Honesty Hour

Think of all the effort you invested in trying to hide something. If you’re like me, you agonized over the details as you did everything you could to cover up your tracks – whether it was something mundane and silly to hide like breaking into the cabinet for some potato chips late at night or a scandalous rendezvous. I can think of returning from college in my early 20’s and sneaking downstairs for a snack and thinking my Mom wouldn’t notice that I’d greased up a cereal bowl with potato chips or taken a sleeve of Ritz crackers up to my bedroom. (I’ve struggled with my weight since college and I didn’t want some other bad habit to be discovered.) I can also remember the “white lies” we’ve all used to cover up our tracks when in our youth we did things we shouldn’t have.

So much emotional, physical, mental, perhaps even spiritual energy exerted to produce a fake self. To prove you’re who you say you are when perhaps your behavior demonstrated exhibits the fact that you may not even personally believe the lie you’re trying to sell others.

Think of all the separate selves you have. The one that goes out partying with your friends, the one that confides in your “person” (spouse, significant other, best-friend), the one that is sexual, the one that is conservative, the one that cares deeply about others, and the one that doesn’t give a f*** what others think. Really, think about it. Everyone has different selves; it’s how we’ve been trained by society to act. “Be on your best behavior,” we heard as kids and then we learned the correct behaviors for varying situations from varying people and adapted to our surroundings, doing whatever it took to feel most accepted – whatever left us the most valued and loved.

Friends, I’d like to tell you there is an alternative to this exhausting way of life. An alternative to constantly hiding, from yourself.

You see – I’ve always tried to sell the lie that I was the perfect Christian. It wasn’t anyone’s specific fault. My parents had made their own mistakes when they were younger and they didn’t want me to have the same problems, so they did everything they could to suppress the “bad” in life – and who could blame them? Wouldn’t any good and decent parent? I love them for all they did to love and protect me. However, as a result of this, I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to be – I had only ever been what everyone had told me I was. A Christian, a teacher, a poet, and a friend. And I would say that I am these things, and am in the process of gaining clarity and being empowered by the Lord to accomplish even more. But I’m also other things…

“I’m a Christian, recovering from Sexual Addiction,” I say every Saturday morning in a Men’s Group that has saved my marriage (before it even began, praise the Lord). Introduced to pornography in my early teens during an ‘innocent’ game of Truth-Or-Dare – it maintained a hold on my life for more than a decade. It wasted countless hours I could’ve spent reading or writing or investing in relationships that mattered – instead, the addiction taught me to chase the high of arousal and stole my ability to say no to my own selfish desires. Suppressed for a while by meeting the woman that’s now my bride, one day I found myself back in that ‘well’ (oh the lies that Satan sells us) of depravity. Days away from engagement, I found myself backpedaling. My world was rocked. The lie of who I wanted people to believe I was could not stand anymore. It had fallen and the real Justin had to stand up…and be a man. I confessed my addiction to my girlfriend at the time, to her parents, and to a few close friends I asked for prayer. I met one-on-one with her Dad (I was literally shaking in my boots and terrified) and by the grace of God he decided to accept and forgive me, allowing me to become his son-in-law a few months later. My girlfriend agreed to become my fiancé. And I’ve been “sober” for close to a year.

There have been moments where I’ve found myself trying to hide things again…hide the fact that I went back down for potato chips again. Or that – yes – I went for the whiskey when I should have just brewed some decaf-coffee. Or I’ve wanted to continue spending frivolously on drive-thru lattes and tried to cover up my tracks. But the “older” and “wiser” I get, the more I realize hiding the truth only delays its arrival. Truth always shows up to the party and steals the show. And admitting our faults and becoming teachable is the only way we’ll ever grow.

Marriage is the single greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Allie has been the face of Jesus in my life. She’s forgiven me and loved me for who I was, who I am, and who I’m becoming. I’ve learned that love isn’t the sexually charged experience that Hollywood portrays, but I’ve found the realness, the intimacy all the more beautiful. The world can have its counterfeit affections – I don’t need to chase them anymore. The Lord has set me free and for my wife alone, my heart bleeds.

