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newbullying theology

If you have never been in the place where it seemed like more was against you than it was for you, then, as older folks have told me, “keep living!”

When it seems like debts, disasters and decisions tend to be the thing that’s holding your dream hostage, it is an easy feeling to just blow off whatever that’s in your heart that’s good to do and just go on with your life.

Because of issues in our lives, many of us have simply stopped writing, blogging, drawing, speaking, teaching, preaching and much more.

And people suffer as a result of that.

I have 3 reasons that I can pull from the top of my head on why giving up is just not an option:

My Family Can’t Afford It!

No…seriously…as a husband, as a man…I can’t afford to just “give up!” It’s okay to take a break and really reflect, but, after you’ve prayed and cried, you have to have faith and go forward.

You have to make the choice to stand up even when you feel like sitting down.

Someone Is Watching!

Somewhere out there, I can imagine a young me, sitting somewhere on a computer or playing with their smartphone and running into a drawing on Instagram I did or an article I wrote.

Perhaps that kid is lonely, lost and filled with anxiety. This is the kid that needs to know that they are not alone and that they too can be encouraged to not “give up.”

And it’s not just kids…it’s adults too.

This is one of many reasons why I keep writing, drawing and creating stuff!

“Somebody is always watching” I’ve been told. That’s not to be taken as creepy. Fact is, you’re an example and an influence to somebody.

The Calling on My Life

When I don’t write or draw or create, it really, really bugs me. Even at my worst, there’s still something that just burns in me that says “yeah, I still want to do this! I must be a special kind of crazy!”

But, that’s awesome!

I believe that the Lord called me to the work that I do and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m learning more and more about what I’m here on this planet for and it is amazing. It’s humbling.


What Do I Do To Get My Groove Back

On days that I just feel a sense of failure and wanting to throw in the towel, it is usually because I have not properly taken care of myself.

If I haven’t taken time to pray, read my Bible, rest and relax or even journal a little, I get a little cranky…spiritually, mentally and physically. These are my must have things to do FIRST to survive and accomplish anything and everything that needs to be done.

I also look at my schedule book, reviewing what needs to be done and what can wait.

And there’s something about just “DOING” something! Even if it is to go outside and get fresh air and take walks, the momentum of exercise really helps get things going.

Tuesday, I was reading a devotional on my Bible app and it got things for me going. I then passed on the lesson to my wife. Turns out, she needed a Word as much as I did.

Because of not giving up, I was able to be a blessing to somebody else!

And even if being a blessing to somebody else was all that was accomplished that day…then that was a pretty big accomplishment!

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Lately, I’ve been watching, repetitively, a 20-year-old cartoon series that used to run on ABC Saturday Morning’s, “Nightmare Ned.”

Based off a video game, “Nightmare Ned” follows a bespectacled 10-year-old boy named Ned Needlemeyer whose nightmares are used to face his fears. Most times he comes out on top, but, other times his endings are not so good and he wakes up only to realize it was only a dream.

Finding this show was difficult, and I barely remember it being on the air. I was in middle school, 7th grade to be exact, when this show was on. I recall catching the intro and watching a clip or two. And no wonder, the show aired at 11am Central Time on our ABC affiliate here in Dallas. And usually around that time I was already out and about.

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The show is quite creativeand brilliant in its own crazy way. After 20 years, the show still holds up.

I’ve also studied the art style and it has helped me grow my drawing skills. Hence, Ned in cow pajamas from the episode, “Abduction.” 

Ned is relatable, especially if you were the boy who grew up facing bullies, your own personal anxieties and parents who didn’t quite get where you were coming from in perspective.

Because of “Nightmare Ned,” I’m reminded why I write what I write and how my personal experiences from boyhood are able to properly translate. I’m also reminded of my time growing up, slipping in and out of constant daydreams and having an overactive imagination and even wild dreams and nightmares.

I am reminded how some things growing up were tough, but, how things were not always that way.

I’m reminded to be OKAY with the past and write for the future, the future of other Ned Needlemeyer’s and Kendall Lyons’ out there whose experiences growing up were a bit unorthodox.

I’ve found myself writing my characters in my comic strips and in my books in such a way that they are truly “kids!” They’ve become more real because I’ve been reminded of how important it is to get real but still be funny and creative at the same time.

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At the writing of this particular article, I’ve only been married to Rachel for about two months.

So far, I love it!

Of course, when I say that, I’m often accused of having “honeymoon feels.” But I can understand that sentiment too. I still stand by what I said, though. I love Rachel and I love having the newly upgraded life of husband to a beautiful and supportive wife.

Even though it has only been a couple of months, I have been able to see at least ONE thing that has made the reality of marriage so unbelievably amazing:


The Ability & Support To Do More!

All within the time that Rachel and I have been married, we have already accomplished some really cool personal goals.

We have seen some things that we both individually and collectively would like to work on. And we are planning some really amazing adventures for the future!

Can you say “Road Trip!?”

None of that could truly be possible without Rachel in the mix!

My lifestyle has totally changed since I got married.

I’m taking more vitamins and considering my overall health more because my wife and her family is focused on the health and well-being of themselves and others.

I’m actually eating food that’s cooked at home rather than living off of bag after bag of quickly processed food…with a side of fries.

