CIYOS Pt. 4 “Footloose”

Watch this video and listen to the lyrics…

The second verse especially hits home with me…

You’re playing so cool, obeying every rule
Dig a way down in your heart
You’re burning yearning for some
Somebody to tell you that life ain’t passing you by
I’m trying to tell you
It will if you don’t even try
You’ll get by if you’d only

Cut loose, footloose…

As I mentioned in my last post, I struggled with finding my place in the world.  I had to dig a way down into my heart, find out what I really yearned for out of life.  You know, I really like the word YEARN.  It’s better than just desire.  I feel like a “desire” is just temporary but a “yearning” for something is long lasting.  It’s more passionate.  It’s like you want it so badly, you can’t think about anything else.  It’s also got “earn” built into it.  You have to earn what you yearn for.  Hmm…  Sorry, it’s my wordy nerdy side coming out.  ANYway…

When I was 7, I wrote a letter to Santa that I wanted a Nintendo.  I was really nervous because I wasn’t sure if I still believed in Santa but I had to put those doubts aside because this was happening, doggone it! He had to send me one this year.  I had been a pretty good boy.  I yearned for that game system.  I had already had a taste. My buddy from school, Ryan had one at his house.  When I went over to spend the night we stayed up all night playing it.  It was the best thing ever.  Mario and Luigi, wow! I HAD to have one!  You could say I yearned to be the owner of an NES or Nintendo Entertainment System.

Let’s go back a couple years to Kindergarten.  Here was the deal: the teacher said if we wrote out 1-100 we got to have a balloon.  I really liked balloons.  A lot.  So I stayed inside from recess and wrote out 1-300 so that I could have three balloons!  Yeah, I was that kid. Skipped recess to write numbers on that large print brownish weird paper with the lines on it.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about?  I knew what I wanted and I went for it.  I yearned for those balloons. I got those balloons too.  It was a proud day.  Fast forward a few years…

Somewhere along the way that spirit in me…just kinda died.  (Everybody saw awwww)

It was kinda sad.

I got to the point that I only wanted to do something if it meant I would do it perfectly and I couldn’t fail.  I wasn’t really willing to take any risks.  I was afraid of getting hurt.  Sound familiar?  What was it costing me? A lot more than I was gaining.  I was settling for the ordinary when my heart deep down was yearning for the extraordinary.  Life WAS passing me by and it was because I wasn’t even trying.  I had lost my passion and my direction towards what I really wanted.  I was out of answers.  Then about September of 2010, I heard about something interesting that happens every month in Dallas.  It was a program called Pathways.  A couple months later, I went! I tried something out of the ordinary.  Out of my comfort zone, out of my budget and work schedule but I made it work because I was sick of waiting.  Too much life, MY LIFE, had already passed me by already.  I wasn’t going to keep watching more go.

The first thing I said on day 1 at Pathways was that I felt like I was being left in the dust behind my friends and everyone around me.  Everyone was gettting married, getting ahead in their careers, doing great things and I was doing nothing with my life.  I felt stuck.  I didn’t realize how self-defeating I was being and how to change.  They helped me work through all that.

SPOILER ALERT: When you do Pathways, each person gets a song that is special to you.  It reminds you of where you were and where you are now and also where you are headed.  For me, “FOOTLOOSE” epitomizes the before and after of my life at that moment in time.  So now I’ve kicked off my sunday shoes and I am headed for great things so WATCH OUT because I’m coming to your town!  Living life to the fullest is the only way to go!

*Fist Pump*

~AP

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CIYOS Pt. 3 Identity Crisis!!!

Welcome to Part 3! Today I’m exploring the question – “What happens during an identity crisis?”

Let’s look first at the definition of an “identity crisis

identity crisis

noun

1. a period or episode of psychological distress, often occurring in adolescence but sometimes in adulthood, when a person seeks a clearer sense of self and an acceptable role in society.
2. confusion as to goals and priorities: The company is undergoing an identity crisis.
Let’s explore the end of definition 1 for a minute – Acceptable role in society?
To me, that begs the question is your identity defined, at least in part, by your “place” in the world, where you fit within it? What do you think?  Imagine for a moment you had the whole world to yourself.  Let’s remove the notion that you would be lonely…extremely lonely.  Let’s say you didn’t have that built into your spectrum of emotions.  Let’s say you were on the planet alone…the only human.  Population: YOU.  There are still animals, plants, everything else but you have no one like you.  You are self-sufficient and you live a happy life; it’s just by yourself.  Now, say aliens came down to visit planet Earth and they met you and reported back to their home planet about you.  They could communicate with you. How would they describe you? What would they say about Adam of Earth.  (Input your name).
Ok, scenario 2: The world is just as it is now and the same thing happens.  Aliens come down and “probe” you (just in communicative terms, haha).  Does anything change?  Does their report come out any different in the two scenarios?
Think about that for a moment…
My answer: I think it’s as different as night and day.  For me at least.  Adam of Earth is a total relater.  I relate to people.  That’s WHO I AM.  My identity is tied up with those around me.  I learn things about myself whenever I interact with others.  For a large part of my life I have withdrawn myself from others.  Kept them at arm’s length and wouldn’t you know it, I really struggled with knowing myself…who I am at my core.  If you asked me 18 months ago, who is Adam? I could tell you that I was a Christian and I want to help people.  I’ve known I have had it in me to help others forever but it’s been pretty surface level.
I believe it takes the rest of the world and your interactions with it to find out who you really are DEEP DOWN.  You know the saying about raising children that “it takes a village”.  I think that’s really true.  If you are one of those who keeps everything in, who isn’t willing to be vulnerable with anyone, I challenge you to do something different as my buddy Dave would say.  Chances are you are having an identity crisis.  Well maybe not a crisis but how well do you really know yourself if you don’t have anyone to tell you any different?
Thanks for reading.