Perhaps your struggle is with depression or something else – sex, drugs, money, alcohol, abusive relationships, one-way friendships, maybe you’re addicted to your job (you’ve forgotten what a day off is and you don’t know who you’d be without your current job title). I suppose this post is my extremely longwinded way of telling you to stop pretending you’re something you’re not – and be yourself.

K-State’s Scott Frantz came out as gay yesterday to the entire world. And while I don’t condone homosexuality or support gay marriage, I admire that he was real with the world about who he is. As I tweeted yesterday, “People should be loved for who they are, not who we want them to be.”

Late Night Thoughts: Advance

I heard it said once that writers “have to write.” It’s a burden within their souls. As if something tugs and pulls and exhausts until something gives way and one is jolted into action. I feel like that tonight.

Allie went to bed a couple hours ago and I finished watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine – what a fun, goofy, comical show about detectives. Andy Sandberg found his golden role. I’m a major fan as it’s quickly climbed into the ranks of some of my favorites like The Office and Parks & Rec.

When Allie went to bed, she said, “Don’t stay up until 2am this time and then hate yourself because you spend the day off in bed until 10am and then half the day is over.” And while she’s right – I will hate myself tomorrow for being awake this late. Here I am. Awake and writing, and relishing in the moments to myself with Harvey asleep and unable to interrupt my train of thought with his demands for attention.

Why is it so difficult to kill off the old flesh and give way to the new, disciplined one? Why can I not always be the perfect husband, able and willing to go to bed early for the sake of being upstairs with her rather than down here by myself? Why must we toil at work in vein somedays? Why must we constantly pray for direction while continuing to feel directionless?

More importantly, why did no one ever tell me that marriage would be the most complexly beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced? While simultaneously requiring the most heart. I always thought myself to be a hearty, swoon-worthy gentleman but there are days where I can’t believe Allie loves me. I’m hot and sweaty from work, exhausted from pulling a 10 or 12 hour shift, my charm and humor spent on customers during the day, and all that’s left of my candor is the leftover scraps of my personality.

And there she is, stoked to see me, ready to cook dinner.

I didn’t know it’d be the simple things. Like her cooking dinner or the fact that when we both cry and break down after a day of holding in our emotions, all the burdens suddenly give way to fresh love and remembrance that we’re only human and are by golly going to need the grace of God and Jesus along the way. While the promise of a “sexy” life after marriage flaunted its way through my youth and had me obsessed with the idea of one day being in union with a woman – it’s the friendship that’s brought the most benefits.

Her ability to laugh at my jokes and to make the jokester laugh even when he’s seemingly all out of jokes. The way she’s not afraid to dig herself into the trenches with me, only to help pull me out. Flirtatiously reminding me that negative self-talk is no way to talk to myself at all – because I’m handsome and strong and capable. One thing is certain – I’m smart, because I married her.

And so tonight, I had to write. I had to write to share that sometimes I can’t sleep and I feel weird for having to stay up and watch a show or two in order to sleep. I had to write because I was compelled to do so. And I had to write because it somehow felt necessary to share with those of you that may be newly married or about to be married and I just want to say that sometimes it’s not going to be all rose-fields and fun and games. Sometimes, it’s going to take a lot of work and sometimes you’ll be so worn out that while you know you’re in love and you have 1,000% confidence in the other person, somehow you’ll still feel numb. Chalk it up to fatigue, but it is what it is – you’re just not feeling it today. And that’s okay. Because love is a choice and the value of your relationship will shine through when it matters most.

The trust is built when you make that same choice again and again, without hesitation. “I’m choosing you over me.” Words help, but actions solidify.

So never give up. Never, ever give up. There’s no retreating here. You must advance.

I’ve found myself in the Word again lately and reading Ruth, as well as 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy so prepare for some future posts as to what I’m learning. Perhaps I’ll take a slight break from the marriage material for a spell. But really – guys and girls – marriage is awesome. I recommend it. Put the bachelor life to rest as soon as God calls you.

