What William James Teaches About Life

Isn’t it weird? I have a four year degree in psychology and never took the time to read about the life of William James. The founder of American Psychology. Now what I read about him was a small snippet from the book by Mark Mans: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A #@%! . Again what I read was really brief, but man was powerful and God only knew that it was I needed to read at the given moment.

I never knew that he had so many health problems, such a stomach, vision and back problems. Or more precisely back spasms, that could take a lot out of him. Much like myself. He was born into a wealthy family, had a very successful brother and sister.

I also didn’t know that he at one point of his life spent so much time at home, doing the one thing that he really enjoyed doing. Painting. His father on the other hand, was not very keen on the fact that his son wanted to be an artist. He wanted his son to be successful like his brother and sister and make lots of money. Which isn’t wrong.

However, the pressure and disconnect that William experienced with his father, sent him into long periods of depression. One can only imagine would that must be like, on top of having severe health issues. I could see that even through this small introduction to his life, that he wrestled with shame over his life. It got to the point where he even ran away from his home, for several months. Only driving the wedge further between his father.

William James in spite of all his tribulation, did indeed go onto be very, very successful as his father wanted. It just wasn’t in the way, nor time line that his father desired. Which I think is key for people to wrap their minds around, especially in this society that we live in. Another area of Williams life that stood out to me as well, was that he felt trapped in his circumstances, as though there was no escape for him.

So, he gave himself a years time line, and in that year if his life did not improve at all. Then he would know he was truly powerless over his circumstances. And thus, the only option he would have left would be to end his life. Again, his life did improve.

William James was like me, in his thirties and spend a lot of his time at home. And sometimes I feel like my life cannot get better. And yes, I too have dealt and wrestled with much of the same darkness as he did. And there’s many days in my own life, where the negative self talk runs wild in mind.

What I believe that William James teaches us (once again) as that if we as humans, are wiling to slowly get moving in a forward motion. Life will in fact get better. It may not happen in the time frame that we desire, but it can happen. whatever that is for you. For me, it’s becoming more independent. Which has been a slow process, most of which has been my fault. On the other hand, I think that, this could be all apart of Gods plan at least in some sense. I don’t really know.

What I do know, is that life can get better. If we not only believe it- but put our heads down and move forward. Forgetting about what lies behind.

Change and The Hour Glass

No one likes to come to realization that they need to improve in life, it’s almost like we are being exposed somehow. Or that people can see something about us that we can’t see ourselves. And even though this feeling is not very comfortable. I find that it is all the more important and needed, that we feel that ever intrusive feeling.

For me, I have come to the realization, that I am not always grounded in my masculinity. I notice that sometimes I just let people walk on me, I don’t do the best with being a masculine man and stand up for myself.

Why?

Because I’m afraid to rock the boat, afraid to say what I really think. And as such, I allow to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others to rule. This needs to change. Realizing that I have areas of my life that need work, it’s a good thing and even a blessing.

There’s no need to be discouraged about having areas in ones life where change is needed, just commit to the process of doing the work every single day. Whatever it is, if its weight loss, do the work. If its gaining muscle, do the work, if its being more confident and assertive- do the work!

It might not happen in the time frame that you or I want it to, but never stop doing the work. It doesn’t matter if you fall on your face in the process. You do a burpee and get back up. Don’t fall for the lies of victimhood or that you have to hurry to get things done.

I think what can tie me up the most, is that I sometimes see my life like an hour glass. All the sand quickly running out. Now, it is true the time is running out on all our lives. But to think that that we have to hurry up and get things done, in the name of “missing out on something” can be a bit of a trap.

Again, yes we should work to get things accomplished but more over. We should realize that this our own journey, and if it takes some of us longer, so what? At least your trying, fighting and succeeding to the best of your ability everyday.

The Disabled Man- And Manhood

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.       

The Key To Paradise

I believe that one of the “hard” things of the Christian faith, is that if we are not careful things can become lost in translation. We can read the same things over and over in our bibles, without having what we read move us or change us. I’m no different, I struggle to pray as I should, and though my bible reading is disciplined. It can seem very robotic, as though I only do things out of “religious duty”

We all know the story when Christ is on the cross, with two people on each side of him. If you don’t know of it, I encourage you to read Luke 23:26-44. Again, I have read this passage quite a bit over the span of my faith journey, and it sadly doesn’t move me sometimes or nothing jumps out at me. The story kept coming to memory, so I opened my bible with the thought in my mind

“Okay Lord, what are you saying to me?”

