Friday, January 15, 2021
Home Authors Posts by David Webster

David Webster

The lies that lie beneath

How much do you trust your thoughts?

I recently found myself realizing that I had allowed my thoughts to wander into dangerous territory – that I was starting to make judgement calls based on my interpretation of events rather than the truth of the situations I found myself in. It was a scary wake up call to realize that I was regarding others based on a selfish perspective rather than seeing the true intention behind what they were doing.

Sounds intense? That’s because it is. But you don’t pick it up straight away… There is a subtle lulling of the senses when it comes to lies that we begin to believe. Here are a few that I have had to call out in my own thought life before they began to derail my confidence and trust.

No one really cares

Self-pity is more toxic to thoughts than anything else. It’s the trusty partner of jealousy, anger, malice and the basis for all kinds of wrongdoing. I found myself becoming way too sensitive to how others spoke to me or treated me, when in reality everyone around me was just living their best lives. Just because someone doesn’t do exactly what you desire or expect to connect with you does not mean they don’t care. If you question others’ actions and words constantly it’s based on an insecurity that is YOUR problem – not anyone else’s. You can believe no one cares and stay a victim. Or realize that it is a lie that is tainting your perspective and approach others with the intention to give rather than receive. Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you have nothing to give to those around you. Don’t allow any ‘label’ to support a lie in your life.

You have no purpose

Our generation specifically consistently seeks for meaning in our actions – we want to know that we are making a difference or having some kind of impact on the world around us. But the fact is there will be more time in the mundane – where you are simply eating, drinking, doing bills and laundry – than impacting any amount of people. It is in the times where no one seems to notice you or acknowledge your efforts that you can start believing that you have no purpose. That’s a big lie. You have purpose – specific, powerful purpose. Just because you or others can’t see it right now does not mean it is not there. Anything of value is going to take some time. Overnight successes are bread in years of darkness. To not believe this lie, you are going to have to believe God has given you purpose that he will bring to pass. Without a relationship with God, it is impossible to have hope in this area – believe me I know.

You’re alone in this

This is a lie that is crippling our age. Many studies are reporting loneliness is at an all-time high – brought on mainly by the illusion of connectivity that social media represents. But no matter how many Instagram followers, Facebook ‘friends’ or views on your video you have, you can potentially feel lonelier than ever. It’s evident with the whole celebrity problem as well – millions follow them, but they are so ‘untouchable’ that they don’t have genuine connections (outside of the community of church). I know there have been many moments where I have started to believe the lie that I am alone in my struggles – that no one else seems to be battling with security, relationships, friendships, addictions, self-worth or finances. If I have learnt anything in the last few months it is that everyone is struggling with something. But they are allowing themselves to be isolated by pride. In not being honest about the struggle, you think you appear ‘on the same level’ as others, when the fact is we will always perpetually be on the same level – in need of help and grace.

The main remedy for loneliness, however, is something way more personal than just admitting than you need help. It’s a personal relationship with God. He promised to never leave us. He is always available – even when your best friends’ phone battery dies and your family are half way round the world. If you would like to know the greatest companionship life will ever offer – click on the link below to find out more.

The case for dreaming

If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? If money, time or capacity wasn’t a concern – what would you immediately put your hand to? These days it seems like more and more people desire to change the world. But that intention doesn’t always turn into action because of a few factors.

Be it fear, allowing failure, restricted resource or disability to become an excuse, or simple distraction – there are many that find themselves pulled down to average living straight away. Even those who have traction are in danger of losing it all. It’s clearly portrayed in the current reality series format – where people progress through levels of a competition all professing that singing is all they want to do and that this opportunity will change their lives… And as much as it has become rhetoric, it is still true. But then one by one they fall like flies back into anonymity or, at best, into B grade spinoff shows like I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

So why dream? Why aspire to anything when there are so many reasons why you cannot ever do it? I believe there are a few reasons. Hereforth lies my case for dreaming:

  1. Dreaming makes us human

We are set apart as the only species that can imagine something and then make it happen – to bring something fresh and new into the world out of nothing. A humanity that doesn’t dream is a humanity in decline. Imagine if no one launched a new business, aspired to roles of leadership in government or industry, or dreamt up new stories to entertain us. Life would be infinitely boring and everything would be in a perpetual war on repairing things that were breaking and failing. We are like sharks – if we don’t move forwards, we will suffer and eventually die. Progress is the greatest form of motivation there is. How could we stay motivated without dreaming?