Idle Time And The Power Of Others

Idle time is a weakness of mine. Recognizing and taking responsibility for my weaknesses is something that I’ve been pushing to the forefront of my mind – because if I do nothing about them, then I am doing little to better myself. You can attempt to run away from your problems but they’re your problems and they’ll just follow you wherever you go.

As I contemplated going out and spending unnecessary money on breakfast this morning, I realized I really ought to take the extra time I had to make myself some breakfast and utilize the resources God and my wife have already blessed me with. So I chopped up some berries, sprinkled a little sugar on some Corn Flakes, and turned something boring into something delicious.

Recognizing that despite it being my day coveted day off (I hate going in when I’m not scheduled, because…rest), I realized that I’ve done poorly this week and it’d be silly to not go in for an hour or two to handle a customer that would like an appraisal and to shop for a potential replacement. And instead of laying in bed until the last possible minute, I’m a few cups of coffee deep, have taken Harvey (our new beagle puppy) on a walk, and am writing – even though I’m certain this is nowhere near my best work – before going in to take care of my customer.

The truth is that I’ve been scared away from writing for a season. Some aspects of my heart are unready to be seen and others are still not sure of themselves. The interesting thing about insecurity is that it permeates every aspect of everything. As a 27-year old I’m beginning to realize the tremendous importance of knowing who you are and learning to love that person (something I have a lot of difficulty with). If God can forgive me for where I’ve been and bless where I am going, then what gives me the right to think I cannot forgive myself, or that I should not work toward that blessing further down the road?

Insecurity has a way of sneaking its way into the marriage bed as well. I don’t mean this in a weird way, but if we let it, Allie and I can allow insecurity to create its own invisible wall of separation between us even as we lay snuggled up side-by-side.

Interesting enough, while I’ve spent years obsessing over the exterior aspects of myself (while significantly heavier than I was as a teenager, age and a beard has done me some favors in that department – or so I’ve been told) – I never really invested in truly staring my heart down and figuring it out. Marriage sort of forces you to do that, because you’re confronted with the reality of your heart every single day. I can see the concern in my wife’s eyes when anxiety grips my hearts and turns my lively blue eyes to dead, grey ones. I can see the impact that simple words spoken in a harsh tone can have. I also witness the incredible power a little joy, joking, and yes – dancing, can have on her heart. Quickly lifting her out of the daily funk and transporting her back to the lively, real, incredible romance that we share. Our friendship is what makes the dream work. Allie is my very best friend.

“The Power Of The Other” by Dr. Henry Cloud is a book devoted to just that concept – the idea that others have an incredible impact on you whether you want to admit it or not. “The undeniable reality is that how well you do in life and in business depends not only on what you do and how you do it, your skills and competencies, but also on who is doing it with you or to you.” I’m just under 20 pages into the book and I’m already hooked and I can already think back to how true this is. To back in college when I’d stay up ungodly late to finish a project and the only reason I could keep going is because Jake was there with me, cheering me on and saying that we could do it. To the early morning prayer gatherings with friends in my church that I didn’t really want to get out of bed for, but when they came knocking on my door and I saw that they were up, then I would go (most of the time – sometimes I’d just pretend I wasn’t there…). The point being when you have others in your corner going after a common goal and pushing you past your standard limits and beliefs in yourself, then you’re far more likely to succeed and to surpass what you believe to be your ‘best’.

I look forward to reading the rest of the book and to finding ways to surround myself with people pursuing to be their best selves in life and to spending less time with toxic people that drain energy and tear down confidence by being consumed entirely in themselves.

Kadena supports the Okinawa Marathon

What I Learned In 2016

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.

Best Wishes,

Justin Meyer


I Won’t Give Up

I’m in a rough spot. Basically starting over. If you want to learn more about my present situation then definitely feel free to give me a call or send me a message.

It’s been incredibly tempting to throw in the towel and run off. Amazing how when the going gets tough, our first reaction is to run – whether that to be to entertainment, alcohol, drugs, sex, or any other form of counterfeit affection – anything that will make us feel loved. I’m happy to say that I haven’t given up – that I haven’t run.

