My name is Brandon Ryan,
I am 35 years old and reside out of my Omaha, NE. I was born with cerebral palsy and have had the deck stacked against me since my very first breath. The very premise of my life has been overcoming obstacles and coming through great darkness. Doctors didn't I would amount to much, and teachers didn't think I was smart enough to graduate college. Now, I am a, college graduate (psychology major) published author, motivational speaker, certified fitness and nutrition coach and I also teach adaptive self-defense to people will a host of different abilities. I'm extremely passionate about helping those see, that they are stronger than you they know and that they can over come anything!
I think that if there was one thing I’d change about myself, it would be how reactive that I am to pain. What I mean is that, when something of adversity comes my first protective measure is to lash out or rather do things without thinking. Or I don’t specifically think of the consequences before doing certain things.
Over the last few months, I’ve become a fan of stoicism. Mainly in how it teaches one to sit with thoughts and emotions, noticing them and sometimes not even doing anything about them. Because well emotions, they aren’t something solid that can always be trusted in. Our emotions can often let us down and leaving us feeling and looking stupid in the end.
Detaching from emotions- or rather not giving ear to every emotion that comes to us. I don’t think that means that we allow ourselves to become emotionally constipated per-say. Some emotions are worth paying attention to, on the other hand if we allow ourselves the always open window of emotion. We then become a slave and emotion is our master.
There’s time in life where one must turn off emotion and do what needs to be done. A simple example is this, let’s say you wake up pissed off for reasons you don’t even know. Are you going to let that get in the way of your work day? Or, let’s say your boss pisses you off so much, are you then going to focus on how much you dislike them? Or are you going to focus on the task at hand?
Now, perhaps there’s issues with your boss that need to be handled, maybe even finding a new job. But what happens we you lose control, and you unload on your boss? Now you can probably kiss your job good bye.
And with them, most of us then think “why in the hell did I just do that?” Then you feel like #### after.
So, sit with your emotions, decide which emotions are worth paying attention to and what ones are worthy of dismissal. For as a person of faith, I am not ruled by any one thing but have the mind of Christ.
I think that one aspect of manhood (that I am very passionate about) that isn’t talked about much at all. Is the reality of manhood and disability. Over the last several months I’ve seen all kinds of videos on how to be more of an alpha male and so on. Most of these videos are geared toward abled-bodied men, who can walk, drive and have a very different set of life circumstances than a man with cerebral palsy. Now, this is difficult for me to write, because I confess that I’m not where I want to be in life. I’m thirty-five, almost thirty-six and I still live in my parents’ house, don’t drive and don’t work your typical job. As I’ve spent the last several lives trying to live the entrepreneur life, and for the most part I’ve done well for myself. There’s just these two areas of my life, that I have yet to break through in. Sometimes though, this makes me feel like less of a man or less than I could be. Even though, functionally speaking I have a ton to offer. It can be difficult though, simply because some people can’t see past the physical circumstances of ones life. The last woman I dated I can remember her being a bit hesitant early on, because she thought about what it would be like eventually introducing me to her friends. Which really sucks that that is even a reality, but I have to think, how many other men like me are there in the world that feel as I do. Who can sometimes feel like less of a man because they are physically different or have different life circumstances? It’s very numbing to the mind and heart. What happens then, is we stop taking chances in life because of the thoughtful reality that we might never find the physical acceptance that we desire.
What I’ve come to realize though, is that I-we- you still have divine worth regardless of whether or not a person accepts us for who we are or not. And its hardly a reflection on us as it is the other person. Simply because one is not where they want to be either, doesn’t mean that you won’t get there either. It may take someone a longer period of time, but it is still possible. Some people in life are late bloomers, but they still bloom. And I think that is something that needs to be more appreciated in life. And I think that’s largely because our society wants everything right now.
Growing up my father raised me in the martial arts, which only helped me become a masculine man and warrior. He let me fall, get bumps and bruises. He always told me to stick out my chest when I stood up. And I think that that’s what I want for others like myself, to be strong in every way. Some may not be able to physically fight like I can. But they can learn to protect their minds and hearts of those they love. I believe that regardless of whether a man is in wheel chair, he should be healthy and fit in as much as he can. Along with cleaning up the nutrition portion of life. I think a man should know how to control his thoughts and emotions. I think a man, should rid himself of the victim mentality. Also, men should learn to control their own lusts-in more ways than one. I think that men need to figure out who they are, what they do and do not want in life. I want to teach men like me to be strong and courageous, even in spite of having different abilities and life circumstances than the next guy. Disabled men truly need this, because lets face it too much life has passed and I haven’t seen anything done about this silent crisis. I believe I’m just the guy to do it.
