Changes – The Crying Girl and Life’s Reminders

Throughout my life, I’ve always struggled to discover that one thing that makes me tick.  That makes my heart beat faster.  That fills my soul.  That drives me.

I’m the kind of guy who likes a lot of different things and I find myself pretty neutral regarding preferences and stances.

Many times, I’ve found myself asking questions like, “what’s my purpose in life?” Or “what does God want to do with my skills and abilities?”

Have you ever found yourself asking those questions?

I’ve learned that often, daily responsibilities and our life’s purpose have trouble aligning.  We can easily get distracted with bringing home the bacon vs. living within our purpose and gifting.

BUT every so often, the blessing of inspiration finds us and reminds us of who we are. Often in the most practical, non-flashy ways.

The other day, God opened up my eyes with one simple transaction.

I was out for a jog and passed by a teenage girl on her phone.  I had my headphones on, but I could tell she was crying.  I turned down my music to confirm the tears and I was right…she was pretty upset.

The spot where I usually turn around was just ahead, so I told myself that if I passed her heading the other direction again and she was still crying, that I would say something to her.

I was going through different scenarios in my mind, trying to avoid looking like a creeper.  Between COVID and a strange dude approaching from behind, it was a set up for awkwardness, but I felt like God was nudging me to check on her, so I did.

I jogged by her on the street to give her some space and noticed that she was still crying, so I slowed down and simply asked if she was okay.  I asked her if she needed anything and if I could help in any way.  She tearfully looked up from her phone call and declined my offer, but responded with a grateful “thank you.”  So I wished her a good day and continued on with my run, praying for God to give her peace.

That’s it!  That’s the story.  Told you it was simple!

Although nothing dramatic happened and my Superman cape stayed hidden, this experience filled my tank.  It just felt right…like I was living within my purpose.

You see, the story that God invited me into that day wasn’t about the end result.  It wasn’t about me inflating my own ego.  It wasn’t even about me helping that girl.  It was about Him reminding me of who I was and what I’m passionate about…loving and helping people.

I LOVE PEOPLE, I LOVE PEOPLE, I LOOOOOOVE PEOPLE!  Dang, that feels good to say.

Who knows where my passion for people may lead exactly.  Only time will tell.

One thing I do know is this: LIFE IS ONE CONTINUOUS STORY, REMINDING US OF WHO WE ARE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, OF WHO GOD IS.

What’s God inviting you to discover about yourself?  What’s God inviting you to discover about Him?

God Bless,

Paul

Changes – Let’s be Real

Hi, my name is Paul Anderson and I’m perfect.  Nothing rattles my cage and my emotions are always steady.  God and I are homies and I feel close to Him ALL the time.  In fact, there’s never a time that I question anything because I have it all together AND I have all the answers!  My marriage is perfect, my kids are perfect, my career is perfect and I’m just happy to be alive every single moment of every single day.

Man, that paragraph makes me want to vomit.

Obviously, I was kidding about the whole being perfect part…well, kind of.  If I’m being completely honest with you, I’ve desired others to view me as the above paragraph describes…perfect and put together.  You know, the steady guy who’s always positive, even keel and the life of the party.  It’s kind of embarrassing to say, but it’s true.

As long as I can remember, this has been my mode of operation.  I think it stems from when I was younger…navigating bullying and rejection, ultimately leading to my deep concerns about appearance and acceptance.

As my mind used to travel down this rabbit hole, I assumed that my normal, human emotions appeared negative or “not cool” to other people:

-If I was scared = I appeared weak

-If I was sad = I appeared depressed

-If I didn’t have answers = I appeared stupid

-If I didn’t have the “right” appearance = I appeared ugly

-If I was frustrated = I appeared angry

So, to combat any chance of negative appearance, I suppressed my feelings or disregarded them altogether, labeling them as weak or unacceptable in my mind.  Pretty messed up, huh?!

Shoot, maybe you can relate in your own way.

Over the last several months, I’ve just gotten sick of it all and my shoulders are tired of carrying the unnecessary standards and expectations 100% put there by me, myself and I.  It’s like I’ve been living in this weird reality where I assume that others actually EXPECT me to be perfect.  It’s silly and such a waste of time and energy!

The thing is, I’ve always considered myself a pretty honest person, but swaying others to think that I have it all together when I certainly don’t is dishonest….plain and simple.

It’s like I’m robbing others of having a genuine interaction with another human who’s going through similar struggles in life.  I’m missing out on the opportunity not only to encourage, but to be loved and encouraged by others.  That’s pretty selfish.