Instead, I’ve pressed in harder. I’ve gained weight and lost sleep. I’ve laid awake stressed at night, eaten a little too much sweet and salty, but I haven’t given up. I haven’t stopped working. I haven’t gotten lazy. I haven’t thrown in the towel. I’ve stayed strong. Stayed the course. Continued to find a way to see the blessings the Lord gives me each day.

I’m a blessed man with an incredible network. You wouldn’t believe the amount of potential opportunities and doors that have suddenly swung open in the aftermath of a couple doors shutting in my face (honestly, by God’s grace). It would have been easy to pack my bags and run. It would have been easy to throw in the towel. But I’ve kept working, kept hoping, kept persevering.

I will not give up. I will persevere.

I’ve found someone worth loving. I know a God worth living for. I have friends willing to go out of their way for me. I have a woman that believes I have the potential to be successful in absolutely anything I set my mind to.

Today, I find myself praying for you, the reader. I know that some of you may not be as fortunate as me – to have that sort of safety-net and community. A family that’s willing to bear some of your financial burden, friends that are willing to meet with you and discuss potential opportunities, a church that continues to pray for you even though you’re considering other church communities; people that refuse to let you give up on yourself, because they haven’t given up on you.

I find myself praying that you’ll know Him. That you’ll come to meet the Savior. The Provider of my strength and resilience. Yes – I’ve stressed myself silly and worried myself into sickness. Yes – I’ve slept poorly and eaten terribly. No – I will not be left in the cold. No – I will not completely fail. No – I will not be left empty-handed.

He’s a good, good father. He saw me estranged and beaten and giving up and He ensured I found a way out. He will provide. I pray you know Him. I pray He meets you where you’re at too.

It’s a struggle. To believe in something you cannot see. To feel something you sometimes are too numb to feel. Life is never easy.

The beautiful, eloquent speeches that some are capable of presenting (whether politician or pastor) are not an accurate depiction of life. But Jesus is an accurate depiction of love. And love is real. It overcomes. It forgives. It forgets your misdirections and gives you another chance – again and again – never giving up – always persevering.

You are the captain of your ship and I the captain of mine. The only one responsible for it’s successful passage through the treacherous waters of life, yourself (and the God you do or do not believe in). Only you can sink the ship.

I’m refusing to sink mine.

I’m a fan of words. A fan of pep-talks. I’ve asked for prayer and encouragement, but I’ve decided its necessary to preach to myself. So here it is. I’m believing. I’m achieving. I’m fighting. And I won’t give up.

Right There With You,

Justin Meyer

Writing/Blogging Advice

I’ve recently been approached by a few people to share my thoughts on how to get started as a writer – whether it be a blog, poetry, or writing as a guest columnist of sorts. I wasn’t sure I was the right person to ask, but then remembered I’ve been writing as a hobby just for fun, on behalf of church’s, and now I do some writing for my company as well. So – why the heck not get some writing tips from yours truly?

There are basically two keys to writing – reading lots and lots of books and then, writing. “Just do it.” For real though. (Might as well stop reading now and start journaling.)

Since high school I’ve probably read a couple hundred books “just for fun” – my friends called me a nerd and made fun of me as I walked across campus with a book open. I learned in college that it wasn’t helping me meet the ladies so I finally toned it down a smidgen. But you could still easily find me in Starbucks, reading the latest James Patterson novel or Francis Chan’s latest Biblical wisdom.

It’s my obsession with a good story. I’ve always envied my friend Jake’s charisma and ability to captivate a room of 20 or so people with a well-told childhood tale. He tells just the right amount of detail to place you in the same room as him, drops the punch-line at the right moment so that it makes you wonder if you’re going to end up peeing your pants, and oops – you already have! (Kidding…maybe…but seriously – you’ll never belly-laugh harder than when he starts telling stories!)

A good writer’s main aim is to tell a good story – to bring others into the story with them. You want them to feel your pain, to rise with you and overcome the dark times in life, to fight the treacherous dragon and rescue the beautiful princess, to confront the terrifying realities of prejudice, obscured rhetoric, and many other big-word, hot-button topics.

