Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Eden Myrrh Toohey

Is It Okay To Get Your Kid a Cellphone?

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There are two defining periods in my life: The first one being, before I got a phone that had apps that made social media easily accessible (i.e. I never ever had Mixit, so for me it was just, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) and after that. I used to be the ultimate bookworm – I can’t remember a class in school (especially high school) that I didn’t read through. The closest thing to Whatsapp or BBM for me in around grade 11 or 12 was Google Messenger that I accessed through Opera Mini and it almost ruined my life – I was addicted, so I had to cut myself off.

When I look back, I’m so grateful for the long childhood I had without (a Television at first) the beloved iPhone that never leaves my sight.

I don’t have kids but here are some things to consider before a childhood is cut short – HAHA! – Adapted from an article written by Susan Davis on WebMD (Is Your Child Ready For A Cellphone?).

BENEFITS

  • Convenience and safety: being able to call or text your child in the event of an emergency. Both parents and kids feel safer knowing where each party is and that they contact each other at a whim. Which is why many parents buy phones for their children (twice as many now as in 2004, and 85% of those children are aged 14-17)

SOME DOWNSIDES:

  • PEER PRESSURE: Many teens now see having their phone as a part of fitting in with their friends. Which is stressful and unfair for parents who can’t afford what other parents are giving their kids, or rather, value differently.
  • RADIATION: Cell phones work by using radio waves, and there are ongoing studies on how to reduce the exposure that children (or, people in general) are currently getting – especially if they’re using their device every second waking moment;
  • SLEEP (OR, THE LACK THEREOF): Pediatricians are finding that texting (and all the stuff that children so when they’re supposed to be actually sleeping) can disrupt their sleeping patterns. A recent survey found that 4 out of 5 cellphone owning teens sleep with their phone on or next to/by their beds. Don’t underestimate how much your child is texting, my baby cousin in grade seven got his phone taken away by his parents for three days and when he got it back, there were over 1000 messages waiting. Slightly CRAZY.  
  • NOT JUST A PHONE: Cellphones keep social media, videos, games, movies and TV shows within close reach. Are you ready for your child to have access to that stuff at all hours? While social interaction can be positive there is a huge danger of premature exposure to the wrong stuff.

‘Location Sharing’, broken concentration, and emotional imbalance are some of the other effects stemming from cellular use (I also think that these can effect adults as well).

So, when is your kid ready?

I think one has to look beyond age when making the decision and think about maturity, responsibility etc. A parent or guardian should look for developmental signs and gauge from there. It’s also important that the parent or guardian monitors their child’s phone – even if there’s trust in the relationship, because your child’s safety and innocence matter more than a few temporarily broken feelings.

Parents should set limits and guidelines and be consistent in enforcing them. For my parents, a limit that was set was that no cellphone, TV or iPad could be used without us first having our quiet time (time with Jesus i.e. devotions) for the day.

In general, a precedence should be set for kids to speak and spend time with Jesus before they look to social media or texting, especially because of all of the things that media is bombarding us with.

In general, adults should set those same precedence’s for themselves. I’ll start with myself first.

Handling Hiddenness

“Enjoy your obscurity while it lasts. Use it.” – These are amazing words by Austin Klein the author of Steal Like An Artist, a book that all artists should read – in my opinion. Over the last two weeks I’ve had a number of my artistic friends asking for advice about how to handle the ‘slump’ or their period of ‘hiddenness’?

What is ‘hiddenness’? It is the property or quality of being hidden. Basically, the time when no one really knows about you and you’re in-between anything happening in your life – or so you feel. If you’ve been through this or are going through this, then know that you aren’t alone.

I normally listen to my audio Bible in the morning while going about my morning routine and I was greatly encouraged by King David while going through 2 Samuel. There were about thirty years that went by after Samuel, the priest, told him that he was going to be king until he actually became king, and even then, there were so many things/circumstances (i.e. his son Absalom etc.) that tried to take away his throne, even though it God had given it to him. If David didn’t understand ‘obscurity’ and ‘hiddenness’ then I don’t know who did.

For a lot of us, we can see what God has called us to, but can’t see how we’re going to get there and that can get extremely frustrating. Frustrating because we have to first go through years of ‘obscurity’ and ‘hiddenness’ before we can reach ‘the palace.’

