Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Importance of Letting Others Know How We Feel About Them

"Hearts are often broken by words left unspoken." Unknown

Relationships come and go in our lives. Some are for a season, while others endure for several. Yet what we say and leave unsaid in those friendships can affect people for years to come.

If there is a person in your life whom you care about, tell them. Let them know you think about them, are concerned for them, enjoy their company, and appreciate their influence in your life. If there are people you are currently missing, send them a note or call them. We'd all love to be the recipient of such acknowledgment, and it won't do any good to leave our concern, respect, or love for another person unknown. It could be just what they've been needing to hear and can propel their day forward with a heightened sense of joy and thankfulness. Who knows what they are going through after all?

"It's a shame to waste an encouraging thought by failing to turn it into an encouraging word." Gaston

It saddens me to think of all the words left unspoken that were they to be said out loud, people could actually heal. A part of them would be restored to health because the truth of how another person sees them was brought to light instead of being left to curiosity, assumption, or hearsay. It's sort of like the concept of telling a person while they are still alive all that we admire, respect, and adore about them instead of saying it to an audience of strangers at their memorial service.

I can't help but think of how much easier the moving-on process would be for both people were they to set time aside for civil dialogue where they acknowledge that despite each person's faults and regardless of the way the situation turned out, there were many good times and each person possessed certain qualities that were drawing and impactful to one degree or another. In dealing with broken relationships, if we were all to say, "Thank you for the lessons learned. I wish you well..." instead of becoming bitter at the person's departure and wishing misery upon them, both parties would walk away with a sense of peace for having handled the conversation in a mature manner.

We are all broken people and sadly remain broken because we aren't proactive and consistent in our pursuit of healing. One way we can heal from relationship troubles is to cultivate good character, own up to our mistakes, and have an attitude of humility. If we are willing to be direct and honest with our words, so much could be accomplished. There wouldn't be anything left to question or assume. You would know exactly what the other person is thinking regarding you and the situation you're both in. And you could therefore use that info in seeking counsel from older, wiser mentors on how you should proceed.

Don't leave important words left unsaid. If you are sorry, apologize. If you miss someone, let them know. If you care about, respect, or love a person, tell them. Honesty and transparency yield a connection that can pave the way to intimacy. And how our lives could change for the better were only we to make our feelings known!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Learning from Loss Instead of Being Defeated by It

The loss of a relationship (or anything important to us) has the potential of revealing the ugly, selfish, and immature parts of our mindset and heart. We may become grumpy, cruel, bitter, or lazy as a means of coping. Our first instinct could be to turn away from God, stop seeking Him altogether, isolate ourselves from others, or delve deeper into sexual sin or other addictions for comfort.

Yet if we can somehow manage to keep our wits about us long enough to see beyond the tears to the bigger picture long-term and humbly ask God to bring to light what went wrong and why, we can more healthily navigate relationships in the future without being blindsided or overcome by disappointment and bewilderment. In having a mature mindset and knowing how to identify red flags, we will be spared much wasted time, thought, and emotion on those who might not be worthy of our full attention.

Being attached to a person and he or she leaving you unexpectedly can be compared to ripping a band-aid off. Because it was all of a sudden, you're going to be in pain! Losing a house, job, or car can bring similar agony.

Sometimes the wound was your own fault. Other times it was an unfair jab from someone else. Regardless, properly attending to it must take place if you are to ever heal properly. The right medicine is needed, plus time and enlisting the assistance of others to help nurse you back to health.

Lessons can be found if you ponder how and when the wound took place. You'll gain insight into what to avoid the next time around and discover how to live in a safer way.

Don't leave any of your wounds untreated. Doing so is to risk infection and the possibility of it being reopened within time.

The solution to our relational hurts is not necessarily to get back the person we have lost, but to move forward armed with lessons and a newfound desire to make better choices the next time we are seeking a potential mate or friendship. You don't have to let the circumstances and losses of life derail or pummel you. You can have a growth mentality and choose to see every good or bad occurrence in your life as an opportunity to change for the better. You can gain control of your emotions through logic and restfully trusting in God's sovereignty. You can use the loss as a stepping stone to maturity if handled appropriately.