I write very conversationally. My readers should feel like they’re sitting in the room with me, or like I’ve granted them access inside my soul. I want the experience to be intimate and personal and I want them to walk away changed and confronted. I don’t want them to ever leave feeling the same. As a natural leader and former student of persuasion and rhetoric, I want to pull and shift the audience in a particular direction – while also leaving room for their own beliefs to be added to the conversation. Because after all, you’re not going to change the world with more confrontation, but we could all understand each other a little better if we spent more time in conversation. And part of conversation, is having your own ideas… (Turn the TV off and do some thinking for crying out loud!)

Honestly, as an up-and-coming author, the hardest thing about writing is just getting started. You can say that you want to write a book or start a blog or express yourself more artistically until you’re blue in the face, but until you actually sit down and do the hard work of beginning, you’ll never make an impact.

As a perfectionist, it’s my fear of failure that’ll hold me back. It’s what has kept me from pursuing my dream of writing a book for so long. If I write it and no one publishes it, then what will have been the point? And I’ve decided that if I can’t do it for myself, then I shouldn’t do it for anyone. So I’m doing it for myself, because it is what I want to do. It’s what I NEED to do. It’s what I’ve needed to do since I was 16 years old.

You have to get beyond the desire to please others. You have to NEED to write. You have to have decided that your voice is worth hearing. And then you have to share it and hold nothing back. No one wants halfheartedness, just like no one wants someone who is “kind of a friend.” You’re either a writer or you’re not. The only person that gets to decide that is yourself. Don’t let “the world” and “publishers” and “circumstances” define you.

Honestly, you just have to get started. You just have to do it. Stop worrying so much about layouts and fonts and topics and just find creative ways to share what’s on your heart. Because in the end, that’s what matters the most.

Why Do You Matter?

Did you know that the most powerful weapon in the world isn’t an atom bomb? A nuclear warhead from North Korea could potentially cause World War III, but it’s not as powerful a weapon as your tongue. The words we say can literally undo another person. (Don’t worry – this isn’t exactly my typical James 3 leaning – it’s new material.)

From the time I was a young teenager I had an obsession with other’s opinions of me and the words they had to say. I spent too much time eavesdropping and wondering what the latest gossip was about myself. I wanted people to love me. No – I NEEDED people to love me. To be sought after, desired, and respected was the ultimate goal.

At the ripe age of 18, the world was at my fingertips. Graduating high-school, I was certain the world would be handed to me on a Silver Platter – because I “deserved” it. After all, I had (almost) a 4.0 GPA at Olathe Northwest and my teachers and spiritual mentors adored me. But life presented obstacles I didn’t expect. And character flaws left unchecked developed into life-detours that delayed my personal progression toward the man God desired/desires for me to become.

So there I was – having a beer with my best-friend. We were “watching the Royals game” but deep down, we both wanted to connect on a deeper level. And if there’s anything my best-friend can do, it’s peel back my complex emotional layers and get to the core of my heart. It always takes time and a good amount of questions, but if he’s patient enough, he gets there. And I’ve always been super grateful for it.

I was expressing frustration with certain life-situations and predicaments and he started asking things like, “All cards on the table – what do you want?” I’d explain life goals like financial betterment, healthy fitness levels, and relationships going the distance. Then he’d ask, “How would that make you feel?” And then, he hit me with a bomb. I can’t remember the exact wording but it was something along the lines of, “Why do you matter?” (Brief disclaimer, he thinks I matter. He just wanted to know if and why I thought I mattered.)

To be frank – that question wrecked me. And it wasn’t his fault. It was just that in the matter of about 15 minutes, he’d brought me to a vulnerable state and brought up my self-worth. I froze. He’d found the heart of the issue, and I didn’t have an answer. I realized that as much as I wanted to say that I believed I mattered, I didn’t really believe it. The 18 year old me would be so disappointed with the 26 year old me. The world couldn’t possibly appreciate the things I’d “accomplished” with my life over the last 8 years.