  1. Dreaming makes the world better

We have seen technology completely revolutionize how we communicate, drive, eat, work and relax. But this is not the last frontier. The best businesses haven’t been built. The best brands haven’t been imagined. The greatest humanitarian advancements haven’t been formulated. The most incredible buildings haven’t yet been drawn. Dreaming will not only help end suffering, but also gives meaning to suffering. If there is a light at the end of the tunnel, all of a sudden the present darkness is worth enduring. We need to dream.

  1. Dreaming connects us to God

God is the ultimate creative. He gives us dreams and has the greatest ability to make something out of nothing. When we dream, we are seeing what our lives could be – beyond the boundaries of what looks possible. In many ways, if we truly dream with wild creativity – open to the fact that the impossible is possible – we need to acknowledge God. In partnership with him I have seen the most impossible dreams become reality. He specializes in what we deem ‘impossible’ and takes us on an adventure to see our wildest imaginations outworked and set in motion before us. Dreaming when living in relationship with God connects you to faith like nothing else will. It sets a desire and a longing for the unexpected and that expectation is a magnet for God to show up and astound us.

One of the greatest reasons I dream is because I know that there is a lot on God’s heart for this world that still isn’t being communicated or expressed to its fullest. And as I get caught up in the wondrous possibilities, I have seen God take those fantastical ideas that I wouldn’t dare whisper to others and completely blow me away as they become a reality.

Knowing God is that crazy – that fun and that exciting. If you would like to know him for yourself, click on the link below.

Shame Exposed

There is one South Africanism that has distinctly marked our country linguistically: the use of the word “Shame”. Used to express sympathy for the diminutive, it has confused many a foreigner and could even hint at some deeper themes that run in our post-apartheid society.

The world is becoming more and more relative. With so many different beliefs and perspectives, it is an interesting time on earth to decide what to believe. In many ways religion – Christianity especially – has become two things:

  1. An overarching dogma that paints the world with broad strokes of dull legalism.
  2. A decision that is deeply personal and completely insular.

There is a problem with both of these views.

  1. Christianity is not just a set of beliefs. The church should by no means be a law enforcing institution that seeks to control. The church is not meant to be run like a state. It is meant to be a representation of all those who believe in Jesus. It is meant to be a factor in society that promotes unity and progress. Church is all about the people, not the place. It is all about encouragement, support, centred around Jesus Christ and what he has done for all who believe in him.
  2. Christianity is not only a personal decision. I have witnessed how becoming a Christian and working out my faith in this world has had repercussive effects on my environment and the people in those environments. Christianity is not containable. It will spill out and affect the way people live. The passion and love for Jesus will result in decisions that will confound people who don’t have the same revelation.

I don’t know which version of Christianity you have experienced. But in this world of relativism, where the goal is that everyone believes what they want to without affecting each other, there is a basic flaw: the concept of shame.

Shame /ʃeɪm/: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour.

Now before you jump on any high horse and argue that this inherent part of our emotional construct is nothing more than a cultivated mindset resulting from the way society has raised us, hear me out.

Shame is not something I would wish on anyone. It is not an emotion that should be harnessed by any organisation for any reason. I know that God did not want shame in this world, but here we are – facing feelings of intense remorse over things that we have said or done.

Biblically, shame came as a result of disobeying God (otherwise known as sin). He did not want Adam and Eve to ever try to hide away from him because of what they had done. He did not want that separation for a second. You see, the Bible says God created us so he could love us – not control us. He gave us the option of opting out of his plans so that it was never a forced environment. Adam and Eve took that option and instantly regretted it.

Shame highlights moments where we realise that we have done wrong. It has the potential to rule our lives, but there are two things that I believe will help you view shame in a healthy context:

Everyone experiences shame.

Everyone is wrong at some point. It is in our nature to make mistakes, it is a human thing to harm ourselves and others by making reckless decisions – whether intentional or not. If you feel like things you have done in the past are still overshadowing how you live, please realise that there are billions of other people in the same boat. They may just have a different way of dealing with it.

Shame has a purpose

Have you ever thought that you could learn from the feeling of shame. Shame is always a result of an action. Now if that action was not yours, then I would advise you speak to someone. Sometimes things are done to you that result in deep wounds. If, however, you have done something that has caused you to feel ashamed, it can be a powerful way of learning what not to do. It also is an indicator that you are not in a healthy headspace – that there is a better way that you can view yourself and your environment.

Shame is very personal. It eats away at how we see ourselves. So overcoming shame is more internal than external. It may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, or a nagging undertone in the soundtrack of your life. But there is a solution – living the way you were created to live. God made you unique and effective for a specific purpose. He knows what he intended when he gave you all your quirks and characteristics. Getting to know him and his intentions for you completely changes how you see life. He does not want you to live feeling condemned – He sacrificed Himself so that don’t have to torture yourself with shame. To find out more – click on the link below.