Each time you let your mind wander by dwelling on what was, your ability to move forward is inhibited, keeping you stuck in the past. You begin to believe that your former circumstances and relationships were more ideal than they actually were and you begin to long for what (obviously) isn't best for you.

"People tend to see the past better than it was and the present worse than it is." Unknown

Please do not neglect to surround yourself with older, wiser mentors, counselors, friends, and family. You need people who will help you heal and commit to praying with/for you each day. You need words of life spoken to you from outside yourself as your own voice will likely fall short by convincing you that what you had was the best there ever will be...and this is a fallacy.

By prioritizing your relationship with God and keeping the lines of communication open with those you trust who will speak truth to you, I guarantee you will look back one day and actually thank God for His wisdom in removing anyone or anything that He saw fit to take away. As Timothy Keller has said, "God will only give you what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows." Echoing this reality, Nancy Leigh DeMoss has also stated, "God's will is what we would choose if we knew what God knows."

Let your losses serve a useful purpose. Rejoice in God and praise Him for His abundant mercy in allowing the unexpected for your greater good. What is the alternative? To run from Him and avoid good company because of your tears and confusion? To take matters into your own hands? To rebel and seek your own way? God's ways are best. They may seem excruciating at times, yet an all-knowing, sinless, and perfectly good Being only and always has our best in mind. If we choose to ignore this truth, we are sure to suffer. If we humbly submit to His will and ways, we are safe. Choose wisely. Your future depends on it.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

50 Reasons to Be Thankful

"No matter how bad things get, they could always get worse." (A quote from the movie Ever After)

A healthy mindset isn't ours by default. To think rightly, it will take diligent effort, focused training, and ongoing work. We must learn to be grateful, learn to be humble, learn to be positive, learn not to compare, and learn to be content. We also must unlearn the patterns we have formed such as putting ourselves down, zeroing in on the negative in any situation, tearing others down in our minds, or dwelling on anything contrary to the truth presented in Philippians 4: 8. Applying this Scripture moment by moment is the only way to master the unbridled turbulence that takes place in each of our minds.

Life is filled with opportunities to grow. If we find ourselves remaining infantile, it's crucial to take personal responsibility and figure out why exactly we aren't becoming healthier and more whole with the passing of time. Just like a youthful appearance and fit body isn't the result of sporadic diet and exercise but of a specific plan and being consistent, so too must we invite feedback from those who know and love us best and be willing to get on our knees before God with a prayerful heart asking Him to bring to our minds all that is wrong with us. You can't overcome a problem without first identifying it. You can't pursue radical change unless you first understand and can articulate what is radically wrong with you.

"An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly." Tozer

I have found that practicing gratitude is an instant pick-me-up because it serves as a reminder that we all have so much more than we are deserving of.

If we are pessimistic complainers, we will never experience joy. But if we make worship of God our heart's hourly meditation and joyfully delight in the Giver of good things regardless of our circumstances, we start the process of retraining our thoughts and refocusing them on who and what matters most. We can rise above what is going on around us and gain a winsome outlook on life. We begin to see that the smallest of luxuries really aren't small at all. Everything is a gift to be treasured.

In hopes of helping you gain a grateful heart, here is a list of 50 (or more) reasons I am thankful that many of us overlook in our day-to-day lives:

  1. Clean (hot) water to bathe in
  2. Pleasant weather
  3. A good night's rest (and God's forgiveness which is the solution to our guilty conscience)
  4. Air conditioning and ice water
  5. Printers, cell phones, fax machines, scanners
  6. Electricity, working toilets, clean showers
  7. Fresh fruit and vegetables
  8. Fans to bring in cool air at night (and leaving one on while you sleep for the soothing sound)
  9. Cheese grater, potato masher, spaghetti strainer
  10. Envelopes, stamps, pens, paper, crayons, colored pencils, paint/watercolors
  11. The library (having your own library card, using the computers without a fee, enjoying a wealth of resources concerning all different topics)
  12. Trains, planes, automobiles, the bus system (and bus passes)
  13. Thought-provoking quotes
  14. Deep conversations
  15. Record player, radio, video camera
  16. Dining room table and other household furniture
  17. Napkins/paper towels
  18. Juicer, blender, food processor
  19. Vacuum, mop, broom
  20. Clean childhood memories
  21. Every caring adult who made a lasting impact in your life as you grew up
  22. Music and the wide array of melodies found there
  23. Video game and movie soundtracks
  24. Learning to play a musical instrument (or just doing so for fun)
  25. A boring life (read this article to understand why such an existence should be prized!)
  26. The ocean and swimming
  27. Knowing how to read, write, and speak
  28. Balloons
  29. Sunglasses, sunblock
  30. Watching the sunset/sunrise, stargazing
  31. Early morning fog
  32. Seeing squirrels chase each other and hearing birds sing during morning walks
  33. The majesty of thunder and lightning
  34. Roller coasters
  35. Accents
  36. Dental floss, toothpaste, mouthwash
  37. Deodorant
  38. Traditional values, close-knit families, Bible-believing churches
  39. Holding a baby, reading to a child
  40. Candles, incense
  41. Being on the swings at the park
  42. Common courtesy among strangers
  43. Keeping a bouquet of fresh flowers (and some nice plants) in the home at all times
  44. Winter attire, autumn weather, summer outings, spring greenery
  45. Opening windows upon waking to let in fresh air and sunlight
  46. Gallon/sandwich bags, foil, baking sheets, cutting boards
  47. Tweezers, razors
  48. Adding kale or spinach to smoothies
  49. Homemade meals, natural dessert
  50. God's word, prayer, counsel, accountability, mentors

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Why I Feel Sorry for Girls Growing Up in Today's Society

I feel many modern girls can be compared to cheap and unhealthy ice cream. They lack substance, are fake, and provide little to no value.

The average girl appears to have been cloned. Her hair, makeup, jewelry, attire, social media practices, Netflix binges, and daily Starbucks order make her blend in instead of stand out. Her knowledge of what is trending, her use of slang terms and hashtags, and the many hours she spends with other girls gossiping or daydreaming about cute guys really amounts to a waste of a life in my opinion.

After years of leftist indoctrination (feminism) and grooming by the culture (anything espoused by the media), she becomes little more than a disposable object and yet seems to be okay with it. Society has convinced her that the loftiest goal she can attain to in life is to be "hot" and sexually appealing (the problem being these are her only goals). She grows to despise traditional values and sadly comes to believe that being a wife and mother is more of a death sentence and what will stifle her freedom rather than seeing such lovely roles as worth pursuing. She is strangely satisfied when a guy asks her to send nude photos of herself because she mistakenly feels "wanted". And she appears to strive for little more than: attention from less-than-worthy men, financial success, and the ability to travel while looking totally cute (on Instagram) in the process.

And lest anyone think I am a bitter, unattractive, or out-of-shape girl who is mad at the world because I have never had male attention or affection, you are wrong. Very much so. These aren't the musings of a rejected or homely woman who has never been in a relationship. They are the sober ponderings of a strong girl who finds the lowered ideals of the culture for females to be disturbing. It is only because of who I once was and whom the Lord is helping me to become that I can clearly see through the emptiness in so many girls' lives. Like a dog chasing its tail and getting nowhere, so too, many girls seek and strive (always busy for fear of missing out) while remaining stagnant and useless.

The good news is that there is a better way. It's called refusing to settle for what society deems worthwhile, living for something bigger than just the here and now, and making God's glory and mankind's good your chief aim in life. This requires being counter-cultural and letting the Bible inform your worldview and guide your decision-making. It requires parting ways with the garbage advertised every minute on most media and across the Internet. It demands humility, selflessness, and strength. It calls for character transformation, surrender to Christ, and a steady intake of God's word. It begs for maturity and a willing heart to do what is best (not what is popular or convenient). It means having respect for yourself by raising your standards and being staunchly opposed to compromising those standards. It means sharpening your mind through reading and learning new skills.

So many benefits await you. After all, purpose, meaning, and depth are far weightier in value than the cheap and fleeting thrills constantly pushed by most entertainment.

Each of our lives has an expiration date (earthly speaking). Even in the midst of your teen years and college experiences you are building your legacy. Do you want to go down in history as a clone or as a unique world-changer? These really are your only two options. One requires little to no effort while the other demands intentionality, careful planning, accountability, structure, and continuous growth. How different will the outcomes be! So much could be lost or gained in the process depending on the path you decide to tread. I challenge you: Spend your life well (and pray the same for me).