I broke things down a bit more, myself. Explaining to my friend that I liked to think of my culmination of worth as a legacy. Something I’d break down into the “Funeral Effect.” (Don’t worry, it’s not as dark as it sounds.) But everyone dies. So at that moment when you die and everyone is gathering for your funeral – How many people show up? What do they say about you? Did you actually make a difference? Will there be stories of people having overcome obstacles because of me? Will hearts have been restored more often than been broken by me? Did I hold anyone back, or did I always seek their betterment over my own? The bottom line, I want to make a difference. And in that moment, I wasn’t so sure if I was fulfilling one of my deepest heart desires.

I love the man that took the time to ask me those deep questions and that put up with my word-vomit as I attempted to answer them, while also holding back potential tears as it was (surprisingly to me) a raw subject to process. He assured me that I was an Encourager, Friend, and Leader – that his world wouldn’t be the same without me and that he knew of several others that would feel the same way. He breathed life back into my fragile bones and I walked away feeling loved, encouraged, and respected.

But at the end of the day – it really comes back to his original questions of, “Why do YOU think that you matter?” And to be honest, I’m still processing that. Questions like that and goals set up to reach certain destinies have the potential to change one’s entire lifeline. I think I’m supposed to be a writer and a counselor/encourager within the context of relationships; I think that someday I may end up being a spiritual teacher in some younger people’s lives; and I’ve got dreams. But at this moment, I find myself still searching my heart for the answer to the question, “Why do you matter?” And I’d love your prayers for me as I do just that.

Justin Meyer

self worth candle

Fair Warning

Fair Warning – I’m trying to write this while sitting in Thou Mayest which is across from Grinders in the Crossroads District of Kansas City. Why is that important? Because the band that’s performing tonight is warming up and it’s loud. Therefore, I might seem a little foggy. That would be why. But we’re writing weekly! It’s exciting! I’ve enjoyed this new discipline in my life and the outlet it’s provided for my thought-processes and I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Thanks for following along. Let’s get to it.

Life is loud, isn’t it? Lots of noise and a whole lot of confusion. Lots of pretty girls and handsome guys, plenty of music to choose from, and a Grand Canyon of confusion when it comes to life purpose. Where is it all heading? Where are we going? What’s the point?

If you’re anything like me, these questions have a sort of rapid-fire effect. You lay there in bed at night and start to ask yourself basic questions…”I wonder where this job is taking me,” or “where is this relationship headed?” or “Have I actually made any progress toward my goals for this year yet?”

The primary problem is that I like to control things. I want to have a plan and to be in control of life – not necessarily a bad plan – but when you spiral into crippling anxiety and worry every time something doesn’t go your way or you hit a bump in the road, something’s wrong with your outlook on life.

You see – I think I can save myself one day, and the next day I’m ready to wave the white-flag and say that overcoming obstacles isn’t even worth the energy, because I can’t do it on my own anyways. Surrendering to life isn’t the objective and it’s the wrong idea, but surrendering to prayer may not be such a bad plan.

For a while now, I’ve held God at arms-length. It’s easier to pull a Heisman and keep him out of certain aspects of my life. And if I don’t read my Bible or pray, then I don’t have to be confronted as often by the Holy Spirit. It serves the purpose of allowing my pride to swell and grow unfettered. But pride comes before the fall. And I’m being pruned. He won’t allow the branches that lack fruit to remain intact.

Paul E. Miller is a humble and brilliant man. I’ve never met him. But my friend Jake suggested that I read the book that last time I saw him, so I am. Jake’s the kind of guy you trust, even if you don’t see him much. He’s just got this wisdom and charisma and he’s going places. And Paul seems like the kind of trustworthy uncle or grandfather that you could take any of life’s problems to and he’d want to sit down and pray with you. He wrote a book called “A Praying Life” and I’ve been reading it.

I’d say the main theme of the book is to pray. Obviously. But really – it’s quite simple – just pray. I think we all have a little ADD when it comes to prayer…”Hey God, it’s me again…I did something else stupid…by the way, what’s the deal with so-and-so lately?…Why haven’t you given me that extra income yet?…Squirrel!…Oh…Uhmmm…amen.” But it’ll amaze you. Once you start, you don’t want to go back. Soon, the times when you’d be cussing under your breath in a frustrating situation, you’ll find yourself saying, “Lord, help me.” I miss that sort of natural prayer-life.