As I was reading, it came to my attention that there were two different types of hearts: On one hand, there is the heart of stone, the first criminal almost has a mocking tone of voice and posture of heart. “Your Jesus right? So why not get yourself off this piece of wood and save us!?” (My translation). If I’m not careful, this can be me too, I can have a horrible attitude about my life and faith as well. In which case, I have to bring myself in Gods presence, seek forgiveness for my hard heart and allow him to soften my heart over again.

I love the words of Ezekiel 36:26:

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone[a] and give you a heart of flesh.

In my observation, this is what happens to the second man hanging beside Jesus, something happens inside of his own heart to invoke a different response. He says “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same condemnation ? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom .” And he (Jesus) said to him “Truly, I say to you. today you will be with me in paradise.”

Again, I’ve read this before, this really isn’t anything new to me per say, but what I noticed, is that there is so much going on between the second man and Jesus. I don’t know much at all about this mans life, his past or anything. But I think it’s safe to assume, that he knew deep down he made a mess of his life, wasn’t proud of himself at all and knew that there wasn’t much at all that he could do to merit the grace of God.

I believe that that is the best place a person can be, because when we are to proud, full of pride then there really is no way we can see the grace of God, can we? No we can’t. And our hearts cannot ever really soften, unless the spirit of God breaks through with a holy sledge hammer.

The way Christ responds to this man, completely blows my mind, Jesus doesn’t lead this man in a prayer, tells him to repent or anything of the sort. The man only cries out from his heart, which is in a way a form of repentance and asking for forgiveness. And Christ accepts him willfully. The man knows, that if he is to enter paradise with Christ, it has everything to do with the goodness of Christ and zero to do with himself.

This, my friends, should set us free! Why? Because it’s no longer about us, we know longer have to slave and white knuckle our way into Christs love. We can rest in the grace and mercy of Christ, and breath with great joy because it’s all about the finished work of Christ for us.

Trust me, if you feel like God is done with you, or wants nothing to do with you, you’re mistaken. He just wants you. All of you. While you are still alive, there is still time to know the grace and goodness of God. All you have to do is cry out to him.

Manhood and Disability Part 1

I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself, going after things I want has always been part of what made me who I am. It was ingrained in me by my parents, to not let anything stop me and not take no as an answer.

As a child, I felt as though nothing could touch me or wound me. But as you get a little older in life, you suddenly discover that you aren’t invisible as you once thought. You find that the world isn’t as nice as you once thought, and not everyone will give you a chance or think that you will ever amount too much.

Some where along the way, we lose that since of healthy confidence in our selves, and we allow other voices to influence us. There have been quite a bit of times in my life, where I have felt like less of a man, because I can’t drive or do all the typical things that a man is supposed to do.

Never learned to change a light bulb, change the oil in a car none of the typical things that a man is called to do. Growing up, my mom beat into my mind that the man does everything, provides for the woman, so on a so forth. Now I know that some might insert right away, that there is a very old traditional view. And to a degree I would acknowledge that disagreement.

But I do think, that to a a degree a man is supposed to be a warrior poet, much like William Wallace. One who knows how to capture a women’s heart. And vend off evil man if they ever had to. Inwardly and in the back of my mind, I have always felt like I am that.

The deeper reality is though, there a days and moments when I don’t feel like a measure up at all. That is why, my heart often goes out in a deep way to young boys/men with cerebral palsy. Who like me, don’t feel like they measure up, or never be seen as a real man.

In mays I am blessed to have a very mild form of CP, I can do a lot of things for myself. But what about those young men, or fully grown men, that don’t feel like a women could ever love them? Those of us, who is not what the worlds deems to be a man? It’s very easy to turn inward into shame, regret, isolation and even blame shifting.

So my hope, is to speak into that darkness and bring about some hope, bravery and encouragement.

YOU ARE A MAN.

