I’m come to realize that I have been self-sabotaging my life for years now. I’ve been a person who dreams big and never feels satisfaction in the victories. And I’ve struggled with understanding why that is.
And after coming out of this last season of depression I think I’ve finally realized what it is.
I’ve been chasing happiness.
Well that’s not so bad, right? Happiness is the key to a successful life, or so I’ve been told.
But it’s not. It’s a lie.
Now before you start thinking I’m crazy, let me explain. It’s another example of expectation versus reality.
I’ve been trying so hard in my life to grab hold of happiness and to never let it go. But you can not live in happiness. You can live in MOMENTS of happiness, but not a constant state of it. If your life was constantly happy it would undervalue the truly special moments.
So what should you be living your life for?
Now, I grew up believing that contentment was a bad word. I don’t think I was raised this way, but I’ve seen and heard others talk about how contentment was settling. That successful people are never content and always strive to be the best. Innovation and advancements come from always doing more. Wanting more. Being more.
And it only sets you up for a life of failure and disappointment. Because always looking for happiness makes the fall to sadness so much harder than it should be.
If I were to stare up at the night sky and only dream of reaching the stars, I would lose sight of the fact that in that moment I get to be present and enjoy the beauty that comes from them. I will never reach the stars, because it’s unobtainable. But I can be present every single evening and look at those stars and be reminded of where I am. And who I am.
Let me put it another way. Say you were really struggling financially your whole life and your goal was to someday have $1,000,000 in your bank account, even though you’ve never been able to even save $1,000. So you have this big dream. And you work incredibly hard every day. And you change your life and start saving like you’ve never saved before. And let’s say after the first 6 months you finally save $1,000.
You should be ecstatic, right? You’ve never had $1,000 before so that’s a really big deal! You should be so incredibly proud!
But you’re not. You don’t even acknowledge it because you set a goal of $1,000,000. So $1,000 doesn’t even matter.
So you blow right past that and 2 years later you have $10,000. HUGE DEAL!
It’s not $1,000,000. So who cares?
And you keep doing this for years and years and year. And you’re never satisfied. And then one day you find out you’re dying. And you look back on your life and all you can see is that you never reached your goal.
And you lost sight of all the beauty in the world around you. And all the recognition for the amazing achievements you made along the way.
You were working towards something that was unobtainable. $1,000,000 is a dream for a day that may never come. You decided to work towards something that couldn’t be guaranteed.
You undervalued every other moment in your life for something that you were never going to get.
That’s the thing about happiness. We often think that happiness is that $1,000,000. But it’s not. Happiness was in that $1,000 achievement. It was a moment. And it deserved to be recognized. It deserved to be treated for what it was.
Now take this example and apply it to your own life. Are you happy? As in truly happy.
I hope the answer is no. Unless this a moment that brings you such joy and elation that it is something you will forever cherish.
This is a happy moment for me because I’ve realized that I can start giving value to the moments in my life that truly deserve them.
I want to live a life of contentment with moments of happiness and joy.
Contentment is “a state of satisfaction”. How beautiful is that? To live in a constant state of satisfaction in what you have, who you are and what you do.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t work towards more? Absolutely not. Have dreams and have goals but don’t lose sight of the here and now. Acknowledge the little moments.
Stop stealing value from the things that matter.
Seeing my loved ones are moments of happiness. And if I lived in that moment I would accept it for the special opportunity to be with people that it is.
I get to have this beautiful family. If my goal is just to think about raising them well and to get into a good college and to have a great life I will lose sight of the little moments that matter.
Like my son being sick and coming to me in the middle of the night to make him feel better. Seems silly, right? But it’s not. If I didn’t stop and be in that moment I wouldn’t have realized that it’s an acknowledgement of the changes I’ve made to be more present in my children’s life. He’s finally feeling comfortable to come to me for support and not just to be the parent who works to make the money.
It’s the little moments that matter. Happiness is in the moments, not a constant state. Recognize them.
Are you happy? Or are you a happy person? A good response would be “I am an optimistic person who looks for the moments of happiness.” It grounds me. It pulls me back into this moment. It lets me be present for the ones in my life that need me the most. My “I love you” means more. The hug is special. Your time becomes valuable. Doing life together matters more.
People’s words are taken for face value. And you can accept them and believe them.
And you can start seeing yourself the way other people see you.
If I am honest with myself, if I take the goal of happiness out of the equation then I have lived a content adult life.
And that’s success.
A constant state of happiness is a dream that can only be achieved when we get to leave this world to be with Jesus.
I will be happy one day, but for now I will take pride in the contentment and recognize the moments of happiness that come along.
And I will start seeing myself the way that others see me. And for some of you, that’s a really big deal. Some of you are so special to my life and have changed me and you will never understand the impact you have had. And I’m starting to realize that to some of you I am someone special to you. And that I have changed your life, too. And that is a big deal.
When I stop looking for happiness and start realizing contentment is key the moments of love are truly going to shine bright.
I love you. Please take that for the value I put into it. Let it sit with you a moment.
And I hope reading that was a moment of happiness for you, for letting you know was one for me.
I’m looking forward to this new lens on life. Healing is beautiful.
I want to lie on the the ground with my loved ones – my wife, my children, my best friends, my family – and enjoy the beauty of the night sky together. Not reaching out to try and grab them for myself, but being present with those around me, feeling God’s love and theirs, and storing the moment of happiness in my heart.
*Current song to listen to while you read this… Toby Mac – 21 Years*
Today marks 3 months since you left us. While I know you are in a much better place and are no longer in so much pain it doesn’t make it any easier. Especially around this time of year.