The tricky part about sin and character flaws is that we are not the only ones affected by them…like a nasty sponge or hot fart, the stench affects those around us and unfortunately, the ones to whom we are closest to are impacted the most.

We expect others to live up to the twisted views and expectations that we’ve placed on ourselves.  It isn’t fair or healthy.

Slowly, I’m learning that transparency needs to be front and center in healthy relationships…even if it means sharing the good AND the bad stuff in our lives.  People need people, not robots.

The folks who have made the biggest impact in my life where the ones who were humble, admitted their faults and embraced their own humanness.  That’s my goal, to be like those people.  By God’s grace.

So, let’s start over with a more honest intro. to this post:

Hi, my name is Paul Anderson and I’m SO imperfect.  My cage gets rattled here and there and I’m not always positive.  I know that God loves me, even when I mess up and lose focus.  Sometimes I find myself questioning everything, searching for truth, wondering where the real answers are hiding.  My marriage is a beautiful work in progress, my kids can be buttheads sometimes, my career has good and bad days and finding happiness is tough to find some days.  Life isn’t easy, but I’m grateful.

Now that’s more like it.

What would your “intro. paragraph” say?

God Bless,

Paul

Changes – Family


While growing up, my friends were my family.

As a kid, I spent most of my days running around outside with my buddies. We shot hoops, listened to music and caused trouble.  Typical childhood stuff.

Their families fed me, took me on trips, let me sleep over and loved me….and I loved them back.  Heck, I kinda sound like a stray puppy as I describe this!

Most of the time, when I needed to vent or talk about life, my bros were there.  We shared insecurities with one another, talked about girls and farted a whole bunch.  Blessed.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my family, I really did…in fact, I love them more and more each day.  They just weren’t my go-to for comfort and stability. 

(As a side note, my sisters always watched musicals and listened to New Kids On The Block….over and over and over and over again.  I mean really, can you blame me for not wanting to be home?!)

I do understand that this may sound unhealthy and strange to some of you reading…especially those whose families were the foundation of their childhood or lives today.  But that’s the reality of my childhood.  This reality followed me through high school, college and into adulthood as well.

My beautiful wife, Pam couldn’t be more opposite of me regarding family focus and involvement.  Her family was and still is everything to her.  She comes from a strong Italian tradition and family trumps everything.  For me, this was a new, beautiful thing to marry into, but I have to admit, it was overwhelming.  Not a bad overwhelming, just a new way to look at things and a new culture to be a part of.

As you can imagine, along with our differences came conflict.  Pam preferred the company of her family, while I preferred the company of my friends.  These priorities were ingrained into each of us. 

Over the years, we’ve had to find balance in order to make things work.  In all honesty, it’s been a rough road at times and we’ve had many moments of frustration and anger regarding our priorities and perspectives.

It’s been messy-beautiful as we’ve both added to each other’s worlds.  I guess that’s what marriage is all about and I’m grateful for the growth that’s come from it!

The truth is, now that I have my own family, it’s imperative that I live within that balance of friend/family interaction.  I’ll admit, I’ve just recently come to the realization of how important family really is…in a healthier, more balanced way.

Months ago, I would have been totally content hanging out with friends every night of the week, no joke.  I used to put unnecessary pressure on my wife to be more social, when we were already very social.  I was out of balance.

As this pandemic has forced us all to slow down, things have become clearer to me.  I’ve valued the simple times spent with my boys.  I’ve appreciated walks and bike rides with my family.  I’ve become content in all the right ways regarding the family that God has given me. 

I’ve always appreciated family time, but more than ever, I’m valuing family time over social time for the first time in my life!  It’s taken me 40 years to get here, but God’s timing is perfect I guess.

I do understand that not everyone has a healthy or even safe family environment to be a part of.  For those folks, I’m really sorry.  Friends or extended family may be the safer, healthier alternative for you and that’s fantastic!

So, to wrap this up, I just gotta say that my family rocks.  That’s the moral of the story. 

Sometimes, life needs to throw us a curve ball to help us realize what’s most important.  Shoot, 2020 has been one major curve ball, can I get an AMEN?!  In my case, God’s taught me the importance of legacy, simplicity and love that’s highlighted so beautifully within the family structure.  That’s priceless.

My hope for all of us is that, as 2020 drags it’s freaking feet, all of this extra family time becomes more of a blessing, not a burden for us all. 

May God give us fresh eyes to see the beauty that’s right in front of us!

