Thursday, July 28, 2016

St. Mary's Glacier.

I wrote this last Saturday at 5:45am as I sat on a rock at St. Mary's Glacier. At the time I was feeling so much and I didn't know how to put it into words until I saw the view, until I felt the wind, until I got wrapped in the silence. Here's what I wrote, unedited and fresh. Know that if you feel too much or even if you don't feel may just need an unadulterated view, a pen and some paper to get to the heart of things.

- Sometime all it takes to get away from the evil and darkness of this world, is to climb a mountain and allow God to show you how loved you are. A place where the grass is so green that is could almost swallow you whole. A place where the silence is so rich that it pierces through the noise in your life and demands peace. Solitude.

I'm starting to find that it's in the solitude that we find comfort. It's in the secret place that we're found. That's where he meets us. Right there in the heart of where the darkness meets the light, I've come to find that's often where I meet God.

It's when the darkness breaks and dawn appears and the sun begins to creep it's way over the horizon that we're reminded that the sadness, the pain, it never lasts. When all of the hurt is gone and the tears have dried, what remains is his love. His glory. His truth.

The Lord says, in the end of Matthew, that he will never leave us nor will he ever forsake us until the end of age. It's in the darkness that we must remind ourselves of that truth and it's in the sunlight that we finally see it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

In this skin..

In this skin
I'm comfortable
But I can't help but to feel
like this place
this body
this world is not my home.

This skin
in which I reside
at times feels guarded
yet I'm open and inviting
safe and loving
this skin isn't me...
I'll keep the color but the labels...
those I don't want anymore.

This skin
is brown and glowing
beautiful and pure
yet some in this world says it's unattractive
out of place
I don't agree
but that's okay...

I don't belong here.

This skin that I'm in
it holds me together
it captures my beating heart
and consumes my emotions
yet I want to break free
I want love to fiercely pour out of me
yet it's confined
by this skin that I'm not so sure
if I should want anymore

This skin that I'm in
that seemingly defines whether I live my life
fighting stigmas or wadding in privilege
this skin it's beautiful
it's pure
it's soft like satin
it's brown

This skin in all of its perfections
and imperfections
is not my identity
it's not my cross to bear
it's not a target on my back
it's not yours to categorize or define

This skin that I'm in
it's mine
and whether you burn it all down
or nail me to a tree
what you destroy
is nothing compared to what the father has saved
the beauty that he's created in me.

This skin
in which I reside
though frail
is redeemed
and though fleeting
houses a soul that will live on.

This skin that I'm in
this beautiful
brown sugar
dark chocolate
color of the earth
skin that coats me
is unapologetic
it's forgiven
it's encouraged
it's bold.

It's not a trail to be blazed
it is not a campaign
it is not a curse
it is not ugly
it is not a mistake
it is not yours...

This skin
that I find myself in
it's beautiful
it's intentional
it's loved
it's mine

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fear, the gym and box jumps.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were faced with something that made you so nervous and made your heart beat so fast that it seemed like it was impossible? Something that you'd seen others accomplish, time and time again but for some reason when you even though about attempting it, it just seemed too scary?

Well, that pretty much sums up my relationship with certain moves, machines and exercises at the gym.

I am being completely sincere when I say that the only time I try something new at the gym is when I'm either convinced that it's impossible to look stupid doing it OR when I'm by myself and I'm sure that no one can see me.

I don't know where it came from but for as long as I've been going to the gym I've always gotten really nervous, almost anxious even, at the idea of doing something wrong and a stranger correcting me or laughing at me. The thought of someone coming up to me in a crowded gym and telling me that my form is off, makes me want to work out at 3am when I'm guaranteed to be alone.

I know, it sounds absolutely ridiculous.What I'm getting at with this confession is that there are things that I've been wanting to do but the fear of being corrected or looking silly kept me from even trying them, that is...until the other day.

I went to the gym a few days ago and I don't know what was in the air or in my smoothie that morning but I was in such a euphoric place. I felt happy and at peace and not really too aware of the people around me. I started my leg workout and before I knew it I found myself in front of the space that I always avoided, the box jumps.

