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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

When I was a boy, I often lived with negative, pessimistic and narcissistic thoughts. I was quick to assume the worst, be anxious before asking questions and consider the negative before the positive.

I didn’t truly start dealing with all of those thoughts and feelings until recently, or as recently as age 28 (I’m 33 now at the writing of this blog post).

After a long talk with my wife about my emotions and my mindset, she recommended a book that addressed the fact that our mind is a battlefield, a spiritual war zone where we have to be on guard with the thoughts we think and be cautious with what we feed ourselves.

“Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer’s is pretty interesting. I don’t usually read her work but for the most part the writing and the Biblical points she made about the mindset we should have as followers of Christ is poignant.

Normally, I make sure to study for myself what the Word of God says after reading material like that. It is a habit that my wife and I have cultivated along the way.

After studying and reading God’s Word, the Lord began to show me that a lot of my thinking was negative and often defaulted that way because of not only past experiences, but, also because of some areas in my life where I lacked faith. Also, it was the result of what I was and was not setting my mind on:

Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

When I didn’t think and meditate on God’s Word, my anxiety and frustration would increase. I would become depressed. And it certainly didn’t help if I didn’t eat well or get enough sleep.

Psalm 1:2

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

The study on the mind over the past few weeks with my wife and I has gotten so deep, that we’re learning to help each other catch one another when we are thinking negatively, or doubting.

“Hold on, let’s see what God is going to say or do about this,” I would say.

“Can’t limit my God,” my wife, Rachel, would say. “We don’t know what all the Lord has for us!”

It’s been several weeks and I can’t believe that I got so used to having a mindset and a thought life that was not great.

As I learn to trust the Lord with my mind, I’m more able to trust the Lord with everything else.

Romans 8:5-6

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Instead of focusing so much on things of the world and concerns I have in life or on myself and “my abilities,” I am learning to trust the Lord and have Faith in Him, saying YES I believe that God can and will meet our needs. He has before and still is.

As I draw closer to Jesus through the reading of the Word of God and through prayer, I’m learning not only how to keep my mind on Him and on the Lord and His will for my life, but also about where those negative thoughts came from — thereby, receiving healing from the Lord in them.

Editor’s Note:  More on the healing and restoration process will be addressed in part 2. 

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frustrated boy

My wife woke up early Monday morning to listen to Charles Stanley preach on frustration and on how God can use our frustration.

I woke up a little later after her, slowly trying to wake up and brew a cup of coffee in the kitchen while my wife took notes on Charles Stanley’s sermon that I heard in passing.

As Charles Stanley talked, he made a point that struck me…a point that I will paraphrase…that frustration comes from when you want something to be but it is not. Frustration comes from when you can’t get to where you want or get what you want for some reason.

My wife and I spent over an hour talking about our greatest frustrations thanks to that sermon.

Fortunately neither one of us were frustrated with each other.

You can laugh..Rachel and I are doing awesome!

But, we talked about the frustration of getting to our dreams…our hopes….our goals…our wants…for a life that was what we imagined.

Frustration settles in when you have to pay the bills in one place while pursuing your dream on the other side of it when you really want to pursue the dream job.

Frustration can settle in when you are struggling with an issue of the past and it seems like the more you pray the more difficult things get.

Frustration can settle in when you’re sick but you can’t seem to get well.

But, God can use the frustration you have. And often, that’s exactly what He’s trying to do.

What are you trying to escape from? What are you REALLY trying not to deal with? What do you really think of God? Do you truly believe in Him?

Rather than medicate or busy myself or try to escape in some way, I allow the frustration to be used by the Lord. This starts in prayer. This starts in “diligently” seeking him (Hebrews 11:6) and trusting and believing that He has a reason…a plan…a purpose… for why you’re not healed yet, not in that new opportunity you want yet, not accepted yet, not received yet, not where you want or what you want yet.

We miss it when we medicate the pain. We miss the opportunity for God to show us His love for us in the midst of the frustration — and to in fact relief and free us of the frustration and give us peace in the middle of all of the “frustrating” times.

I’m learning to stay faithful in prayer, seeking the Lord, trusting Him with all of the circumstances and in every circumstance AND living in the peace the Lord gives me when things are not favorable.

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I just posted a book review that I think you’ll appreciate and that will be very helpful.

I’ve been reading the book “Growth Into Manhoood: Resuming the Journey” by the late Alan Medinger.

His writing has really challenged my walk into Biblical Manhood and I believe will do the same for you!

You can find the article by clicking here! 

Message: Keep Creating

January 22, 2018

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On a cold, winter day, my wife and I ventured off to Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas for an art event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

While there, I had the opportunity to share advice on the creative process and what it took to get my webcomic started:

Do Not Stop Creating

Keep creating the art that you create. Why!? Because, in this day and time, our lives depends on it.

So much is going on and people should express themselves and share their story through art and creativity.

Step Outside of Your Box of Influence

Learn and grow and do something different and challenging. Learn from other groups, other people and other cultures.

As you learn and grow, you’ll find your work influenced. But, also, you’ll find your work get better and better.

I could never have created the webcomic that tells the story of middle school students had I not worked in Youth Ministry or had I not worked around young people who are in the process of growing up.

Keep Telling Your Story

It is so important, now more than ever, to tell your story.

My story is of the kid who was “different” and struggled to fit in. But, I’m in a different place now and I’m a better person in spite of the struggles I’ve been through.

Telling your story could inspire and encourage someone else whose either hesitant or going through really deep and difficult challenges.

Remember Those Before Us

Because of Dr. King, we were able to share with one another and celebrate the freedom we have because of the fight for Civil Rights.

There are countless others throughout history that we should remember and recognize who have made a difference for the rights of women, minorities and people from various backgrounds.

I create what I create in an effort to exercise the appreciation I have for those who went before me. I create because I know I have a story to tell and I’m blessed to be able to do so. I create because I know someone else needs it.

It’s fun for me, but it may be therapeutic for someone else too.