It is interesting how we live in a culture that wants everything, RIGHT NOW. There is no waiting, no patience, no discipline to deny the instant gratification that tugs at us so hard. Most people just give in, it’s a lot easier to do so. And we see the ramifications of the RIGHT NOW attitude all around us. Overweight adults, overweight youth, large increases in preventable disease, broken families due to divorce and children being born out of wedlock, increases in gun violence, the list goes on and on. It’s sick and pathetic. Great things, powerful things, lasting things, take time to create, to build. They take hard work, discipline, focus, drive, and passion. If you look no further then the house or building you are currently in, there was a process to building this structure, it took time. A plan was created, the foundation was laid, so on and so forth. Building something meaningful, impactful, and again, lasting, doesn’t and won’t happen over-night. You have to be willing to endure, suffer even. You have to be able to block out the noise, the doubters, the naysayers, the negativity that wants to destroy. You have to build no matter what, whatever it takes. In the end, the product, the outcome, the results, will be worth the toil and the labor.
We cannot control how other people are going to live their lives. We cannot control how other people will react, respond, and or receive that which we give them. We cannot control other people’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, or their perception of who we are. We literally, have absolutely no control over another person. But, we absolutely DO have control over ourselves. We definitely have control over our reactions, responses, and how we receive that which is given to us. We definitely have control over our thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, and how we perceive others. And we most definitely have control over how we serve and love!
I am a thinker. I think a lot. I ponder a lot. I analyze a lot. I reflect a lot. I try to interpret what others are putting out there, a lot. My mind is busy. My thoughts are constant. I have been going through a situation over the last several weeks to where my thoughts have been super focused in one area, and one direction. I have been trying to interpret things. Trying to figure things out, work things out within my mind in this specific area. Random things, random words, random thoughts, random phrases and random quotes present themselves to me in my mind, often. I don’t know what it is, but for me, words are beautiful, words are powerful, words have significant meaning, and words play a significant role within my life. Words, phrases, etc. help me to stay focused on living the life I desire to live. This morning, the phrase, “Serve and love with no expectation,” came to me. As I have been wrestling with constant thoughts over this specific situation/area that I previously made reference to, as I have been trying to figure this situation out through my thoughts, pondering, analyzing, reflecting, and interpreting, I have come to the realization, or probably more accurately stated, have been reminded, of the fact that I have NO control over someone else. I CANNOT control someone else’s life. But, once again, I CAN control my life! I CAN control how I serve and how I love those around me! We must serve and love with no expectation. Too often we serve and love in order to receive something in return. We do certain things in life, so that we get certain things back. We live life too often in expectation, that if we live a certain way, if we perform certain tasks/duties, if we jump through certain hoops, then we will get specific results. We live expecting. We live to receive back. True service, genuine love, does not expect anything in return. You serve because you want others to be blessed. You love because you want others to be blessed. Serving and loving in order to get something in return, is again, not true service, nor genuine love. These are simply selfish actions to fill some void or emptiness within our life. We must serve. We must love. We must serve one another. We must love one another. With no expectation. With no strings attached. With no expectancy of anything in return. We serve to serve. We love to love. In order to build others up, to bless others. In order to be the men and women, God created us to be, for His glory. Serve boldly today. Love boldly today. Live boldly today. It’s not about you, it’s about others, ALWAYS.
I want to serve you. I will serve you. I want to listen to you. I will listen to you. I want to love you. I will love you. I want to be the man you’ve always wanted. I will be the man you’ve always wanted. I am not perfect. I don’t have it all figured out. I am unfinished. I am learning. But I have been waiting for this moment for nearly 32 years. Yearning for this moment, preparing for this moment, anticipating this moment. I don’t know your future. I don’t know my future. I don’t know our future. But, I will give you everything within me to give. I will serve you. Listen to you. Love you. The best I can. The best I know how. I will be the man God created me to be. I can be nothing more. And what will be, will be.
I struggle. I struggle a lot. I struggle everyday. It is an inner struggle. An inner battle. I know you struggle. I know you struggle a lot. I know you struggle everyday. The inner struggle. The inner battle. No one is exempt from the struggle.
I have nothing to hide. I know who I am. I know what I am. I know my passion. My purpose. I know why I am alive today. I know my strengths. I know my weakness’. I know where I need to improve. I know my shortcomings. I know my failures. I know where I have missed the mark. I know that I and you, are imperfect, works of art in progress. Knowing all of this, allows me to know, you need to hear what I am saying. WE ALL STRUGGLE. WE ARE ALL GOING THROUGH AN INNER STRUGGLE TODAY. Each one of us have thousands of thoughts racing through our minds. Each day. Every day. Positive, negative, and indifferent thoughts. They attack us constantly. The thoughts are relentless. All of us struggle on some level controlling our thoughts. The most confident individuals on earth, struggle controlling their thoughts. The wealthiest individuals on earth, struggle controlling their thoughts. The greatest athletes in the world, struggle controlling their thoughts. All of us have insecurities. All of us have had life experiences that have caused us some kind of trauma. All of us have been embarrassed. Made fun of. Laughed at. At times, ridiculed. All of us struggle on some level with wondering what others think about us. All of us struggle on some level with comparing ourselves to others. All of us have jealousies. All of us have annoyances. All of us have prejudices. All of us have body image issues. Some of us have eating disorders. Some of us have severe addictions. All of us have, a lot of issues. With all of our issues, come thousands and thousands of thoughts. Thoughts that can control us. Thoughts that can create fear, anxiety, nervousness, and a host of other debilitating factors. Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts dictate our perception and reality. Our perception and reality of our surroundings, as well as ourselves. Thoughts create an inner struggle. The inner battle. Thoughts become reality. As a man or woman thinks, so they become. As a man or woman thinks, so those around them become.