CIYOS Pt. 2 What “defines” You

Comfortable in Your Own Skin Part 2 What “defines” You

Today’s blog is all about definitions. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a big “word nerd”. I love learning new words. I love puns. I love homophones. My corny jokes stem from this passion a lot of times. I probably should have a lot larger vocabulary than I do because of this passion of mine but my lack of passion for hitting the books conflicts with this.

Are you ever faced with the moment you know you should do something knowing full well you’ll be really happy after you do it but it is still a struggle to get started? Working out is like that for me. So is reading. I love reading once I start doing it but actually sitting down and cracking open the book is hard sometimes.

We all have these positive and negative elements in us that make up who we are and they can define us if we let them. Certain things we can’t help about ourselves. Our physical features, our ethnicity, our birthplace, our families. These things play into who we are big time but what we don’t realize is that they don’t have to be the things that define us.

We’re all very complex individuals. Each one of us is unique. Each day we get to decide what we let shine through or not shine through. We can do something good or do something not so good.

You know the cliché types in high school: the Nerd, the Jock, the Rocker, the Goth, the Christian, the Bad Boy etc.

In high school, people saw you a certain way and that was what defined you. Maybe you chose to rebel against it, ignore it or maybe you embraced it. No matter what you did, it was their definition. Did you let it define YOU? Or wait here’s something: did you do the opposite to be the non-conformist?

Maybe what you feel defines you or what you see people as is career focused. Have you noticed one of the first questions we ask each other when we first meet is “What do you do for a living?” While what we choose to do as a job can be a pretty good indicator of who we are, that’s not always the case.

What’s in our hearts; what we do when no one’s looking, our character–that’s who we are. The really cool thing is there’s a chance to change that “definition” of you. You can work on that stuff. It’s not beyond your control. It’s a choice.

I am a BIG passionate, loving man. It’s the contract I’ve made. It’s who I try and be each day. That’s who I am. Who are you?

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Comfortable in Your Own Skin Part 1

Part 1 – Rob Bell, Francis Chan, The Golden Rule, The Biggest Loser, Dale the Fake Russian and Blink

A few summers ago I did this program called “Nine” with 20 Park (Park Plaza Church of Christ’s College/Young Singles group) in Tulsa, OK.  “Nine” was basically nine weeks of discipleship training.  It was hardcore, man!  If I remember right, we met four days a week.  We did “Prayer for the Nations” where we prayed for a different country each week; we were memorizing the book of James; we had a service project every other Saturday; and we read two books which to this day looking back where simply epic!  They were Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Sex God by Rob Bell.

When I decided to talk about being comfortable in your own skin, Rob Bell’s book came to mind and a particular section stood out to me.  Bell was talking about how a person can’t be connected with God until they’re at peace with who they really are (pg 46).  Furthermore a person can’t be connected with others and accept them for who they really are either.  So you’re at a disconnect with yourself and with others.  That can really be lonely.  You have to believe with all of your heart that God made you just the way you are and He loves his creation.  Not only that, He doesn’t make junk as my friend Dave would say.

So what is the definition of ‘sexy’ for Rob Bell?  He quotes his wife on 46 by saying, “Sexy is when it feels good to be in your own skin.  Your own body feels right.  It feels comfortable.  Sexy is when you love being you.”  Wow.  Have you ever seen a person with that sort of self-confidence that radiates about them?  They are sexy and it’s not so much in a sexual sense but there is an attraction about them, isn’t there?

What would it do to your heart if you could wake up tomorrow, look yourself in the mirror and truly love the reflection you saw there?  Hey, you know what? God is already way ahead of you.  He sees you all the time.  He never takes his eyes off of you and God loves everything about you.  He hates sin yes, but he doesn’t hate the sinner.  Aaand that pretty much sums up Crazy Love.  Got both of them in there, how about that? haha So how would your life be different if you treated yourself the way you wanted others to treat you?  Read that last sentence one more time and think about it.  What if you showed them that THIS is how you treat   Adam  . Now fill in the blank with your own name.