I was supposed to protect you. I’m your big brother. That was my job. To make sure you were safe.
But I failed you. And I failed your son. And I stole the little moments of joy from your life that you held onto so dearly.
I kept my children from you when they were such a bright spot in your life. Why? Because you did things away from them that I didn’t agree with? Yeah you were addicted, but you didn’t bring it around my kids. So why did I always make sure you were at an arms length away from us?
My new job is right by the funeral home where your body last was. And every time I drive by it I get angry at the bs and lies that came out of people’s mouths as they told stories of you. “She was the annoying little sister.” No, she really wasn’t. What was annoying about you? That you just wanted to love so deeply that you wanted to be around your friends and family all the time? Out of all the memories I have of you not one of them were ever of you being annoying. It was never you. You were the sweetest child I had ever met. You just wanted to spend time with us.
People gave up on you. They stopped making you a priority. Everyone went on with their lives but you were still a child who needed to be raised and taught right from wrong. And who was there to do that? I stole your sister away from you. She wasn’t there to teach you all the things she had learned.
You were always placed in peoples shadows. So of course you did things to try and make your voice be heard.
But I didn’t hear you. No one did. While you were screaming for help we were all distracted by the other noises around us. Granted, ours happened to be raising 3 kids but that shouldn’t have stopped us from letting you be a part of it.
I take solace in knowing that not once did we ever tell you that you were a screw up. Yes, we pulled away, but when we saw you we showed you love. I know it’s a horrible thing to say, but the people who are struggling with themselves now because of the way they treated you while you were still here, they should be feeling guilty.
You were such a beautiful soul that had so much to offer this world. You had a beautiful voice that deserved to be heard. You loved my children so much and I never realized it until I had to go through all the pictures for your funeral. So many pictures with you and them. One of my biggest regrets is that while we have so many pictures of you from photo shoots I’ve done, I was always behind the camera and I don’t have a single picture of us together. Not one. My baby sister and I have no pictures of us.
It shouldn’t have been you. You made bad choices, but they were never to hurt other people. Yes, others were hurt because of them but your heart has always been so good. Why were you taken from us and not someone who intentionally causes pain and lies to others?
I struggle with you passing, even more than when my grandfather passed away. Because I now live every day wondering if I could have saved your life. I wonder if I would have pulled that car over and come over to you and asked you to come see the new house if you would still be here today. I wonder if we would have written you letters and explained to you how our lives have changed and how much we were looking forward to you being a part of it if you would still be here. I wonder if we would have let you see the kids more often if you would still be here.
I carry a lot of weight from you being gone. I find some peace in knowing that you committed your life to Jesus before you met Him, and that you now get to spend your time with your precious baby boy. But I so wish you were here. These holidays are going to be rough without you.
We plan on making sure that our kids never forget who you were. You were more than your demons. But you owned those demons and you never blamed others for them.
You should still be here.
I should have protected you.
I failed you.
And now I have to live with that failure for the rest of my life until I get the blessing of seeing you again.
I love you. You were so precious to us and I’m so sorry that we didn’t make it known more often.
I hope you left this world knowing you were wanted and you were loved.
It’s remarkable how quickly you can be reminded of how fragile your existence is. Or how suddenly you can be halted in your thoughts on your place in this world and your importance in other people’s lives.
Have you ever watched a planned building demolition? It’s absolutely mesmerizing. Something that stood for so long can be brought to nothing in a matter of moments. The history of the building will linger for awhile, but you know you can never put it back the way it once was. You could try, but I can assure you the explosion absolutely destroyed parts of the building and it would never be whole again.
And all it took was the simple push of a button. One tiny little action that sets it all into motion. All the good could be gone in an instant. And you could be the one holding the trigger. But, you could also have no idea who has it.
My building has been demolished several times. I try to piece it back together. I even find extra things to support it and make it stronger than before.
But I’ve realized I’m a little trigger happy and I always seem to find my finger hovering over that button again. And I’ve learned that I’ve handed it over to more people each time I rebuild.
Tonight, I take solace in knowing that if my building continues to be destroyed, my God is always there to help me pick up the pieces and try again. And He usually brings a friend or two along to help me try again.
I’m going to be honest outright and admit that this subject is one I struggle with. I have such a desire to love others, but I still have moments where my heart loses out to my mind. But what is love? Sorry not sorry if that song gets stuck in your head.
Love can mean so many different things depending on who you ask. It can come with the simplest explanation, or become mystified with an abstract definition.
My definition of love is simple. It is one of the standard definitions – an intense feeling of deep affection. What is affection? A feeling of caring and fondness. Basically, I care about you on a personal and deep level. I prioritize your happiness and joy.
But why do we have to overcomplicate something that should be foundational to society? As a Jesus follower we have been given the best example. It is literally spelled out for us.
Seems pretty simple. Jesus told this to His followers shortly before the betrayal that would lead to His death. He knew what was about to happen, and yet He still walked into it openly with a heart filled with unconditional love.
So… it should be pretty easy to love someone else when they accidentally say the wrong thing that hurts your feelings.
And it should be pretty easy to forgive others for their past mishaps, understanding that people change and they shouldn’t be judged on their past.
And it should be easy to simply shrug off the things that others have done to you, or the way they treat you. That even if they make you feel so low on a daily basis you should still love them unconditionally. Right?!
Alright, alright. Put down the pitchforks and stop practicing for your dramatic solo as you pull others into your negative feelings for others.
