Winter

I hate Winter. It’s dark outside all of the time and it’s the easiest season of the year for me to become depressed in. Technically, I believe it’s still Fall out, but it’s dark when I go to work – and dark when I go home – so I consider it Winter. And I hate Winter.

Winter is cold, bleak, dangerous, rigid, and dark. Sometimes I think it has that exact affect on my heart – engaging a torrent of emotional angst and anxiety that closes in on me like the darkness outside tonight.

But it’s okay – I fight for joy. And I’m a lucky man, dating a pretty girl, that really values me beyond belief. In fact, I’m presently writing this on her MacBook Pro because my laptop has long since seen the grave and she was gracious enough to let me borrow this for a little while.

Something weird happens when you hit your mid-twenties. You grow increasingly restless with accepting the status-quo – the norm – what everyone else is doing and what everyone else wants for you. Your heart begins to ache for meaningful work and a meaningful life, filled with meaningful relationships that have a lasting impact.

You discover that if life is entirely about the rise and grind of a 9-5 job, then is it really worth living? Probably not. So you yearn to make an impact, to find your niche, to reach the heights the dreamer within you believed you capable of at the age of 18 (but then you let fear and anxiety rule your heart, rather than prayer and planning).

It’s a weird season of learning your parents were right, the young-adults you admired as a teenagers were just as scared as you are now, and there is no glory without struggle. No good man that has not wrestled with his inner demons first. The struggle yields perseverance; and perseverance develops character; and character calls out the Great in everyone.

Basically, we’re all human and make lots of messy mistakes. The men and women that we admire were not any less messy per se – they’ve simply learned how to overcome their struggles – how to not get psyched out by the competition – and how to always keep their eyes on the prize. In the end, it’s often their weaknesses that have become strengths, that make them more relatable and a more effective witness – God ends up using even our thorns to make the rose-garden of his Kingdom beautiful.

There are consequences for your actions and for your inaction. Whether you speak or remain silent – whether you fight or remain passive – whether you exercise or remain dormant – whether you indulge or go without; all of these things have a string of consequences. We are the sum of our yesterdays. There’s grace. There’s overcoming power. There’s freedom. There’s strength. There’s endurance. But you absolutely have to take responsibility for, and accept and love, the man (or woman) staring back at you in the mirror.

You have to forgive yourself and find yourself worth loving.

I’ve lived much of the last few years with clenched fists. I’ve hated the anxious, scared, tired, frustrated, unhealthy, unfit, victim of a man that I’ve been. I’ve stormed out of rooms and cussed in my car and cried shaking sobs of depletion, sinking to the floor in my bedroom.

But I’ve forgiven myself; I’ve decided I’m worth loving.

I’m worth fighting for.

And I will fight. I can and will live again. I’ll set out and accomplish my goals. I’ll become something, because I am something. Chosen and loved before I was even worth being chosen and loved – and far after I’d dismissed revelation for ‘discovery’.

Winter can be as dark and cold and crappy as it wishes. Because I’m a man on a mission to see the light, feel the warmth, and to cling to the joy around me.

I’m grateful for your tender love as you’ve taken the time to read this. Reach out to me if you need someone, because I promise you’re not the only one sometimes silently wrestling in the dark.

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A “Fearless” Conclusion

Today, I finished reading Max Lucado’s book, “Fearless”. First of all, I highly recommend his book to absolutely anyone. It has surely opened my eyes to the incredible amount of fear in our world and renewed my mind according to God’s will, regarding what it is that I should fear, and what it is that I should not. If you are interested at all in what I pondered this afternoon, as I began to draw a few conclusions from what I had read and what I felt God was attempting to teach me, then I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the following journal entry that I ended up writing as a result…

Fear has a way of setting the world on fire; men and women hungrily eat up tidbits of dreadful news through every avenue of media they can. I’ve witnessed this with motherly figures in my life. Women that have positions in which they have nurtured and matured me throughout the years and whom I certainly love. They watch hours of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dateline, 20/20, and other shows that will remind them of the dangers of the world. It’s like a sick addiction where scary news must be read, shared with others, and fret over, while good news is quickly forgotten.