I want you to know, wherever you are today in your life journey, whatever you are struggling with in this moment, whatever internal battle you are fighting in this moment, as you read this, please hear me, please understand, please grasp, please accept the fact, that you are beautiful. You are beautiful. You are beautiful. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. You are in progress. An artwork, a masterful, beautiful piece of art, in progress. You have gifts. You have talents. You have abilities. You have capabilities. You have opportunities that you have been given to you. You have a Creator that created you to love and to be loved. The struggle is intense. I know. The battle can be overwhelming. I know. The fears, the anxieties, the yearnings for things to be different can be nearly unbearable at times. I know. I’ve been there. I am there. I will continue to be here, in the struggle, in the battle, just as you are. We struggle together. We battle together. Your struggles may be different from mine, your battles may look different then mine, but you struggle, I struggle, we all struggle, we all battle from within. Lift up your eyes. Look around. See the beauty. The beauty within the struggle. The beauty within the battle. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU WILL OVERCOME.
Ashley is a sustainable health practitioner. She also is the creator of The Inner Athlete. Ashley and I have an awesome conversation covering a variety of topics. We really dig deep into Ashley’s story, which includes several life-changing vehicular accidents, in which one involved being hit by a drunk driver. Ashley opens up about her challenges with PTSD and how this became an impetus for her to begin focusing on the inner person, or inner athlete. We also talk about Ashley’s childhood experience of being an only child, body energy, the importance of knowing who you are, alone time, and much more! Ashley is a strong, energetic, lively, and beautiful soul! You will thoroughly enjoy our conversation and Ashley’s vulnerability with her story.
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Not having a significant other on Valentine’s Day sucks. The older I get, the more it sucks. I am not stating this to get attention. I am not stating this to get sympathy. I am stating this because I know there are a lot of people out there who can relate. I am always happy for others who are happy. When I have the opportunity to see people who are loving life, it puts a smile on my face. When I see couples holding hands, showing each other affection, my heart smiles. But the reality for me, and I know the reality for a lot of others out there, is the fact that life can be very lonely. Even when we are surrounded by others, even when we have deep, connected fellowship with other humans, such as friends, family, co-workers etc., the truth is, there is nothing that can replace the fulfillment, love, joy, and security of a significant other. There is nothing more beautiful then loving and being loved, deeply, intimately, and securely by a significant other. If you find yourself alone today in the midst of those you are surrounded by, if you find yourself yearning for the beauty of a life shared with a significant other, if you find yourself frustrated today, let me encourage you with this…….Life unfolds as life unfolds. Use this season of life you are in right now to refine yourself, improve yourself, and prepare yourself for the time when your significant other appears. Be the best version of yourself today, tomorrow, and in all the days to come. Continue to be a leader. An example. Someone to follow. Continue to serve. Continue to learn. Continue to love. Continue to be someone that someone else would want to be with. No matter what you are feeling today, no matter how overwhelming your emotions may be today, today is a gift, today is an opportunity, and today is beautiful. Open your heart, and allow your light to shine.
Please and thank you. Simple words. Powerful words. Kind words. Words of manner. Words that seem to have been lost. When I was growing up, I was instructed to use my manners. I was instructed to say please, to say thank you. Today, I rarely hear anyone, young or old, use please and thank you. Why? As a teacher, I am appalled at how often I don’t hear my students using please and thank you in their speech. Sometimes, I am blown away when a student of mine doesn’t even know what using your manners means. I believe the loss of these words, please and thank you, are a direct reflection on the entitled culture we live in. It is also a direct reflection of the arrogant culture we live in. So many people, young and old, have this idea that they have it all together, and have it all figured out. They get what they want, when they want, how they want. Using your manners, please and thank you specifically, is an indication of humility, kindness, and respect. When someone is entitled, arrogant, and disrespectful, their speech will reflect this. Even though I grew up learning to use my manners, I am far from perfect. At times in my life, I have failed to use my manners to the fullest. At times in my life, I have been the entitled, arrogant, and disrespectful individual. But now as an adult, a teacher, and having the burning desire deep with my soul to be someone to follow, I have been focusing lately on using my manners, please and thank you as much as possible. I find using my manners especially valuable when interacting, speaking, and asking my student to do or not to do something. I am finding when my speech is full of please and thank you, I have greater self-control and a stronger hold on my emotions. These are very important when you are a teacher, parent, or coach. Please and thank you. There is always room for improvement, growth, and maturity, no matter your educational background, age, or financial status. Let’s stay focused on the little things. The simple things. Let’s start small. Let’s start with our words. Let’s start with please and thank you. Let’s see where this will take us.