It’s very important for us to remember a few things when we feel like nobody is watching us or noticing us for our gift:

  1. No matter what happens, God is always good;
  2. This is only a season – right now you might not have people around you, or money, or things, but there will come a time when you will have all of that (learn to be content and patient (!!); being content means to suck this season dry for all that it has to offer);
  3. Develop your ‘staying power’ – the longer it takes for you to get to the top, the better. This process develops character in us and makes us better people. It also helps us become stronger;
  4. Stay positive – don’t allow yourself to stay ‘inside your head’ for too long. It’s unhealthy;
  5. Put in the work – You may not be there, but you’ll never reach there if you don’t work like you’re already there.

So, enjoy your obscurity or your time of hiddenness. Use it to your advantage. Quick fixes never helped anyone in the long run! Encourage your soul with Gods word and stay connected to a healthy community! You can do it!

Dating Apps: Purity Apocalypse?

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August was a rough month for Dating App, Tinder. Other than changing CEO, the dating app was blasted courtesy of Vanity Fair reporter, Nancy Jo Sales, who used around 5000 words to ‘blast’ app for being responsible for the new dating apocalypse which she described as an “unprecedented phenomenon taking place in the realm of sex” where people can sleep with up to 100 people in a year (after hooking up through Tinder).

Two of my responses after reading this article were:

  • WOW, this is really bad! I’m staying far away from dating apps…”
  • “But that is overseas and how does that even apply to us here in Africa?”

…And then, a few days ago, someone asked me for a favour (in the way of sex) over a social network (and it wasn’t Tinder), they thought that I would say yes because of the type of influence they have. I said no and was quite taken aback. That, and meeting several people who were using the Tinder app the way the article had explained made me realise the following: we have to fight to be present in an emotionally alienating culture that is not only brought on by “apps that we can date on” but also by different things in our society that try to kill community and nearly every single thing God has put in place to protect us. In this case, we have to fight to stay pure (in mind, heart, body). God has put rules in place there to protect us.

As a young single person, navigating through this landscape is pretty terrifying – especially if you want to live your life like Jesus did (honouring him in your actions and words). Most of us know Psalm 119: 9-16 (NLT), it says, “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you – don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you…. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.”

 In 2 Samuel 11 and 12 we read about King David and Bathsheba. Chapter 11 starts by saying, “In the spring when all the kings go out to war…” – so immediately, we know that David was not where he should have been. Instead of being at war fighting alongside his men he was wasting time in the palace when saw a woman bathing from his rooftop, made her pregnant, killed her husband to hide her sin and and and…

We all run the risk of alienating ourselves from healthy community (especially if we’re always in social media land) and then finding ourselves doing and saying things that we maybe would have never done if we were where we were supposed to be.

My running policy in life is to make the decisions (according to God’s word) before the time comes for me to test them.

So, before that guy even asked me about meeting up for a “rendezvous” with him, I had (yearssss ago) already made the decision that that is not something I do, not matter who the person is or what they can give me.

In the end, it is healthy for us to realise that being able to say no to the stuff that culture is pushing down our throats will only solidify YES and make it glorious! It is worth it to wait. It is worth it to pursue godliness with everything that one has. It is worth it to live according to God’s word even when it hurts.

Staying Connected In The Crazy

Life has this habit of letting all of the crazy out ALL AT ONCE –

Giving us a rest and then having a good go at us again.

Here’s the thing, us as lovers of Jesus (I think the common term is, ‘Christians’) are called to be fruitful in every season, but sometimes, when we look back, the ‘busy’ didn’t produce anything in our lives except – well, tiredness. That is not good, and we’ve all been guilty of it.

WHAT IS BEING ‘FRUITFUL’ AND WHY DOES GOD WANT THAT FROM US?

