How To Endure Suffering and Embrace All of Life.

 

Life is a series of moments, moments that are quickly escaping us. Whether we are aware of it or not. Which is breath, each month, each year, with every word and with every thought. And what we do in these moments is up to us. What we believe in these moments is up to us.

We can choose to be a pessimist or we can choose to be optimist. Sure, each day brings trials and worries of its own, yet the choice is still ours. Even in the darkest of times, we don’t have to be completely swallowed up by suffering.

Suffering does not have to crush or destroy us. One of the ways I have found to endure the hard times of life, is to condition myself in the midst of suffering. The same way I condition my body in the gym and on the matts. I condition my mind to be strong and stable in the harshest of conditions.

Am I always successful at it? No, I am not. I fail at it a lot, but if I/we do not condition ur minds to endure suffering. Life will in fact crush us. How do I condition my mind, you ask?

two ways:

  1. Patience’s in suffering- this is something we humans do not want to hear, but it is true none the less. Wishing the pain away, really does nothing for us. But being calm and as steady as rock, thus allows us to pray, ask, seek and knock. It allows us to endure and learn optimal lessons about ourselves. Consider the words in James 5:7-8 (NIV)  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.    When we know that the Lord is near, nothing can shake us. When we truly know his character and his love for us. The suffering and adversity is momentary compared to his steadfast love.

2. Learn the art of Joy: Psalm 30:

 will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.[a]

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

 

The poet David knows suffering all too well, and even he has endured much difficulty and despair. And yet he has learned the secret of rejoicing in the Lord, for he understands that God will not let the darkness triumph over him. Yes, I know that others may not share my same belief and faith in the Christian world view- but I believe that it is the only world way, that has anything to say about suffering. And it is the only world view that confronts suffering head on. Some say that faith in God is a “crutch” per- say, and yet most of us, that have been put the ringer of life, understand what it’s like to walk with a limp.  And so yes, Jesus comes along side us in our suffering and gives us himself to trust and lean on.

After all, he was plunged into the deepest sea of darkness for us, to show us his mad love for us and that we are not alone in suffering. He knows our suffering, temptations and weakness very deeply. The blessing of life then, as I said in the beginning, is a bundle of minutes and precious moments, passing us by whether we like it or not, believe it or not. As such, it is up to us to embrace the moments, darkness in all. We all have a choice in how we handle and view the suffering.

I say embrace it, head on, knowing that God is the great shepherd. Who can lead you beside still waters, regardless of where you have been, what you have done or have scared you may be about the future.

You are loved, it is never too late to accept the hand with the most amazing love and grace.

Caught in the Storm

When You Feel Like A Failure

Feeling like a failure is probably one of the worst feelings in the world, wouldn’t you agree? There are days when I myself feel like a failure, where I wished that I would have done things differently in life.

I think to some degree everyone has felt like that, but what are the roots of such a paralyzing feeling?

  1. We lack a core identity or truth about ourselves,  as a Christian and follower of Jesus. My core identity comes from him and him alone, nothing else. And when I know who I am in his eyes and what I am in his sight. Nothing else truly matters in the end. Nothing can separate me/us from his love:

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, NLT)

2) You are not your past mistakes: No matter what you have done in your past, it does not mean that the past has to dictate your future. Yes, there may be consequences for a past action, but the good news is, is that we can take extreme ownership of our actions, and decide to be a different person here and now. Furthermore, there is forgiveness in Christ and He can make you a new creation:

2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

3) Persevere: Life is hard yes, people will doubt you, they won’t believe you can change, they will want to see you fail. But you can’t let that stop you. You have to tell yourself, that you will choose to keep moving forward, every second of everyday. You will even have moments where you want to give up, you may even have  moments of break down. And I’d argue, that that’s okay, but then get up, dust off and keep moving forward.images

 

Do You Want to Get Well?

One of the most pointed questions, Christ ever asked Do You want to get well?

John 5, Jesus spots a paralyzed man, who wants to go into the pool of Bethesda. All kinds of other people with various aliments are going into this pool for physical healing. But everyone is passing him up, going in ahead of him.