Box jumps are a very interesting concept and I won't get into all the details of the benefits and dangers of them but I will tell you that I'm beyond intrigued by them. Box jumps mixed with fear and anxiety are, how can I put this plainly, a sick mind game. Standing in front of this box, that reached about mid way between my knees and my hip, my heart started to beat fast and my hands started to shake.

 "What's going on?" I thought to myself, I've seen people shorter than myself do box jumps more times than I can count and I've never seen them fall, never. I thought to myself, "If they can do it, then so can I," but when I went to jump my feet didn't come off the ground.

I literally swung my arms to jump and instead of lifting off of the ground I was seemingly cemented to the floor by fear. The thought of falling, that someone might laugh at me, or that I might hurt myself ran circles in my head and literally kept both of my feet on the ground.

Fear is crippling. Fear snatches dreams, laughs at goals and does nothing but put limitations on us. Fear and box jumps, I found the other day, don't mix at all. Rather, these two things without question, clash 100% of the time.

I am happy to say that I finally got up the nerve and courage to do one and then another and eventually a whole series of box jumps but not without giving myself a serious talk first. When I jumped the first time I remember standing on the top of the box and feeling a sense of accomplishment but more than that, feeling extremely silly. I couldn't believe that for so long I let fear keep me from even attempting to do something that I now actually really enjoy.

Box jumps won't kill you but your fear might.

I've never met anyone that gave fear the credit for their accomplishments and success. Fear won't take you steps closer to your goals, fear won't heal wounds or rebuild communities, fear won't save lives. Fear kills. Fear destroys. Fear is a stop sign.

When I left the gym that night my mind went on an exploring spree looking at all the areas of my life where fear stopped me from going after something I really wanted. Whether it was doing box jumps, going on a new adventure or talking to someone that I thought  was really cute, I would be lying if I didn't admit that many opportunities have passed me by because I was afraid. Well, not anymore.

What fears are holding you back from accomplishing something great? I challenge you today to have courage and to be brave enough to jump and I promise you that regardless of the outcome you'll be glad that you did.

II Timothy 1:7 - God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The option to look away...

There are a lot of horrible things going on in our world. Police brutality, terrorist attacks, women being raped...the list goes on. But if we're being completely honest with each other, we're not all affected by these horrific acts and because of that, we don't all have to care. 

When you have the privilege of being the most guarded gender, nationality, orientation and race, you also have the privilege of being able to look away. You have the option to ignore tragedies because they so often fall miles away from your doorstep. 

It is a privilege to grow up seeing yourself represented in television shows and the movies that you see on weekends. It's a privilege to grow up reading about and seeing presidents, legislators and congress people who look like you. It is a privilege to grow up having your history told in class every single day compared to once a year for a month. 

We ALL have privilege, but some of us have more than others. 

I think as a generation we so often argue and debate. With that being said I rarely see us coming together to collaborate on solutions to bring about restoration. There has to be more restoration. 

I'm saying all of this to get to the point "That with great power comes great responsibility." Yes, I did just quote Spider man but only because those words ring so true. For those with extreme amounts of privilege and great power, how much blood will be on yours hands when you die? How many wars did you sign off on? How many rapists did you simply give a slap on the wrist? How many times did you look away when someone who looks different than you was attacked or treated like they didn't matter? 

It's so easy to choose to look away, to choose to simply not join the conversation but it takes real courage to decide to be more than just a bystander. It takes courage to use your influence and privilege to make a difference rather than to just serve your needs and desires. 

It is a privilege and not a right that I have a blog that people read. I count it as a privilege that I'm able to share my opinions, feelings and beliefs in such a cool way. Today, I choose to use this platform to say that we as a generation, as humans, as a world need to do more. Enough with the social media, celebrity and image's time to stand up and make a different in a way that matters, a way that will improve this world for our children and grandchildren. 

I'm not living in fear, turmoil or anguish but I'm also not living with my eyes and ears shut to the pains of our world. Pains that are affecting people who look just like the person that I see in the mirror every single day. 

We all have privilege but we don't all have the option to look away.