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Fearless Is My Middle Name

My sophomore year of high school, I had a biology II class. It was a class that most people took their senior year because they were short on some science credit and it was known to be easy. I switched into this class for a girl (my advice: NEVER do that). Anyway, it was a bunch of upperclassmen slackers for the most part in the class. At first this was intimidating, but it got a little easier when I became friends with a few of them. One of these friends in particular I found much fidelty with since he was a clown. He would always act up and make a scene for attention or just do something weird to get some laughs. This was a mantle I carried after he left. 

There was a problem though. This guy’s name was Thunder. Yeah, his actual name was Thunder. Man, that is still so cool. I couldn’t deal with taking the famed position of class clown from a guy with a name like that and bestowing it on a lowly Zachary. Something had to be done. 

So one day I decided my name was going to be Explosion. And that was it, my name became explosion. It’s pretty easy to unofficially change your name in high school, just edit your Facebook and adjust the heading on your homework and Bam new name. So now I was Explosion. 

But that just wasn’t enough. I had a taste of manliness but the name needed more umph. So another day I added what gave the fulfillment I lacked and became Zachariah Fearless Explosion. 

It was perfect. A nice ring to it and still all the ridiculousness I needed. 

Awkward transition

I remember some words of wisdom my dad gave to me once.

It was just before he moved to Arizona close to a year ago. He was explaining why he wanted to move and what was around the corner for him. He said that what he was planning was exciting for him but moving somewhere he’d never been to a place where he hardly knew anybody was going to be pretty scary. I wasn’t very understanding at the time. I told him it didn’t make much sense to live like that, leaving everything behind and facing the unknown. 

When I asked him why he and my mom wanted so badly to make this move, he told me something that has stuck with me. 

He said, “I’ve starting asking myself, what would my life look like if I weren’t afraid?”

I think these are very meaningful words. In times of my life when I feel the most inspired to make a change, even a small one, it’s always difficult to look beyond the immediate difficulties. Sometimes I feel chained to my current way of life, as if this is all there is and to venture away from it is madness if not suicide. 

But that’s not the truth. If your imagination, your dreams and your message are bigger than your circumstances, you have no right to remain where you are. You know you’re a leader, and leaders need to take action, no matter how terrifying it is to do so.  I have the responsibility to grow above the fear and complacency and comfort of normal. 

For me it is encouraging to remember that bravery runs in my family, and Fearless is my middle name. 

If you feel discouraged by normal and by fear of the unknown I’d like to tell you something. You may or may not be in high school, but you can still change your name. And it isn’t even hard. 

No matter how lame your real name is, you can change it and be who you call yourself. 

It’s a pretty silly story, but I hope that encourages someone somehow. Have you ever had a neat nickname? Did it stick? tell me all about it, and thanks for reading! 

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
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So Many Sandwiches

So Many Sandwiches

An awkward thumb belligerently stands in the way as a viciously delicious bite is about to take place

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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What is the “Good Life”

I was listening to Tullian Tchividjian’s book Unfashionable the other day, in which he talks about living differently as a Christian to make a difference. He brought up an important point I believe. He stated that the ambitions of a Christian are totally different than a non-Christian. It made me think of a video I had watched of an apologist who visited a campus and gave a lesson on Christianity. He said that the goal of a Christian and a non-Christian are the same; to live the “good life”. I agree that many Christians might think this way, and God surely longs to give us life that is good, but he misses the point. To this apologist, and many others I’m sure, life is about happiness. Christianity to them is a way to happiness and a great life. It’s obvious that every person alive desires this. So the problem they have with non-christians is just that they have the wrong method to obtain it. Like for instance we all want the security of being financially stable or having a nice family. So this Christian would say that with God we can get that and so He is a good method. However stealing to get money and having babies with everyone you meet is a bad method to obtain it. The end meets the means. We share the same end but just have the wrong means to get there. There are a few problems with that. The first one is that you can get those things without God. You can live a happy, secure life completely free of obligation to His commands or devotion to His word. You can work hard and earn on your own, you can even start a lovely family completely on your own. The second is this: it’s not the truth. ‘Christian’ literally means like Christ and to life a life like Him and follow Him means more than just subscribing to a church in order to have a ‘blessed’ life. The truth is that Jesus promises blessings(good things) to His followers. Like forgiveness and help and joy and power. They are throughout the scripture. But He also promises bad things. Like persecution and hatred and torment and even death. You can’t just take one slice of the cake, the offering Christ gave isn’t for a great life on Earth, it is for a meaningful one. Jesus isn’t leading us down a different road to the same place sin is leading the rest of the world. Jesus is leading us on a completely different path, directly to Him. He makes this clear in John chapter 9 verses 23-26 when He says that anybody who wants to follow Him has to take up their cross. Whoever wants to save his life has to lose it and whoever loses his life for Him will surely save it. The Christian call isn’t to a different lifestyle to get material gain. It’s a call to completely die. Not just to sin, but also to desires, wether we think them good or bad, and ambitions, no matter how right we think they are. Christ tells us we have to die to ourselves and to the ways of this world. After this transformation, we are not the same. We don’t desire wealth or health or security, we desire God. Our savior was tormented, made poor, chastised, abandoned and broken not so that we could live really great earthly lives, but so that we could actually live! This world is dead, and Christ came to give it life. We have to completely surrender our lives to Him and He will give us new desires and ambitions that are completely different than the world. And nothing we give for Christ’s sake can be called a sacrifice from us in comparison to His perfect sacrifice. God will bless us, but His plan is much better than a comfortable earthly life. And His ends are much better than we can even imagine. Talk to me about this, I have lots to say! Be encouraged today.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Calling an Audible

Ever had a very quick change of plans? So quick that you feel like you’re forced to make several decisions with no time to decide?