I get it. It’s complicated!
But why do we struggle with this? In theory, by loving others we should be shaping and molding the world to fit the perfect image of how we want it to be. Imagine it with me. A place where there were no violence. A place where you could let your children out to play without fear. A place where no one has any internal struggles with their own self-image because others are constantly raising them up with praise.
So why do we not embrace that and work towards that? Why do we have to get annoyed that someone is doing something selfishly? Or why do we have to judge others for doing things that they know are hurting others?
And it’s complicated because we make it complicated. We have assigned a stigma to the word and given it definitive connotations as a societal norm that people think can only mean one thing. It is either “over-used” (not possible), or it is used only on rare occasions.
Or we live in fear that others will perceive it as something else.
Do you naturally tell your friends that you love them? Or is there a little bit of awkwardness when you say it, or at least when you say it around certain people? Can you outright tell someone “I love you” or do you have to cut corners with things like “love you” or “love ya” or even lumping them in with a group of people? Or taking the pressure off yourself by saying “we all love you” and not making it personal?
Let’s all be honest for a minute. We all do it. My hand is raised high. Guilty! Confession and all!
But why?! Do you know how incredibly impactful it is to tell someone you love them? Three simple words is all it takes to actually change someone’s day from bad to good. In three words you can make someone feel so incredibly valued.
I… love… you. That’s it. Is it cheapening it by saying it any other way? Maybe not. But as a receiver I can tell you it means more to me personally being said so simply.
So why don’t we do it more often? Well, for one, when was the last time you walked up to a coworker and told them you loved them? Or walked up to your married friend and said it to them? When was the last time you said it to a relative who has never said it to you?
It’s a whole lot of things from intimidating, scary, awkward, uncomfortable or just plain weird.
It’s fear of people’s perception. Its worry that others will misconstrue your intentions. It’s also being unsure of other people’s boundaries.
And also I think a lot of people don’t know HOW to love another person. I mean, we aren’t exactly raised to be this way. But we can be better.
So I try to live this out in my own life, or at least I have been these last 6 months as I begin to live my life as a follower of Christ.
There are people in my life who have severely hurt me in the past, and there are others who have hurt those that are closest to me. Those wounds are difficult to heal, but I am trying to love them unconditionally.
And I actively tell those who I do love that I love them. Straight up, point blank, to their face, or written in ink and saved forever (unless they decide to burn them). Why? Because it’s important to me for others to know how I feel about them.
Romance does not get to steal this word and hoard it for itself. Love goes way beyond that. Love is appropriate for the way it is intended, NOT the way it is perceived. If I tell someone I love them and another person takes it in a way that it is not meant, that’s on them. I know what is in my heart, the person receiving it usually knows what is in my heart, and my God definitely knows what is in my heart.
Someone very dear to me recently gave me one of the greatest compliments I have ever received – “you’re always looking for ways to express your love.”
And in those few, simple words I instantly received confirmation that the changes I have been making in my life were real and that my actions were finally matching my desires. It was a moment that made me realize that, yeah, I can be a disciple.
And it’s all because of love.
I let more and more of it out everyday as it brings me so much joy to bring happiness to others. But I still keep a lot of it held back out of fear. I make sure to tell my wife several times a day. I try to tell my friends and family as often as I can, but I can assure you a lot of times it will be the worried, condensed version I mentioned above. I’m fearful of loving others too much that it scares them off. No joke. Even those I am closest with I will tell them “I love you” and then a few days later make comment that I hope I’m not being too much.
Stupid, right? It’s more that it’s a shame that we have to hide it.
And I think that is what we struggle with with love. It’s not the act of loving another, or the desire to love others unconditionally, it’s expressing that love.
So, I’m hear to tell you that if you are family or friends that have access to my blog, I LOVE YOU! Actually, I probably love you a whole lot more than you think and more than I ever tell you. For some that’s saying a lot.
And, unless you politely ask me otherwise, I’m going to continue to tell you. To your face, in our texts, in my letters, etc. I hope it brings you comfort, love, joy and happiness. That feeling you get when someone special gives you a hug. I may not mean much to this world, but I hope I mean something to your world.
What you do with this blog is on you. As for me, I’m going to continue seeking new ways to share my love. 🥰
Thank You for filling me with so much love from You that I want to share it with others. I want to cast a light on this world where darkness seems to often try and invade. I want to touch the lives of so many people, spreading joy and love to others that they want to share it as well.
To know that others have had moments of happiness and had a smile brought to their faces by my words or actions will allow me to one day pass from this world as a fulfilled Christ follower.
Today I pray that You help others in finding the courage to express their feelings in a safe and comfortable way. Please give them the peace to go out and share their love with others.
I pray that the awkwardness for “I love you” outside of the family goes away.
I pray that You continue to look after those who need Your warmth and love. I pray for those who turn their backs to You and that they will one day see that, despite that, You always stay with them.
Please continue to protect and heal those who need You. For those fighting battles physically, emotionally and mentally. Please let them feel Your presence so that they may have peace in their lives.
Today will be a short post, but one that I need to document so I have it to come back to when/if these feelings return.
I recently had some much needed conversations with a few pretty great people in my life. And in opening up about things that I didn’t know I was still keeping in, I realized that I can be a major hypocrite. I’ve learned that my words can be extremely powerful tools when used correctly. I’m really good at making others feel good. I can find the words that they need to hear pretty quickly.
But, I’ve noticed, I am terrible at taking my own advice.