Growing up in my faith, it was very common to hear fellow believers, exclaim that they were a broken person, after all it makes sense, within the the framing of the Christian faith. Is the idea the sin a broken and corrupted everything within the human existence.
A pastor I once listened said that Christians are image bearers of God, and are like a mirror image of Christ. But sin has broken the mirror inside us that reflects christ. Hence why Christ had to come and die, to repair what was broken in us.
Again, it all makes sense. At least to me, and if you’re a follower of Christ. But I don’t believe that it was it was the healthiest of narratives to believe after becoming a Christian via the power of the holy spirit. I believe that most of us that have the name of Christ on our hearts, have forgotten that we have the holy spirit inside us. (1 Corinthians 12:13- Eph 1:13-14)
God put the spirit inside of us. Shouldn’t that do something to the psyche of a Christian? Absolutely!
God also gave us spiritual armor and a sword to fight back with, Ehp 6. Again, that should tell you something.
Once again, I think there is nothing good that comes from a fellow Christian that simply believes that they are weak and broken person, waiting for Christ to come and put them back together. Negative. Absolutely not! Outside of Gods grace and love, yes we are weak and broken people left to our own stubborn and tired ways.
But when the holy spirit invades your whole being, you have the mind of Christ, you have been made a new creation and have been enlisted in the army of God. Because we have the spirit, because we have been made a new creation and because we have been enlisted in the army of God.
Guess what, God calls us to go set other hostages free, he calls us to go on the attack against sin. That doesn’t seem like a broken person to me. Some many of us walk around with our heads down and shoulders slouched, thinking and believing that we may never have victory in our lives. In no way shape or form is that how the father wants us to live our lives. If anything living like that is like living out a lie from the pit of hell.
Your past has been forgiven. Any sit that you will ever commit. Past, present or future has been forgiven. That is every reason to hold your head up, to stand up straight with your shoulders back. It is every reason to achieve a sense of mastery over the self, in the grace of God.
So, my fellow believer. Stop saying your broken, rip that narrative up. Yes you may struggle and stumble at times, but that isn’t who you are. Remember what God has done for you, remember who he has made you to be. Hold your head up and stand up straight.
I’ve written on the subject on faith and anxiety before, but after my morning conversation with my girlfriend. It spurred me to want to write some more on the topic, as this is not a topic that can have a once and for all response. I’ll say it again, I have never appreciated how many Christians have handled the areas of mental health within the faith community.
Just pray more.
Have more faith.
Yes and yes..
But it’s not always that clean cut.
While it is true that people that live with anxiety or depression, should interact in their faith more with prayer and trust in God (if one is a Christian). That does not mean that all of our days with, anxiety, fear and worry are all over. They may get better, as we learn how to cast all our cares upon Christ- because he cares for us (1 peter 5:7), and learning different coping skills. Again, it simply does not mean that we will no longer have anxiety come up again in our lives.
When it does though, we will know how to defend against it, so it does not crush us. The biggest mystery through out my own faith journey, is while God chooses to heal some and not others. I am sure that there are some in which God has chosen to heal of anxiety, and others he has chosen not to.
And while this can be seen as a deterrent to faith, I choose to believe that there is sufficient reason for such thorns to remain. Simply because a fellow Christian still walks with anxiety and worry, does not always equate to a lack of faith or trust. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of our own mental health. But because our Lord is good, he always brings us back to the truth of himself.
And when we say to someone, “oh just pray and trust God more” we’re unknowingly making it about our strength and not God. As though we have to pray to drive our anxiety away, as though we have to muster up the strength to trust more. When it is God who spurs us to pray and gives us the ability to come our senses and trust him in the first place.
Sometimes what we say as Christians, in the context of mental health and faith is frankly unbiblical and even dangerous. If I went to a biblical counselor, I would hope and pray that they gave me a bit more than simply to learn to pray and trust more. I would hope that they would offer a listening ear, some compassion and empathy.
Christ told us that life would be full of hard times, but that he has overcome the world. -John 16:33, my faith tells me that Christ has already overcome all the darkness in the world, and with that, I know that all anxiety will be cast into the darkest parts of the earth. If you are one living with anxiety, big or small.
Jesus is not repelled by the anxiety that faces you, his arms are open to you. He loves you madly, his death, burial and resurrection say so. It is because of this, that we can cast all our cares upon him, along with our deepest trust.