So go hug your family and those you love, each of you will be better for it.

God Bless,

Paul

 

Changes – No Beers for Me!!!

Yeah, I know, what a depressing title.  I guess I should provide some background.

Over a year ago, I found out that I had liver disease.  To be specific, I have PBC (Primary Biliary Cholangitis), which is an auto-immune disease.  Basically, the bile ducts in my liver aren’t breaking down toxins like they should.  So there’s your health lesson for the day!

Inquiring minds might be wondering if this disease was caused by me drinking tons of alcohol and the answer is definitely a big NO.  Sure Paul, uh huh, wink wink.  No, seriously!  In fact, we’re not really sure why or how long I’ve had this disease, but my hepatologist assumes that I’ve had it for many, many years.

I originally realized that my blood counts were high when I applied for life insurance about 16 years ago.  For many years following, I was told that my numbers were high because I had a fatty liver and that’s just how my body was designed.  I believed them, I mean, they were doctors for heavens sake!

Fast forward a few years and I had a Dr.’s appt. for something random.  I honestly can’t even remember what it was for. My primary doctor wasn’t available, so I saw the 1st doctor who was.

I ended up getting my blood drawn again and this fill-in Dr. called me with concern about the high numbers.  He ended up referring me to a hepatologist and the rest is history.

It’s very possible that if I wouldn’t have seen that specific doctor on that specific day for whatever specific reason, that my liver disease could have gone undetected for many more years, resulting in full blown cirrhosis.  It’s for this reason that I’m very sure that God has me in His hands.

Oh yeah, his name is Levi.  I’m talking about my liver.  I named him Levi the Liver.  Why you ask?  Why not?!

Phew, that was a lot!  Thanks for sticking with me.

You may be asking “so why does the title of this post say “no more beers for me?!”  Great question, I’m glad you asked!  Even though alcohol isn’t necessarily the cause of my liver stuff, I’ve decided to not drink any alcohol for 3 months.  My Dr. and I are doing a little experiment, hoping that my numbers improve, fingers crossed!  As I’m writing this, I’m 1 1/2 months into this whole thing.

There are certainly worse things in life, but this change has been a challenge.  I love beer and it’s many varieties.  I love the brewing process.  I love the many conversations that I’ve had with friends and strangers alike, cold brew in hand.  I even have a beer app on my phone!

BUT, it kind of feels good to temporarily give something up for my health.  I admit that It’s been a little depressing, but that’s just me being a whiner.

I’ve found that sometimes, in order to grow, we need to create new habits.  I’ve also read that it takes an average of 66 days for a person to form new behaviors or create new habits.  Man, that kinda seems overwhelming, doesn’t it?!

To drop some knowledge on ya’ll, I’m learning that when making changes in life, it’s often best to take one day at a time.  Setting small, simple goals along the way helps the end result seem less overwhelming.

Plus, there’s something empowering about deciding to make changes and actually following through with them.  To put it simply:  LITTLE VICTORIES OFTEN LEAD TO BIGGER VICTORIES IN THE FUTURE!  Momentum is a beautiful thing.

So there you go, Levi and I are living large with our ginger ale w/lime.  Don’t be jealous, we’ll be just fine.

Cheers to all of us battling to make changes and creating new, healthy habits…one day at a time.  It’s a battle worth fighting!

God Bless,

Paul

Changes – The Prompting

Have you ever felt the prompting to make changes in your life?  I’m pretty sure that you have.

Life is constantly changing and we’re all along for the ride, whether we like it or not.

Whether it’s circumstances or relationships, we’re constantly evolving as humans, endlessly playing a game of tug-o-war between comfort/complacency and growth/risk.  It’s true.

Change doesn’t have to be earth shattering.  In fact, it can take on many forms, ranging anywhere from heart changes, to habit changes, to faith changes, to career changes, to relationship changes….to anything really.

Over the last several months, I’ve personally felt prompted to make some changes…practical changes, character changes, priority changes…NECESSARY changes.

My decision to fine-tune was certainly influenced by the pandemic and the slow-down of life, but it was mainly prompted by my desire to simply be a better man, a better husband, a better father and a better reflection of Jesus.

Something that I’ve discovered about change is this:  YOU NEED TO HAVE THE TRUE DESIRE AND FOCUS TO MAKE CHANGES IN ORDER TO ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THOSE CHANGES. 