I’ve been telling a loved one recently not to hide her joy from the world, regardless of other’s perceptions.
Helloooooo! Do you not listen to yourself when you speak, Kyle?
So I’ve made a decision…
I’m no longer going to turn my back and run from the fear. I am going to stand my ground and I am going to fight my fear head on. I have a lot of joy to give to this world, and I’m going to give it!
So I am going to be joining the children’s ministry at church once all of this craziness subsides. I can make a difference in these kids’ lives and help guide them to be fellow Jesus followers. And they bring so much happiness to my life, why would I want to run from that?
And I am going to go out of my way to compliment others whenever I can. I know where the intentions in my heart lie, and I know for a fact that having others speak positively of and to you is such an amazing feeling. We need more love in this world. I may be one small grain of sand, but last I checked a mustard seed could move a mountain.
And I am taking back the word beautiful.
We need to use this word more often and remind others of what it really means. It should be taken as a compliment and bring happiness to who it is shared with. When the world can often be an ugly place, it is a blessing to be reminded that you stand out against that and have so much value.
And I’m going to be mending relationships with some of those I have pushed away. I have a lot of love to give this world, and the people who saw the worst side of me deserve to see me at my best.
I have a lot of opportunities coming up for me over the next year. Instead of questioning if I could or should be taking them on, I am going to take them for what they are – blessings. I will use the opportunities to do so much good for as many people as I can.
I was given a second chance for a reason, and I am not going to waste it. I couldn’t have told you 18 months ago that life would have played out the way it has. I believe God is guiding me to do something greater in this world, even if that only begins here locally.
I am giving myself, fully, to God. I am letting go of the fear. Jesus loved unconditionally and faced His fears. If He were living my life, I know He would do as much good for the world while He could.
And that’s enough for me. I will no longer be a hypocrite. I will not hide my joy from this world any longer.
…if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will be the same again.
William P. Young – The Shack
I finally get it. I do not know what it is exactly that I am supposed to be doing with this life, but I know that I will be doing it for You. I give myself to You, and will follow Your guidance.
I will make a difference in this world, not for myself but for You, in Your name. When I die, if I have no money to my name but have touched others hearts I will have lived a successful life. If no one remembers my name when I am gone, but even one person has a better relationship with You I will have lived a successful life. If when I am gone I have lived a life for You, and used your blessings and gifts to bring love and joy to others lives, then I will have lived a successful life.
Here I am, Lord, fully surrendered to Your love. I am ready to serve You and to serve others. I am above no one, and will love everyone unconditionally, for that is Your will. It’s time for me to no longer squander the blessings You have bestowed upon me. I will no longer hide behind fear.
I know there will be struggles along the way, so I ask that You please continue to protect me through them.
This evening I pray that you please lift the burdens that my loved ones are carrying. Please gently caress their heads as they sleep tonight and remove some of the heaviness on their hearts. Please wrap them with a warm embrace that I wish I could give them but am unable to. Let them feel Your love and mine through Your presence.
Please speak to those who are in immense pain and uncertainty during these trying times. I beg You to please hold tightly to those who are ready to meet You sooner than they are meant to. There is so much good that they can bring to this world, and although they may find it unbearable right now, I hope You will provide them clarity. Let the love and support that their loved ones have given them seep into their hearts and fill the void that has been created. They need You so much right now, especially when others cannot be there for them. They are such beautiful people that have a voice that needs to be heard. Please let Your words flow through them for many, many blessed years.
Please continue looking after those who are fighting this pandemic. It is not Your doing, but please let people know You are by their side through it all.
Please protect everyone, but especially those who are on the front lines of fighting this. They are putting their own lives on the line, and often potentially giving up their families, to be there for others. Your love is so evident in them.
I’ve got to be honest with you… after I shared my first post in this series last week I immediately had doubts. Fear of judgement overcame me pretty quickly. Why share these parts of my past that no longer reflect who I am?
This is part of my healing process. This is me learning to love myself. I have had so little self worth in the past that I didn’t feel I deserved to be a part of this world.
I thought writing this post would be easier than it actually is, wrongly assuming that many of these things I had already forgiven others and myself for. But the more I write and think about it, the more I realize that this is still a major part of my life that needs to get resolved. Because if it’s not, it’s going to eat away at all the progress I have made.
This week’s topic is about anger. Now, as you’re reading this you will find that a lot of my anger starts with moments of pain. Instead of communicating in the past when things bothered me I would keep everything bottled up and not address them. Do you know what happens when you don’t let things out? They multiply and get ugly very quickly. And eventually everything explodes, sometimes when you least expect it.
And it causes a whole lot of destruction in the process.
And that’s where a lot of my current anger still rests. In the fact that I was a tornado that ripped through a lot of people’s lives with no regard to the damage I was causing along the way.
For most of my life I have tried to be a good person and do the right things. I would avoid situations, places and people that could lead to bad decisions. I tried to be very cognizant about the friends I chose, especially in high school and college. But I have always had a serious sense of paranoia that despite all the good I was doing I could be accused of doing something that I didn’t do.
Do you know how difficult it is to live a life trying to ensure that everything is so perfect that you could never be blamed for something? It’s exhausting. Constantly trying to think 5 steps ahead of everyone else, playing what-if scenarios in your mind over and over again.
And do you know what is absolutely gut-wrenching? Doing everything right and still having your worst fears come true.
Now, I’m not a perfect person. In fact, I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life. I’ve cursed. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve lusted. I’ve hurt a lot of people emotionally.