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Painful Loss of a Relationship

(I have never been a fan of The Simpsons but found this meme to be fitting)

Breakups can be hard. Friendship or family breakups can be just as troubling (depending on the depth and intimacy of those relationships). To move on from someone we have grown to care about can seem insurmountable at times. We wonder what we are to do with all the memories, all the laughter, all the meaningful talks, all the quality time. We wonder how we can successfully manage to accept that what once was no longer is and move forward in a healthy way. We wonder how we are to continue living with that person or people on our minds often and not end up bitter, resentful, or fearful of getting to know anyone in the future because we don't want to suffer similar loss.

I have lost relationships that were important to me (consecutively over the past few years). Some were unexpected, while others I had a feeling something was coming because immaturity, stubbornness, pride, or a refusal to admit fault and work on his or her issues got in the way of the vitality of our friendship.

It can be very soul-wrenching to be given little to no explanation as to why people move on in a seemingly careless way as if everything we had with them can be easily forgotten. But that is it: Special memories are not easily forgotten (by either person). Heart-to-heart discussions, positive impact, sincere compliments, and genuine care are not easily forgotten. In fact, I'd venture to say such things have made a lasting imprint. They are embedded in our minds long-term precisely because what we had was unique and meaningful.

Honesty in a friendship or relationship is so important. If we do not disclose specific info about ourselves from the very beginning to someone we are getting to know, over time the lie(s) will be found out and disappointment, confusion, and hurt will result (in the lives of both parties). Loss in any form is no fun, especially when you weren't expecting it and were fond of the dishonest person's company. I think that is my problem, friends -- if this can be considered a problem: I care deeply about every person's soul, worldview, and choices to the degree that the loss of a budding friendship can wreck me in big ways. I ponder what could have been and am burdened that they too have lost someone that truly had their best in mind and would have blessed them in ways they couldn't have imagined upon first meeting.

It's ironic isn't it -- the way we all hate being hurt yet can hurt others (knowingly or unknowingly) as if it is somehow justified, okay, or less hurtful to the person on the receiving end because "we have our reasons". To have this mentality is to be blinded to the hurt we've caused by our absence and to straight up ignore the way the loss of our friendship has affected the person who may deeply miss us.

I'd encourage each of us to humble ourselves before God and plead for His intervention over our character flaws, deep-seated issues, and overwhelming feelings of insecurity, fear, worry, and loss. The health of our future relationships and a correct view of ourselves is at stake if we delay.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ten Lies Pop Culture Teaches About Sex

Originally posted on

Right or wrong, our culture teaches us about sex. The media conducts sex education all the time." –Stephen Witmer

Pop culture is a powerful force in society, as it colors our views of social issues, people, relationships, and sexual activity. What we see, read, and hear through the media influences our worldview on these important matters. We need an internal filter, moral compass, and high esteem of God’s word if we are to live rightly and thrive in our relational and sexual lives.

Sex is a topic that we would all do well to treat with care, being intentional to not swallow whole the ideas put forth by the culture. Lies can be found in excess through a secular view of sexuality. How most entertainment presents sexuality cannot do justice to such a profound and meaningful act. Here are ten lies pop culture teaches about sex.

Read the rest of my guest post for the Covenant Eyes blog here

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Utilizing Time Well

Time. When we think of it in terms of increments (an hour, day, week, month, year, decade), it becomes apparent that it is eluding our grasp quicker than we'd like it to. An adult cannot return to childhood because time has progressed since then, nor can a kid enter adolescence before the natural sequence of time permits. We see time played out in all different scenarios:

- A work day
- A meeting or counseling session
- Classes
- Drive home from work
- The entertainment we consume
- Cooking
- Holding conversations
- Exercise

We are called to "redeem the time," not squander it. And redeeming the time is only possible through goal-setting, planning, structure, and accountability. It involves remembering that we have but one life and every day we are writing our legacy. It entails living for a bigger cause than our own wants and desires and actively seeking to make the world a better place through our presence in it. It includes getting rid of ingrained habits like complaining and instead adopting a mentality of purposeful gratitude and positivity, regardless of how cumbersome our present season of life is. It requires us to examine our lives, spending habits, and the company we keep to see if such things hinder or help our progress in moving forward. It demands we be 100% willing to part ways with what society deems successful (countless hours at work in order to attain worldly treasures at the expense of quality time with our families) and instead look to God's word for wisdom as to what real value is. It calls us to turn from our wicked ways and do what is right (even when we are alone and it seems no one would ever find out). It calls for a new perspective, a proper outlook, a right attitude. It beckons us to return to simplicity and righteousness. It requires we think long-term. Indeed, redeeming the time is all-encompassing. Yet nothing we give up in pursuit of it can compare to the riches and beauty of a life well-spent.