The perfection of peace

There is a dying currency of peace in today’s society. Just 50 years ago there were no cell-phones, social media or 24 hour television networks. Where there would have been moments of undisturbed silence after an analogue alarm there are now messages, emails and ‘likes’ to clutter up that first moment.

Go back another 50 years and people had to commute in silence. Imagine every car, bus and train ride – time to think or converse with others as the slow automobiles trundled along.

But even back before technology, peace was not something naturally retainable. Trauma, guilt, anger, jealousy and pain dominated peoples’ thoughts as much as they might do today. Even in Bible times there were people plagued with everything from worry through to demonic powers.

The Pursuit of Peace

One of the things I question is why we all have such a desperate internal desire for peace. Have we ever truly experienced it in this life? That perfection of complete bliss – where there is no trouble or impending trouble. Guiltless security with no animosity or betrayal; we all long for that serenity. But why?

By nature we should know otherwise. We should know that humanity is fundamentally flawed – bent on rash decisions and uninformed reactions. The domino effect of generations of suffering and sin seems to be catching up with our generation. Our dysfunctions range from Facebook ranting to sordid abuses. With vices that cripple, stupor and put us on trial we have no real right or reference for peace… do we?

But all of us desire for that secret moment of peace. That fulfilled quietness that nourishes our soul. Some attain a measure of it by walking by the sea. Others pay irresponsible amounts of money for holidays to achieve a degree as well. Spa’s have made the desire marketable. Security companies make billions every year on it. But internal peace is a different pilgrimage altogether. Many meditate and go to desperate measures under trances to reach some form of enlightenment – with much time and striving to do so.

The Prince of Peace

I believe we all have a desire for ‘world peace’ that won’t win us beauty pageants, but might just win us eternal life. I believe we all desire physical, emotional and spiritual peace because we have experienced it – before we were even conceived. In the Bible it says that God knew us before conception… which means we must have residues of heaven within our existence. And we long for the perfection of that peace.

But instead of striving, venting, paying or even killing for it – there is a way to have moments of peace this side of eternity. I believe true peace is when we are completely open to the love and mercy of God. When Jesus came to earth, He was announced as a Prince of Peace. His rule is not established through subjugating humanity, but in redeeming it from the power of sin and the shame we carry because of it.

I can attest to the peace of knowing Jesus. Through very hard times – whether losing all my luggage as a 12-year-old on my own in Eastern Europe, facing the fact my mom has cancer, or being unemployed and almost destitute for over a year – I have found supernatural peace that has empowered and comforted me. It’s a peace that does not make sense. It is not manifested externally at first. The world around you still goes on with injustice, suffering and competition, but all of a sudden things that are expected to ‘stick’ to you and weigh you down simply slide off of you.

This peace pours strength into when you are tired. It silences the turmoil of your emotions and helps you see your situations with clarity. It draws faith-filled people around you who can encourage you and impart wisdom. This peace is a person. And you can know Him intimately. He is consistently changing my life. I believe He can do the same for you. Click on the link below to find out more…

But why is the world in disaster if He is so easily known?

The world and its inhabitants are living in the repercussions of decisions to excluded God from life. It’s like denying the pilot access to the cockpit and expecting the plane to fly and land safely. Yes, it is heartbreaking watching the chaos of hurricanes and earthquakes. It is detestable how many people are trafficked and tortured every day. It is heartbreaking how many people have lost their loved ones and how families have been fractured due to unaddressed pain.

But Jesus will only take control of your life if you invite Him to. Does He allow bad things to happen? No. He is good all the time. But if we want nothing to do with peace personified, of course there is going to be chaos in our worlds! Knowing Jesus might not stop the tough things around you. But it will silence the storms inside of you. I pray you find the wonderful relief of knowing your Creator. I pray for peace to rule in your life.

War on shame

Many think that shame is synonymous with guilt. Guilt is a fact. If you go to a court, you will find people arguing to deduce whether guilt or innocence is true – beyond any shadow of doubt. Guilt can be proven. But that is not the nature of shame.

Shame is the perpetual self-punishment as a result of guilt. It is the mental torture we suffer under as a sentence – in some cases a life sentence.