The man says to Jesus: Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’

Jesus replied Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

There are a few things that we can glean from this passage:

  1. his inward disposition of self- sorrow: he feels that he will never get well, he is focused on his circumstances and  he has no idea who his near him. It is our own inner thought process from seeing the power of God and who He is.

 

2: I believe that God heals not just the physical, but spiritual: You see, when Jesus asks if you want to get well, He is pointing to a much deeper reality. He is pointing to getting well spiritual speaking, He is talking about making our mind, emotions and hearts come alive to the truth He offers. He is the true path way to healing, that is not found in any other spiritual method or guru. For every other enlightened person, has claimed that they are a path way to the truth. But Christ says, that He is the truth and He has come to set you free! It does not matter what you have done in your life, it doesn’t matter your pedigree, education or anything else that we think can take the place of Him. He wants your heart, then He will make your more in His love and character.

 

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Featured

What Can We Learn From Christopher Robin?

So,

My sister and took the niece and and nephew to see the Christopher Robin movie, you know the one with Winnie the pooh and friends in it? Yeah, that one. It was actually really good! As a psychology major, I was excited to see it, as I learned that each character exbitvs traits of mental illness.

For a brief breakdown of each, please see the following link: HERE

Beyond that, I just wanted to share a few things that I learned from the movie:

  1. We are far to consumed in the rate race of being busy, slaving over our jobs and reputations and bank accounts. Are they important? Yes, but when they get in the way of what matters most, or should matter most than it becomes a problem. Let us, then discover and hold dear to what matters most.

 

2. The reality of our lives, however harsh they may be. Has sadly robbed so many of us childlike joy and wonder. We have forgotten the joy of imagining and dreaming, getting lost in a wonderful story. We have lost the ability to think outside the walls of our lives.

3.  We can’t sit still! We are constantly overthinking and freaking out about things!

4. Let us not forget those who, have never forgotten us. Winnie the pooh never forget about Christopher Robin, even though they were miles apart. Something tells me that Winnie always thought about Mr. Robins. If you miss someone today, we live in a time where we can reach people in seconds, so don’t be afraid to reach out!

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What I’m Learning

Communication. Communication. Communication.

Should be pretty obvious right? Not always, it actually takes a lot of practice and time to learn to communicate well. This is not to be confused with a scream fest, but actually sitting down with someone, using words. Letting go of pride, ego and rebuttal. Actually listening, accepting whatever faults that you may have, forgiving, not holding others faults over them and moving on. It takes lots of practice, but this truly is possible.

You just have to be willing to do the hard work.

Perspective

Is my life that bad? Is your life that bad? I don’t mean to make less of what you may be going through. But I truly believe, that somebody else always has it worse. And its up to us to make the most of what we have been.

live With Compassion

The world can use a lot more compassion, and I believe the world is moved more by compassion than by hate or evil. Thus, I believe that this is how God wants us to live. More like Him each and everyday.

Let Go of Excuses

In every single area of your life, you can always improve in every area of your life. Even if its in small percentage. The limits we see are usually placed there by the self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do What You Were Meant To Do.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman

Finding your soul purpose, is not a exploration through outer space. I repeat:

Finding your soul purpose, is not a exploration through outer space.

What does this mean?

It means that God has endowed us all with things that we are passionate about, and talented out. What ever those things are for you, are the things that I truly believe that you should be pursuing.

It doesn’t matter if its painting, web design, clothing, public speaking, mentoring, coaching or something else. If we are not doing the things we love in some fashion. We are living a horrible existence.

As a society, we are caught in the 9-5 trap, working for our bank accounts. Now, if you like what you’re doing, good. Keep doing it. But I feel that most people hate what their doing and as such they are dying on the inside. Living for the Fridays and drinking some beer… Not that that’s bad at all.

But I just think that we could be living a more meaningful existence… You have to work an odd job to make ends meet. But to not do something that makes you come alive, is utter foolishness.

Write down what makes you come alive, make a plan and go do it.