I don’t like it too much.

Mind me, I do enjoy pressure sometimes, because it can show raw character. Often when we are blindsided by an especially difficult responsibility or emergency, it will show our true colors and inward motives.

So it’s good! But can I go ahead and say it sucks sometimes?
I rely on my own intuition, reasoning, and plan making so much, that when something comes from nothing and gets right in the way of these three facilities of mine, I can’t deal.

I think God puts us into tests like this sometimes. 1st Peter 1:7 talks about such trials.

in which you rejoice greatly, although now for a short time, if necessary, you are distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more valuable than gold that is passing away, but is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 1:6, 7 LEB)

So biblically, we are promised hardship; moreover, unexpectedness since a trial wouldn’t really be a trial of we saw it coming way way ahead. So we’re in a tight spot. We know that difficulty will come, but we don’t know what difficulty or when.

One helpful hint I think I’ve picked up along my short journey is to shut up but not shut down.

If something happens too quickly for me to comprehend, the first instinct I have is to render my reasoning or decision making or even prayer completely useless and go straight to complaining. Not only is it easy to give up in a battle, most everyone you know will probably condone you to do so by giving you extra excuses.
That’s exactly the problem. Trouble comes that interrupts your plans. You shut down the ability that you have to make those plans and find a way to work through and you go right into doing nothing but coming up with excuses.

Not a good way to live. 1 sloppy reason for doing something great is better than 100 great excuses for doing nothing at all. There are always going to be a lot of reasons you can’t do something, but even just 1 reason that you can is more powerful than all of them. If you can’t say a positive word in a hard time, it’d be better to not say any, lest you not only discourage yourself further, but also those listening.
Your influence is greater than you think, so don’t create a pattern of failure to follow.

So in these situations, the first thing to do is to close your mouth.

The next is don’t give in. You won’t always know what to do when you’re in trouble. You won’t always know what the right thing or the cool thing or the Christian thing to do is. But I’ll tell you this: you will know a lot more if you try.

Quitting is easy and comfortable and inviting. Like a couch.
The proverbial bench in life is a couch. Audible is called on the field and you have 2 choices. You can adjust, bend, stretch, and hustle to do what the play demands of you, or you can walk off the field and take a seat.

Be aware, if you step out when things are hard, you won’t be alone. There’s always more people on the bench or the sideline. They know what it is like to be faced with a challenge, and will support your decision to walk off. But let me tell you, sitting in the couch isn’t playing the game (people who spend most of their time doing so can’t play even if it was easy). If you take the easy route and shut down and make excuses on the sidelines of your own life, you will be watching others for the rest of the game.

Take control of yourself. Stay in the game. Shut up, don’t shut down, and keep a level head.

In the area of your faith, I think it’s a very similar story.

Interestingly, this verse includes a look into the world to come and we see that the true faith (as it has been tested and tried) brings the most glory to God and will be exalted on the day that He is revealed to the whole world.

Holding on is worth it. Tests will come, often where and when you least expect them. Giving in to your doubt is seductive and after an audible is called you might be the only one on the field.

But there’s one last thing: The trophy doesn’t go to the winner in this game, it goes to the players who stay on the field.

The verse told us that if our faith withstands the fiery trials (perfecting trials) it will bring much praise and glory to God. It didn’t say if our faith withstands and we do something great with it. You don’t have to win, you just have to stay in the game. Because Jesus already won.

Be encouraged today. Thank you for reading.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Who Are My Friends?

There was a time in my life, not too long ago, when I really felt like I had cool friends. A good portion of my friends are a couple years ahead of me. I realize this doesn’t matter a whole lot at my age but when you’re in high school, it’s neat to have some upperclassmen buddies. They gave me not only a sense of security, but also a sense of confidence. Wow, thought I, these musicians and ministers and just generally fun people actually think I’m worth talking to and socially accepting. 

Well I was wrong.

I came to my friend Kelten’s house this afternoon just to visit and was appalled at what I came upon. I’ll interject here with a disclaimer. Kelten is known in our friend circles (which you are now a part of) for being a little nerdy. Nothing frightening. but he could probably name more Marvel heroes than you knew could exist without a sweat. 

This sort of nerdom was trendy for a time, which was found fairly conveniently for my friends like him. I recall many a status about playing retro pokemon games or enjoying reruns of dragonball z. This stepped past that for me though.

From trendy to treacherous. 

I had walked into a heated duel, yes an actual “duel”, of the late magic card game, Yugioh. Surprised and somewhat betrayed at my so-called “friends” lack of coolness, I reeled. I almost didn’t even want to be caught in the same room as this geek fest. 

Memories began to flood my distraught mind of a time long ago when I had a deck of these cards and thought it was ok. Thankfully, that time didn’t last long, and I burned the cards before any reputation scarring took place. I also was brought back to my early high school years when I would look across the cafeteria to the sad dark corner near the trash cans where eccentric dress, social unawareness, and frightful public displays of affection or infection would collide around a table of these same decks.

I couldn’t let this happen.

In these times, you wonder when. When did I stop caring enough to allow my dear friends to become the card-crazed cafeteria rejects? When did things change? When did I let them slip too far?

So I did what had to be done. 

I gave up on the friendship and moved onward and up the ladder. Like a good friend should, I realized that they just aren’t good enough for me and would only be dragging me down to their sad nerdy little level. 

Have you ever been in a situation like this? tell me about it and laugh at the non-conforming weirdos with me. 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2013 in Uncategorized