I am sick and tired of watching my generation slowly drown in shame. Many won’t cross the threshold of a church, receive the acceptance of those who love them or give themselves a moments’ peace because of the guilt they carry. They would rather drown their deep remorse in the shallow pleasures of relationships, substances and stories. They would rather live in alternate universes of movies, online games and sordid staged escapades than face the dark shadow of guilt: shame.

Your shame is probably a prison sentence

You will find yourself ruled and regulated – beaten into submission – by shame. It can determine where you go, whom you associate with, what you eat, what you wear, how you think and what you say. It is the oppression of depression. Shame leaches on your self-worth and will force you to forfeit your humanity. Shame is a life sentence we can find ourselves trying to cover up until we die. It manifests in the lonely corners behind closed doors… on secret windows of the internet and in desperate moments far from the light.

Your shame has been pardoned

For centuries God watched humanity live out their sentences of shame – to the point of sorrow that He decided to die so that we could be pardoned.

Jesus dying was not simply a symbol of redemption. It was the full weight of freedom entering earth. That one act shook the ground, tore curtains and rolled away stones. It toppled kingdoms and slaughtered judgmental religion dead in its tracks. God placed the fact of sin – and the sentence of shame (to the death) – on Jesus in that moment. Without guilt, shame has no reason to exist. It has no license to plague our lives.

In light of that, your present shame is pride

Hear me out – I know this sounds radical. But the fact is we all deserve to be ashamed. We have all done things that are horrible. We have all got areas that we would hope never see the light of day. I know I was trapped in the quicksand of shame for most of my life. It sucked the joy out of my formative years and beat me into retreating from all that is good in life. I believed I didn’t deserve value or hope. And I didn’t. I still don’t. But Jesus died – He bled out in exposed ridicule – so that I don’t have to live in condemnation any more.

If I choose to acknowledge what He has done for me, that requires me to change how I think and to accept His forgiveness. It is my responsibility to live guilt-free.

That’s all good in theory, but I had a very hard time letting go of my shame. I believed I deserved to be punished for everything I had done to myself and others. I had the audacity to think that I could fix myself through punishment before I approached the love of God. But Jesus died long before I ever made any bad decisions. He sacrificed Himself long before I sought sin. So what reason do I have to punish myself for guilt that has already been paid?

Jesus has paid the wages of your sin. So why are you still living out the prison sentence? It’s like someone paying your bail, but you refusing to walk out of the cell. The door has been opened. All you have to do is receive what Jesus has done for you – and walk out of the dungeons of shame.

Do I still mess up? Yes. Do I still constantly need forgiveness? Yes. But I have chosen to believe what God said – that I am pardoned and loved. Instead of pridefully insisting on trying to make myself pay for my problems in full, I have chosen to humble myself and accept the freedom and hope of Jesus dying and rising for me. If you would like to find this freedom, it is available to you right now. If you want to have this hope, it is waiting for you. Click on the link below to find out more.

Christianity: there is no moral high-ground

One of the saddest things I hear young people say is,

“I’ll come to church once I’ve sorted a few things out…”

It’s a reality that plagues our generation – an internal self-exclusion due to a guilt that should not be validated. It is very unfortunate that church has not always made the best impression throughout the ages. Some people have experienced it as a boring, life-sucking set of regulations. Others have seen it as a vehicle of oppression. Many have lost trust due to character failings in leadership or financial scandal. In the media the church has been portrayed as hypocritical and judgmental. It is so sad to see how young people have chosen to leave rather than join the church as a result.

But no matter what Christians have portrayed in the past, there is something that I believe is very important to clarify. In Christianity there is no moral high-ground. There is no pedestal on which people have the right to stand and judge. Yes, we believe there is a better way to live and make decisions, but we can in no way believe we are superior to any other human being.

Sin is universal… unfortunately

The Bible puts it clearly: we are all sinners. This side of heaven we will always be struggling to not mess up. Yes – some sin is more visible and apparent than others – but in the end we all have areas that need work. No one can be perfect. We will always have to deal with the consequences of emotional moments, rash decisions, neglect or misunderstanding. We will always have to deal with the fallout of other people’s decisions – that affect us in more ways than we will originally be aware.

So this side of heaven we have no authority to judge a fellow human being. Yes, I know that hasn’t stopped people from doing so, but it is definitely not the heart of Jesus. Sin is a sad reality – put simply, it is choosing a path without God instead of one with Him. And if we understand that God always wants the best for us, Christians would respond out of compassion (for one another and others) rather than judgement.

God is kind. And it is only in understanding the depth of that glorious goodness that changes behavior.

How do you love?