  • John 15:16 (ESV), “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…”
  • 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV), “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”

GOD IS ULTIMATELY GLORIFIED WHEN WE ARE FRUITFUL IN GOOD THINGS:

  • Colossians 1:10 (ESV), “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in EVERY good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
  • Matthew 7:17 (NLT) “…You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit… Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”
  • Philippians 1:11 (ESV), “Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”

TRUE DISCIPLES WILL BEAR FRUIT FOR GOD’S GLORY:

  • John 15:8 (ESV), “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples…”
  • Matthew 5:16 (ESV), “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they might see your good deeds and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”

Staying connected to the ‘true vine’ (that is Jesus Christ) should be something that we do in the ‘lull’ so that when stuff gets out of hand, all that we produce is good. In the best and worst situations we must be unable to produce anything else but Jesus.

It’s Monday today and someone reading this might feel drained and just depleted because of stuff that’s going on. I hope that this can encourage and challenge you.

Today, my friend, take a step to connect to/hold on to Jesus. He is the only thing that is sure and worth anything in a crazy world, and he is actually reaching out to you more than you may be reaching for him. Take a second to be still and ask Him to walk in front of you.

If you want to see yourself become fruitful and stay ‘connected even in the crazy’ click on the box below and start yourself on the journey of a lifetime.

Want To Find a Good Friend?

There are quite a few really highlighted moments for me as a kid.

One of them is me always coming home crying about my ‘friends’ at school (or, lack thereof). Yes, primary school was torture where friends are concerned. One day I was the person telling everyone to stop fighting and the next day they would reconcile and decide to pull an uprising stunt against me. Confusion reigned everywhere except with my best friend. I couldn’t remember how we started being friends (still can’t) but we never fought, and obviously I thought that there must be something terribly wrong with how we were doing things.

One day I walked into the kitchen of the house we lived in and my grandfather sat reading the paper – I was exasperated and pulling my regular crying routine. I said a whole lot of stuff to him but he only said one thing back and it’s been with me for my whole life. He said, “You don’t need a whole lot of friends. You only need one.”

High school was much easier (I think it was because the Sugar Babes stopped being a group – I’m sure it was), and I learnt some hard lessons about just chilling and not clinging to the one person I found like they were life or death.

After school I leant that it was okay to be alone, because all my best friends left to live their own lives. It was so good for me. When I was crying about that, my mother said this to me, “There’ll always be a time in your life when you have people, appreciate the times when you can be alone”

After that I came into a spacious place as a person. I finally understood that people are just like the tide. There is an ebb and flow. They come in and out of your life continuously.

There was a lot more freedom in this place for me to be able to let people go (without holding anything to them) when the time for us being ‘together’ was over. That scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:33 means a whole lot more to me now, “Don’t be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” We become like the people we spend our time with, or whom ever we allow to invest into our lives. Bad company doesn’t have to be ‘criminal company’ or something drastic like. Bad company could just be too much negativity, hopelessness, too much gossip, or just people who have no plan or direction for their lives. Letting those people over stay their welcome in your life is very dangerous (2 Corinthians 6:14). It’s really just learning the art of discernment. Someone who could have been good for you for the last two years could be really terrible for you now, and, it’s okay to let him or her go and walk in a total different direction afterwards.

If you want someone reliable and someone who’s always going to be good for you and there for you, then, the Bible says that Jesus is the friend that sticks closer than a brother (and we all know how close those can stick – Proverbs 18:24). That same verse also says that too many friends can ruin you.

For some of us, learning to shed off the unreasonable friendships and be okay with sometimes being alone is HELLA SCARY. We don’t know how to be alone because we don’t really like being with ourselves. Well, there’s no better time than now to start clinging to that friend I told you about. Developing a relationship with Jesus and seeing yourself through his eyes (by reading his words) will not only help you be a better friend, but also help you to shed off the demand for always having people around you.

If you’re battling today, then I pray that this can be a word of encouragement to you. Let today be the start of a new friendship.

Vulnerability in Art, Trendy?

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I can’t count how many times I’ve heard statements to the effect of, “The people will know when what you’re giving them is real, and they will always appreciate honest, vulnerable art.” And, well, I guess it’s true because we have crooners like Adele, Sam Smith, Amy Winehouse, and John Mayer to prove it to us. Not only do they all have unique sounds but each of them are bleeding hearts.