It helps to see life from an eternal perspective. God willing you live until old age -- will you be content and at peace with how you spent your years? To be sure you can confidently say then, "I have used my life for the glory and exaltation of God and the good of others," you must begin doing so now and continue making right choices throughout your life (no excuses). I've found the following to be helpful regarding how I spend time:

- Have a plan for every hour
- Set a timer to get chores done
- Say no to anything that steers your mind toward shallow things and lessens your desire to pursue Christ wholeheartedly
- Seek counsel
- Grow to be responsible
- Learn to manage money
- Practice self-care
- Look for opportunities to serve
- Read remarkable books
- Engage in enriching discussion
- Take walks
- Spend time with the elderly
- Pray

Such choices add to my quality of life (unlike when I sometimes aimlessly view social media which tends to take up more time than I'd like to admit). Having a detailed plan helps ensure time is spent in a way that brings a smile of satisfaction to your face and a feeling of serenity as you ponder all you can accomplish over the course of many decades (God willing). It serves as a useful guide as to what you will agree to and what you will back away from. As the saying goes, "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best." What a concept! Choosing what is best above what is convenient, what brings the most impact above settling for mediocrity in our endeavors, and what will profit others and not just ourselves.

When starting a school assignment, working on a project, or writing a book, people tend to make a rough draft, serving the purpose of preparation and making way for action. Yet in the realm of spiritual growth, personal issues, and relationship troubles we are far too often guilty of drifting instead of being intentional with making a rough draft as to guide our next steps toward mending the problems we face.

People settle for mindless entertainment instead of gleaning wisdom through lectures and books. We allow laziness to rule us, make excuses to delay improvement, and do not enlist the help of others. Then we wonder how months have flown by and there is little achievement and growth to show for it. Worse yet, we think we have time and thus don't mind currently wasting it on lesser pursuits than living passionately for the glory of God and making the most of every day we are given. But are catering to self, gaining a variety of experiences, and having fun the ultimate goals of life? Or could a better life await us if only we'd humbly offer God a surrendered heart and pray for wisdom as to what He would like us to do with the one life we've been given?

Whether you live to be one hundred or died tomorrow, who will have their way regarding what you do with your time? Will self reign and the changing tides of culture dictate the choices you make? Or will you give God supremacy of your life and pray that He would change you and then use you in the lives of others so they too can come to know their Creator and the One whose purposes far outweigh in meaning and joy anything we could chase after on our own?

As someone who has made plenty of poor choices in life, I can testify (finally) that living life God's way truly is our best option. Oh, the trouble and wasted time it will spare us! Oh, the regret and sorrow we will avoid! And is not the ultimate purpose of life to know Christ deeply, obey Him regularly, seek His glory above our own, make His name known among the nations, and upon our dying day to then hear the precious words, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master"?

Surely nothing this world has to offer is worth throwing our lives down the drain (even gradually) and then being separated from God for all eternity because we chose to try and deify ourselves instead of accepting His offer of salvation and giving God His rightful place in our hearts.

It's ironic that, from a worldly perspective, complete submission to God and His word makes it seem like our freedom and independence are being stifled. And yet it is only through being in right standing with Him and living accordingly that we gain true freedom: freedom from people-pleasing, freedom from finding our identity in what can never fully complete us, deliverance from following the norms of culture, freedom to not go along with the crowd for the sake of fitting in. Equally ironic is how prone we are to not even acknowledge God until life hurts and we have exhausted all other resources.