Not really, but I do like a part of Stoicism or rather a definition of it:
the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.
In college, my senior year I took a crash course in philosophy, and loved every moment of it. Particularly weighing other branches of philosophy against my own Christian world view. A lot of the different philosophies and even religions, try and make sense of human existence and suffering. growing up around the Buddhist perspective. The thought of reincarnation was once cool to me, because I would never really die, I would just come back in another human life… Or something else. When I truly began to understand what reincarnation was, I understood it as endless cycle of paying past debts and sins. If you did not make amends for your past in some fashion.
I just did not like the idea of not knowing if I would have done enough to write my own wrongs in my life. Furthermore- I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept that suffering was an illusion. Or that there was really no rhyme or reason to it. It just was… What spurred me onto the Christian perspective and following Jesus, was that I could see from the beginning that the world was the way it was because of sin.
On top of that Jesus even says that life is going to be hard (my own words- John 16:33). At least, with these two ways of understanding, I could wrap my head around why the world was the way it was. Better yet, someone that not only says that right out of the gate, but transcends it and over comes it as well with his death, burial and resurrection. I accept that as truth, because God has shown me his love in the actions and character of Christ.
Moreover, I know that I am not strong enough to absolve or atone for my own sin by myself. For as long as I have been trying to live this truth out, by the grace of God. I have been learning ways to handle adversity and suffering in life, in its many forms. That not only speaks and points to the heart and character of God. But the fruit of the spirit, that enables me to stand up as a man.
I look to how Jesus conducted himself as a man, within the pages of the new testament. Christ was a man- a God-man that was in control of his emotions. Always slow to anger, and when he did show anger, it was always calculated. He had a spine to him, wasn’t afraid to stand up to the religious big shots of his day. He was okay breaking away from people, to embrace solitude and divine connection with his father.
As I recall scenes from Mel Gibsons, Passion of the Christ. I can recall Jesus being calm while the Roman guards led him away. They beat him to a bloody pulp, mocked him, reviled him. And there he stood, silent in the face of the agony that was about to be set before him. He didn’t make a sound..
(By now if you’re still reading this, you might be thinking, get to the bloody point sir!) To me, some of the characteristics of Jesus seem very stoic, and as I have stumbled upon the definition of stoicism above. I have found that it has filled me with a new level of strength and even hope. As well as a way of conducting myself as man. Life has and will bring pain and adversity. But its how we deal with it that makes it all the difference.
A lot of us freak out when things don’t go our way, or have a level of ease. We lose our tempers, say things we don’t mean and sometimes even get violent… But, in reality that is nothing good or worthy that comes from that. So instead of doing all of that negative garbage. Why not look at adversity and suffering in a new way? When frustration comes our way, when pain comes our way. How about simply acknowledging its presence,
Human beings are amazing, we can do so much with our bodies and minds every single day of our lives. My own existence is something that I simply do not thank God for on a regular. Rather I piss-moan and groan about how much my life sucks. Anyone who knows anything about my own story, knows that the deck was stacked against me. And yet, by the grace of God I have gone onto obtain multiple degrees and certifications. Even though doctors told me I would always be dependent on others, and even though educational professionals told me I didn’t have what it took to attend university. We human beings have forgotten how beautiful our own existence is, we have lost sight of the fact that we can all be bad asses in our own right. So what are a few tips to become that person?
Finding Your Mental Resolve: We don’t like to hear this, but the only way we truly find our resolve, the only we become mentally and emotionally tougher is through hardship and challenges. Some of us have had very tough and painful lives, and because of that, it’s easy to feel defeated and buried under the ashes of life. Yet, we have forgotten that we can rise from those ashes. I am not always a believer of pulling up oneself by their boot straps. Though, at times in life, you will have to do that. Much more I am a believer of being shaped and allowing yourself to be molded and mentored by other people who truly care about you. I am eternally grateful that God gave me parents who not only told me I was strong, but showed me I was. I am also thankful that God let me experience all the suffering in my life. I’m thankful that he led me through the valley of death. Because it made me who I am today. Find the good in your life, face the darkness in your own life, try more and more every day, to not listen to the lies in your mind any longer. Suffering comes for us all, in different ways throughout our lives. As such, we should always have our armor ready when the fight comes, in the name of not being blindsided by an attack. Some of us are so comfortable with our own comfort, that the slightest bit of adversity sends us packing. Learn to be steady and calm and adversity, because the storm always passes.