I didn’t think I would ever see the back of Adele’s sophomore album and I sure was happy when I did. There’s only so much depression a person can take. I don’t know about you, but I only like to sing about heartache and sadness if I know that somewhere, somehow, there’s going to be reprieve and hope will find its way into the picture. All in all though, it takes a lot to be vulnerable and it is something that artists need to do continually if they truly want to be creative.

The 18th of September 2015 saw the release of two quite amazingly vulnerable musical offerings, and this time things aren’t all about broken hearts induced by a roaming lovers; this time, both artists decided to talk about the dangers of fame and having influence.

The first was the debut offering by 21-year old UK female MC, Little Simz called A Curious Tale of Trails + Persons, and the second is the sophomore release of New York-born MC, Andy Mineo, called Uncomfortable.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown says the following about vulnerability and I believe it to be true about what both artists have put forward:

“Vulnerability sounds like the truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness. Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we’re taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But there’s no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness… Often the result of daring greatly isn’t a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little battle fatigue.”

I’ve always been obsessed about documenting  the journey more than the eventual victory in order to help other people who find themselves on the journey as well. This is what both artist’s do quite honestly and skilfully – which, I think, will help them connect with a greater amount of people. They aren’t the first and neither will they be the last but what they are saying sure cuts through the noise.

In preparation for both releases I had been watching both artists’ equivalent of an EPK: Simz released a short and Mineo released 4 episodes of a series called Saturday Morning Car Tunes, and it was quite clear from the beginning that although they were addressing the same issues, both artists were coming at this subject from majorly different perspectives.

One is a godly worldview and the other is the worldview we see expressed in culture all around us, and it also emphasises whatever I have to say about vulnerable art as an artist myself.

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough – that what we have to offer  isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, without impressing.” – Brené Brown

We are humans; we thrive on connection, connectedness, and relationship, and so we like to grab at whatever we can that makes us feel like we aren’t the only ones, but finding that without finding hope or without our connectedness being pointed at someone greater than us – is utterly useless.

Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle  and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS…” Matthew 11:28  

 “Look at me and be you saved, all the ends of the earth….” Isaiah 45:22-23 

Listen to both works, if you’re a hip hop head (they’re both amazing, **Mind the language in Little Simz)… and I hope that you’ll be pleasantly surprised in one particular work that shows that one can have a bleeding heart but still aim to edify (give you stuff that’s good for your soul too).

STEWARD LITTLE

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Remember that time when the grey haired Uncle Ben turns to Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-man f.k.a. Tobey Maguire – for superhero lovers that’s another conversation all together) and gives him a warning that went along the lines of, “With great power comes great responsibility”? Yes, well, how could you not remember? It’s one of the most epic quotes from the first Spider-man (2002).

The quote is really an adaption of Luke 12:48 where Jesus says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

The verse just before that one (v47) goes a bit like this (NLT), “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. (Beginning of v.48) But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong will be punished only lightly….”

Now, from what I understand, and what I’ve read about these verses, Jesus is talking about the stuff that we have been entrusted with as people (gifts, talents, etc.). Those of us who know God as our Father and understand His will, will be more severely punished than those who do not know and who are not faithful stewards of the gifts they’ve been given.

One of the ways that I thought that I could do this as an artist was to be responsible with the business side of my art. Artists tend to be lazy, or maybe think that all they need to do is sit in a room playing their instrument to succeed at their art. This is not true, and it’s also part of the reason why many artists stay poor all their life and other people get rich off of their efforts. Unfortunately, there are people who know how to manipulate the ‘poor artists’ efforts and skill.

If you want to start being more business minded as an artist and you have no way of knowing how let me help you.

Next week, South Africa is having it’s own South by South West conference called Music Exchange (www.mex.co.za). Business people who have been in involved in music for years, Martin and Razia Meyers, have specifically designed it for musicians, producers and writers.

 

I hope to see you there, I also hope that this is the wake up call for you if you’ve been operating in your gifting or skill and have done so virtually unpaid for years or even months – which can leave people feeling quite disillusioned about what they do. See this as the beginning of an investment in what God has given you.

What’s in a Reflection?

So picture this, we’re reliving Acts 19:11-16 where seven sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva all gather around a ‘demonised’ guy in his house and decide that they are going to ‘exorcise’ him using a technique that they had seen Paul (the apostle in that city at that time) using. They were going to call on Jesus. I mean just using the name of Jesus had afforded Paul the opportunity to see many people healed, some of them, from only touching the handkerchief that he had been using.

