It’s Okay

It’s okay to pause and reflect. To be in pain and feel emotion. You’re allowed to stop and rest. You’re allowed to say, “No.” To another task. To fleeing. You’re allowed to just be.

Driving down the highway toward Kansas City, I felt emotions coming. They were good, warm, fuzzy, feelings of love mixed with a little mild anxiety. But mainly, good. As emotional as I am, I like to drown out those emotions as quickly as possible. Turn up the music, focus on work, find a reason to worry about something else. Instead – I turned the Bluetooth to Steffany Gretzinger’s “The Undoing” and came undone.

The emotions hit me. I’m loved. It’s okay. I don’t have to be on edge all the time. There’s no reason for bitterness to creep in because others are simply interested in my life. They just want to be there. What an honor – that I have those people that want to be there with me. There will come a day when I’m in the hospital and people will show up. What a blessing!

Society has taught us to stiff-arm love. I’m not sure what it is or why we do it. But love comes and gets into our personal space and asks us deep questions and we get uncomfortable. We shift. We avoid. We rebel.

And to what end?

To the end of isolation.

We find ourselves sitting alone with a phone empty of notifications. Hey – they tried and we shut them down enough times that they stopped trying. (Unless you’re my friend. I’m fairly relentless. I’ll eventually come knocking. ;P)

We are better together.

It’s okay to not have life figured out yet. Allie has looked into my eyes and reminded me of this gentle truth a hundred times in the 10 months we’ve been dating. “Justin, you’re 26, you’re working hard, you’re trying…that’s all anyone can ask of you. Stop being so hard on yourself. I love you.” Praise Jesus for that love. Praise Jesus. (And there come those joyful tears I spoke of earlier…)

A friend of mine is trying to start a marketing/branding company and I’ve been assisting with that minimally (as I’m still learning the ins and outs of my new job). One of the first projects we’d like to do is rebrand my writing and blog to reach a wider audience and figure out what makes my “voice” unique. What’s my niche? How have I acquired so many followers over the course of the last few years?

I think it comes down to transparency. A humbleness of heart that is willing to say, “Hey guys, this is me. I love coffee and I love beer. Christianity is the foundation of who I am, what I believe, and the way I attempt to live, but we’re all kidding ourselves if we say we’ve never wrestled with doubt, setbacks, or sins we’re overcoming. The war wages on – light against darkness – joy against fear – love against hate.”

So I pledge to make my “brand” – who I am, what I do, and how I write as real, tangible, applicable, and inspiring as possible. And you know what – sometimes it’s going to plain suck and other times you may see seed-plants of an aspiring New York Times Bestselling Author (that’s the dream). Sometimes it’ll be about Jesus and other times it’ll be about the world, politics, entertainment, my personal life. It’ll be awesome regardless.

So today’s blog is a reminder that it’s okay. You’re loved where you’re at. We just don’t want to see you stay there forever, because growth and change are good things. Hard things, but good things. They promote Kingdom Living. They give your family hope and courage. But it’s okay. Pause today. Reflect today. Love yourself today. There’s no need to keep loathing yourself until tomorrow.

Right There With You,

Justin Meyer

its okay

Thinking Power

The last few months I’ve been increasingly fascinated with habits – our natural autopilot states.  When was the last time you actually concentrated on tying your shoes? When you go to your favorite restaurant or bar, do you end up ordering the same thing almost every time? Do you brush your teeth first thing when you wake up, or after you’ve showered? These are all habits, and we probably do the exact same thing 90% of the time.

Charles Duhigg has spent years researching and writing about habits in his book, The Power of Habit, and now I’m reading “Smarter. Better. Faster.” – a book that examines productivity – basically, an extension of our habits. How do we harness our energy effectively? Do we take care of the important e-mails all in one consecutive swoop? Or do we break them up into smaller, more digestible chunks? The annoying thing about habits is that what works for someone in terms of overcoming them might not work for you.

My friend and I were chatting earlier in the week and discussing emotions. When we’re feeling angry, depressed, anxious, scared, worried, aggressive, passionate, and a plethora of other excitable emotions, it’s as if we don’t cognitively have control. Our emotions take control. It’s not even necessarily autopilot; we end up on an emotionally defined path that we sometimes don’t feel we have the say in where things are going or where we’ll end up.

As I’ve been reading in Duhigg’s new book, I’ve discovered that the main problem is we’re not often actually thinking. Our days are often so similar that we don’t have to engage ourselves that much in terms of using our minds, so our bodies and brains establish thought-patterns that for the most part, keep us alive, but maybe don’t better us a whole heck of a lot. For example, I may have arrived safe at work yesterday. But I honestly don’t remember making conscious decisions on the drive there. I just sort of arrived, in a tired, grey fog of, “I need coffee NOW.” I automatically reacted to other cars on the road and traffic signals and I obeyed all of the laws, but I wasn’t engaged.

Successful people are engaged. They force themselves to constantly think. They’re always visualizing things – always creating new mental models for what may occur.

Back in the day – about two decades ago, when I started playing baseball and my former STL Cardinal father was coaching me – he’d say, “visualize the ball – imagine the sound of the bat making contact and think about how fast you’re going to run.” For the record, I wasn’t a power hitter and I couldn’t run very fast, but I could throw. So they stuck me out in Right Field and eventually when I had some hand-eye coordination, Third Base. (Side note – Allie loves Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals and he’s a third-basemen, so I guess we’re like the perfect fit or something?!?!) Sometimes they let me pitch, but that’s another story (they called me “Wild Thing” – and I wasn’t a partier…so…you get the point). All of that is to say, my Dad knew the importance of me creating mental models, “visualizing the ball” meant actively engaging the ball, thinking about where it was going to go and where my bat would go after it at, led to me getting a lot more hits than if I had swung aimlessly all those years.