Wait, hold on, Adam…that sounds a lot like The Golden Rule.  Yeah, it is close to The Golden Rule.  We all know The Golden Rule, right? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. blah blah blah.  Everyone knows that, right?  Well the only problem I have with The Golden Rule is this. What if you do not feel deserving of love by others.  Doesn’t really work then, does it?  If you don’t feel that others need to treat you with love and respect, which you wholly deserve, then why would you give that to them yourself?  That’s where the disconnection is rooted.

I heard Sean Algaier, now one of my friends, speak one time about loving your neighbor as yourself.  A great example I saw was from him talking about his experience being on the show, The Biggest Loser and how he made the point that it’s really hard to love your neighbors the way God would want you to when you aren’t loving yourself the way God would want you to.  You have to love yourself first as a reference point so that you’ll know how to love another person.  Before that you have to let God’s love come into your heart.

We don’t feel like we know how to do that, but we’re wrong.  You see, what I don’t think others often realize is WE are the leaders of our own lives.  Our parents raise us until we are old and mature enough to take care of ourselves, which by the way is a much longer process than it used to be.  If you look at just a couple hundred years ago, people started families at age 12 or 13.  That makes sense too because isn’t that about the time we all start the oh so wonderful process called Puberty? It was like once they were able, they did! haha  Could you imagine walking into a middle school today in America and seeing wedding rings on nearly everyone’s fingers?  Middle schoolers pulling out their phones to show each other pictures of their children.  “Oh wait, sorry gotta go to Algebra” It would be a different world.

We have everyone around us trying to lead our lives. Give us unwarranted advice.  Make huge life decisions sometimes without our consent at all.  You people pleasers out there (me included) have it the worst because you want more than EVERYONE TO ALL BE HAPPY.  If we could all just get along, I could rest.  We’ll do almost anything for it.  That’s a good quality and all but we take it too far sometimes.

Anyway, the point I want to make is that when you love yourself, you’re comfortable in who you are; people pick up on it.  People follow YOUR lead on YOU.  They will believe what you believe about yourself.  Trust me on this.

My friend Jason’s dad is a comedian.  Well not professionally but I think it’s a career choice he could get into.  One of the funniest people I know.  Back in high school I would go over to Jason’s on a Friday or Saturday night to stay over.  We would go to Blockbuster to rent movies, the three of us, and Dale, his dad, had this game he played with all the employees.  He would pretend he was Russian and talk with a very thick Russian accent.  I wish I could imitate it for you but alas I cannot.  Anyway, when I first heard of his game, I thought to myself, “oh this will be funny but there’s no way they’re going to buy it.”  Can you believe they really did?  I mean, Dale doesn’t look Russian, dress Russian, nothing.  I’m not saying there’s a particular look but I was just really really surprised they bought it.  They would ask him questions about how long he’s been in America and of course Dale always had an answer.  To them, he was Russian because he played the part.  It’s amazing what a little confidence in what you’re capable of will get you.

I am not saying just play the part.  My point is you have a presence about you.  It’s not something people talk about, at least to your face, normally.  Every single person has a presence.  They walk into a room and within the first few seconds everyone else in that room has an impression of that person.  It begs the question, what scent are you bringing in?  Now don’t get all paranoid and don’t be fake either but realize what people are seeing from you.

Norman Gladwell has a book called Blink with this idea called ‘thin slicing’.  Basically in a split second your brain can make a snap decision about anything.  It’s a survival instinct within us.  Before we can think, we have a sense about it.  It’s that funny feeling you get when something just doesn’t feel quite right.

So the bigger question with all of this is how do you change what you believe about yourself so that others might change their minds too?  The answer is always God.  God loves you exactly the way He made you.  Why aren’t you?

Well it looks like I had more to say than I thought so this 2-part blog might be growing into a 6-part blog…we’ll see.  Anyway, thanks for reading!

Pre-Blog: Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Doing something different for this blog… (thanks for the inspiration, Dave)

I am going to throw these questions/topics out there NOW and then later update my answers in a 2 part blog. STAY TUNED!

Part 1
Rob Bell’s definition of “sexy” in Sex God (look it up, no really it’s ok. it’s PG)
What “defines” you? (clothes, money, FB status, religion even)
What happens during an identity crisis? (shake it up baby now, twist and SHOUT)

Part 2
My identity – Why “footloose” hits home… (Kenny Loggin’s got my number, wonder if he knows me better than I know myself..maybe at one time)
Who does God say I am? (God speaks truth about His creation including YOU)

Pre-blog comments, questions, ideas are encouraged.