Regardless of what severity of cerebral palsy or other physical condition you may have. You are a man, endowed in the holy image of God. An author who I once frequented, wrote that:

IF you have a penis, you have what it takes to get the job done.. You may not be able to do any sort of physical task, involving a car, kitchen or whatever. But that doesn’t mean, that you couldn’t make the simple phone call to get it fixed.

You  might not be able to spin your wife or girlfriend in circles, or even cook for them.  But you can love and protect them mentally, emotionally and spirituality. So much of my life I was blind to this reality, because I was so fixated on the physical.

When there is so much more to it, than physical aspects. I didn’t think that I would ever meet a women that loved me, until I met my girlfriend. I wasn’t finding relationships that worked out. And the more that happened the more alone I felt.

This only pushed me to cling to God more, finding peace in his love and being made in his image. Which is where all my worth and dignity as a human stems from. When I met my girlfriend, I was so shocked and overjoyed, because  I never thought I’d find another human that loved me in all the ways my heart desired.

I was blown away that even doubted Gods goodness and ability.

I do all I can to help my girlfriend when we are together, but the reality is, is that we have learned to take turns helping each other. There are times, in this current season of our relationship. Where I can’t help her with every little thing, and sometimes the greatest thing I can offer her is encouragement, love and my support.

I believe that us men, buy into the lie that we have nothing to offer, that we have no purpose and that we are not worthy of love. It’s all a lie that we accept when the depression sets in.

But the truth is, is that you have much to offer, you have purpose and you are worthy of love. It’s all abut finding out who you are, what makes you come alive and being comfortable in your own skin.

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The Thorn In My Side (Dealing With Anger)

I’m going to come out and say it, what haunts me the most is anger. It doesn’t take long for me to lose my mind, all the discipline and self-control go out the window. I hate it about myself, it makes me feel so ungodly and not mirroring Jesus Christ.

I hate the way anger makes me feel, it makes feel all the more frustrated that I’m angry in the first place. It makes me body feel like I’m going about my day, as though I am carrying around heavy amounts of weight on my body.

I try and close my eyes and take slow, deep breathes in an attempt to calm the storm inside me. I try and remember the peace and joy that is found in Christ. I try and remember that he has authority over the storms that surround us (Mark 4:35-41).

Jesus calm the storm inside me I pray under the breath, help me to act and love like you do. Even when people and circumstances annoy me, help me to know that you are Lord over everything in my life. Anger can very much be a two-edged sword, on one hand, it can be directed to fighting back against evil, with a holy anger.

The Lord, says that he is slow to anger, and abounding in faithful love and truth (Psalm 86:15). Note the word slow, the Lords anger is controlled and builds up over time. And to be sure, yes, the Lords anger will one day be poured out. But still, his anger is calculated and controlled. He simply doesn’t fly off the handle at a moments notice.

But I think there’s something to the reality, in which the Lord says  Vengeance is mine (Romans 12:9).  Why does he command this?  Because he doesn’t want anger to be the controlling factor of our lives. Again, the Bible doesn’t say to ever not be angry. For I just showed you that even God himself is slow to anger.

Moreover, scripture be angry and do not sin (Eph 4:26) how is that even possible? Again, this is where self-control and dependency on the Holy Spirit is crucial. Holy anger is being angry for a just cause, not the ill tempered person that lashes out and brings harm to others.

It is possible to be in control of oneself, when being overcome and frustration. For example, I might be annoyed with a person or person’s in a particular situation, but that doesn’t mean that I”m going to take out my anger on everyone involved. It takes extreme amount of discipline and the willingness to apply yourself to the process.

Some might argue that,  it’s just apart of some peoples genetic make up. But I’m not even willing to let them be used as an excuse. People can change. I certainly can change. It’s a matter of A) Admitting you have a problem B) making the steps needed to change C) Seeking forgiveness from God and others and D) laying aside every excuse that you have, as to why you can’t change. And actually believe that change is possible, because it is.

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God Spoke To Me

There I was sitting on the toilet this morning, as I always do. Taking care of the demons in my stomach. Truth be told, I have not been feeling all that great about myself the past few days. For reasons that I do not wish to share on this blog.

But there I was, the few places that I pray are when I am in the shower, working out or on the toilet. I tend to pray more privately these days… As I was sitting on my throne, I was noticing all the negative thoughts coming out from my mind, making their way to my heart.

