Creatives All Creating.  

I think art is a part of everyone. We all have different ways of expressing it, different talents we were given. We all have something we have a chance to pour our hearts into and make something very authentic and unique not only for ourselves, but for others. 

They hear it and some connect with it and it brings them comfort, or happiness, or makes them think; maybe it even saves their life. And that’s not giving too much credit to what we create from our most vulnerable places, it’s how creativity was designed, that is its nature. It connects us, brings us closer in community, in our pursuit of creating art from the soul. 

We were given the gift of creativity as soon as we were born. Our imaginations alone are proof of that. God gives each of us the precious gift of being able to use our strongest emotions and desires to create amazing things. That through this process we would become closer to him and closer to those around us. 

I would encourage everyone, myself as well, to not be afraid to go out on a limb and start feeding your creativity. It was meant to be used. 

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Dear Fear, It’s Been…Lame. 

‘I know we’ve all felt it. Whether on top a cliff, or laying on our soft mattresses. It courses strong through our veins; runs deep into our bones. It controls so much of what we do, what we say, even think. 

It’s traditional name is simple. Fear. It goes by much these days. Hesitation. Insecurity. “Intelligence”. Whatever it goes by though, the outcome is the same. You regret. Settle. Forget to live. 

For some the fear is great, it’s overpowering by nature. To others, a constant buzz in the back of their mind, always reminding them to stay afraid. I’ve found it crippling at times. Annoying at others. What I am sure of is that I no longer want to be considerate of fear. 

I have feared/do fear much in my life. Heights, spiders, the orcs from Lord of the Rings. It’s all varied degrees of intensity but my big fears, they’re very controlling and freeze me up. It has grown old. I never want to miss an amazing experience or opportunity because I was too scared to take a risk or get out of my comfort zone. So I am now in pursuit of fearlessness. After all, if I can lay in bed and fear things as much as when I climb too high in a tree, I might as well screw the whole ordeal and say peace out to it altogether. 

To quote various people and conversations I have had lately, “fear is just a lie.” I find fear to often be irrational, unnecessary. It holds me back from pursuing dreams, having new, enriching interactions with people simply because they’re new to my life and might think I’m crazy or weird, and from living in such a way to regret nothing. 

If my dream was to live in a box, safe and unharmed, never to be hurt or have adventure, I would be amiable with fear. However, I dream of much bigger, daunting things. So instead of cower and hesitate, my new goal in life is to go for it. All of it. Whatever it may be. And to you who reads this, I’d say do the same. Go out there and do it. Accomplish dreams. Don’t sit and wait for the “perfect” moment, or for God to paint “do it” in the clouds (although that’d be sick right? I’d definitely get my butt in gear after that.) 

You can accomplish crazy great things, inspire people, be a new wave of innovation. Why let fear and it’s petty annoyances get in the way of that, right? 

The Early Years: Puzzle Pieces.

Much of the teenage years are wading through endless identities that you encounter, take on, try out; hoping to find a piece of who you are.

At some point, you do. You find a piece. Through faith, or struggle, or hurt, or sudden revelatory moments; or even all of them at once.
Once finding the piece…the real challenge begins. Walking it out. Not straying.

Only walking that small piece out, praying you find more pieces as you do.

Step by step you find more pieces. Not all at once, or quickly, but you find them nonetheless.

It’s like a thousand piece puzzles at times though. Finding the pieces that fit, it’s not a walk in the park. You pick a wrong piece. Mistakes are made.
You may realize it doesn’t fit right away…or you might try the same piece, but at different angles. Only throwing it back when all sides have been exhausted.

These are valuable lessons, should we learn from them.

Sometimes it stings; bites. The process of finding fitting pieces of our hearts. It’s all worthwhile though, that much I’ve learned. We’ll be working on this puzzle our whole life, which means it only gets better.

No matter the obstacles, don’t give up on your puzzle. It’s a beautiful one.

Raindrops & Window Panes

Raindrops and window panes. Pop Rocks and simple things. Coffee shops and music shows. Blasting rock in stop-and-go’s.

Turning pages to new worlds. Time-passed ages wording swirls. Making rhymes and clapping beats. Crafting lines my voice can’t speak.

Hightop Cons and favorite shades. Sun-streaked ponds and cloudy days. Goofball friends and crazy fam. They tend to be the bestest man.

Made up words and having fun. Living life at walk not run. Gratitude for what we love. Its good for you when time gets rough. It doesn’t matter big or small. There’s beauty in this life, this all.

The Dreamers.

We compare till there’s nothing left of our fragile self-esteem.

We over think every thought of what others are thinking.

We fear rejection to the point of rejecting who we are.

We criticize ourselves so the critics don’t have to.

We force struggles so far inward they itch to break the surface.

We build walls to keep us safe from those who would protect us.

