Archives For Culture

Responsibility

March 22, 2017

reonsobilityThis particular message has been in me for several, several days!

“You are responsible for you…no one else…you!”

No one owes you and me anything! Period!

You HAVE to work for it. You HAVE to trust and believe that you have been created and called into something bigger than you…that you are here for a purpose that’s larger.

I believe…again, I personally…that God has called me into something so much larger than myself.

As a Christian, I am responsible for how I behave in front of people and for the message of the Gospel to be shared.

As a writer, I’m responsible for telling a story.

As an artist, I’m responsible for conveying a message that people can grasp and understand!

As a man, I’m responsible for taking care of business and operating in love for my significant other and for my fellow man. Even then, that’s not ALL the responsibilities I have as just a man!

We ALL have responsibilities!

But, there are many who choose to not take on the burdens of living and growing up. There are many who choose to not take responsibility for their actions.

It’s MUCH easier to blame everyone else…to make excuses….to declare that somehow you are being held back and nothing good can happen for you and to you.

But, it’s harder to take responsibility.

It’s a challenge to take responsibility and own up to your mistakes…the consequences seem to be higher the more you take on responsibility.

But, sooner or later, if you really, really want more out of life, you have to take on responsibilities and carry the weight of that experience.

The good news is you don’t have to carry that weight alone!

 

Free To Speak

March 17, 2017 — 3 Comments

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On a Friday morning I had a chance to go to the barbershop while I was out of town in Oklahoma City.

You know the experience especially if you’ve ever ventured into a predominantly black barbershop. Their’s that familiar sound of electric clippers humming in the background, boisterous conversations over the current affairs of the day and sometimes you get a hint of background noise from the TV or radio.

I normally don’t go to the barbershop, but this time, I had a chance to experience this very familiar moment once again. The discussion between the barbers and the people in the shop turned from who was the best quarterback in football to the president and the congress and finally to race and culture.

As I sat there, I quietly listened. It reminded me of the times I was a little boy. I would sit and listen to this adults go back and forth until they were blue in the face. But then it hit me…I am free to speak now! I actually have a voice! I am an adult with the privilege to share my views and analysis.

One gentlemen said a few things I both agreed and disagreed with. I listened intently to the man’s take on race, prejudice, life, women, politics and much more. My arms and legs were crossed and my eyes slowly wandered as to avoid staring.

As I was getting my haircut, I felt this deep, bottom of my stomach urge to speak up. I really, really, didn’t want too. Seriously, I didn’t!

I mean, what could I possibly contribute to this conversation? What would happen if I did say something? Who would care? Why would it matter? Who on earth needs to even hear it? I don’t have the background, experience or anything to back up what comes out?

The conversation was finally over! I realized I just about lost my opportunity to speak up. I felt like such a loser at that moment. A really deep part of me demanded to speak out and I kept silent.

But just as I was about to give up, the conversation started back up.

I added my two cents! A consensus was made with a very understandable group of men who heard what I had to say. In fact, they even demanded more depth from me, which I might add was pretty cool! Here I am, a young guy being asked to expand on my analysis in front of men who were several years older than me.

Deep down, this very real, masculine, powerful and vocal part of me wanted to speak out and I almost missed out.

Why!? Because we short change ourselves! We doubt if we really have what it takes. We doubt if we could make a difference. We sit back and allow things to unfold and cower in the back.

The experience at the barbershop moved me from being the boy who sat back and watched to a real man with real perspective and real insight.

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I have a confession to make! Sometimes, I get concerned about what I should or should not say or what I should and should not write.

So, sometimes I say nothing. Absolutely nothing. Oh sure, I have my moments, but, for the longest time, I didn’t say or do anything on the grounds that it could cost me.

I could end up in a confrontation that I’m just not wanting to start.

I may make people who are “religious” angry and people who are not excited.

Or I could make “religious” people happy and people who are not very angry.

I could make the person of another political view happy and the other angry. And vice versa.

Or…people may think I’m weird and different or they may not like me.

WHO….CARES!!?

I have come to find out that not doing something that you have truly been called and purposed to do only to declare fear or worry is lacking faith. And, by the way, it robs other people of what you have to help them.

Playing it safe is something that I’m sure came from my childhood.

In the past, I was told certain stories I wrote were not good. I was told that the ministry I wanted to start using comics and cartoons would not work. I was told that adults didn’t watch cartoons or read comic books. I was told that writing wasn’t a reasonable profession.

I’m glad I ignored such ridiculous thoughts. It sounds like these individuals were actually afraid for their own lives and only wished to see me fail so their point can be proven.

I did my best to avoid getting into fights at school. I kept to my own world. I tried to keep the peace at all costs. But years later, I realized that being “nice” was not enough. It was never meant to be. I had to learn to grow out of playing it safe. I had to learn to take risks and…yes…step out on faith.

My challenge to us all is to take risks that open us up to a much larger story than the ones we try to craft on our own.

HELD BACK

Nothing like a good friend and mentor to help snap you out of strange thought patterns. That actually happened to me a few hours before writing this blog.

I have a friend and mentor, Gerald, whom I talk to often about topics like manhood, social issues and life. He actually spoke some pretty powerful and encouraging words. He often reminds me that I’m responsible for pushing forward and having faith to believe that things will come together.

THAT is a hard thing to believe. As a Christian, it is essential that I have faith and believe that God can and will do as He promised. And, it is important that faith accompanies whatever activity that is good and noble and purposed in my life.

And yet, it is a fight! A daily fight!

You have to fight for the time. You have to fight through distractions. You have to fight to focus. You have to fight through aches and pains. You have to fight through moments of just not feeling like it. You have to fight through feelings and emotions that run contrary to what is in your heart.

In me is this yearning desire to write and draw and create and to make a difference in the world. And my friend, Gerald, knows it! The next questions came.

“What’s stopping you!?”

The answer…nothing. Nothing but me. And maybe that’s you. Maybe the reason you’ve not made it to that certain place in life is because you’ve not pushed as hard as you could. Or maybe you don’t believe that what you have to offer…that your gifts and talents…or that your ideas…are simply of no value.

We often stop ourselves before we even bother doing or creating. I run into people all the time who talk big about the “projects” they are “working on” but the projects never materialize. It’s embarrassing…and I refuse to fall into that category.

So…what is holding you back!? And what can you do differently to change that!