Anyway, they get in the house and one of them is like, “I command you to depart, by the Jesus proclaimed by Paul!” and the evil spirit inside the crazy man says back, “Jesus I know. Paul I know. But who are you?” He then goes on to beat these men and they leave the house naked and well, beaten. People in the surrounding villages were shocked because they now realised that the name of Jesus was actually really powerful and praiseworthy!

Here’s the thing I want to help you realise – If you’ve accepted Jesus as lord over your life, then you need to awaken to the fact that you have been given ALL of the POWER that Jesus had. PLUS, he wants us to walk in it daily. BUT! There must be a resemblance between you and Jesus (Acts 19:15-16)!

Look, you can have a good reputation in your church, and say all the right words and still live a powerless Christian life. What is powerlessness? It is the result of you not having the ‘resemblance of Jesus’ in your spirit.

James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’

The operating principle in the Bible is this:

  • Obedience brings Possession (Romans 8:9);
  • Possession brings Christlikeness;
  • Christlikeness brings Power (John 5:30)

How do we submit ourselves to God? I found the word YIELD quite interesting. One definition of it is to, “give forth or produce by a natural process or in return for cultivation” another is to give up, or surrender. It is the process of submitting, producing, bearing, and giving way to influence (1 Corinthians 9:25)!

This means that, we surrender the throne of our lives fully to Jesus and no longer live according to our own rules. We give way to his influence in and over our lives. This in turn starts a natural process that starts the cultivation of all kinds of GOOD FRUIT in our lives. What is the good fruit? Ultimately, being more like Jesus and looking just like him! (Side note: Read Psalm 40:8, David talks about the joy that he finds in obeying ALL that Jesus says).

You can put up a façade in the natural and try to fool people, but you can’t fool God. In actual fact, playing a charade for other people destroys your faith. This is not about getting honor from people, that is the opposite of ‘resemblance in Jesus.’ Philippians 2:7 says that Christ made himself of no reputation. The guy was despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3), but he wielded the greatest spiritual power.

Jesus said, ‘That’s why it is hard to see how true faith is even possible for you: you are consumed by the approval of other men, longing to look good in their eyes; and yet you disregard the approval of the one true God (John 5:44, The VOICE) i.e. how can you have faith in truth when your behavior reveals that your life is based on falsehood? (2 Timothy 3:5 – having a form of godliness but denying its power)

OUCH!

THAT HURTS!

Have you been walking a powerless Christian walk? Well, maybe this is the reason why! Today, don’t be one of those people who look into the mirror and forget their reflection (i.e. look into the face of Jesus and then turn away and forget what you’re supposed to look like – James 1:23). After all, the reward of looking like Jesus is much greater than looking like anything else.

THE MODERN HUSTLER: MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS

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Ever since I was a kid I’ve found it hard to commit myself to the idea of growing up and ‘being’ one thing. First I was the president’s personal assistant, then a painter, then an IT Technician, a graphic designer, a clothing buyer, a composer, a producer, and the list goes on. My incessant dabbling in stuff I was passionate about has in turn opened up multiple potential streams and already running, streams of income (passive income, active income or a combination of both).

Active Income: When others pay you for doing what you love (e.g. service or product)

Passive Income: Is when you pay others to make the money for you (e.g. investing)

Now, some people might be thinking, isn’t that instability? Surprisingly not! It’s actually the opposite! If you value your financial security and want to pursue financial freedom in your life then creating and having multiple streams of income and ‘diversifying’ is not a luxury, it is a necessity. We all know how volatile the world markets are, therefore, security and some form of comfort is dependent on you having a cushion to fall back on when there’s a ‘shaking.’