We cry till the rapid emotions calm to dull roars.

We let doubts get the best of us.

We hide when we want to find; be found.

We sweat the small stuff as if it’s bigger than the big stuff.

But this is not who we are.

We get back up after every fall.

We don’t give up no matter how crushing the blow.

We push through obstacles bigger than our darkest dreams.

We dream dreams bigger than anyone’s “supposed” to.

We love more than most would dare.

We believe in everyone who would ever doubt themselves as we have.

We have hope that fades not.

We know joy that smiles away any attack against us.

We push the envelope of what we can do, of what’s perceived as possible.

We are unique and creative in ways random chance could never think up.

We have purpose larger than we can imagine.

We have meaning deeper than we can know.

We are sons.

We are daughters.

We…

We are the dreamers.

Love Is…

God IS love. God IS infinite.

1 Corinthians Ch. 13 tells us what love is. What love does. That love is the greatest.
Love is patient. Infinitely patient.
Love is kind. Infinitely kind.
Love keeps no record of wrong.

Just like we can hardly begin to comprehend just how insanely much God loves us, we can hardly begin to comprehend just how patient and kind and forgiving and strong LOVE is. Faith, hope, and love will last forever. But love is the greatest.

We either say we know what love is and what love does and only accept that;
or we say we can’t truly grasp the concept of love cause we’re too stupid so we go making crazy characteristics for love because it’s God, so it has to be something we’ll never understand, right??

We could always just study 1 Corinthians 13 and say that THAT’S love. It’s only the bible right? Sure, God is mysterious in his ways. We can’t know all there is to know about love. True. We can’t understand each and every aspect to the ends of it’s depth. But I’m pretty sure we could learn a lot about it. I’m pretty sure if we tested out acting how that passage says love acts, we’d learn some stuff about love. If we unconditionally loved people and let them love us, we could learn a lot from each other.

We’re all so “You’re wrong about this, it’s really this way.” Then, “No but really Jesus isn’t like that. You don’t understand this at all.” We’re labeling and coming up with nicknames for doctrine we don’t agree with. And yeah, there is bad doctrine out there. There are disagreements about translations and what’s really going on. I’m not saying we should all passively agree with everything and everyone. No. I don’t do that.

But maybe before we claim to have all our doctrine lined up nice and neat, we should have our 1 Corinthians 13 a bit more down.

2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

“Well see we don’t really understand what love is. Love is really like this–”

Wait. Before you go any further. I have a few points.
-Love is patient.
-Love is kind.
-Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
-Love does not DEMAND IT’S OWN WAY.
-Love is not irritable and keeps NO RECORD OF BEING WRONGED. (Kinda drastic right? No record? At all?)
-Love does not rejoice in injustice but rejoices when truth wins out.
-Love NEVER gives up. NEVER loses faith.
-Love is ALWAYS hopeful and endures through EVERY circumstance.

So we don’t know what love is huh? I guess Paul didn’t know either. He was just being idealistic. Throwin’ ideas off the wall.

Trust me, I don’t have this down anymore than you do. I haven’t really studied this chapter crazy in depth. I’m not even saying these words have any legitimate points. Except for the words in 1 Corinthians 13.

I remember times before I thought, “Well this chapter is so basic. Baby Christian stuff.”

And it’s funny. Cause maybe it is beginner level stuff. Soooo what??? I’ve been a Christian too long to pay attention to this passage? Ha!  Maybe it’s just me, but I believe this is a core chapter of our faith. Love is why God sent Jesus down here! Love is why Jesus got on that cross! Love is why we’re saved and the veil was torn and we can live in joy, free from condemnation! Love beat death. Love created the earth, created you. Created me.

This generation is full of young men and women who don’t know what love is. And here we have “Lovers of God” telling gays that they’re worse than anything. Ever. We take grace and mercy for ourselves because we’re “redeemed.” But the prostitutes, the homosexuals, the Christians believing wrong doctrine; why should they get the same treatment? After all, love being something supposedly selfless, would never give the undeserving something so good, so beautiful. Right?

Us believers. We’re the “Family of God” right?

Family is loving what seems unlovable. Loving when it’s hard. When it doesn’t seem to work. No matter what, at the end of the day, I love my family. I support them. I’m there for them. They’re there for me. But someone who’s different? Who doesn’t have it all together? Maybe believes some different “truths”. They can’t be welcomed in until they conform and repent and admit what idiots they are and how wrong they were?

That’s exactly how I pictured love. Opposite of everything 1 Corinthians 13 said love is. (NOTE*** I PROBABLY SHOULDN’T USE SARCASM IN TEXT BUT I ALSO SHOULDN’T EAT THINGS THAT TASTE GOOD…BACK TO BUSINESS**)

I’m not a pastor. I’m not a preacher. I’m not a speaker. I don’t have degrees at bible school. I haven’t written books and books on anything scriptural.