But there’s also a lot I’ve never done. I’ve never physically harmed someone. I’ve never cheated on anyone. I don’t even spank my children (we will get to that below). I try to make sure that the good I do outweighs the bad that sometimes comes from me.
But sometimes, it’s really hard to do good things when you live in a constant state of fear because of, often, the insecurities of others. And the feelings start as sadness and grow into anger.
So let’s get into this, shall we? Let’s talk about how words, and more specifically false accusations, can destroy a person.
I absolutely love being around children. And, for whatever reason, kids seem to love me. I can come down to their level and speak to them in a way that they can relate to. I can be silly and playful and act their age, not my own. Tea parties, dress up, sword fights, hide and seek, writing make believe stories, drawing pictures, painting your nails. These are some of the best things to do in life, period. It’s one of the reasons I was really good at my job when I did photography. Moms would call me the “Baby Whisperer” because of the way I could calm kids and make them happy. A child’s laugh and smile are truly just two of the greatest gifts to the world.
And I never had to think about the way I interacted with kids for the longest time until someone one day mentioned that I made them uncomfortable by the way I apparently looked at their children. And it absolutely destroyed my heart and ruined a part of my life. So now, anytime I am around people, because of one person, I am always fully aware of my behavior around everyone, not just children. I am always trying to make sure that I can never be in a position where someone can say something that is not true to who I am as a person.
Do you know how exhausting that is? I would love to be in a career where I could help children all day. In fact, if I could do things all over again I would 100% be a pediatric doctor. I often, still, think about going back to school for that, even at 32 and with 3 degrees already.
I’ve had people tell me how great I am with kids and how much they see that kids love being around me. And it’s always a great thing to hear. But it’s also very sad that I have to live in fear that someone, someday could manipulate a situation just to destroy my life. And it makes me extremely angry. Why? Because in this world we live in, the accusations don’t even have to be true to ruin someone’s life.
I just want to do good, but I can’t because of other people. My wife asked me how long it would be before I volunteered to help with the children’s ministry at church. Would I love to do that? Absolutely. But I live in fear of others words. I’m starting to let my guard down a lot more around family. It just makes my heart so full whenever the girls get so excited to see me, even if I just facetime them.
I also try to be very cautious about the way I discipline my children. I do not spank my children, but I also do not judge anyone who chooses to discipline in that way. To be fair, my kids probably deserve a good spanking every once in awhile for their behavior, just not from me. Again, because people wanted to throw words around without thinking of the consequences that would come from them, I will never discipline my children in that way. So instead, my next best option for discipline comes from empty threats of grounding and yelling. And, at times in the past, a lot of yelling.
My threats are empty because I don’t want to be perceived as a mean parent. Granted, yelling at my kids isn’t a whole lot better, but it’s just been the one thing that I haven’t been able to control when I get angry. When I say I yell at my kids, I don’t mean that I scream at them. More times than not, it’s just enough to get their attention, or be heard over their own yelling. You know, the “dad voice”.
But I have been angry that, again, I was falsely accused of doing something I have never done and would never do.
So let’s continue this trend of false accusations and the anger that comes along with them…
My trust for others, and my lack of friendship, stems from a fairly devastating accusation that ended an extremely close friendship.
I’ve been very honest with the fact that when I love, I love deeply. And I will give so much of myself, even with a friendship, for people I truly care about. I am that person that will show up at 3:00 in the morning. Or the one that will leave work in the middle of the day to come and give you a shoulder to cry on. I will be the person that will drive around town for hours in search of a hard to find item. I am the person that will give the shirt off my back, even though I am so uncomfortable with my own body.
I will ask for forgiveness for my lack of humbleness later, but when given the opportunity I can be a pretty incredible friend.
And I have a way of making people feel good. Like, really good. As in, if you’re having a really crappy day, I can more than likely tell you the things you need to hear to be in a much better place. I am an extremely kind person, especially out in public. Sometimes to the point where it annoys my wife (I will wait, for long periods of time, instead of interrupting someone out in public). I always tip on everything, because I always assume that if service wasn’t great then this person clearly must be fighting a battle I know nothing about.
But sometimes my kindness can be taken the wrong way. Sometimes people believe I have ulterior motives.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Fact, I do know how to flirt. But I can assure you, more times than not if you think I am flirting, I’m probably just being nice. Or just being playful. Even my wife sometimes thinks I flirt out in public.
But honestly, I genuinely just try to be a good person and make other people feel good. Do you know how sad it makes me that because of the world we are in I can’t tell people when they look nice? Or that I like their clothes? Or can’t mention it when they get a new perfume or cologne that smells good? Do you know how angry it makes me that I can’t compliment others? Do you know how frustrating it is that I can’t use the word “beautiful” to others other than my wife and kids? It’s stupid, because it is a word that should instantly bring a smile to someone’s face, but because people think there has to be some other connotation to the word I can’t tell them.
Anyways, apparently my kindness and willingness to be there for close friends was taken by others as more than just being a really good friend. People so wrongly assume that the opposite sex just can’t be friends with one another without there being something more.
And that particular situation just absolutely destroyed me. Sadness, depression and ultimately anger. Because all I ever wanted was to just have a really good friend. Someone that I could be there for and they could be there for me. But people had to ruin it by not seeing things for what they truly were.
And then more accusations of me being in situations that I’ve never even been in. Those ones ares the hardest to swallow because you hear one story and then it just keeps changing to outlandish claims that you eventually just get overwhelmed by. But the anger comes when people you thought you could trust start to believe them. And then completely pull out of your life as if something actually happened. And, again, the accusations are worse when they come from people that you thought you could trust.
