In the event that you’ve been sleeping under a rock or maybe you’ve taken a social-media hiatus, I’m getting married in 2017! Not that far into it either – February 4th, 2017 cannot get here soon enough. (Actually, it can. There’s still a few things to accomplish before then.)
As you can imagine, it’s been a season of immense personal growth. A time to face many fears, analyze a lot of hearty spiritual issues, career changes, and much more.
In 2016, I fell in love with a beautiful woman named Allie. We met October 21st, 2015 and a few short months after that I was gazing in her eyes at Kanza Hall and promising to marry her. “My friends would kill me,” I said, as she blushed and smiled wide, “if they knew I’d already confessed my love for you so soon.” But I’ve always loved hard and loved fast so I’m sure they weren’t terribly surprised.
As a man that’s lived the bachelor life (as hard as that may be to believe), I can honestly tell you that “settling down” and preparing myself for a covenant relationship with the woman I love has been one of the greatest blessings of my entire life. There’s a reason there are so many “rules” in the Bible. It’s because they’re designed to give you life, and true freedom. I’ve tasted what is good, and Jesus is. And He has been foundational in holding a relationship as precious and valuable as Allie and I’s together. I’m astonished at how powerful grace and love are, when they’re originally from a source as powerful as God, Himself.
2016 also provided the opportunity for a career change. After a solid year of being absolutely miserable in a call-center that had terrible leadership and no respect for the talents of their own people, I was given the opportunity to enter into Sales. It’s led to the development of a skill-set I didn’t even know that I had and I’m absolutely loving it. Hard work pays off and sometimes you just have to put yourself out there. My lifelong philosophy of “it never hurts to ask” pays off as well, since I’m not afraid to question the objections that customers throw my way.
Personally, in 2016, I’ve come to terms with my own heart and its desire for transparency, depth, genuine connections, and true life change. Culturally, the church has often decided that it’s best to put a Band-Aid on wounds and pretend that everything is okay. But it’s not. Pain is meant to be felt. Prayers are meant to be said. Conversations are designed to occur. Nothing worth having has ever come easy.
Lust and all the struggles that Christian Men face in a hyper-sexualized world has been a battle that I’ve had to face head on in order to prepare for marriage and thanks to the guys at Freedom KC, I’ve managed to pursue freedom in that area of my life. I’m far from perfect, but it’s an excellent feeling no longer having to walk in shame. Because where there is Light, darkness cannot be also.
This year has provided me with the opportunity to understand that no one person is perfect. They never will be. There are issues and struggles and aches and bruises that we simply will not comprehend unless we genuinely care enough to take the time to understand them. Just like you (yes – you), my initial response to broken people is to ignore them, write them off, or be frustrated with their naivety. But that’s not what Jesus did.
I’ve watched a country stray from its roots and witnessed two terrible primary candidates take the stage against each other in an onslaught of character-battles rather than facing the issues. I’ve seen ISIS terrorize the world. I’ve seen Liberals think that they’re always right and Conservatives ignoring them, when we should all be listening to each other. I’ve witnessed the devastating affects of addiction on relationships and families. And throughout all of the aforementioned, I still chose to hope.
But why? How? Where is the hope in a world filled with so much darkness?
I understand – and I have close friends who would totally agree with you. But I’ve chosen for my own sanity to not give up hope – that God has to be real and He continually answers the promises He’s made to us. He is a faithful and loving Father and in the end, the fights you face for freedom in your own life will be worth it because you’ll hear “well done, my good and faithful servant.” And you won’t have to live the rest of your life out in bleak dismay and unnecessary fear.
2016 taught me that I still believe in Christ as my Lord and Savior. That I need the Church. It’s taught me that Allie and I are #BetterTogether. Strong and intelligent separate but far stronger and emotionally intelligent together. That at the age of 26, it’s beyond time to move out and start your own life. That being afraid of change does no good, as change is always necessary for growth. That my growing pains do not make me a failure.
That last part struck me just now – actually. I want you to take that into 2017 with you, too. Your growing pains – shortcomings, weak moments where you give into impulse – do NOT make you a failure. You may have hit a speed-bump on the road to success but you have yet to fail – you have yet to disqualify yourself from the race.
Here’s to 2017! To marrying the most beautiful, warm, kindhearted, forgiving, intelligent, and goofy woman I could ever hope and dream of. To God continuing to break through the glass ceiling of my own expectations. To continued success in Sales and other ventures. To a renewed faith and desire for community. To two families becoming one.