Running

I’ve been running for a really long time. Almost four years it seems. I know, running is a silly word choice for someone who uses a motorized scooter. But we can run too! I am not even sure if this post will make it onto the internet. Here I am, though, typing anyway and seeing what comes of it.

No tea, no writing music, I’m in bed and not in a creative space. I am just tired of excuses. My thoughts were cluttered and super difficult to pin down so I decided to de-clutter my physical room as a symbolic exercise to declutter my mind. I know, super New-Age. But it seems to have worked.

So much has happened in the last 12 months. I started my first serious dating relationship. I quit seminary. I started working as a researcher for disability rights. I went back to counseling. I made a commitment to be all in on writing and speaking. I created and launched a Non-profit Disability Ministry. I began speaking at conferences and events about disability and inclusion. I started making videos. I found a home church. I met my biggest fear face to face and broke my ankle. I went to rehab. I moved back to New Jersey. I fought hard for four months to recover and get back to Nashville. I clawed my way, with help, out of the darkest pit of my life. I fell deeply in love with my partner, and someday wife. I moved back to Nashville. I launched my first video to get a decent amount of views (12k). And now here I am in mid-November hesitating where to motivate my legs to take me next.

While I have seen so much progression in my own life over the last year I am also painfully aware of the intense division that has consumed what seems like everyone in our country. But I don’t believe for a second that 2016 created all this discord and division. I believe whole heartedly it gave a voice to what was already lurking quietly in the background of our hearts. It was already there, now it has been clearly uncovered.

Maybe this is why I have been so afraid to post and write words for others to read. I DO NOT want to be another voice adding to the calamity and corresponding grace-less, unloving, polarized bickering that is controlling our hearts. Call it what you want. The truth is that our country is not one built on Jesus. It is built on the self-consumed, self-loving, self-seeking, self-indulging, self-proclaiming, self-preserving, self-deluded, selfish wants of our selves. Not one of us is free from that truth.

Harsh. Ouch.

And if you read what I just wrote and say to yourself “that’s so right! If only those (liberals/conservatives) saw how selfish they were!”

Then you literally missed the point of what I just wrote. I have never ever written a blog that pointed any direction but towards myself. I hope you can read these words in your own voice and take a beat from your overwhelmed emotions to consider this.

There will be no unity when the self is lifted above others. If we claim that it is not “the self” we advocate for, but those who look and sound and share views like us. I promise there is no difference to be had.

And the reason I have not written in four years with the conviction and depth and power that has always been in me is because I myself am self-seeking. self-preserving and selfish.

I am the man who took his talents and buried them away. Because surely, if I cannot lose any of what I have then I can keep it unharmed, unbroken and what I consider whole. I can show my Master that I have protected his gift from seeing the light of day. There is no weathering to be found. It has not been stolen or abused. It is the same as the day that He LENT it to me.

I cannot speak this next part to those who have not vocalized that they are a member of the Body of Christ. But I will write it so everyone can read it.

Our job. As the Bride of Christ. HAS NEVER been to use what has been given us for our own protection, preservation or provision. Those things. Those are God’s. Your job, our job is to be all in with every gift we have to offer.

We no longer bring our offerings to the altar to be burned before God. We take our offerings, our gifts, our talents and we hand them out freely to the Other. We share. No matter how much we are afraid it will hurt. We take scars and bruises along the way. And we give out what we have BEEN GIVEN freely.

Then we stand next to those we have shared our hearts with, we put our arms around them and we point to the Heavens and explain. “This is the God who gives and takes away. This is the Lord who so freely gives in abundance that we need not want, instead we are spurred on to give.”

We no longer burn offerings. No. We are the gifts God has poured out in abundance.

Turn your eyes, Oh Child of God, turn your eyes outward. Look at those who are not you. Those who are calling out in fear and in pain. Look to your hands. Look at your feet. Why are you not already running to those who are not you. Why are you not bringing them God’s gifts. The Spirit’s Gifts of love, patience, kindness, self-control, forgiveness and so on?

Will you stand in the gap? Will you show those in the world that there is a love greater than the self can ever muster? Run to them Dear Ones.

Much Love

BGTF

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I wish…

I wish that I could say that “sometimes” or on “occasion” we are our own worst enemies, but it seems as I get older and live more experiences out that in fact we are MOST OFTEN our own worst enemies. We take ourselves down roads of ignorance, we get passionate about all of the wrong things, we cannonball into the pool of pride.