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Remembering Chester Bennington

I’ll never forget being a teenager, lying there in my bed watching MTV, when MTV was actually MTV. Meaning that they actually played good music videos. It must have been early morning I remember seeing Linkin’s Parks video for the song One Step Closer.  I was hooked from the first sound of the guitar, the break down and the perfect hybrid rap Rock vocals. The lyrics hooked me as an angsty teen. The lyrics were speaking to me in a way nothing else could.

I was a fan and will always will be. There was not a LP album that I was not a fan of. To be quite honest though, it was the lyrical depth that drew me in. The fact that the band was armed with a great live show was even better. I had never gotten the chance to see the band live, but I remember seeing them live on a show called Reverb Nation. There was so much emotional connectivity with the crowd, it was all so intriguing and inspiring to me.

To think that someone like Chester, or any member of the band could command such attention. When ever I was sad, depressed or angry it would be linkin park that I went to the most. The interesting thing is though, even through Chesters heavy, dark and even hopeful lyrics. I never truly connected that fact that he struggled with depression or mental illness. In my young mind at the time, I thought he was only telling stories of people that he knew.

There was no way he could be depressed right? I mean he was a world wide celebrity and had everything it seemed. That the was the younger, less wise part of myself. Now that I am bit older, I realize that it is truly possible to have everything and feel like you have nothing at the same time.

In my own journey with depression and anxiety, it was the lyrics of Chester B that gave me the room I needed to give voice to what I was feeling on the inside. I was never blessed with the chance to meet Chester, and tell him thank you for his words. And that I in some ways considered him a friend.

On a personal level, I often feel so up and down. Happy one moment and either want to scream or cry the next. I have had a handful of psych professors tell me that life, for most is very up and down or much like scribbling on a piece of paper. But thats never been a soothing or satisfying response for me.

The more I listen to the lyrics of Chester, the more I sense that he was truly crying out. Duh right? As a psychology major though, I have learned to pay more attention and see more deeply into a person. Are they truly happy when they smile or is there more going on below the surface?

Better yet, are we happy in a public setting and then fall apart behind closed doors? It’s almost been a year since his passing, and I honestly cannot believe that he is gone. I keep waiting for some FB article to pop up saying that he is alive and well, much like 2 pac. ..

But I guess that a big part of me is still in denial, that he is truly gone. All I know is that, we cannot afford to keep losing people this way. Regardless of what we believe about life. We must be willing to ask and have uncomfortable conversations, about how and where we are at in life.

We have to be willing to say **** the stigma behind talking about depression and suicide, for it is the only way to break free. We have to be willing to say enough is enough.

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A Tighter Grip.

I don’t even know where to begin

All I know is that I want to get a grip on myself.

My anxiety has been so bad.

My emotions have been everywhere.

And sometimes I feel like my chest is going to implode.

I find myself crying when I am alone.

I find myself utterly sensitive to the energies around me.

One moment I am happy and the next, anger, sadness, frustration rage.

I hate this…. I hate this.

My soul is desperate for change.

I want to know what it’s like to feel stable.

I hate feeling like such a wreck.

Perhaps its only a season or moment in time.

All I want is to break free. And not be dominated by this internal, unstable and insecure war inside me.

I want to get to the bottom of this, one breath at a time, one step at a time.

 

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Cerebral Palsy. Body Image and Internal Healing.

I’m starting to see a correlation between cerebral palsy and body image, this correlation stems from being in contact with numerous people who live with cerebral palsy through social media. In this particular regard, I’m speaking about having a negative self image.

You may look at the image of me below, and not think that I am “fat” all, but when I look at myself. That is what I see.

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When I look at the sides of my stomach, I think “Ugh gross” then I start thinking or obsessing over what I eat and upping the intensity of my daily workouts. Which is not a bad thing at all. It is a problem though, when you are in the middle of your workout and you can’t stop dwelling on how disgusting you feel and look.

I posted that above photo on instagram a few weeks ago, lots of people said that I looked great, or that we all had those feelings, or even “that’s just skin!” The comments were heart warming and helped me to think more positively.. For awhile, but then I would find myself in the downward spiral of self destruction and sabotage.