That’s enough of the false accusations I’ve had to deal with. Let’s discuss other things that are still consuming me with anger…
How about thinking someone who was supposed to be a mentor to you for 6 years ends up not being who you thought they were and were actually using you all that time? Yeah, that would be from a previous work superior. Thankfully I had an amazing person come into my life and in less than 6 months fixed a lot of the damage that I didn’t even realize at first was caused. She eventually moved on, but I am blessed to still keep in touch with her to this day (and who may be reading this now).
Or how about your accomplishments being belittled to the point where your own siblings and uncle tell you that what you’ve done doesn’t even matter? This lead me to a point where I actually had a breaking point where I almost physically hurt one of my brothers. And if it weren’t for my dad being where he was in that instant and intervening, things could have gotten really bad. Not that other people’s opinions should matter, but when you have sacrificed so much to be where you are and other people treat it like it’s nothing, it really hurts.
Or losing all relationship with your siblings. That one hurts a lot and eventually lead to anger because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be a part of their group. I remember early in my twenties the relationship I had with all of my siblings was great. We would hang out together all the time. They would spend the night and we would stay up until early into the morning playing games together. Or we would go to the movies. Or just play catch at my parent’s house. But now do you know when I hear from any of them? Aside from one who lives on the other side of the country, only when they need something. And I’ve been told it’s because they think I believe I am better than them, but all I truly want is to help them be better people. I have offered so many times to help them, and do you know how many times they’ve taken me up on it? Once. One time, ever, and they didn’t even actually do anything with it. I can be hard on them, but it’s only because I see the potential that they don’t see within themselves.
Another thing that really angers me? Is being punished for doing well in life. That we are held to a different standard than everyone else in the family because we are responsible. The fact that things will be taken from us to give to someone else who truly is not deserving. And I’m angry about the fact that my wife has to have such terrible memories about our wedding because she is the “other daughter”. I’m angry that she had to be continually slapped in the face last year at her own sister’s wedding and constantly reminded for months that her wedding wasn’t as important. I’m angry at all the work that I had to pay for last year from family that did the same thing for free to everyone else. It bothers me that something that was given to everyone else isn’t being offered to us just because I have a good job. It hurts to be treated worse for doing better. I’m angry at the fact that almost all of our family lives less than 10 minutes from our house but very rarely ever makes an effort to see us, but will drive over 2.5 hours multiple times a month to see other people. I’m angry at the fact that my wife was basically broken from being in a toxic work environment for so many years that she chose to walk away from flexibility with her children to be in a place where she was respected.
I get angry at the way that my oldest daughter constantly lies to us, even about the dumbest things. I have anger about the way my youngest children treat each other, knowing that if they just chose to love one another unconditionally that they would be so much happier.
I am angry for the fact that I almost lost my wife last year because I was stupid and thought I wanted things I definitely did not want. And that I hurt her by saying some pretty damaging things. And the fact that she lost a lot of trust in me because of it, sometimes still having unseen consequences.
I get angry at the fact that I let myself get so unhealthy that I was unable to even do anything active with my own children. And I still struggle with my body to this day. Do you know how frustrating it is to be so uncomfortable with yourself that you will avoid swimming, even around family, because I still see myself as 60 pounds heavier than I am.
And I get angry at the fact that I willingly chose to turn my back to God and think that I was in control of my own life.
As you can tell, I’ve got a lot of anger I still need to free myself from. I’m hoping that giving myself to Jesus entirely will remove this from my heart.
I realize I still struggle greatly with feelings of sadness and anger. I pray that You will guide me in seeking the forgiveness that I truly need to free myself from this pain.
Please help me in forgiving those who have stolen parts of me that I struggle with finding again.
All I want to do is bring joy to this world. I want to bring happiness to others. I want those around me to be filled with smiles and laughter.
I want to be the best husband, the best father, the best son, the best brother, the best friend, the best caretaker, etc. that I can be.
I know You have already forgiven me for all the wrong I have done. I hope You can help me with the pain and anger that I am trying work through.
I ask that You please continue to be patient with me.
Please forgive me for turning my back on You so many times, allowing myself to be consumed with all of this pain.
On this path I am on to be a surrendered follower of Jesus I am learning to love unconditionally. Not only others, but also myself. How am I to seek forgiveness without addressing my sins and failures? I can’t just drop to my knees and yell out “Please forgive me for everything I have done!”. That just feels like I’m cheating. Like I haven’t worked to earn what I am asking for. But Jesus already knows everything I have done and everything I have thought. He has already forgiven me before I have even asked for forgiveness, right?! You’re absolutely correct.
So why am I doing this? I could just keep all these thoughts to myself and no one would ever know this part of my past. I could have a clean start. But I don’t want that. I want people to know that I am a broken person. That I am going through a lot of hard work to have this relationship with Jesus. It’s not necessary. He will accept me for the simple request of forgiveness, but I need to free myself of these thoughts and feelings and release the bonds. I need to address the demons so that I can have a clean start for me. I will be seeking to be re-baptized soon, so over the next few weeks (and possibly months) I am going to be working on a series to start addressing some (the list is long) of my faults and weaknesses. I want to free my heart of these burdens before I cleanse myself and start my life fully surrendered.
I will be pouring out my thoughts and feelings and trying to explain the context of the situations.
You probably are not going to like the things I have to share. I don’t like them. They hurt. A lot. But I can not pretend as if my past did not happen. I have to use them as learning opportunities to build a stronger relationship with Jesus.