In other words, we can’t just rely on our feelings and good intentions to change and grow.  We need to be ready physically, spiritually and emotionally for the daily work of being honest with ourselves…sometimes even tough with ourselves.  Without this laser focus, we’ll easily lose heart and fall back into comfort and old ways.  It’s what many of us do every year when we make those darn new year’s resolutions!  Trust me, I know this from experience!

My next several posts will be about some of the changes that I’m making and/or the things that I’m learning about life during this season.

I’ll do my best to be honest and transparent regarding my challenges, struggles and weaknesses.  Who knows, maybe you’re struggling with similar things as well.  I hope you’re encouraged by knowing that you’re not alone.

The truth is, life seems pretty darn upside down right now in multiple areas.  I think it’s safe to say that we’re all experiencing some level of “what the hell is going on?!” Am I right?!

During trying times, the least that we can do is be honest with one another.  Our stories are what make us unique and keeping them locked inside is selfish…they’re meant to be shared.  I hope you agree.

So, cheers to growth, changes and the opportunity to stumble through this life TOGETHER, not alone.  After all, we’re just a bunch of imperfect goof balls, tripping along the way to who knows where.

Stay tuned.

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

Why It’s Okay To Be Afraid

Life feels weird right now, doesn’t it?!

Most of our routines are upside down or nonexistent. Our kids are attending online school. Our jobs may have been lost or affected in some way. Our health or the health of someone close to us may be declining. Our calendars are empty and we’re not sure when they’ll fill back up again. The list goes on and on and on and on…

Yep, things are weird.

There are many experts out there teaching us coping strategies and breathing techniques. There are professional services providing info. regarding creativity and reinventing ourselves through technology. There are churches teaching us how to have faith and encouraging us to not worry about tomorrow. There are suggested formulas for happiness and the experts always seem so darn smart and happy!

More than ever, we are being told not to panic and to release control. To trust the authorities. To take one day at a time.

While these principles and lessons can be really great and truthful, achieving or attempting them can be overwhelming and daunting…pressure-inducing even. Sometimes, it can feel like us “normal folks” aren’t quite capable of achieving these levels of success during these crazy times.

I think that we’re all trying to make the best out of this pandemic, but I also think that we’re all failing miserably every.single.day…and that’s okay.

Did you hear me? I SAID, THAT’S OKAY!

We’re humans…perfectly imperfect humans, each created differently. God knows this and He understands our struggle for control right now. He knows that change is scary. He knows that we’re hurting and anxious.

The other day, I went for a walk with my wife and we were just talking about life. As we chatted, I realized that I was pretty uneasy inside. The whole uncertainty of the future was getting to me and I was burying it.

I’m normally a pretty chill guy and it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. When potentially stressful situations arise, I put pressure on myself to hold it together…to stay positive…to stay solid in my faith…to be strong. While these are noble things to strive for, I don’t allow myself the freedom to fall short every once in a while. This is definitely something constructive that I’m learning about myself through all of this.

For me, talking about my uneasiness was like a release valve. It allowed me to process and be real with myself and my wife.

Folks, we’re not superheroes. Let’s allow some grace here as we figure life out…not only within our own hearts, but within our relationships as well.

Join me in learning that it’s ok to acknowledge our fears and struggles…even to marinate in them for a little while. It’s ok to fall on our knees in prayer (whether we know Jesus or not) and acknowledge our weakness and need for peace. It’s ok to mess up, overreact and throw tantrums, as long as we don’t stay there. There’s room to be human in all of this.

I guess the main challenge for each of us is this: THAT AMIDST THIS CHALLENGING TIME, WE BECOME BETTER PEOPLE THROUGH IT AND WE CREATE MORE ROOM IN OUR HEARTS FOR OTHERS BECAUSE OF IT.

Hopefully, as we allow ourselves the freedom to grieve, struggle and fail, we will find peace, perspective and love waiting for us on the other side. Now that’s something to get excited about!

God Bless,

Paul

Beauty and Sewage

9F02A533-396D-4CB0-8CB4-68FE4A8F0CFELately, after my runs, I’ve been spending some time down by the river.

I found a new place to sit. It’s a rock that hangs out over the bank just enough for me to dangle my legs and observe an unobstructed view of the river. It’s a gem really.

The other day, I had a little visit with my new spot and was enjoying the birds chirping, new spring blooms swaying in the breeze and the consistent chatter of the river below my feet, having conversation with the rocks with each splash. I feel God there, I really do.

Amidst my little meditation came a smell that attacked my nostrils…ohhhh the smell.