So why delay? Why not get on your face before God this very hour and acknowledge you cannot live rightly or flourish as He intended without Him being Lord and Master of your life? Why not ask for His help and guidance in making a complete turnaround in the way you live? Take it from me: There is nothing like an intimate walk with God. Nothing compares to knowing Him (knowing about Him is very different). And I say this not as one promoting the concept of self-fulfillment because of what God can do for us, but as one who realizes how indebted we are to our Maker and sees the need to orchestrate my life and choices in accordance with His word because He is worthy. It is the King of kings and Lord of lords we are dealing with here. How foolish of us to regard Him as anything less.

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." C. T. Studd

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

When Common Sense Is Lacking in Dating

By Henry Cloud

It’s amazing how many people throw common sense out the window when it comes to dating and marriage. You would never invite a stranger off the street into your house and give him or her the keys and full access to all you own. But in matters of the heart, people do that every day. With little or no background checks, they give their heart, soul and very lives. Because it is "love," it seems to fall under different rules. "If it feels so good, it has to be right." Nothing could be further from the truth. Things can feel very good, and be oh-so-bad.

The best defenses against this happening are your own character, maturity, time and trusted friends to give you wise counsel. Don’t go from nothing with a person to giving him or her all of you without the proper process. Basic due diligence is required, but it takes longer than your hormones or fantasies may want it to go.

Go one phase at a time, and don’t rush it! If it is good, real and true, it will make it through all the phases. This is the only way good fruit is ever produced, by going through all the phases of growth. You can’t have a good tree in a minute. But if you grow it the right way, including taking time, you will know the true character of the person you are with.

Give the person time, and give each phase its time as well. It will pay off in the bad relationships you avoid – and the good ones you find.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

6 Lessons on Relationships that Animated Movies Teach Your Children

Originally posted on

"The earliest messages are often the longest-lasting messages. Charles Spurgeon said that the voices of childhood echo throughout life so that 'The first learned is generally the last forgotten.' This can be a tremendous blessing when truth is taught early and when it sinks in deep. […] But this same principle can prove troublesome when the first lessons learned are poor ones, because those lessons are hard to correct and harder still to erase." –Tim Challies

Animated movies can be very fun to watch. They often bring quality family time and quotable humor. However, it can be easy to forget that even cartoons set forth a specific worldview that can shape a person’s view of beauty, relationships, and love for years to come. Whether subliminally or bluntly, the films teach lessons that may clash with the principles parents seek to instill in their kids during their formative years.

Children are impressionable and will likely emulate with their siblings or peers what they see modeled in interactions between movie characters. If stubbornness, rebellion, disrespect, laziness, or pride are exhibited, kids will think this is acceptable behavior or a normal way of being. When paired with catchy songs, dazzling apparel, or thrilling adventures, they will be all the more likely will to act out or think in a similar way as the characters they observe.

Romantic relationships frequently pop up as major plot points. Almost always close to idyllic, the relationship usually ends with a "happily ever after." Practically everybody knows that this is exaggerated fantasy with no real world correspondence. However, this fills young and impressionable minds with lofty ideas and unrealistic expectations because they have not lived long enough to understand the flaws of human nature and the conflicting wills that arise in a joint union.

Read the rest of my guest post for the Covenant Eyes blog here

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

5 Internet Dangers Your Children Won’t Mention

Originally posted on

If your kids are awake, they’re probably on a smartphone, in front of a smart TV, downloading apps, or posting to social networks. And most likely you have no idea what they’re doing. –

While the Internet brings many positive opportunities to learn, laugh, and connect with our family and friends, it also gives easier access to many dangerous temptations, resources, and people. You may not be aware of all the dangers available if it’s used without any accountability or guidelines and how it can ruin your child’s reputation and self-esteem, scarring them in ways that may take years to undo.

Danger 1–I can access pornography.

Pornography can be found for free on any social media platform or Internet browser. Chat rooms include links to some of the most deranged content. Naked photos of non-consenting adolescents can be shared like wildfire among youth (also known as revenge porn) and easily fall into the hands of predators who upload the content to various websites so the pictures or videos cannot be contained from further exposure.

Porn stars usually have their own website or Facebook and Twitter accounts in which they post clips of their latest scenes, nude pictures, and promote other porn stars while including the links to the videos they have made together. Erotica can be found and read for free, while appalling sex scenes, dialogue, and practices can be seen in movies and television shows easily.

Read the rest of my guest post for the Covenant Eyes blog here

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Living Life Intentionally Will Make All the Difference

Deliberate. Intentional. On purpose.