It’s not enough to just love someone. You have to master expressing that love in a way that is beneficial. This is where I believe many Christians have got it wrong… I believe the urgency to get people to accept God is, for all intents and purposes, an honest motivator. But reigning down on others with scripture and conviction will only push people away.

It is an immature notion to think that you can simply walk up to an unassuming acquaintance and change their lives in one instance. God is the one who draws people to Himself. There is no place in Jesus’ heart for a  “turn or burn” kind of ‘theology’. Love comes first. Grace comes first.

How can you force anyone to change their lifestyle and belief system without revealing that there is a better way of living? The power of your relationship with Jesus lived out (not just your words) should be the very indicator that there is more to life than the fleeting pleasures of our world. Don’t get me wrong – you should definitely share your faith. But don’t force it on others – even if you love them. That is not love outworked.

Jesus’ message was for all people, not just those who had a responsible lifestyle. In fact, He seemed to be way more comfortable with the outright sinners of the day than with any of the prestigious religious leaders.

How God loves

God came to earth as a baby to meet us where we were at. He knew us trying to live right was not going to be enough. He chose to bridge the gap. All of us have no right to be called ‘righteous’ or ‘honorable’. Even if things are going well and you feel like you’re getting a handle on life, your potential to mess up is not far away at all.

God loves first. Warts and all. When you’re at your worst. Whether we receive it or not. He is not repulsed by your mess-ups or confusions – they are the reason He so desperately cares for you. All you have to do is accept that care. The rest of how you live and what you believe is up to you and your relationship with God – outside of marriage and children, it is nobody else’s business. If anyone is outworking their life without it being a direct result of a relationship with God – they will be striving. And that is not God’s intention. He doesn’t want any false self-effort. He wants you to live free and enjoy life.

Click on the link below to find out more…

True accountability

I have been appalled at what people perceive to be ‘accountability’ today. If we look at government and big corporations, it is unfortunately clear that they have no regard for the term. Even within the church and Christian circles where you would maybe expect more, I was hoping that it would have held greater authority than it currently does.

All of us have areas in our lives that we are not proud of – issues and temptations that require the support and perspective of others to overcome. If we truly want to live to the fullest, we are going to have to celebrate and utilize the tool of accountability. In my personal journey, I have encountered several misrepresentations of accountability that hurt, more than helped, my life and potential.

At the risk of being judgmental and negative, I feel it is important to list what accountability is not:

An authoritative obligation

The dynamic of authentic accountability is a strange one. You cannot solely be seen as ‘friends’ – although friendship can be developed out of accountability – but you can also not be ‘superior’ and ‘submitter’. The worst form of accountability I ever had was when someone tried to punish me for failing. Accountability is not a disciplinary hearing that happens once a week. The only thing that does is drive the person who needs to be held accountability away. If they would rather pretend things were fine than tell the truth, then you have failed as an accountability partner.

The text message

The principle of only texting is not enough when it comes to helping people in their struggles. Why – because you cannot be on-call 24/7 and won’t be able to respond immediately to everyone’s low moments. If accountability is simply a text message, it is easily overlooked and fragile in interpretation at best. There needs to be a deeper connection that goes beyond your phone screen. Obviously there are many moments in which you will message one another and check in. But face-to-face and phone calls are very key in an accountability relationship. The margin for deception is also much greater over text. Once again, I found it way too easy to simply avoid the core of my issues in moments of weakness and make people feel ‘good about themselves’ as accountability partners, rather than admit to something that is weighing on me over text message.

Focussing on the negative

If you are only accountable for one specific area of your life, it is very hard to actually find victory. As much as some would wish, no ones’ life is completely compartmentalized. There is always a knock-on effect when it comes to addiction and temptation. If you are only being kept accountable for the negative things in your life, you will end up resenting your accountability relationship. Both you and your accountability partner will find it exhausting to speak. You cannot select different people to be accountable for different areas of your life. It’s a shallow way to live and you’ll end up deceiving all of them and hiding behind your options.

A systems review

This is an interesting one – but I have had many conversations that have simply been a review of what happened with the phrase, “so what will you do different next time?” Now – this is an important element of accountability – but it cannot be the only thing you talk about. The physical situations you find yourself in are somewhat to blame, but there is a whole lot more emotional (and I believe spiritual) elements at play that cannot be ignored.


Now that I have highlighted a few things that are not true accountability it’s time to describe the kind of relationship that I have found to be true accountability.