In his article 7.1. Steps To Create Multiple Streams Of Income, Hal Elrod, entrepreneur and award winning writer, lists the following pointers as important – I’ve added some feedback from my personal experience in applying these:

  1. Establishing Financial Security: This is your foundation! Don’t be silly. Anyone with a brain knows that this has to happen FIRST! It’s not the sexiest of all steps but it is the most imperative. A primary solid source of income to cover all expenses.
  2. Clarifying One’s Unique Value: The sooner you do this the better! Really, God made each of us with just the right packaging to differentiate us from everyone else in the world – HOW AWESOME IS THAT? It’s a bonus because packaging differentiates value! You are valuable and your Creator made you with the capacity to BE, DO, and SEE. If you increase your knowledge by doing each of these you will increase the value of what others pay you (to teach or apply on their behalf) at the same time (Proverbs 10:14, “Wise men lay up knowledge; but the mouth of the foolish is near to destruction”)
  3. Identifying One’s Market: This can sometimes be a very time consuming experience. But it is vital if you want to be able to direct your marketing efforts effectively.
  4. Building Community Around Oneself: I moved to a new city in January and I came from a place where I had basically built up a huge network of fellow artists, service providers, product providers and more. Moving meant starting from the bottom with the community vibes. I asked Jesus for direction when meeting people and excepting jobs. I am eight months in and it’s been such a great journey so far!
  5. Asking Your Community About Their Desires: This is field research, as much as there is creative freedom there has to be a balance between doing what you want and doing what the people want. Their demand funds your market offering!
  6. Creating The Solution:

“Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is for us to think of it again” – Goethe

“Discovery consists of seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought” – Anon

  1. Launching The Solution: Plan that launch carefully. First impressions do count you know?!

7-POINT-1. Finding A Mentor: This is someone who’s already achieved. You can then model their behaviour and make it your own. It’s as easy as reaching out to someone in humility and asking for help – I mean, Proverbs 13:20 says that walking with wise men makes you wise, so it would be wise to DO IT! It could also mean researching on the Internet, reading books or going to workshops! Proverbs 15:22 says (NLT), “Plans go wrong for a lack of advice; many advisors bring success.”

Before you’ve done all of this and after you’ve done all of this commit all of your plans to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3). Life is unpredictable, anything can happen at any time. So, even with all of this hustling hard we could still fall flat. ‘Committing your way’ means ultimately putting your trust in the Jesus! Once you’ve done this, he has promised that he will establish (set up on a firm or permanent basis) all of your plans!

You Can’t Stop Him

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Last night rapper Andy Mineo won the EPSN.com inaugural Whammy award crowning him with ‘the best walk-up song in baseball.’ This was after a week long voting process for his really catchy upbeat 2014 single You Can’t Stop Me.

In the finals, the song won 93% percent of the vote against Led Zepplin’s ‘Kashmir,’ and in the preliminary rounds also faced up against Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Blessings’ by Big Sean, Jim Johnston’s ‘WWE Entrance Music’ and ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ by Frank Sinatra.

The song has, over the last year, become a bit of a sports soundtrack and has featured on Madden 15 and in promos for a Showtime Boxing show. It has also featured as my alarm for most of this year, just because it’s that good! HAHA!

In his interview with ESPN.com’s Aimee Crawford, Mineo explains his inspiration for the song saying, “…I think the thing that stops us more than anything is not other people, it’s ourselves. So the approach I took when writing the song was to tell myself, “I can’t stop me.” And to take on the challenge of not just the external influences but the more difficult ones, which are the internal ones. It’s just kind of an anthem that everyone can relate to – facing self-doubt, fear, and working through that and saying, “The only thing that can stop us is ourselves.””

I remember the first time I heard New York based rapper, Andy Mineo (if we’re being technical the first time was in Lecrae’s 2010 hit, Background that actually led to Andy getting signed to Lecrae’s Reach Records), his mixtape Formally Known had just come out and my sister and I sat on the kitchen floor listening to it through my mum’s cranky laptop speakers. It was fresh, it was special, and it held an authenticity that caused you to want to play if over and over again.

Mineo has released much more music since then. In 2013 he released his debut album, Heroes For Sale (peaking at #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart), in 2014 he released the Never Land (2014) EP (peaking at #13 on the chart), and also had a two-season run of his mini-documentary series, Saturday Morning Car-Tunes – the third of which is underway at the moment in preparation for the release of his sophomore album, Uncomfortable to be released on the 18th of September this year.

Read the full ESPN.com interview at Official ESPN.com article. 

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