ideal (traditionally) for the man to initiate and the woman to respond. For instance, he goes up to her, and renders himself vulnerable by complimenting her, or trying to start a conversation with her.

In his perfect world, she reciprocates by smiling, engaging with him, continuing the dialogue, and possibly rendering herself a bit vulnerable by complimenting him, or touching his arm, or holding his gaze for more than a few seconds. And then maybe he is feeling pretty good about his chances to get her number, or taking her to coffee, and so he puts himself out there, and asks. And perhaps she says yes.

All along though, she could hesitate. Deflect his attention. Pretend to be busy. Say she has to go. Reject him outright. But, everything seems to work when both are vulnerable, and take risks (and, of course, there is chemistry!). But nothing works if someone pulls back, or puts up a wall, or freaks out, or runs away.

Everything seems to work when both are vulnerable, and take risks (and, of course, there is chemistry!). But nothing works if someone pulls back, or puts up a wall, or freaks out, or runs away.

And then I think about daily communications between a boy and girl in a relationship. Texting, email, or in person. And how it works best when each is vulnerable with the other on a regular basis. If I say something super romantic and sweet and vulnerable to her, and she doesn’t say something in kind, there is the strong potential for my feelings to get hurt. And for me to pull back. And to put up a wall.

Basically, I really needed to hear it back from her, and she just didn’t give me what I needed. And so now I need to protect myself and try to keep her from hurting me in the future, because I kind of held my heart out there, and offered it to her, but she didn’t treat it delicately and lovingly. Rather, she was flippant with it, she was casual and maybe even a bit callous with it. And it was painful.

But now let’s say that maybe the next day, or in two days, or next week, she does say something super romantic and sweet and vulnerable – putting *herself* out there…and because of my recent hurt feelings, I just choose to not reciprocate. Maybe I am afraid, because of what happened last time. Maybe this time I want to teach her a “lesson” so she knows how it feels. Whatever the reason (and neither are good and healthy!), I won’t tell her what she wants to hear, what she is hoping to hear in return. And, of course, this will lead her to put up a wall, and to protect her own heart from being hurt by me (and perhaps others) in the future.

All of it is this such a delicate dance, with me stepping forward, and hoping she steps forward towards me as well…and me stepping back if she doesn’t…and then perhaps I’ll try again in the future, and hope she returns the sentiment, but if she doesn’t, the wall I build will be a little higher. Again, to prevent me from being hurt as bad (or hurt at all) the next time around. And she does the same if I don’t reciprocate.

Sometimes our desire to compliment and express our love isn’t purely an unconditional gift for the other person. Rather, it is because we want to and need to hear it back.

It’s interesting how we all need to be reassured, sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. Sometimes our desire to compliment and express our love isn’t purely an unconditional gift for the other person. Rather, it is because we want to and need to hear it back. Sometimes I feel like I can step outside myself, and watch the battle unfolding in front of my eyes: with one side being my doubts and fears and insecurities, and the other side being the kind, loving things I want to believe about myself – and need to hear from others to strengthen that belief.

If we keep letting the quantity and quality of love we receive dictate the quantity and quality of love we give, we remain a pawn at the mercy of circumstance. Which can often lead to our lives devolving into a complete mess. An absolute, complete disaster of a mess, possibly sabotaging and destroying some of the really good things we have going for us.

And we also have to remember that we’ve set up various walls from past relationships, and past wounds and current dysfunctions – and that they often still remain in front of us if we haven’t truly dealt with them. We know we want to be completely free to live and to love with reckless abandon, but we realize over time that somehow and in some way, we just can’t. At least not fully. And it’s just really, really rough because it makes us feel stuck and it keeps us from God’s best, the best that is out there for us.

If we keep letting the quantity and quality of love we receive dictate the quantity and quality of love we give, we remain a pawn at the mercy of circumstance.

And maybe we realize that our current friendships and relationships can help us to get closer and closer to that freedom, but on the flip side, we see how they can also pull us farther and farther away from it. We give others that power by simply entering into friendships and relationships. They benefit us greatly and in so many ways, but they are not without tremendous risk – and that is what C.S. Lewis is trying to convey.

I guess this brings me to my main point, which is that I want to be the best boyfriend/significant other/fiancée/husband/lover ever. And I feel that in order for me to be that person, I need to develop the habit of being fully vulnerable in how I live and how I love. Because this draws it out of others, and it encourages others to break through their walls and try to be the same way. And to push past their fears of being rejected or dismissed or ignored or otherwise hurt. This is what leads to authenticity in friendships and relationships, and the best that is out there for us. Friendships and relationships simply cannot be amazing unless each person in them is genuine and open and candid and real. Really real.