True accountability is…

self-initiatedevery time. You cannot rely on someone else to be more interested and invested in your life than you are. I’m sorry but you are going to have to believe in yourself enough to be brutally honest, man or woman-up and be vulnerable with someone trustworthy and wise. That means you are the one contacting them. You are the one setting the level of vulnerability. That means you asking for wisdom. It means you letting them know what is going on via text if you haven’t been able to meet up in a while.

holistic. It is a complete 360 degree commitment to being better. Instead of only saying what is wrong – you need to open up more. It is important to realize that it is not simply your present actions that have resulted in you struggling with pornography, alcohol, relationships or money. It has so much to do with your past – the lies you have given power, the horrible situations you have found yourself in and deep pain. You have to be willing to go to the route of your dysfunction with someone to truly find victory.

truth-driven. This is one of the greatest keys – confessing your deeds, thoughts or emotions to someone on a consistent basis keeps your life in the light. Darkness is where we lose our power. As someone being accountable it is important to be committed to telling the truth. As someone holding others accountable it is important to be reminding those people about the truth – that they are loved, accepted no matter what and called to bigger things.

judgement free and encouraging. True accountability means having a relationship where freedom is the prevailing atmosphere. The motivating interest is the improvement and success of a life destined for greatness.

It is the greatest honor to be able to walk journeys with some really brave and courageous men. I am overwhelmed by how much God loves and believes in them – and I am unapologetically (to the point of ruthlessness) committed to seeing them free from issues that are tampering with their identities.

God created us to be free and strong. He loves us despite our sins. He hates the sin only because it trips us up and kills our souls. The key to my victory over a crippling pornography addiction that ate away my self-confidence and completely killed my identity was knowing God. He counsels us first – and brings others around us that cheer us on towards victory. If you would like to know the God who made and loves you no matter what – click on the link below.

What frustration does to your future

Have you ever heard the saying, “make frustration your friend”? As much as I believe in this principle, there are a few more dimensions that need to be unpacked because, to be honest, nothing is more exhausting than constantly being frustrated.

I am, by nature, passive aggressive – although my housemates have gone to great lengths to try to change my ‘fight or flight’ reflexes over the past few years. Obviously internalizing everything is unhealthy and will end up in you doing extreme and irrational things once every couple of years, but there is a ‘pro’ to this as well. I have found that internalizing frustration has helped me grow in character more than any other force around me.

In our day and age, frustration is predominantly a result of impatience. We have been able to shorten the time it takes to cook, clean, travel and relate (to a degree). But there is no shortcut for a healthy soul. You are going to have to live in ‘real time’ if you want to be strong internally. Other areas where you will encounter frustration is in relationships (which leads to judgement among other things), in ability (which could lead to motivation) and position (which is based on insecurity) – to name a few.

But no matter how you encounter frustration – and there is no doubt you shall – it can be a powerful conditioner for your soul. Here are a few ways that frustration empowers you.

Creativity

The most incredible creations made by man have been birthed out of some form of frustration. I’m a nerd when it comes to the creative process… As much as I might have my own opinions on how we create, one thing that is almost universally acknowledged is that there needs to be a level of limitation when it comes to being creative.

I struggle to create anything without first knowing the constraints – whether it be the medium or the frame of the artwork, the length and instrumentation of the song or the message that needs to be communicated in a live production – nothing helps my creativity more than boundaries. And once they are set, you will find yourself consistently bumping up against them – getting frustrated to a point where you become ruthless with your own ideas. It is in this frenzy that new concepts can unfold.

So when you find yourself frustrated due to an outcome you cannot seem to reach with the boundaries set before you, it may be a catalyst for you to creatively find a solution that could benefit not only you, but the rest of the world.

Appreciation

If you have been frustrated about a certain situation for long enough, you will find yourself extremely appreciative when it changes. One of the things I was most frustrated about when I was at my previous job was having to work Saturdays. I loved the work. But even after two years it grated on me that my friends could go on hikes, have coffee hangouts and go away for the weekend while I drove to work. Now that I do have Saturdays free, it is the sweetest form of existence to experience and I am extremely grateful.

Even when things don’t change, frustration can charge your value of other things around you. If I am frustrated that I don’t have the level of influence others have, it will help me value and appreciate the areas of influence I have right now. (Just a note – when it comes to others’ respect, the only healthy way to earn it is to do what you currently have before you with excellence and consistency).

Responsibility

The most common reaction I have to frustration is to give up. Throwing in the towel may seem like an effective way for others to realize what you’re going through, but it has serious consequences when it comes to your credibility and reliability. Don’t get me wrong – there are times in life where the best thing you can do is give up. But they normally are founded more in conviction and out of responsibility, not simply in the ‘moment’ of frustration.