So let’s dive right into this…
My wife and I are currently working on finalizing all of our “post-death” wishes. Setting up a living trust, making adjustments to life insurance policies, etc. Of course, in any normal conversation, this is going to bring up a lot of emotions and what-if scenarios.
We’ve all played the “What If?” game, right?! It’s absolutely terrible. This game is never played with positive outcomes! It’s always the worst case scenarios and just makes what you’re talking about so uncomfortable.
Here’s a scenario that brings up a lot of sad memories and where today’s topic comes from – “What if you get sick?”
Now, this has been a big component of a lot of relationships in my life. I watched my grandmother deteriorate from cancer in front of my eyes to the point that I felt peace when she finally passed away, knowing she was no longer suffering. I’ve watched my dad collapse walking across the house because of health issues. I watched my grandfather take cocktails of medications on a daily basis just to get through the day from COPD. I see people needing to carry around oxygen tanks just to be able to breathe and perform a necessary requirement to live.
I’ve seen children with scars that take up their entire chests from heart conditions and surgeries. I’ve seen children who literally are at risk of drowning in their sleep from cystic fibrosis. I’ve seen children who couldn’t even eat food on their own.
I’ve seen pain. I’ve seen suffering. I’ve seen death…
Here’s a story most of you probably don’t know about me, for reasons that will become evident soon. A few years ago I suffered unimaginably painful migraines. We’ve all had some before where we just want to lock ourselves in a dark room and sleep the day away. But mine were so bad that I wanted to gouge out my eyes because the sunlight hurt so bad (some days pressing on my eyes would make the pain subside, if only for a few moments). I would cause pain to other parts of my body to temporarily distract from my head.
It was intense. I went through so many different medications trying to find something that would work. Every single week the doctor was prescribing something new, and nothing ever seemed to do the trick. Eventually it lead to another round of severe depression.
Finally the doctors started to suspect something else was going on. So guess what comes next? Yup. The conversations of MRIs and CT scans to check for brain tumors. And here’s the part of the story that you guys aren’t going to like, because it makes me so sad to think about…
I hoped that there was something wrong with me. I hoped that they would get in there and say “Oh, well there it is!” and then turn around and tell me that I only had a year or so left to live.
I wanted that conversation to happen.
Obviously, as I sit here today, that conversion didn’t actually happen. God has bigger plans for me. Tests continually came back positive and the new medications kept coming. A medication finally did the trick after months of testing and I was placed on an anticonvulsant for a very long time until the pain finally subsided.
And guess what happened when that conversation didn’t happen? I was disappointed! I was sad that I wasn’t dying. I envied the people that I saw that were sick. Not for the pain that they were going through, but for the love that they received because of it. Because in those moments where people were at their lowest physically, they were at their strongest spiritually. And they were surrounded by loved ones.
And I didn’t believe that I had that.
What was wrong with me?!
I sat at my cousins funeral 6 years ago and saw the place filled with people that loved him so incredibly much. And it was in that moment that I realized I felt so alone in this world. But Kyle, your family should be enough, right?! Right. But that’s a forgiveness post for another day.
But thinking of my mortality just brought about sadness. And anger. And very conflicting feelings that just made me feel even more lost. I have a soft spot for sappy books and movies where the main protagonist dies in the end, more specifically from sickness. I would watch these movies and read these books and see how much good came as they approached the end of their lives. And I would long for that. But then I would turn around and think of my funeral if I were to pass and could only see maybe 10 people showing up, including my own family. So, I would want to be sick to be able to have an excuse to bring people closer to me, but I didn’t want to be sick because it would be a reminder of how alone I truly was? That’s not okay.
I’ve just recently come to the realization of how alone I really was for such a long time. I only have myself to blame, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
It’s, rightfully, hard for me to admit these things, especially knowing how incredibly selfish it is because people have to actually endure these horrible moments in their lives. And I’m so sorry if you think I am lessening the extremities of these situations.
But this is something that is no longer a part of who I am. My life is not my own to live.
One, I have a growing family that loves and wants me around.
Two, that is not the way Jesus lived His life! He gave His life for others, including me. Not for His own selfish desires! He gave the ultimate sacrifice so I could be stupid and free to think those terrible things in the first place.
Three, I am not here, living this life, to build a kingdom of my own. I am here to serve others and to make a difference.
My thoughts were incredibly selfish, upsetting, sad and not pure.
So today, I seek forgiveness. For my envy. For devaluing my life when it is not mine to do so. For believing that God’s plan for me was less than my own.
Today I am one step closer to loving myself unconditionally, for I have come to realize that Jesus is a part of who I am, and for Him to love me unconditionally I must do the same and live as if He were living my life for me.
I have lived my life for so long as a sinner. My sin has brought me no joy or happiness in life. It was not until I began to give my life to You that the skies began to clear and the light was shown on my life.
I ask for forgiveness from You today for treating my life as if it weren’t such an incredible gift from You, personally! Please forgive me for undervaluing my life and hoping for it to be shortened. I know You have been by my side through every transgression, protecting me from myself and not answering my prayers. Sometimes the greatest gift in life is unanswered prayers.
You have plans for my life that I can not even imagine and I will do everything that I can to share my gifts and blessings with others. I will serve others!
I am a sinner. Thank You for bearing my sins for me and for allowing me to be, for lack of better words, an idiot for such a long time.
I am a better person because of You, and I will continue to follow in Your footsteps and live my life as if You were living it for me. What a blessing it is to know that You are a part of who I am!