Nothing felt more manly than spending a whole Saturday with football playing in the background while I put together a bookshelf piece by piece. “Some assembly required” felt more like “ALL assembly required.”

Singleness did have its benefits. I was able to actually grow and learn and spend time by myself with the Lord. I was able to walk through some deep issues of brokenness and face fears and failures that would’ve otherwise made commitment to married more challenging.

Now that marriage is the new reality, I am both humbled and grateful and watchful. So far, it has been a fascinating and wild ride.

It has only been 2 months. And so far, I feel like multiplying that 2 by multiples of forever.

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About a year or so ago, a co-worker sent me an article regarding the “Calvin and Hobbes” creators’ take on bullying.

The article hit home with me, reminding me of the times I was picked on, bullied, teased and humiliated mercileslly by other kids. I even had a few cousins who didn’t have a problem with poking and prodding me with their opinions and criticisms about the way I talked, walked, acted or existed.

Bullying did so much damage that it took a long time for me to come to a place of forgiveness and letting go. I take the issue very seriously, but, I learned most recently after reading that article and after further study of the Word of God that my whole view on Bullying, perhaps my “theological” view on Bullying, may have been very, very wrong.

Let me explain…and both apologize.

In the past, I have made comments like, “your bullies will get theirs someday” and “one day you’ll be successful while they are working at McDonalds.”

Junk like that! Yeah, I know. I realize now moreso than ever that victory is NOT found in seeing your bullies fail and fall. That’s not love that God calls us too…at all.

I was wrong and I apologize.

I used to believe that my bullies of the past would one day get theirs and that they would be dealt with.

Truth is, that’s not always the case. They could end up with a change of heart. God may have changed their hearts and minds. Then what? Or, the bullies may not change at all and instead of working in fast-food they could end up being your boss! Then what?

As my Pastor one Sunday was preaching on loving your enemies, the Lord was tugging at my heart, reminding me of my boyhood past that seemed to play over and over in my head and heart. Then, conviction came, the reality that I not only needed to let go of what happened in my past but realize that the victory doesn’t come from the bullies of my past getting what I thought they deserve, but, from victory in Jesus.

Luke 6:27-31 says this:

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

Luke 6:35 says this:

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”

The article I read talked about a kind of moral justification, a kind of desire to be good and not stoop down to the level of the bully. And that’s a good thing to consider. But, for a deeper and lasting and real affect, it has to be more than just desiring to be good. You can’t do it by yourself and by your own kind of moral compass. Your greatest victory is in Christ.

What Would I Tell A Kid Now Dealing With Bullying

I’m still trying to figure this part out! The best advice is to make sure that people know about it. And as a kid, I know this is hard! On the one hand, you want something done about it, but, on the other hand you don’t want it things to go from bad to worse.

I was fortunate that I had a healthy understanding that who I was to God was way more important than what people thought of me. That got damaged during times of bullying, but not totally destroyed.

It’s by His Grace and Mercy I’m able to maintain that mindset even after all of that.

What I have found is that building a network of friends and people who support and love you through it helps.

As a kid going through bullying, I often felt alone in my struggles. No one, especially adults, bothered to step in and try and fix the problem. As kids, it seems like we were left on our own when it came to bullying.

There was no “speak up” or “speak out” or other bullying initiatives. It was the wild west for me and a lot of other kids.

I would say, “sure, self-defense, teach your kid to fight or put them in karate classes,” but that only solves a part of the problem.

The issue of bullying is complex. It is a little more than just “self-defense” but it is also a little more than just teaching children to accept and love one another and appreciate each others’ differences.

As a kid, much like the writer of the article I mentioned earlier said, as a kid you want justice NOW…not later. And that’s hard on the heart of a boy or girl. It’s a harsh lesson of childhood, but, it doesn’t have to end there.

I’m grateful for kids and adults who step up and demand that bullying stop these days. I’m grateful for the fact some kids are a lot stronger and tougher in their resolve and refuse to let themselves be teased or picked on or belittled.

But, I think of the kid like me, who didn’t want to get hurt so they would try to avoid the fight…but…knowing that if they did try to do something and they lost they would come home to punishment.

So, what would I tell a kid now whose being bullied!?

This might not be much to that kid out there, but here goes……………

You matter.

You matter more than you know. Please, don’t forget that you’re important and that you matter. You have purpose in your life. You are valuable!!! I know you’re hurting right now and I know that it sucks that you’re being bullied.

Self-defense is one thing…and you’re probably scared of fighting and getting hurt. But, don’t go it alone. There’s too many people around you that actually do care and will stop at nothing to see you through what you’re going through right now.

Tell your family, tell the school leaders around you, tell your church, tell the world, make it known….you’re loved and you matter!

Things are a little different now than what they used to be, and you don’t have to fight through this alone. If you’re a victim of bullying, say somethings and don’t stop saying something.

If you need to talk it out…if you need to cry…if you need help…you’re not alone. You’re never alone.

Never let anyone try to make you feel less than what you are.

From the Spiritual aspect…to the person whose experienced bullying…know this….

Your greatest victory is not in just being better than your bullying…but not becoming bitter from the bullying. The greatest victory is in Christ…where love will lead you to letting go of bitterness, anger, hatred and vengefulness and will instead lead you to prayer for them and yourself and praise to God.