When you are frustrated, but you doggedly keep going, you build your capacity to resist the influence of situations. If you want to be reliable, you’re going to have to dig deep sometimes and not allow other people, situations and influences to affect your consistency. When you push through frustration, you come out the other side with more steel in your backbone and a greater capacity to carry responsibility. Obviously frustration is unpleasant – it can result in stress and anxiety. But just like training in the gym is uncomfortable and painful for your muscles, it is also good for you.

Authenticity

No one can relate to the perfect person, yet everyone is trying to be one. Frustration builds a level of truth into your character that others will gravitate towards. When you live through tough times and allow them to build you, you end up with a perspective that keeps you from being arrogant. Everyone can identify with being irritated with situations and people, but when you are true to yourself and aren’t affected in the long-term by them – people will sit up and notice. When people observe how you respond to the frustrations of life, you will earn respect that no one can match with ability or privilege.

In the end frustration will make you a stronger, more intuitive and well-balanced person. And that is what will set up your future. You might not see the fruits of it in the first few months, but when you’re in a job interview and they are looking at hundreds of candidates, you will be able to stand out because of those qualities that they ‘can’t seem to put their finger on’.

You might be in a time of life that you are finding extremely frustrating. You want to give up? I know. It’s hard. It seems unbearable. There might be many reasons to give up, and maybe you should. The only way I truly knew whether it was going to be worth it to stay resilient is through my relationship with God. Knowing God changes your perspective on your current circumstance. He helped me shoulder the load of life and reminded me who I am in the hard times. If you would like to explore how He could help you, click on the link below.

I believed the lie

I believed the truth.

We don’t hear many people saying that. In fact, I’m not sure many people even equate truth with belief. If it’s true, that means we believe it, right?

Wrong.

While I was talking through some issues I was having with someone, I realized that I had been believing false things and building how I thought, acted and responded on them. The truth was always present, but I had decided to rather believe a lie than agree with the truth. Even if we know the truth. Even if it’s a fact that has been reinforced by those closest to us, we can end up refusing to believe it and looking elsewhere for confirmation.

When it comes to our identities this is something that is crucial. I believe that there is an enemy of our souls who wants to trap us in lies that keep us small, broken and timid. The best way to do this is to attack you at your weakest and try convince you that you are not who you were made to be.

When I was four, I was abused by a guy and then told I was not a man. Now obviously I was a child, but I chose to believe that lie – it replayed in my head for years and years – resulting in many poor decisions and actions to try to prove myself. But what he said became a lie that I believed. I built my thought patterns, my actions, my sensitivities all on that lie – and my life would consistently come crashing down without fail.

Belief is a powerful tool

Our capacity to believe is something that sets us apart from the rest of creation. We have the capacity to choose and outwork our lives spiritually, emotionally and even physically based on what we believe. There is a slightly cheesy analogy of two wolves – one bad and one good. They are both equal in strength, but you have to decide which dog to feed. Feed the bad one, and the good one will be weaker and suffer. Feed the good one, and the opposite happens. This is very true when it comes to belief as well. You can choose to believe the truth – and then lies will lose power and impact in your life. If you choose to feed the lies instead, however, the truth about who you are will not be able to hold its ground in your thoughts.

The nature of a lie

Lies are convincing. They turn doubt into deception. In essence, a lie is the opposite of truth. But then the question begs to be asked – how much does truth twist before it is considered a lie? I have found that truth is way more finite, where lies are more ambivalent. God is truth – that is what I have experienced – and if truth is from God, then peace will reign. When you believe something about yourself that is true, you will have a peace that cannot be easily shaken. Lies, however, carry with them multiple levels of worry and turbulence. If you are tormented by specific things in life, or find yourself getting extremely frustrated – it’s easy to blame external things, but the root of that sensitivity is probably based on a lie you have learnt to believe. Lies are divisive and will keep you weak and unstable.

Belief is a choice

I know I have alluded to this already, but it is worth repeating. Many times in our Greek understanding of psyche, we have been conditioned to look for evidence before we choose to belief. I am all for making informed, responsible decisions. But when it comes to faith, sometimes we are unable to know what to look out for. That is when you have to choose to believe first, and then out of that you are able to experience whether there is the peace that accompanies truth or the restlessness that stems from believing a lie.

If you would like to know what it could be like to believe in Jesus, I would encourage you to click on the link below. It may seem weird, or too good to be true, but I have found that the peace and relevance that I have experienced in know Him personally has helped me identify the lies that have kept me stuck in addiction, shame and insecurity. Believing in God is the only way that I have been able to truly change and move forward in how I think about myself and my future.