And so even when I don’t feel like it, I know I need to keep pressing in, and keep expressing love. I need to be able to say, “I miss you” if I am feeling it in my heart, even if she isn’t able to say it back at that very moment. I need to be bold in talking about the things “we” want to do in the future instead of what “I” want to do in the future, even though saying “we” is scary because “we” is never guaranteed. I need to be courageous in saying over and over again that I believe in us, now and long-term, no matter what, even when stupid fears sometimes creep in and cause me to struggle. I need to share what is on my heart without holding back, and without hesitating or hedging. And every single time I am brave, it becomes a little easier to become brave the next time. Because I’m building into a habit, I’m building into how I always want to be. How I always need to be.

Best case scenario, when she wants to withdraw and set up walls, my persistent and constant love will keep her from doing so, and draw her out. And she’ll do the same for me when I want to withdraw and put up walls.

Best case scenario, when she wants to withdraw and set up walls, my persistent and constant love will keep her from doing so, and draw her out. And she’ll do the same for me when I want to withdraw and put up walls. And together, we’ll continue to work through things, and walls from the past will slowly but surely start to come down as well. Until honestly, there are no more left standing, and there is complete freedom to fully love, and fully be loved. And this will make all the difference in the world, and usher us into the absolute best that we can be for ourselves individually, and for each other.

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Testing our Strength

testing our strength
I have this friend, Wil, who I have known since he was eight.  He will be turning sixteen in January.  I hang out with him and his siblings (they are so much fun, and such great kids!), and his parents mentor me in a variety of ways that help me through life.  It’s been really neat to see Wil grow up.  I remember being able to toss him in the air so easily in the pool.  And I remember constantly playing this game we called “KIOSSSSSSSSK!” because that’s such a fun thing to yell out when you are about to pretend karate chop or kick someone while jumping and spinning and running around the house (and throwing couch pillows at each other like ninja stars).  I should mention here that Wil’s parents were a very good sport and way too gracious for letting us play as long as we did, because it was loud, and violent, but also ridiculously enjoyable game for boys growing up (I guess I’m still growing up!).

Wil was tough and athletic and brave even at age eight, but also still a kid and therefore vulnerable in certain ways.  I remember throwing a pillow from across the room right into his face, and making him cry.  I of course felt awful, but it helped me to remember that wow, he’s eight, and he can be hurt and wounded and broken to the point of tears.  And the next time we played, I went a little easier on him.  But he didn’t play any less hard.  At all.  In fact, being reduced to tears the previous time somehow made him a little braver.  And yes, it was a cautious bravery…he had realized what could happen and the pain that could result…but he wasn’t going to let it immobilize him, or otherwise keep him from playing KIOSSSSSSSSK! and having incredible amounts of fun just because of the fear of something bad or undesirable happening.  He probably didn’t consciously process all of this, but it was quite observable to me.

Fast forward almost eight years.  We were hanging out during Thanksgiving weekend.  And playing football out in the yard.  And it was touch football, with a bunch of other boys because we didn’t want anyone to get injured as we weren’t wearing pads.  But Wil has grown into a young man at this point.  And touch football – without any real contact, without any bumps and dives and collisions – just doesn’t cut it anymore. It is just kind of lame to him.  So, he would push off a little at the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped (perfectly legal), he would use his arms and his body to get better position when attempting to catch a ball (again, perfectly legal), and he would let me or whoever else was guarding him feel the weight of who he was, who he is.  And honestly, I got a little annoyed.  I remember kind of snapping at him after a particularly rough play (I was a bit upset!), saying “Dude I am seriously going to LEVEL you.”  And I partially meant it.  And he smiled, and replied, “Alright!”

And then we played basketball.  Wil has made his high school’s basketball team, and we’ve been shooting hoops together with his awesome brother Davis for years.  But here again, lots of physical contact, and demonstrations of strength and power and presence were visible in full force.  Wil would lower his shoulder just a bit (perfectly legal, he didn’t charge into me) when driving the lane towards the hoop.  And he would use his lower body position and arms to box out and make room to get a rebound.  And he went up HARD for blocks, and shots, and would do anything he needed to do to help his team win.  He didn’t care about whether he was possibly being careless.  He didn’t care about potentially getting hurt by playing too intensely or recklessly.  He didn’t hold back.  He just let it all out, with no hesitation or regrets.