Forgetting seems to be a common issue that Christians deal with. God constantly reminds us to remember throughout the course of Scripture. Ministry leaders must remind us frequently that God is still there and He still cares. Christians, we have to remember. If we forget who our God is, then who will tell this broken and depraved world that there is indeed someone who can save them!?!?! God is here! Our Savior has come and will surely be coming back.

The old idiom, “you are what you eat,” can be taken quite literally. We will become whatever it is that we fill ourselves up with. If you feed on the fear that media wants to feed you, then you will be fearful. If you read magazines that tell you to worry about the shape and size of your body, then you will care far too much about your looks and potentially become critical of others. If you sip from the sex-crazed goblet of romance novels, pornography, and sensuality in general, then you will indeed become a sexually immoral being.

What if we began to fill ourselves up with the words of God? He says to us, “Be strong and courageous”, “do not fear”, and reminds us that we have “not yet resisted sin to the point of shedding blood”. If you want the world to change, then change it; one broken heart at a time…starting with yours. Yes, even your heart needs healing and indeed our minds need to be renewed. If you fill yourselves up with God’s Word and His Spirit, then you will surely become more and more Christ-like each day and the people in your life NEED Jesus’ love. Let’s face it, you and I are not capable of loving others to the degree that they need to be loved, especially if we are not filling our cups to overflowing with His gracious, perfect, and merciful love on a daily basis.

Ready for the bottom line? God is God. If one truly reveres (respectfully fears) God, then all other fears cease and courage is born. Max Lucado stated, “Courage is fear that has said its’ prayers.” How incredibly true! “When God is fully revealed to us and we ‘get it’, then we experience the conversion of our fear…’Fear of the Lord’ is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God.” At the bottom of the same page, Lucado writes, “A big God translates into big courage. A small view of God generates no courage.”

Imagine a country filled with men that actually feared God…Imagine what they would be capable of under the direction of the Holy Spirit…Imagine how much your life would differ if you concluded to live a life that is free from the fears of this world, but maintained a healthy dose of the sobering fear of the LORD. Imagine…how friendships would be deepened, marriages restored, families brought together, nations united. The imagination is a powerful tool and a beautiful gift that God has given us. Anyone tired of simply imagining? Who is ready to make their wildest, Christ-centered dreams a reality?

It would appear that Max Lucado shares my love for coffee, as at the end of his chapter, “Caffeinated Life”, he writes, “Eternal glory. I’d like a large cup, please. ‘One venti-sized serving of endless joy in the presence of God. Go heavy on the wonder, and cut all the heartache.’ Go ahead and request it. The Barista is still brewing. For all you know, it could be the next cup you drink.” Christians, it is time to walk away from the paralysis of fear. It is time to truly live. “Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph. Yes, life stinks. But it won’t forever. As one of my friends likes to say, “Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.” (Max Lucado) Lay down your pride, O Christian, fall on your face before the LORD, admit that you are not adequate for the task as your forefathers have (even Jesus relied on prayer, do you think yourselves to be more capable than He?), ask Him for His blessing, and when He touches you, lifts you up, and instructs you to live according to His purpose, free from fear…then do just that. Live obediently.

Continuing the Fight,

Justin

Short Stories

The following post is couple short stories/”parables” that I feel compelled to share with those of you that follow my blog. Hope that you like them and that the Lord uses my writing to bring glory to His Kingdom!

The Heartbeat

The continuous beating of the heart-monitor resonates throughout the room. I try to move but can’t as I’m paralyzed by my own misfortunes. My sins have cut, bruised, and abandoned my body and left it laying limp as nothing more than a corpse. I’m paralyzed, and can’t breathe on my own, but am connected to machines that regulate my breathing and heartbeat. A green light flashes up and down on the heart monitor revealing a steady heartbeat, the only thing that shows I’m actually still alive….

Some days that is exactly how I feel. Empty, abandoned, lonely, hurting, scared, fearful, small, insignificant, unworthy, worthless, etc. The picture painted above illustrates the state of my soul when not in God’s Word, but not only that, it can reflect how others are feeling as well, as the flesh continues to convince them to please themselves…We’ve grown up in a culture that says we have to be “stuntin’ like my daddy”, “I’ve got money on my mind and can’t ever have enough, cause all I do is win,” etc…There are thousands of other musical lyrics and pop-culture metaphors that illuminate the pride and ME-centered culture that Americans have had spoon-fed to them from a young age. We have the mentality of DJ Khaled when he says “I can’t ever have enough.” In a recent movie called Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, one of supporting actors says this when asked how much is enough…his arrogantly stated answer is “More…” in a voice that inflects entitlement and pride.