Enjoy Solitude: This is art form, I have been working on more and more in my life. I have come to love solitude, by myself and without distraction. Some of us are afraid to be alone with our own thoughts, have to always be doing something. But there’s really happiness and healing, in being able to be still, and see what resonates inside us. It’s in the stillness of the night, that we can discover who we are, what we have to work on and where we want to go. It was in the solitude of my heart, that I discovered that the creator of the heavens and earth was drawing me to himself, he was making me a new creation, a strong soldier and a seeker of how he sees me. Get comfortable being your own company, interact with the thoughts in your own mind, no matter how dark and uncomfortable they may be. Get a journey, write things down, it could be a method of healing from trauma, holding yourself accountable for goals. Our biggest problem in society, is that we are constantly seeking information outward and we are not spending enough time discovering who we are and how bad ass we can be. Start seeking solitude today, even if you’re a parent, find time early in the morning, or even for a few minutes before bed. Take stock of your life. You will be better because of it.
Listen To Others: I’ve always been more of a listener than talker, and I honestly like it that way. Listening to others should be pretty self-explanatory, but some of us talk so much and we don’t listen enough. When we do that, we miss out on being teachable. We miss out on exercising empathy and compassion for others, who might be in a time of darkness. With utilizing our ability to listen, rather than speak. We have a better chance at showing others a light covered path to hope.
Become The Healthiest You: This will look different for each person, because we all have different abilities. But we all could be a bit, or even a lot more healthier in our lives. As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I haven’t worked with a lot of people with different abilities. The reoccurring theme, with working with a wide variety of clients, is that if you commit to the process of getting better each day, with proper nutrition and exercise you will see results. Yes, things take time, but that’s the beauty of it, in that we get to embrace the process and see the small changes gradually. The instant gratification that we crave with our health and the rest of our lives isn’t real. Nutrition and fitness are two categories of life that have been made overall complicated. As a whole, I feel that quite a few us could do much better, by saying no to a lot of processed foods, and yes to more water, protein, and some fruits and vegetables if you like them. (I’m not convinced that we need them and function fully). In terms of fitness, you don’t always have to have a gym membership. Nor do you have to go balls to wall for hours on end. I did CrossFit for a number of years, and as much as I love it. Not all your workouts have to be that intense to get a good workout in. If you’re new to the world of fitness, I suggest taking a few 10 minute walks every day, (gradually work your way to a jog) while starting to master the push up (even if it’s on your knees) along with other variations and challenges to pushups as you go along. And mastering a good squat form- in different variations, weighted and single legged squats. Because we all do it every day. Just with those exercises alone, you can do a lot with those daily movements and habits. Next, get yourself a pull up bar or some rings, you really can build a lean strong body with these two pieces of equipment. With rings, you can utilize harder variations of push- ups, dips, planks and bridges to build the core- etc. Kettle Bells are great too, especially the swing, because it’s a total body movement that even throws in cardio at the same time.
Three words came to me, as I was lying in bed the other night, searching for my own personal approach for understanding stages of violence. Many people have their own methods, discussing the same overarching principles. This personal maxim is really nothing new, but an alternative way to look at personal safety through out our lives. Anyone who follows or trains under the ADM school of thought, must commit this to memory and have a deep understanding of each stage. Below is a break- down of each. Remember- we can talk about /train ranges of combat and various techniques, but what good is it, if we have no sense of mastery over our surroundings or ourselves?
Identity this largely has to deal with spotting a threat, or a potential context that is off setting to us inwardly. Example being if a place looks suspicious to you, and sends red alert signals throughout your person. It is up to us to pay great attention to that signal. The same goes for any person that you don’t know, or even in the context of a close relationship. If we learn to pay attention to the signals/red alerts throughout our lives, we can save ourselves a lot of unneeded pain and physical harm done to us. Next is being able to identify pre-confrontational postures, before things escalate any further. In real time, this means practically speaking, that if you see someone at a gas station looking uneasy, while trying to hide their identity. Chances are this person has zero good intentions in mind. In those contexts, ones best option is to find a way to flee, find a position where danger is not directly upon you or others. Or lastly, taking some sort of action against the threat. Another part of identifying, is being able to understand the body language of another person, in a close proximity. This means that one might not have the ability to walk away, or create distance due to having limited mobility, being in a wheel chair or using crutches. Simple signs to look for are:
Looking away Stroking facial hair Bladed posture Hands/hand in pocket, behind back or pouch of hoodie. This can mean that the person you are in close proximity with is agitated and either getting ready to attack with either empty hands or with the use of a weapon.