Across the river is a pathway that runs parallel to where I sit. There’s also a sewage treatment plant that runs along the path.  When the wind blows in the right direction, that wonderful stench of sewage/chemical goodness invades the fresh air like an army of ants on a piece of candy. It’s pretty gnarly.

It’s not like my time is ruined by the smell, but the stench certainly attempts to add distaste to my experience, or at least that’s how I see it.

I couldn’t help but find a similar correlation to life right now. We are all in the middle of learning a new normal. This Corona Virus/COVID-19 situation has halted life in dramatic ways and has forced us all to re-evaluate what’s most important in our lives.

Through it all, it’s easy to forget that we’re blessed.  Just like the nasty smell tries to cloud a beautiful spring day, so our fears and worries attempt to smother the good stuff in our lives.

The reality is this: life is weird right now.  There are uncertainties all around and the temptation to succumb to fear is legit.

Although it’s hard to do, join me in seeking the simple things in life.  Let the sounds of children laughing bring joy.  Let the birds chirping bring life.  Let the lack of control lead to faith and trust in a God who’s bigger.  Let the time spent with family draw us closer together.  Let the lack of contact with friends and family remind us of how much we need each other.

Today is a good day and tomorrow will take care of itself.  Let’s not let even the greatest of fears distract us from what’s right in front of us…life.

Stay safe and be well.

God Bless,

Paul

Troubles Will Come

This world is full of trouble.  It’s true!

Whether it be personal trouble, political trouble, work trouble, family trouble, emotional trouble or spiritual trouble, its all the same….it’s trouble.

We can’t avoid it.  This horrible “T” word is lurking around every corner, waiting to defeat us, distract us and even seduce us.  Some of us run to it, but many of us attempt to avoid it out of fear.  It makes us uncomfortable, disrupts plans and causes pain.  Trouble is, well, trouble!

In my gut, I feel the need to say that, although trouble is present everywhere, we must not let it control us, manipulate us or defeat us.  I have good news friends!  There’s hope and I know where to find it in 5 letters…see below:

JESUS

Before you fast forward through this post, shaking your head at just another “Jesus fanatic post,” I invite you to hear me out.

I don’t view Jesus as a magic genie who is able to rid my life of all trouble.  I don’t expect him to provide earth-shattering revelations daily (although, that would be cool!)  I don’t even expect Him to always take away my pain when I’m hurting (and there are days when I’d like him to!)

What I’m confident of is Jesus’s consistency and truthfulness.  By this, I mean that He doesn’t change and He’s very honest about trouble.  In fact, he pretty much guarantees it!  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

There’s no skating around it, problems arise in life, whether we believe in Jesus or not.  Here’s the point that I want to stress about Jesus though:  SURE, JESUS DOESN’T PROMISE FREEDOM FROM TROUBLES, BUT HE PROMISES PEACE AMIDST THEM.

Did you catch that?  He promises PEACE AMIDST the troubles!  That’s amazing stuff!

There have been times in my life where I’ve just been down in the dumps…where life seems mundane and hopeless…where my feelings seem to overtake my faith.  It’s during those times that I’ve felt God’s presence the most.  Like a warm blanket covering me, making things clear.  It’s hard to explain…it’s supernatural.  Jesus meets us where we are in the most simple, practical ways because, well, He knows us and He created us.

So what are you facing today?  Have you just lost someone special to you?  Has your health gone downhill?  Are you lonely?  Are you afraid?  Do you feel unloved?  Are you facing an impossible situation?  Are you lacking hope?  If any of these things sound familiar to you, it’s okay, I’ve felt these feelings too at one time or another.

I simply just want to invite you to consider asking Jesus to meet you where you are.  I’m not kidding, just ask “Jesus, can you please meet me where I am?”  That’s it.  Nothing fancy, just simple and practical.

Look for Him, He’s there, waiting to give you one of those big ‘ol grandpa hugs.

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody Poops

You may be wondering why in the world I’m writing about poop.  I mean, who really wants to read about something that’s gross, weird and stinky?!  Well, apparently you do…ha, gotcha 😜.

The truth is, we’re all humans and guess what, we all poop.  Yeah, I said it.  You poop, I poop, we all poop.  We’re just a bunch of poopers.  Enough poop talk for ya?  Ok, I’ll continue on.

Friends, this is actually a very, very profound idea…this idea about poop.  Why is this profound you ask?  Great question.  It’s because we all actually hold this one thing in common as living, breathing human beings!!!  We have something in common, can you believe it?!  Me neither.