When I was younger I left a voice-mail on my friend Joey’s phone. It was probably something nominal, like letting him know I could spend the night after I finished my spelling words or something. (His parents were like assistant-coaches in my life. As often as I went over there on the weekends, I think of them as a 2nd set of parents. So grateful for that family.) Anyways, back to the voicemail. I leave the message and at the end I find myself saying, “In Jesus name I pray, Amen.” Click. I hang-up. Mortified, I realize I just ended a voice-mail like it was a prayer. I’m sure Joseph saved that message for a couple months after for his own amusement, but it was proof that prayer came natural in my teenage days. And I’m ready to go back.

I tweeted earlier this week that I thought life should come with a warning-label. “WARNING: This is gonna be freaking hard.” If you take the easy way out, you’ll have to do it again anyways. A house built on sand doesn’t stand. You’ve got to put the work into a solid foundation.

So for me prayer is saying, “Hey Jesus, this whole life thing is pretty tough. Want to walk through it with me?” His answer is always, “Yes.”

So stop worrying and get those things off your chest. Let Him take care of the rest.

hard work ahead yellow warning road sign, tough job be ambitious
hard work ahead yellow warning road sign, tough job be ambitious even if you have a difficult challenging task with impact to finish. ambition to meet the challenge icon.

Roses Are Red (And Gifts & Things)

So I was driving mindlessly down the street toward the car-wash. Marvin The Martian, my handsome 2013 Toyota Camry, wasn’t looking so handsome. It was time for a shower. As I hit the gas in my powerful new car down Santa Fe, I remembered that she was in Price Chopper. A mixture of whimsy and a longing to surprise hit my chest as if Cupid, himself, had just set free an arrow that penetrated my tired, asleep heart.

Recounting all the sweet-nothings, countless gestures of kindness, cooked meals, free drinks, and hugs that still the choppy waters of my life – if only for just a moment – I realized aside from writing letters,  I’d yet to DO anything for her.

Excitement crept into my heart as I found Trudy, her 2015 Corolla. She was still there, picking up groceries for dinner that night. Awesome.

Goofily, I jogged into Price Chopper, power-walking like my Mom might down the front aisles. I kept a steady pace and kept my head down, hoping she wouldn’t spot me and the surprise would be ruined.

Arriving at the floral section of the store, I found the last dozen flowers worthy of her beauty. Roses are red, her eyes are green. Chameleons of shade and ever-changing, they’re constantly serene.

Hurrying to the register, I pay for the roses and head out to the car. There was a family parked nearby, probably waiting on their mother to return with groceries. And in true Justin fashion, I awkwardly looked through the drivers-side window to make sure the peace-sign pendant she has hanging from her rear-view mirror was there (how disappointing it would be to brighten the wrong girl’s day!). I’m sure the kids in the car were becoming worried I was a car-jacker.

But to their surprise, I didn’t steal the car. I took a dozen roses and secured them underneath one of her windshield-wiper blades.

“Mission accomplished,” I skipped off to my car like an excited high-schooler that’d just taken the leap of faith necessary to ask a pretty girl to Prom. And then Marv and I headed to the car-wash…

So why is it that I share this story with you? Well, it’s fun to tell. Also, she’s gorgeous. Her name is Allie. And she’s my girlfriend. Hallelujah. But there’s more to it than that.

You see – we all have a gift. My gift is words and encouragement and letters. Hers would would be random acts of kindness, being a source of comfort, and giving all she can to her friends.

I’m a terrible giver. Gifts are not my gift. For years my poor friends have received letters, while I’ve received probably a thousand dollars worth of Starbucks gift-cards (my bachelors-degree thanks you for your caffeinated blessing). More often than not, I’d rather spend that money on a night at the movies or a couple beers at my favorite bar.

But my world is evolving and I decided to stretch myself, and it felt great. I’d highly recommend it. Perhaps you’re an excellent giver. This is true of many of my friends. They are just naturally gifted in not holding onto their riches for their own sake. They’ll pay for you to join them on that trip, or to keep your caffeine-addiction alive one more day.