This is what the world has come to… when we follow what our flesh desires we will NEVER be satisfied and will always want more.

Now place yourself in the hospital bed, paralyzed, and unable to move….for the ways of this world have essentially killed you, but only the monitors are keeping you at a state of life…Will you continue clinging to the message of this world, which only leads to more hurt, pain, destruction, and hunger for the Truth?…Because if you continue along that path, the only place it leads is death….the heart monitor will discontinue it’s rhythmic beeping and and your heartbeat will flatline…the world around you will fade and the Great doctor, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords will pronounce you dead….for He never knew you.

My dear brothers and sisters….my life does not reflect the Lord perfectly and I am certainly far from where I need to be, but we ALL need to be reminded of the importance of our relationship with Christ and our pursuit of Him. Our relationship with God is like the heartbeat on the EMT machine…it’s full of its’ ups and downs, it’s a process full of trials, revelations, joy, tears, etc.

The question is…

Will you continue the pursuit of your Father, clinging to life by resting in His arms, or will you stay the course of this world and flatline, allowing your heart to enter a spiritual comatose?

Supporting verses: Psalm 73:26, Psalm 145:14-15, Ephesians 2, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, etc.

Written by: Justin Meyer

Short Story #2 “Courtcase: God vs. Justin”

“Justin, what are your accusations?” the judge asks as he peers down at me from the Judge’s stand.

“Your Honor, God has taken things away from me! He’s removed friend after friend from my life. I’ve never felt more alone in my life and I don’t understand why a God that loves me so much would do something so terrible. My friends hold me up, encourage me, they emblazon me with the ability to be confident and bold. I want them back!”

“What do you have to say about these charges Father?” the judge looks over at a man sitting in the defendant’s seat. Everyone in the courtroom is squinting and shielding their eyes with their hands attempting to catch a glimpse of this man’s glory. Light radiates from Him, extinguishing the darkness in every direction, and the courtroom shakes as He stands up to answer the judge and his adversary.

Attendees in the courtroom shake with fear and I sit in the plaintiff’s seat trembling in His presence as I accuse my own Father of wrongdoing.

God, ignoring the judge in the room, looks over at me and into my eyes with such intense love that I can barely keep myself from crying as shame for accusing my Father covers me. Quietly he says “Do not fear, Be strong and courageous.” Words he gave to Joshua after the death of Moses…

“But Lord, I’m scared, lonely, abandoned, and frustrated. How can I trust you as you’ve taken the ones that I love so much away from me?”

“Justin, my dear son, have I ever given you a reason to not trust? Why is it that you are so concerned about your friends? Do you not know that I loved you so much I placed each of them into your life. I created each one of them and placed them in your life for a reason. I used them to strengthen, challenge, and build you up and you love them so much. That’s great, but Justin, do you love me or them more? Are you willing to rely upon me and me alone…? I love you son, but you have to walk into the next phase of life and trust that I have plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11) that will blow you away. I want to use you to change the world, but you have to choose to rely upon me and me alone.”

The Lord Almighty stood there awaiting an answer…

The courtroom faded away slowly and as quickly as the dream had come, it was gone, I was now sitting in my room in Manhattan, KS. A student at K-State…fighting against the Lord internally. Knowing that he is the one and only thing that can keep me going. He is the only thing that can fulfill the yearnings of my heart and yet I was pushing Him away.

It’s time to make Galations 2:20 entirely true of my life and to trust in the Lords words in Jeremiah 29:11. It’s time to be a man and follow the Lord down the narrow path, regardless of how little I can see ahead. I can’t see what my major will be, what my profession will be, whom I will marry, or if I will ever have kids, but I must trust that he will reveal those things in due time. In His time…the only time that really matters.

Written by: Justin Meyer

Conclusion: I pray that these stories are a tool that the Lord will use to spur you on in your relationships with Him and that glory was brought to Him somehow by you taking the time to read this! God bless brothers and sisters!