This leads into the Interact phase, which calls for a person to truly know themselves and notice the red alert signals mentioned above. Again, many times we ignore the red alert warnings in life, because we don’t want to assume the worst about a place or location, often times this leads us to say to ourselves in the end I wish I would have listened to that little something inside me, that told me to take precaution. Or better yet- Leave. Learning to not only interact with ourselves and interact with the intention of others will only lead us to a more richer and fuller understanding of ourselves but the world around us. When we learn to interact with the various warning signs and intentions of others, we can then learn to discern whether is an actual threat or if that person is simply having a bad day. Sometimes a person is just having a bad day, or has a particular need and the only way they know how to meet that need is through the threat of violence. This is where it becomes exceedingly curial to become a black belt in verbal grappling. Learning how to talk our way out of potential violent situations, talking a person down, acting with empathy and concern. This is also a balance, because you can’t afford to let your guard down either. Moreover, not every encounter/situation calls for a violent ending. It is much better to try and seek a peaceful ending first, before ever entering into defensive mode.
Defeat: this is not to be taken into a negative connotation, but rather a positive one. Defeat simply means doing all we can to defeat the situation and go home safety. This includes the first two areas of the I.I.D. maxim. When we can identify and interact with any stimulus, that constitutes the health and safety of not only ourselves. We have brought a successful defeat to the situation. The defeat phase, brings us to the point where physical action/violence comes to play: Within the context of the law and the context of the situation/disparity of force. If as an abled-bodied person, if someone shoves you, the simple and direct action would be to use very commands- drawing attention to one’s self, next- dissipating the energy of the shove, if it repeated. Taking control of the attackers limbs, controlling them until help/authorities arrive. If the situation is someone who has limited mobility or is in a wheelchair/ uses any form of assistive device. Then the disparity of force levels up, to the use of chokes, strikes and implementation of weapons. Lethal force escalates for an abled bodied person, when more than one attacker is involved or a weapon comes into play. Thus, a person can do what is needed to defeat the situation and get away.
In recent years, probably a few times a month. I am filled with the desire to go rock climbing, skydiving or hiking. The interesting fact is, I’ve never done any of those things. So its not as though I could simply pick up and do any of those. I would love to though. Up until recently, these desires seemed so odd to me. Why would I suddenly want to do something, seemingly dangerous, that I have never done before?
Two reasons: One- a sense of adventure and thrill. Two- a way of escape.
With the sense of adventure, I believe that this stems from living with cerebral palsy all of my life, being confined to the same daily context. It’s not directly a bad thing. But there is a huge part of me that wants to break free and experience new things.
And with the way of escape, another catalyst to my sense of adventure is to find peace. Peace, away from daily drama, complaining and the like. When I was praying in the early hours of the morning, God revealed to me that my longing for escape, is much deeper. In fact, my longing for escape is much deeper than this world.
CS Lewis once wrote: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
I love these words, because they perfectly explain the longing in my body, mind and soul. I want to be in the arms of Christ. Because He is my peace and the real escape that I long for. When I am finally with Him, I will be able to do all the things that randomly spring up in my heart to do.