But maybe they’re naturally introverted and reclusive. They love to give gifts, but they get uncomfortable when it comes to quality time. What if they spent that extra hour of awkward face-to-face time and invested in seeing where the heart-to-heart conversation could lead that evening with the friend they don’t see that often?

Or maybe they’re naturally very affectionate and affirmative. They love people. They’re the “I just love you, man” guy when they’ve had a few too many drinks. And they’re hugging all the bros in the dorm. But they’re terrified their words aren’t good enough to actually impact another’s life? What if they wrote a letter? What if those words lit a fire within their friend’s heart again?

You may not be good at it now, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. I’m learning that we are not defined by our failures. I’m bad with money and not incredibly disciplined with my diet and exercise. But these items do not define me and I can overcome them. I’m bad at gifts, but I’m giving better (see what I did there?). Your level of intelligence and skill in a particular area is not forever-decided-upon. If you stretch yourself, you will grow. If you get a little uncomfortable, it’s a sign you’re learning. That’s great.

So roses are red. And her eyes are green.

Let’s use our gifts and acquire some others, if you know what I mean.

(Up next – a better poem than that ^ in the near future.)


Insecure – A Social Experiment

A few days ago, I conducted a social experiment. Without much of a reason why, I posted this question – “What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of me?” My friends graciously provided over 20 honest, thoughtful, kind responses. My brother said, “Perfect!”- but we all know that’s simply not true; but my family has always been my greatest fans and cheerleaders. I’m grateful for them.

So why would I pose such a question? The truth is, I was feeling “insecure” (probably the most prodding response I received – but it was very accurate).

I needed to prove to myself that my own perception of myself was wrong – that the negative lies swirling around in my head that night did not define me. Some of them were true, but they did not define me. Yes – I’m not fiscally secure (yet), I could stand to continue watching my fitness (but I’ve started keeping a food/exercise diary on MyFitnessPal and I’ve cut back on “going out”); I could have more reinforcing conversations with myself, rather than fighting myself, etc. But those irritating moments and bad days do not define me.

There’s a scene in the movie Creed where Rocky is instructing Creed on shadow-boxing. He turns Creed to the wall of mirrors in the gym (probably my least favorite thing about any gym or bar I’ve ever been to) and he tells Creed that his toughest opponent is the one staring back at him in the mirror. You then – slightly humorously – see Creed intensely throwing punches and ducking to avoid them as he faces himself, his greatest threat yet.

I think that’s the greatest struggle a twentysomething has to face. I’m fairly certain that’s why we see so many people in their twenties lose their faith, walk away from the church, turn to destructive lifestyles, and turning their wheels for a period of time – until they finally reach the day entering their mid-to-late twenties (shoutout to my 26th birthday, fastly approaching!) and realize it’s time to fight their demons.

So I was sitting in my car outside the Library. Because I’m a nerd. Loud and proud. I love to read and learn and write. But mostly, I love stories and emotion.

I’m sitting there in my car, questioning life and doubting myself. And I asked my friends what they thought defined me, what they valued and believed to be true about their relationship/interaction with me and it turns out, they want to call out the brave, courageous, writer within that’s good at relationships, witty, goofy, Christian and yes – occasionally insecure. But the overwhelming theme was that they loved me for me. That I was enough. That I was indeed, worth it.

I’m Justin Meyer and I struggle with insecurity and occasionally retreat to poor habits or shut-down when confronted due to a sensitive heart. But those do not define me. That is not who I am.

I am enough. I am loved. I am, for the most part, respected and talented.

So thank you for contributing to my semi-vain study where I conducted a social-experiment regarding the lens through which you see me.

But at the end, I’m still holding to the belief that this life is for an audience of One. And I’ll continue sharing matters of the heart. Because in the end, that’s what counts. And the One thought I was worth everything – even His Son.


(For the record, I hate cats. But this one looked pretty insecure. And I figured Allie would be thrilled that I featured a ‘cute’ kitten at least once. Enjoy it while you can – it won’t happen again. :P)