I’m just a guy. A guy who’s seen how powerful love is. A weird, goofball, dork who was saved by love. Who’s witnessed love transform people. If it wasn’t for love and people who loved me no matter what I was going through, no matter what I struggled with…I probably wouldn’t be here. I’d have given up. Anti-depressants didn’t save me. Therapy didn’t save me. Not that treatment didn’t have it’s place. But what saved me from hopelessness? From the dark of depression?

LOVE.

Some of this rant is probably naive ideals or maybe I miss-communicated  a point. Maybe none of this made any sense at all. Maybe this will only cause you to have more intelligent conversations about love and make more profound thoughts than I offered up. And maybe I even said something totally off. I’m ok with that. As long as you understand this one point.

My heart is simply that we would love and love well. I’m not out to point fingers or say I’ve figured this out. I’m still learning how to love more fully and growing in love. I always will be.

I simply want to impact people. I want to be God’s love to everyone around me. My friends. My family. Co-workers. Strangers who I only share a glance with walking by. I don’t have to shove corrections and judgement down their throats to do that. I don’t want to push people away for their faults. Who am I to do that? I’ve made so many friggin’ mistakes. Love didn’t condemn me or keep record of it to smash me over the head with. Why would it be ok for me to do that to someone else? People say this all the time and it’s true. Jesus hung out with sinners. All of ’em. He loved them. And if they received it that love took them right to who they were made to be. If they didn’t receive it, he loved them anyways!

Love transforms. Love saves. Love heals. Don’t quote me on this or take it as the Gospel…but I bet if all we did was live out of 1 Corinthians 13 for oh I don’t know…our whole lives…we’d be okay. Now there’s sooooo much more good stuff in there, but really. That chapter is so vital. At least to me. And I don’t think I want to live life with a beginner’s knowledge of that chapter. I think I want to love the way God is. You know we were made in His image? We were made in the image of love. You think you aren’t capable of loving like that? Think again.

If you read this entireeeee thing… I love you…

No, but seriously. I do.

Wait, You’re How Old??

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Ah, here we are. Today’s the day. You’ve been counting down, dreading this for at least a week now. It’s been dampening your spirits for days. Some of your friends are excited. Family too. But not you. Just like they aren’t excited about it when it comes for them. But here it is. For you. Your birthday. 

The day you were born on. However many years ago. Maybe it was quite a ways back. Maybe it wasn’t that long at all. Either way, it’s a pretty special day. It marks when you came into this world. It’s a reminder of this beautiful thing called life that happened to you and your family. It’s a day that’s filled with laughter, and quality time with those you love, and maybe still some gifts. Right?

Well…actually in our society..no. 

Exciting? Full of laughter? Quality ti-… Are you mad? I’m another year older! My life is fading away! I found a gray hair this morning! What’s so great about aging? I’m running out of time! Life is just passing me by! I don’t have time to celebrate. 

That. That’s what birthdays have become. We’ve got Hollywood and the rest of society fretting us about wrinkles and fading beauty and we aren’t even 30. Age becomes criteria for depression. For despair. Why? We have teenagers under the legal driving age, upset that they’re “getting old”! ….What?.. There’s something seriously wrong about that. We’ve created an age epidemic. No one really even stops to notice it until you stop and take a better look, or it slaps you in the face it becomes so obvious. Birthdays aren’t exciting past, in some cases, let’s see…13. But 24 or 25 is when a lot of it starts. ‘Almost to 30.’

Whatever will you do? I have a proposal. Most likely opposite of what most of us feel about this. Let’s enjoy birthdays again. Let’s celebrate life once more. It’s true, what they say about time flying by the older you get. Every year the time really does seem to pass us by quicker than the year before. Isn’t that reason to celebrate the time we have all the more? Sure there’s that desperate feeling like you’re running out of time. To live. To see your dreams come to life. To start something. But…that feeling…it’s just a result of the world we’ve grown up in. The lie that age is a nasty, horrid beast. And the older you get, the more gloom and chances lost there is. Well I say no.

You’ve made it through another year of life! You’ve probably had plenty of struggles. Also, plenty of good times and memories made too. You’re another year closer to see your dreams becoming a reality. There are endless possibilities and chances for adventure ahead of you. You are never too old, or too young to start. Realistically, being one year older usually has about no affect on whether you can accomplish a dream, or start something you’ve been meaning to. Whether it’s a life project, or a change, or a goal. Start writing that novel. Start pursuing that photography career. Learn what you need to learn. Heck, learn something completely new!

I don’t know how your nation or religion or even family feels about birthdays. But I think it’s about time we make them a celebration again. Who says only kids can like birthdays? Probably a stick in the mud man/woman who let their gray hairs get to them.