My workouts have consisted of lots of burpees, probably two-four hundred every single day. Along with Kettle and Bar Bell lifting. I sweat a lot, recover well but am utterly hungry the rest of the day.  Nor am I afraid of eating my carbs, protein and Beer… My one beer after work.

The engine is constantly stoked, and I’m constantly pushing my mind and body.. But there is this area of my life, that needs change. I’m tried all the thought stopping methods, all the positive affirmations etc. And still nothing helps the crap shoot stop.

After CF today, I came home, ate and then went to wash my stinky self. There I was, looking at my body with contempt. And then I thought, “this has to stop!” Truly the only thing that gets me through life is my faith. So after redirecting my thoughts back to it, I whispered to God:

“God, you don’t want me to hate my body, I know that. Help me to see myself differently, as you do.” At that moment, something clicked on inside of me. I’m not saying that you have to do, as I do, that is something that you have to decide and work through for yourself.

What I am saying though, is that these destructive thinking has to stop, or at least be put in its rightful place. A vast majority of therapists would saying that working out is killing me, and steer me away from it as they would most addictions. But I don’t think that that is the end all be all solution.

Yes, some things might need to change, or pause. But this is less a physical issue, and more a mental, emotional and spiritual issue. And until those issues heal, nothing we change the way we long for.

So! We have to understand that this is going to be a long journey, with plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns. We have to accept where we are at. I know that this is something that will not want to be heard, you might spend lots of time in a wheel chair, and be on lots of meds. Okay, we can work with that, the fact is that we cannot give up.

There are plenty of exercises that can be done from a seated position, plenty of ways to even build stamina too. I should get on making videos regarding these topics. Yet the biggest component is learning to take care of ourselves from a place of love and not so much a “I have to” but an “I want to” there’s a huge difference.

Change your forward thinking: Think less on your image, and think more about prolonged health, mobility, strength and focus. So that we can be the strongest version of ourselves, not so much for ourselves but for others.

The internal healing is more tangible than we believe, more closer than we think. Much like any medicine though, it takes time for the benefits to show up, but rest assured. Through discipline and diligence change will come.

Blessings!

-Brandon

 

 

 

 

The Divine Life line: Pointing Toward REAL Strength.

What if I told you, that you were stronger than you allowed yourself to believe? I’m not so much talking about physical strength, although that is a valid part of strength. But do you know how much you can take mentally and emotionally? Do you know your breaking point?

If not, I strongly believe that you should know what that point is, not only for the betterment of yourself. But for the betterment of those around you. You see, I think our culture as a whole is so deathly afraid of challenge and hardship, that our foundations break under the slightest bit of pressure.

I mean, Jesus Christ was the one, real man that everyone in human history. The man, or God man rather. Took the ultimate beating, carried the cross on His back and gave up His life so that others may live. He was everything a person, should be. As a  man, I have come to realize that my real strength, drive and the ability to persevere under pressure. Is not so much white knuckling through the deep waters of water, be it in life or the gym.

But learning to be strengthened by Gods spirit, grace and love. Jesus did the same, in the garden. Faced with literally the weight on his shoulders (Matthew 26:36-46), Jesus asks the father if he could take this cup from Him, as most of us would do in our human nature. The key point here, is that Jesus was strengthened! And He pressed on to finish the mission.

Jesus knew that true strength, truly rested in the divine life line. I’m a big fan of Jocko Willink, he has been a huge motivator for me. But where him and I disagree, is that his strength comes from within himself. And I believe that my strength comes from outside in, meaning that my strength comes first, from being in Gods presence and putting on the spiritual armor (Eph 6).

Jesus was strong from the inside out, he probably had a fairly muscular build to Him, He knew how to be kind and loving to others. But at the same time he was not afraid to offend people when needed. And He sure wasn’t afraid to swing a whip when needed. He definitely was more bad ass then some people even realize.

If you want to be strong, fix your eyes on Jesus. If you want the best motivation, look at Jesus. If you want to be a different person than you were yesterday, look at Jesus. He can and has won the battle once a for all.

He is deep down, who you have always wanted to be.

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