The bottom line is that we have to have the courage to ask ourselves, “Why?” Why are we doing what we’re doing? Why are we dating the woman of our dreams? Why are we hanging out with friends that rarely make an effort to get back to us? When we ask ourselves these “why” questions, we’re thinking, and when we’re thinking, we’re more successful. “Why” does so-and-so need an immediate reply and “why” is this project so important? “Why” are we on an exercising program instead of a regular at our favorite bar or ordering mochas at our favorite coffee-shop? “Why” are we believers instead of doubters? “Why” is our glass half-full instead of half-empty?

These “why” questions make all the difference.

They engage us to the degree that our thoughts can influence our actions, and our immediately defined emotional paths no longer have control of ourselves. I believe this is why we hate accountability. Aside from the fact that we’re prideful beings and dislike being questioned, we don’t like the extra cognitive processes that come into effect when someone questions our natural path, because that means extra thinking, extra time, and more potentially disruptive emotions taking place.

So, why are you who you are? And what do you believe in?

What difference do you want to make? Why are you going to put the effort into making a difference? Why is it worth the sacrifice?

Why is your life worth living? Why do you make a difference?

“Why” makes all the difference. “Why” defines who we are and who we’re becoming. “Why” leads to love and longterm relationships and “why” leads to breaking off from disruptive patterns and inconsequential relationships. “Why” leads to life and “why” leads to death.

So, why?

Why is your heart still beating? And why are you taking the time to read my wandering thoughts? Why am I worth your time? And why does that beautiful blonde girl still love me despite my lack of defined path? Why has all the answers, yet why has all the trouble.

Why is worth it. Life is hard. All it’s questions and all it’s lack – yet we have the ability to change it all. We just have to think, a little bit more.

Right there with you,
Justin “Wild Thing” Meyer

Let’s Get It – Season 2

This anxiety in my chest,

Just trying to catch my breath.

Why am I such a mess?

Wanna get my life in check,

But there I was bouncing checks.

Figured that one out but have other problems,

Might take a couple seminars to solve them.

Am I a puzzle that needs put together?

Or should I be tanned like leather?

And there I was running,

Tripping and stumbling,

Feet pound the pavement,

While fists punch the air;

I gotta get out of there.

So I listen to music,

Think that’ll do it.

Run faster, run harder.

Last longer, get stronger.

Trying to channel the artist’s energy

Into me.

So I listen to that anthem-rap;

DJ Khaled, Thi’sl and other trap.

Problem is, I was born to create;

Their music’s great and sure I relate;

But none of it demonstrates

What’s on my dinner-plate.

So here I am writing,

Breathing, conniving;

Sitting here crying.

Wrestling with identity,

Wish I had a friend in me,

But view myself a frenemy.

One step forward,

Then sprinting back.

Can’t stay on track,

What do I lack?

Beauty’s mine,

Her love’s divine;

Patient and shimmering;

Her eyes are glimmering.

Family loves me deep,

So why can’t I sleep?

I’ve seen myself come alive;

I know what it’s like;

But I’ve yet to arrive;

Barely put in drive.

Yet here I am;

I’m standing.

Stare-down with the man in the mirror,

Calling him out to face his fear,

Praying for a whisper in his ear;

Missing the prophetic gift;

Heart’s been adrift.

Can’t stand the reflection,

My vanity, a misdirection.

So Jesus come back,

Don’t turn my soul black.

Heal my broken back,

Stitch my heart in-tact.

Keep me on these tracks.

Help my unbelief,

Because I believe in you.

But I don’t believe in myself,

Yet you’re in me and I’m in you.

Holy Spirit’s available for everything I do.

And help me with these emotions,

Turbulent like the oceans;

Dark waters and still deeps;

Crashing waves and breaking seas;

Some days it’s crushing me.

Give me the strength to face it;

Give me the perseverance to chase it;

Let’s Get It – Season 2.

We’ve got some believing to do.

stormy_seas_by_bkhook-d60s7o9

 

 

I’m Justin, Here I Stand

Heart’s in a panic;

Beating quickly;

Thump, thump; they’re voting Trump.

Don’t get political;

Turns hypocritical.

Temper your opinions;

You are just a minion.

 

No confidence,

Lack competence.
And these are the lies,

That catch me by surprise.

 

Because really, if you knew me.

You’d see the mirage right through me.

 

Bravery and intellect,

Inquisitive, that is correct.

I’m smart and unapologetic;

Communicate without the rhetoric.

 

More passionate than Romeo;

Come to me and your troubles go;

A counselor to and fro;

Not afraid to go deep;

It’s in the shallow-end, I’d likely sink.

 

So what causes me to come and drink?

These lies from the bitter sink.

 

A broken mirror I see into,

Wondering what to do.

How to become the better me,

Because me isn’t enough,

But he’d be – he’d be tough.

 

Through and through, a winner.

Respectable, with accolades,

A house with lots of shade,

Married and pretty great;

Crises averted and problems dissolved,

Justin – Evolved.

 

But I am what I am,

Sam I am.

 

An overcomer,

Not a bummer.

 

Strong and relational,

Rarely confrontational.

 

Come to think of it,

I like who I am.

I’ll write my name in this sand;

I’m Justin, here I stand.