This may be the most frustrating aspect of life for me. Not the things that I cannot control because those are always there and seem to suck at a very consistent level. The woes that are brought on in our lives by our own lack of action, care, sensitivity or thought are the ones that truly dishearten me and make my burdens near unbearable.

Call it laziness, call it ignorance, call it selfishness, call it pride. I care not what it is referred to I just care about the effects which are blatantly visible and painful. We all have seen others do it to themselves and have committed these crimes against our own well-being.

This is the most frustrating part of life for me. The moments that  have wasted, not taken advantage of, or abused. So much success could have been attained but instead pride conquered the day.

And here is where my favorite part of God comes in to dispose of Humanity’s vanity. His grace is enough. His grace is sufficient to forgive yourself and move forward.

His grace allows us to seize the next opportunity and moment and succeed like we are always supposed to.

So I would like to ask all of you something that may be very hard (I know it is very much harder for me than almost anything else) I want you all to forgive yourself. Take that grace and forgiveness that Christ offers and forgive yourself. For everything.

You may have forgiven others for hurting you, but did you forgive yourself for the ill-intentions you felt towards those who harmed you? God has forgiven you.

But have you forgiven yourself?

This is a toughy for sure.

Much Love

BGTF

Late Night Thoughts Expanded

So If you read my last post you should be up to speed but if not go back one post, read that, and then continue on to this one.

My thoughts were a tad frayed and I was a little distraught last night. So I have prayed and thought a good amount about our human desire to be in control. Now I alluded last night that this is the wrong way to think. Then I wrote something about it being a paradox and then my mind kind of went numb due to a lack of sleep.

So here is what I am thinking. Here is that paradox. When we jump at potentially harmful and absolutely selfish desires are we truly in control?

Now, when I say selfish understand that quite frankly I am talking about desires that solely gratify your wants and do not help you to love or help any one else. You can say my desire to write and spend time away to focus on writing is selfish but I would disagree because I use that time to better focus my mind on heart so that I can be as selfless as possible when I return to socializing (It doesn’t always work as I plan and I am just as selfish as the next person) I am not saying this to justify what I do but what I am trying to do is highlight the difference between willful desires and healthy desires.

So I may sound like I am being quite ambiguous but that is for a reason. This need to be in control is manifested in so many different ways, but I promise that no matter what your faith is no matter what you believe or do not believe, you can recognize them in your own life. Again it is like I said in my last post, you will not be able to see reality properly until you change the lenses you are looking through. I promise the one that Western Culture and Society is giving you is quite shaded.

So back to the paradox.

When we submit to these selfish ways (and I use the word submit intentionally) then we are in fact forfeiting our control.

Self Control is control. Now I know for a fact this puts a bad taste in almost anyone’s mouth but hear me out.

I have heard so many sermons about handing over all control to God and submitting your will to His. Now in part I find this to be true, but we are missing quite the balance aren’t we? Trust me I know for a fact there are people out there who take that advice so literally that they lead themselves down a road of not being able to decide what to eat for dinner.

Actions, Habits, and Beliefs they are incredibly intertwined.

My suggestion is this: We all need Self Control.

From a biblical standpoint that is straightforward and in ink. Now for those who may not share my faith, I promise you self-control is for you as well.

If you want so badly to control your life, then do. Turn that vigor for willfulness into healthiness. Examine your choices and desires and realize which are beneficial to yourself and to others. Those two things always go together. If not, I do believe something is wrong.

I am implying a lot in my words and I do apologize for that. I just believe everybody needs to see this reality not just Christians. A Self Controlled life is not one of misery and lack of self-fulfillment. If anything with Self Control comes the greatest freedoms and the greatest fulfillment.

Self Control may seem like prudishness. But that isn’t it at all.

It is freedom from your harmful and destructive ways.

It is freedom to love others as much as possible.

It is freedom to be loved by others without condition.

It is controlling what you can in life.

It is challenging you to rely on hope and strength as opposed to weakness. (Man does that hit home)

Do what you love to do, but make sure what you love to do allows you to share that love. To love yourself and others and God in the most healthy way possible.

As always friends,

Much Love from me to you.

BGTF