And all of this was absolutely wonderful.  I freaking LOVED seeing it and experiencing it, and it made me so happy.  Wil has firmly entered the phase in his developmental trajectory where it is all about him testing his strength.  Seeing what he is capable of.  And tangibly believing and understanding he is capable of absolutely anything.  John Eldredge (one of my favorite authors) writes about how when he came home from work, his three young sons would lie in wait to pounce on him and tackle him, to rise up against and push against their dad and his strength and what he represented.  And personally challenge the current order of things, where the father was bigger and stronger and dominant over the sons.  And those sons were recognizing their own potential, realizing that they were growing into their own, and seeing that they too “have what it takes.”  And how beautiful of a thing it truly is, because we all need to do this at some point, at many points.

How else do we come to fully discover and understand that our behaviors and choices and actions all have significance, and implications, and affect ourselves but also affect others…in good ways that might positively impact the world but also in bad ways which can cause unimaginable pain?

Perhaps the best examples occur when we are navigating the difficult years of adolescence, and trying to figure out exactly who we are, and what we are capable of.  Here, we tend to rebel against authority, and rules, and institutions, and the structure around us, and the reality set before us.  And it is a good thing, in part.  It helps us to really come into our own skin, to recognize our own power, and ability, and  – for the first time – really, truly own it.  How else do we come to fully discover and understand that our behaviors and choices and actions all have significance, and implications, and affect ourselves but also affect others…in good ways that might positively impact the world but also in bad ways which can cause unimaginable pain?  This has to happen; parents just hope it happens in a reasonably healthy manner.  With Wil, it definitely is.  And what I have seen in him is such an encouragement to me in terms of how I want to live, and how I want to keep living.

I feel so strongly that we need to test our strength not just while teenagers, but all the time.  And not just physical strength – it may have nothing to do with you being fierce on a sports field.  Perhaps for you, it’s more related to emotional strength, or spiritual strength.  We must test our strength, continually over the course of our lives, and not in possibly destructive ways, but in ways that somehow can make us better.  Perhaps by making us braver, and less concerned about the opinions of others, and less hesitant, and more operating from our heart’s desires – regardless of the outcome.  I posted a status update about this recently – how maybe we could love others more freely without being so afraid of rejection all the time.  Maybe we could put our reputations on the line more often instead of being paralyzed by our concern that the bottom is going to fall out and we need to hold ever so tightly to what we’ve gained, or gathered, or earned.

Maybe we could put our reputations on the line more often instead of being paralyzed by our concern that the bottom is going to fall out and we need to hold ever so tightly to what we’ve gained, or gathered, or earned.

Maybe we could just take more risks in general, in order to remind us that we are truly capable of doing anything.  I mean, it could be as simple as jumping into a freezing cold pool.  Or meaningfully complimenting the overworked cashier at the grocery store.  Or working to improve our punctuality for others, every time, no matter the inconvenience and cost to us.  Or actually sticking to a commitment to eat healthier no matter what, or spend more quality time with our significant other no matter what, or grow in self-control by not complaining and gossiping no matter what. 

Or maybe we could think about others and what benefits them so much more…instead of constantly thinking about ourselves, and what benefits us.  Yeah it’s hard.  Sometimes miserably hard.  And yeah, sometimes you won’t feel like doing it – perhaps most of the time.  But it matters.  And you know that.  Deep down, perhaps way deep down, something is telling you that you really should do it.  Because deep down, perhaps way deep down, you know how you want to be, you know how you dreamed you would be, and you know that it will help you make progress.  It will make things better, internally and eventually externally.

We need to tangibly and continually demonstrate to ourselves that we have strength, and resolve, and determination, and a weight to us that we can feel and that others can feel.

Doing all of these things DOES make us better.  And stronger.  It just does.  We need to grow in that direction, and we need to tangibly and continually demonstrate to ourselves that we have strength, and resolve, and determination, and a weight to us that we can feel and that others can feel.  We don’t just want to take up space, and we don’t want to just slowly waste away.  If we are alive, let us be fully alive.  Otherwise, what is the point?  Think about what God might be telling you right now, in terms of what you could do to come back to your truest self, to start moving again in the direction of “better” and “stronger.”  It could be one small but difficult thing.  Maybe do it today, as your first step.  And maybe tomorrow, or next week even, you can take a second step.  And let me know if I can help in any way.  Seriously.

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