Life can be a beautiful, exciting thing. I think it’s safe to say we were all enamored with adventure or the idea of adventure at some point. Till we learned to “grow up”. Well life is an adventure if you choose to see it that way. And age is irrelevant to that adventure if you choose to believe that. Maybe it’s just me(and I know the depressed side of things, trust me), but I think the day you were given life and your parents a little baby everyone would soon be awing…should be a happy one. One filled with anticipation and promise of life to come.

Yes. You’re going to gain some gray hairs along the way. Maybe down the road even a wrinkle or so. Maybe you’ve already gained those. And? Society has also told you that beauty is all external. I’ve learned that at times I need to say this to mindsets I’ve gained from growing up in this time. Say with me. “Screw you society.”

Stop wasting moments fretting over age and your pretty face. Beauty is when someone accomplishes that dream they’ve always held in their heart. The glimmer in their eyes when they’re doing what they love. When they didn’t give up and it came through. Beauty is who you are. It’s living life unafraid. Happy that another year of who knows what coming your way. I’ll be on my way towards some milestone ages soon. But I’m far too young to let it depress me and ruin what could be a wonderful day. And you know something? You are too.

Inspired In Moments.

I think we’ve all experienced it. Or at least something close to it. A moment, of uncompromising, unstoppable, unshakable, confident inspiration. A moment where we can look at something, anything!.. and truly believe we can do it. From a simple task like starting a blog, to our craziest dreams. In that moment our thoughts are not,

“Gee, that’s a REALLY big dream.”

“I don’t know…I’ve never blogged before.”

“Am I even capable of accomplishing that?”

NO. In that moment those thoughts are non-existent. We’re simply inspired. We simply believe. Even if it’s the shortest moment of the day. It’s a moment of belief void of any fears holding us back.

We should live every single day of our lives in those moments. Latch onto those moments and act on it! It doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest step towards something. Just make the step. Every day isn’t a walk in the park, of course not. We don’t always feel that unstoppable confidence. But if we can learn to live out of those moments of inspiration rather than the moments of fear…

We’ll see dreams come to life. We’ll see lives changed, our own included. I believe those inspired moments are a present from God saying, “Hey. I believe in you. You should too.” Even if you aren’t religious, you can’t deny that those moments are amazing. There’s not much quite like feeling like you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to.

And you can. You can accomplish anything. If you’ve never experienced a moment like that…simply believe. In yourself. In your dreams. Don’t ever give up. Life isn’t lived sleeping. Don’t sleep your life away. Go out there and do it. I believe in you.

Too Crazy? Hardly crazy enough!

In today’s society we’ve got plenty of doubters. You don’t have to go far to find someone to call you crazy for believing in big dreams. Many people believe there’s only certain ways to accomplish things. People who don’t agree with too risky, or too big when it comes to goals or dreams. If the odds are against it, well you might as well give up and go home. Right?

Wrong! Einstein didn’t exactly have odds in his favor in school. His teachers all thought he was a big failure. He turned out to be a friggin’ genius. A little crazy? Perhaps. What’s wrong with that?

The idea of light bulbs and electricity was definitely considered ‘insane asylum’ talk at one point in time. Now it’s something so common it doesn’t phase anyone.

The planets weren’t discovered by those too scared to try crazy things; too “sane” to have some crazy in their dreams. If you think you were born to live a life of dull mediocrity, I’m afraid you’re wrong. You have gifts. You have talents. Dreams in your heart that, while maybe have become dormant, won’t disappear. Dreams so big and crazy they might be a little intimidating to even think about.

Go after them. Believe in yourself. Never give up. Dream big. If it starts to seem doable…dream even bigger than that. The only limits to what you can accomplish are the ones you set yourself. We’ve got plenty of people out there living the “American Dream.” A simple little life going predictably well due to following some cookie-cutter success strategies. We could use some more people going after crazy dreams. Inventing things no ones ever heard of. Using art to impact the world like never before. Writing songs no one’s ever imagined. The next Einstein, Edison, Beethoven, or whoever you think did amazing things, could be reading this right now. That’s right. You. It doesn’t matter if your past has given you reason to believe in yourself or not. I don’t care if you believe in God or not. You were born to do amazing things. You have the ability to dream crazy dreams and to pursue them with all your heart!

And while we’re at it. How about we encourage our kids to grow up believing in themselves. Maybe if we told them we believed in them fully and their dreams, they’d do more than settle into a mildly successful life. They just might go after some crazy dream of theirs, and change the world. Impact millions of people. Just because they’re kids, doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to do amazing things or dream incredible things. They’re actually probably more equipped than adults who have already placed dozens of limits on themselves because it’s “not possible.”

I say it’s time to stop living life as usual. Let’s have some adventures and dream some crazy.