These words describe the needed mindset behind the decisions you and I must make each day (otherwise it will be easy to become lazy, make excuses, waste time, and cause us to be flippant in our approach). It was only when I began keeping note of every task I am responsible for and being detailed in organizing and figuring out the best course of action to execute that I began to get stuff done in an efficient, timely, and thorough manner. It's quite impossible to solve a problem or accomplish a specific goal if you haven't defined it and worked on a step-by-step plan to execute it.

If we find ourselves overwhelmed with our to-do list, it's very possible we are not applying these words in our decision-making. We may need to delegate responsibility, learn to say no, and examine our priorities to see if our time, focus, and energy are being spent rightly or if they are being squandered in some way. A few adjustments, some careful planning, solid accountability, and simply asking for help can assist us in reaching our goals and focusing more intently on our responsibilities.

What areas of life do you wrestle to gain victory over? What chores do you find yourself completing only halfway before giving up or convincing yourself you will have more energy, time, or motivation later? What people do you surround yourself with that influence you toward a lazy lifestyle?

I have found (in my own life and in observing the lives of others) that life tends toward chaos, not order. And therefore we must be intentional regarding making wise use of our time in the present, preparing for the future, and dealing with the trauma and issues of the past that tend to weigh us down to this day.

Just as a boring life in many ways is a safe one, so too an orderly life brings a safety net of sorts as we are better accommodated to deal with the unexpected and be the ones in control instead of a lack of structure causing us to feel like we continuously cannot pull our acts together.

In living all of life with a definitive purpose in mind, the natural consequence is escaping the rat race so many people find themselves in and gaining a deep satisfaction and peace in knowing we are striving for excellence and are serious about having a plan for everything. It is only then that we will begin to feel competent and will have the tools in place to not be overcome with busyness or panicking at the last minute for forgetting what had to be done by now.

If you would like to share any ideas with me regarding ways your life has balance, I'd enjoy reading such letters. Send a note my way and start the discussion.

Wise people know there is always a way (and need) to improve. We can learn something (or many things) from others, and sharing the wisdom we've gleaned regarding various topics just might be the help and encouragement others have been needing for awhile!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Every Life Is a Movie with Many Scenes

Life is like a movie and every person we meet is a character in the film. We go through different seasons with each person, and how we relate to them varies from romance to friendship to being mentored to having fun. We are rejected by some, accepted by some, hurt by some, and helped by some.They are all a piece of our story.

And some scenes are scary, while others are exciting. Some parts of our movie make us laugh hysterically and other parts cause us to weep bitterly. Sometimes switching jobs or moving or no longer communicating with certain characters in the movie is forced upon us through circumstance and loss, while other times great changes and the unexpected lead to a more fruitful and enjoyable existence. Sometimes the scenes in our movie become rocky and dramatic and other times it is smooth sailing. Why? Our choices. Every decision we make leads us down one of two paths: further refinement and wholeness or further destruction, wasted time, and turmoil.

If only we saw all of life as a movie with several scenes and realized that while we can't control what happens around us, we can control how we respond to it, we would have a greater capacity to see life through the lens of hope instead of desperation and pain.

"I want to encourage you to not look at single events as the movie of your life. Each day, each event is just a single scene." Henry Cloud

It is to our peril if we keep replaying some scene from the past and get stuck on those characters. It is to our benefit if we are vigilant as to what can be learned from our movie up until this point.

Characters, places, and events come and go. We can't control when, how, or why. But our story doesn't have to end tragically. No one can change the past, but everyone (through the right means) can have a better future despite the obstacles that arise. It is a matter of perspective, good company, humility, a willingness to grow and seek help where need be, stopping intake of anything destructive (including people) and starting healthy habits, learning time and life management skills, and only surrounding ourselves with people, places, and things that will enable us to become healthy and whole.

Regardless of the genre your life has been up until now (possibly fluctuating from one to the next), your story can become completely different if you carefully consider every step forward. We all must take personal responsibility for our own lives, own where we have failed, and continuously seek to better ourselves and the people around us. It is only when people get super serious about life and are willing to address and deal with every one of their issues head on that anything positive can result.

So what are you waiting for? What is holding you back?

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