When I heard and felt a soft whisper say from underneath all of the crap coming out of (non pun intended).

Your my son… 

I know its crazy, and this blog might very well make you think that of me. So be it. For many religious crack heads have said that God spoke to them, well, let me tell you quickly why my experience is different. The words that were spoken to me, can be back up with scripture.

Psalm 2:7

Matthew 3:17

Luke 15:11-32

To name a few, I don’t think this is as crazy, because God speaks to various people in various ways through out the whole of scripture. Further more, the Lord reminding me that I am his son, is far (far) different than some other Christian claiming “the phone rang and that was a sign I was meant to marry this person!”

I know my soul needed these words today, I needed to be reminded of my true identity today. Does this happen often to me? No, but when it does. Its very special to me. Today my hope and prayer is that you know that God loves you, in Christ all things can be made new.

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Fighting My Addiction

keep-craving-in-checkAs a psychology major, one area of study that has caught my attention of the last few years is substance abuse. Also known as chemical dependency. Ironically enough, Christians have questioned why a biblically centered college has a program like this.

Shouldn’t it be obvious? Every single one of us is addicted to something, the question then lies in whether we know it to be true of ourselves and whether we are willing to admit it as well.

What’s my addiction then? Pornograpy, yes I am a Christian and I struggle daily against the temptation to view pornography. How hypocritical right? I’m not afraid to say so myself, the fact is no is consistent with how they live their lives all the time.

I am not proud of having this vice in my life, in any way. Yes I’m aware that sex is a gift. One to be enjoyed and even to be longed for. But in a certain context. The context of marriage with a real person. The research is very clear that pornography is extremely harmful to the brain

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-pornography-and-the-brain

The amount of shame, guilt and regret that has stemmed from this has almost been too much. God’s grace has been the only way that I have gotten through this. It hasn’t been easy, I’ve made it over 90 days without it in my life. However, I have recently relapsed back into the habit again.

It’s sucks and I feel horrible about it, but I’m not giving up the fight. And neither should you. I don’t care if you addicted to overeating, and you recently filled your stomach with so much food you couldn’t get out of bed the next day. Get back on the saddle.

The last thing we need to is to enter a cycle of self hatred and abuse. Know that you are forgiven and cleansed.

 

 

A Brief Note On Anxiety

It’s hard living with anxiety, especially when your a Christ. Right now the thought that overloads my thought process is.

“Your a Christian, you shouldn’t struggle with anxiety.”

“You should be ashamed that you have it”.

When anxiety overcomes me, is so painfully draining and overwhelming. It’s hard for me to even approach God in prayer. But maybe it’s all the more reason to draw near to Him in the first place. I mean, when life is fine and dandy, I barely think of Him. As though I am some kind of fair weather friend.

But maybe in our suffering is when we learn to know God and His love most. Know this, your not a freak for having anxiety in your life, your not a horrible christian if you have anxiety.

God still loves you and you are the apple of his eye.

What’s It’s Like To Live With Cerebral Palsy?

I was pondering/praying for a blog topic to write on this morning, and the question came to mind: What is it like to live with cerebral palsy? Honestly at different points in my life the answer would have varied. There would have been days where I would have said that it absolutely sucked and days where it was something in the back of mind.

I’m sure that there will be days where I will again say that it sucks, and my body will ache. But more so now, I see it more as a blessing and motivation. Why? You ask, because I wasn’t supposed to be able to do much on my own, on the other hand doctors said that I would “grow out” of this condition.

I see my cerebral palsy, as a means to prove people wrong and to motivate others to strive for the best life possible. There have been seasons where depression and self-loathing where like a close companion, following my every step. But my faith in the one true God was the silencer to the despair.

His love has broken through the pain, the fear, the shame and lifted me to the sky. It is because of this fact, that I am proud to say that I am nothing without him. If you are a person living with cerebral palsy, don’t let it stop you, let it be a means of motivation, prove others wrong who say you can’t. Let it be a means to inspire others and meet others where they are.

If you are a parent of a son or daughter, who has cerebral palsy. Comfort them in the dark and heavy times, but also refuse to let them stay where they are. Motivate them to rise above always. Love them always.321679_10150871924185165_448704118_n