Dangerous Decisions: Self-pity

Sometimes we can find ourselves in dangerous situations – we can balance precariously on the edge of our existence, trying to hold ourselves together while internally falling apart. Life is not fair. Relationships are hard. Situations are not ever 100% ideal this side of heaven. And we live with an internal longing for the peace and fulfillment of our lives to be consistent realities.

I have found when it comes to self-image, a healthy thought life and a pure heart there is a very dangerous combination of emotions that can pull me off track faster than most things. It’s a vicious cocktail of anger, arrogance and greed, with the innocent sheen of immaturity that I wish we would one day be able to graduate from: self-pity.

Before you close up and begin to agree – making a mental list of the people you might send this blog to – I want to make it super clear that I have yet to find someone who is not vulnerable to this kind of toxic thinking. In fact, it is in moments when I have felt the most independent and confident that I became most prone to fall for the insecurity of pitying myself. We all find ourselves feeling sad. Everyone on earth will have a reason why they could feel sorry for themselves – no ones’ life will ever be perfect. But it is up to us to decide whether we are going to face the emotion and the situations and get over them, or wallow in our egocentric messes.

When we are faced with a potential pity party moment, I have learnt that there are a few elements that can help us realize what is happening in our souls.

It all hinges on expectation

No one can be disappointed without expecting something. When our inner expectations are not met – the hopes and innocent dreams that you secretly nurse – it is very hard to guard against disappointment that in turn results in self-pity.

But why do we have expectations? I have met some people who have completely resigned themselves from life and any expectation. These people actually end up struggling more than most. So the absence of expectation is not the answer to avoiding self-pity. In fact, expectation is a key part of who we are – it points towards an ideal world where everything is good.

I believe that expectations are an indication that there is a better future – and ultimately a desire for heaven. Under the rule of God it is promised that there will be no weeping, no hurt, no suffering as well as parties and opulent beauty. As we sit this side of eternity, our souls still long to see that reality in our lives – and that is where the longing for something greater can lead to relationship with God.

Outside of a relationship with God, I have found it impossible to satisfy my expectations in any area. There will always be a longing for more. Achieving goals and external milestones are great, but there will never be a sustainable experience of ultimate perfection until heaven.

The attention factor

Whenever I am paddling around the self-pity pool, I have found it linked to not feeling like people see or care about me. When others are not consoling, acknowledging or including you – the easiest thing to do is give yourself the attention no one else deigns to offer. Now, I don’t want to excuse any sort of behavior – sometimes people never graduate from being a middle-school bully. Sometimes people are so self-absorbed in their own insecurities that they won’t recognize others. But there is a point where we can allow our sensitivity to destroy our perspective of the world around us.

Just because people don’t engage with you on the levels you desire every hour of the day does not mean that you are ignored or mean less to those around you. Self-pity will send the message that everything is not OK, but it will also cause you to self-destruct. The only way I have learnt to bypass this relationship trap is to be direct and clear in communicating. If you are having a hard time with life in general or with a specific relationship, address it while it is fresh. Don’t let it rot and fester and cause you to implode while no one notices around you.

When such an implosion takes place, the opportunity for self-pity once again intensifies – as no one seemed to care about the breakdown you had due to your first bout of self-pity. You can burrow deep wounds into your soul by continuing this cycle. Most of the time people around you are simply trying to do their best with what they have. They have hardly considered you, not because they don’t care, but because they have their own challenges. I believe that there are many people who consider themselves introverts simply because they have been offended and are suffering the aftereffects of self-pity. When it comes to others – speak up! Don’t let things boil under the surface.

The repercussions of behavior

In my case, as well as many I have spoken to, how we respond to self-pity can be extremely destructive. Whether it be violence, pornography, alcohol, drugs, eating, bullying, manipulation or judging – looking for something to take that ‘bad taste’ of rejection will make you desperate for things you hate. Many people offer cures to change your behavior, but the problem will still remain – you need to decide what to do when you have the opportunity to feel sorry for yourself. If you choose to forgive, to refuse situations to affect your self-image, to turn to God instead of other things when you are hurting – then you will lose the desire for any kind of addiction.

When it comes to fulfilling your deep expectation, the only relationship that I value above everything else is with Jesus. No matter how many people are around you and don’t notice what is going on inside of you, God intentionally sees you and all of your hangups, problems and pain. If you are looking for attention, you have forgotten that there is a God that intently watches and wonders at your every thought and action – with the full understanding of who you are and what has happened to you.

If you would like to know that kind of intimacy with God, click on the link below to find out more.

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