Life is pain, hardship, agony, frustration and many other words that we all could insert into the equation. All of the major world religions agree that life is suffering. Yes, it may seem very bleak. But I can assure you, it isn’t. Life is all of those things for me too. I was born at an extremely low birth weight, had brain damage to the center ventricle of my brain and thus was born with a condition called Cerebral Palsy (CP). To add to all of that, I have endured a handful of surgeries, all of which have taken me a year or more to heal and recover from. Oh, and add mental health issues to the list. I’m sure most would shake their heads and think Wow, I don’t know how you do it! That’s the thing though, apart from divine intervention, I don’t know how I do it either! Being completely honest, there are days where I want to throw in the towel of my life and not continue the fight any longer. I’ve been to the point in my life, where I in fact have tried to take my own life. But what stops me from doing it? Fear of the hereafter. No, I am not here to debate religion or anything of the sort. The other night though, I had the worst night mare that I’ve ever had in my 34 years of life. I dreamt that I had written an email of all things, to my family, saying that I loved them all very much. But I just couldn’t do life anymore. The nightmare then switched to me being alive in a black hole, doing everything I could to get out knowing that I had made the wrong choice. I jolted out of my sleep, which woke my girlfriend from her sleep. She instantly put her arms around me and I began to sob violently. I knew that in that moment, that suicide is never the answer. I wept bitterly, because of the deep revelation that if I had gone through with it. I would never know what the rest of my life held for me. I clinched my girlfriend tighter and told her how much I loved her, and that no matter how hard life got, that life isn’t something that we should quit at. I strongly believe that it is my mission, to speak hope to you, the reader. I want you, to maybe for the first time in your life, tap into the dreams that exist inside you. Whatever that may be. It can be a simple as wanting to be a healthier and fitter person. Work towards it, drink more water, say no to sugar and processed foods. It could be starting the company you always wanted to start, but didn’t because you listened more to the fear and doubt that pounds inside your soul. It could even be the desire to be a better person, what are the steps that you are going to take in order to do that? While our hearts still beat, we still have time to sharpen the ax. But it takes time, dedication and discipline. Life is but a vapor, so at the risk of sounding utterly cliché. I implore you to not hide from the pain that you may have inside you, feel it. Embrace it and let it out. Deal with it, give it a voice, because if you don’t, things are going to get way worse. Suffering in silence is something that no one should have to do. Once you let all the pain out, allow the dreams and desires that you have held down to come to the surface and live from that. Live with hope and purpose. Learn to love more deeply, and let go of the things that no longer serve you. Let go of anger, regret, let go of self- hatred, let go of the endless cycle of doubt that keeps you from moving forward to the person that you see yourself becoming. Rather, allow compassion, self-love and forgiveness to enter your life. Allow a new journey to unfold in your life, discover things about yourself you never knew. Find strength and wisdom you never knew you had, allow empathy and understanding to take place in your life, allow yourself, the opportunity to armor up against the lies your mind tells you every day. And allow yourself the time to develop good boundaries with people who might have your best interest in mind. No, none of this easy, in fact much of this is very difficult, but life is such a beautiful blessing. One that is to short not to pour out all we are every single day. Speak your pain into reality, heal and recover, but then go fourth forging a new fire and zeal for your life. You owe it to yourself and others to do so!
I was reading my Bible this morning, and this particular phrase in 2 kings 20:1
“This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
I do not intend to dig a lot in the context of this passage, but rather center the focus of this around what verse one means for us today. My room has a lot of clutter in it, I know where everything is at, but it has a lot of clutter.
Now, on one hand there is a method to how my room is, its easier for me to reach certain things and doesn’t require me to stand and reach for high objects. I know this annoys my family, but for me it works. It’s not because I intend to live like a slob. My clothes are not neatly folded because folding can be tough for me.
My parents come sometimes and fold things as they see it should be, it stays neat for awhile but then as time goes by, things return to the way they were before. People within the design word, claim that your outside world reflects your inside world.
So, if I have a lot of clutter in my room, I probably have a lot of clutter on the inside too. It makes sense and I would agree that it is true. I do have a lot of clutter on my inside life. I’ve been trying to get it in order for a long time now, I’m not where I want to be but I am damn sure much better than what I was.
Getting your room in order is not only physical, but it is mentally, emotionally and spiritually too. I would submit that the latter three are of greater significants. All of us are headed to our graves, and to a degree we can choose how we get there.
Maybe for someone its getting your mental health in order, so that the heaviness of depression and anxiety don’t completely drain you of all joy and appreciation of life. Perhaps its getting your money in order, where you actually plan for a future and not burn your money on meaningless pleasure. Maybe it’s making peace with your past and people that you have wronged or wronged you.
If you and I don’t do this, what is the consequence? We die in the state we have chosen to live in and we will not recover. We will die holding onto that shame, regret, bitterness and anger. We will die, never know what we could have been.
I think hell is a real reality, not some metaphorical reality. And I believe that God reaches out to us every day, telling us that he is the way out from the suffering in our lives. That’s why he sent his son Jesus on a rescue mission, for us. He can make us new, fill us with peace and joy and give us a completely new road map to destiny.
The sad part is, some choose to stay in the pain and suffering because that’s all they know. It’s become their norm of comfort. Shedding the old skin and experience new life can be painful too. In one of the Narnia movies, a young boy turned into a dragon, who was then a mean and grumpy soul.
In order for the boy to be transformed from being a dragon, Aslan had to remove the dragon flesh from his body. Which was extremely painful. Which is true for us as well, it hurts an extreme amount. But when our own dragon skin is removed, it is as though we are all new people.
I’m still working on getting myself in order, you can too. We can still recover while there’s still time.