In Jesus’ name.
I’m sorry for such a heavy post. I wish I could say that they get easier from here, but I know that that is not true. But on the bright side of all of this, we all already know how the story ends – with me living a fully surrendered life to Jesus and finding my way back to His Kingdom!
When I created this blog over 4 years ago I was in a place in my life where the only thing I wanted was solitude for my immediate family of 5. This blog was created to be about OUR little infinity. I had shut the rest of the world out and was focused on my wants. My needs.
But I’ve come to realize that “our” is a relative term. It does not have to be about my wife and I, or a family of 5. And I’m so glad that it is not that way! I am so grateful that I am no longer the person that I once was.
I’ve thought about going through the process of changing the blog name. I know the steps that need to be made to switch the domain name, how to change the authors, etc. But I don’t want to any longer. As I have mentioned in a post on my Facebook, my past is what has brought me to be where I am and the person I have become. And I want to embrace my past, the pain and all.
Let’s break this out and over-analyze, shall we?
Table For Five. Today, this means I am setting a hard limit on the number of people I let into my life. I am closing myself off from the world, putting up walls and telling others that if you don’t belong in my small group, you’ll never get to know me. The only people allowed to sit at my table are my wife and children.
That’s not who I want to be! Not anymore. Not ever again! As I’ve mentioned before, we are planning on moving before year end. One of the biggest reasons that I now want to move is because I do not physically have the space in my own home to be able to have people over. I want my new home to be a safe haven for others. I want it to be a second home to my loved ones. I want it to be open to my neighbors. I can promise you now that other people will have keys to my home. Where you don’t have to knock to enter. Where you will always be welcomed.
I want to be surrounded by loved ones every day. I want to share meals all the time.
One of my absolute favorite things that I get the privilege of doing is having dinner with my best friends and their family once a week. Every week, aside from times of sickness, we prioritize sitting down and breaking bread together.
And my favorite thing about it is that when we all sit down together there is not a division in families. If you ever watch us together, we do not separate. The adults do not sit apart from the children, spouses do not pair off and stay right by one another. We come together as one. And my heart is so full being able to speak to every single one of them individually as if we have known each other our entire lives.
And it’s something I want to be surrounded by. I want to just give so much love. I want to have plans every night of being with loved ones. I want to build relationships. I want to share the love of Jesus.
I don’t want a table for five. I want a table for fifty.
I am this new person now and all I want to do is just give my love to others. And it’s such a weird feeling to me because just a few months ago I was so closed off to the world. But now my eyes, and my heart, have been opened.
Love creates such beautiful transformations.
Our Little Infinity.
How naive I was to believe that my life, and the life my family had, was from my own doing. That I had a right to claim it as my own. To take possession of “our” little infinity.
Our little infinity is so much greater than I could have ever imagined. To have the love of God, to be a follower of Jesus. To be given eternal life. Oh how it just opens the doors to so much beauty and joy.
We have a life that has been blessed upon us, and we get the honor of sharing this with others. “Our” grows from five to a community of so many.
Our little infinity now means the life I get to share with my community for the time I am alive. And what an amazing thing that is.
I am brimming with love. And compassion. And joy. And happiness. Oh, my heart has never felt this way before and I never want it to change.
I’m eager to make this transition into our new home and begin sharing my life with those around me. Please fill my life with love. Let us share a meal together. Let’s go for a walk. Let’s cry together. Let’s pray together! Let’s just be together, with love in our hearts. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion.
And for those who already welcome me into their homes, you are a big reason why I strive to be a better person. I hope these meetings happen often as it is easily one of my favorite moments each week and something I look forward to.
My family of five is no longer. It has grown and I am so blessed.
Oh how You have made Your presence known in my life! I see You all around me. I stop and notice the amazing things You have done in this world that we take for granted on a daily basis.
I recognize Your blessings and I cherish them!
My heart has been opened because You worked through others to bring me back to You. I see You in their eyes. I hear You in their voice. I feel You in their hugs.
Today I want to thank You for everything in my life. I know You are not responsible for the bad, but know You never left my side through them. You allowed me to try to do things on my own, and were always there to catch me when I fell. And You have forgiven me through them all.
How loving You are. That You would sacrifice so much to allow me be here, as significant and small as I have felt in the past.
I pray that You allow me to share my love with all those who are willing to accept it. I want to bring love and happiness to others lives, as You have done for me.
I pray to be blessed with a table for so many! That I can serve others and give them a place to rest their feet and their hearts. To give others a second home and a place to feel safe and loved.
I thank You again, as I will likely do every day, for bringing loved ones to my life. Those who make me be a better person. Who make me feel so incredibly welcomed.
I pray that You continue to be there for those who are in pain this evening, and that You may grant them peace and serenity.
I thank You for everything You have blessed my life with. You have given me so much and I am eager to give back in any way I can.
Thank You for opening my eyes and my heart.
A fair warning before I end this post this evening, I am making an effort to express my feelings every chance I get. We are not promised tomorrow, and if today happened to be my last I don’t want anyone to ever question how I felt about them. So, I will tell you I love you. Often. Because love is such a beautiful thing, and just being told that you are loved, in my experience, just makes everything so perfect. And hugs are one of my new favorite things. Not little ones, though. Long, full embraces are the best. ☺️
So, with that said, I love you! If you are reading this post it is because you are someone I care about and wanted to be a part of my life.
P.s. since I am letting more people in to my blog, please don’t forget to “follow” down below. Just put in your email address and verify it and you will get emails anytime I post!