Although this whole pooping thing is an awkward bit of common ground, I would like to ask a question, if you would allow:

IF WE’RE ALL DOING THIS HUMAN THING TOGETHER, THEN WHY IN THE WORLD DO WE LACK SO MUCH GRACE AND KINDNESS TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER?!?!

We’ve isolated ourselves and the incredible amount of pride, superiority and entitlement that we have towards life and towards each other baffles me.

Just drive on the freeway, wait in a drive thru line or go through security at the airport and you’ll often see a spectacle of impatience, anger and blatant selfishness!  Better yet, wave someone through at a stop sign and watch them drive on by with no acknowledgement or hand wave.  Sit on a train or wait in a doctors office and watch the lack of eye contact.

It’s like we’re all afraid of each other, which is sad because we’re all in the same boat. Life is hard and we’re all tripping through each day in our own way…EVERY ONE OF US!

I know the whole poop thing was a silly example of commonality, but I hope you get the point.  People, we need to recalibrate some things and actually start loving each other vs. competing with one another.  Our differences AND similarities should unite us, not push us apart.

With this call for unity, I can’t help but mention that today is 9/11/19. As a nation, we reflect on the terrible acts of terror that happened 18 years ago.  The pain was unimaginable as lives were lost and families were torn apart.  It was a scary time for all and my deepest prayers go out to all who were affected.

Here’s the thing, even through all of the tragedy and loss, folks came together as one. Heroes emerged, tears were shed and rebuilding began….all of this being done TOGETHER, not individually.

It seems as though we’ve forgotten how to come together. Most importantly, it seems as though we’ve forgotten how desperately we need love….how desperately we need each other.  Us weird humans were created to have relationships with one another…that’s just the way it is.

The good news is that you and I have a great opportunity to turn this ship around.  We can be light, even amidst the darkness. We can offer common courtesy to one another.  We can open doors, smile and actually make eye contact with those around us.  We can be different in a good way, in hopes that our kindness becomes contagious.

So tomorrow, 9/12/19, would you join me in making a conscious effort to be a positive influence within your different circles? Heck, you can start tonight if you prefer, even better!

Change starts with one action, no matter how big or small. Just be love in word and deed, it’s that simple.

Oh yeah, If you happen to think of me or this post the next time you poop, that would be super awkward. Don’t do that 💩💩💩.

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

Growing Up

It’s funny how, as grown adults, we hang on to weird stuff that we struggled with as children.  It’s like we’re just big kids with facial hair (sorry ladies, speaking to the men on this one), responsibilities, vehicles and kids of our own.  It’s kind of a scary thought, really.

The older I’m getting, the more I’m realizing one of my biggest inner struggles:  I CARE TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK.

It’s kinda embarrassing to say, but it’s true.  My inner-childlike-chubby-insecure-afraid self rears it’s silly little head sometimes and it’s just that…silly.

The truth is, my whole life, I’ve done my best to blend in.  I’ve tried my hardest to not stand out in a crowd.  I’ve avoided conflict as much as possible for fear of rejection or how I might look.  I’ve been scared.

It’s affected the clothes that I’ve bought, the shows that I’ve watched, the friends that I’ve had, the things that I’ve done and the ways that I’ve thought.  Almost like I’ve lived my life for other people.  Who am I kidding, I WAS living my life for other people!  Friends, don’t live your lives for other people.  It sucks.

Within this last year or so, I’ve really felt the need to break this cycle.  I’ve become more aware of how I’ve struggled with this issue my whole life.  It’s pretty easy to become blind to our own weaknesses because we’re so comfortable with them, you know what I mean?!

So, for what it’s worth, here’s how I’m learning to combat the fear of what other’s think:  PRIORITIZE, SIMPLIFY, FIND PERSPECTIVE AND SEEK TRUTH.

For me, placing God at the center of my life is key…actually it’s necessary, kinda like breathing.  It takes the focus off of myself and places it on Him.  I try to allow Him to provide perspective.  I try to allow Him to help me prioritize.  I try to allow Him to help me simplify my thoughts.  I try to lean into His truth.  He’s my filter.

Sure, I still have good days and bad days, but overall, I’m growing and that’s all that matters I guess.

So, what’s your deal?  What nagging thing are you hanging on to from childhood?  Surely I’m not the only one in this world that has hang ups…or maybe I am…shoot, what are people going to think of me and this post?!  Kidding.

Seriously though, it’s ok to struggle with stuff…even immature, embarrassing stuff.  The cool part comes when we can admit it, change it and grow from it…whatever “it” is for you and for me.

God Bless,

Paul