Welcome to Fight Club

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Welcome to Fight Club.  The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.  The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!”

Those are two famous lines from a popular 1999 movie called Fight Club.  Brad Pitt stars as a guy who’s looking for a challenge in his life and forms an underground boxing club with a buddy that evolves into something much more.  That’s about all I remember about the movie, I only saw it because the guy I was dating at the time was into it.  I don’t like movies with a lot of violence so I quickly forgot it all.

Another Fight Club that I am familiar with is a Christian teaching series taught by popular North Point Preacher Andy Stanley (son of the even more popular preacher Charles Stanley).  You probably haven’t heard of this one but it’s a four part teaching series about fighting for our relationships in life, particularly the one with our parents.  I won’t go into detail about this series but it’s something I’ve studied for years; I would listen to the series, file it away and then maybe pick it back up a few years later.

America seems to enjoy a good fight.  We watch folks battle it out in the boxing ring, we watch people fight for the love of their life on the big screen and we admire those who fight for the freedoms of our country.  Somehow, inherently, I think we know that a good fight is just a part of life.  But amidst all of this sometimes I think we forget to fight for ourselves.

Welcome to Fight Club.

Life is a battle.  There are ups and downs, highs and lows, sunshine and rain.  It’s easy to feel like you’re on a roller-coaster that just won’t quit.  And I think it’s human nature to just wish all circumstances would line up so we can just coast along on an even keel for a bit.

But unfortunately that’s not reality.

You have to be willing to fight for a lot of the things you want in life.  You don’t have to fight but you can choose to fight.  Think of it this way, I know a lot of people who have weight loss goals, well you can just sit around and wish the pounds a way or you can choose to fight for it.  This means you’ll have to abstain from certain foods and sweat in the gym.  It’s not easy, fun or cute, but it’s a fight for your health.

Or let’s say you want to go back to school and finish a degree you never started or go for a work promotion that requires additional skills.  You will have to balance school with work, family, and whatever other responsibilities you now have as an adult.  It won’t be easy, fun or cute, but it’s a fight for your professional career.

And lastly we all see the frequent hashtag #relationshipgoals on social media.  We all have them or should anyway.  Even if you are in a healthy relationship you should be open to taking your relationship to higher levels throughout the span of the relationship.  And even healthy relationships go through challenges where you may need to set new goals or re- focus.  It’s hard work to be in a relationship, there are times you will have to humble yourself, work on yourself and endure hurt feelings.  And you guessed it,  it’s not easy, fun or cute but it’s necessary.  It’s a fight for your relationship.

Even more than the fitness, professional or relationship goals, I think we need to be willing to fight for ourselves often in the wee midnight hours.  There’s times when we’re blessed to lean on friends or family for strength and guidance but there’s also times when we have to fight solo, maybe because no one shares our vision for a certain goal or maybe there’s no one that you know who’s walked in a particular situation you’re facing. That’s when you have to be willing to wield the sword for yourself, not just for someone else.

Fighting for yourself can happen in a number of ways, it can mean taking a step of faith in a certain area, or working to change a bad habit or something else.  Or it can be as simple as telling yourself positive affirmations every day.  If you come from a negative background just looking for something positive to reflect on each day can be a battle.  I see so many angry and negative people in society I honestly think a lot of people aren’t aware that they need to fight for their daily emotional well-being.

Often we walk around feeling so dis-empowered because we’re told we’re from the wrong socioeconomic class or racial group, or we’re a woman, or we’re disabled or we don’t look the part, etc etc.

Every individual has power; you have the power of choice and no one can take that from you.

So if I was going to create my own Fight Club I’d say the first two rules are:

1. You don’t have to fight, but you can choose to
2. This is a fight for your life

Welcome to Fight Club!

 

I surrender all

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“I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.”

I’m sure many of you are familiar with this old church hymn.  I used to sing it during my college years at my family’s church.  I still remember how the old saint’s voices sounded; though at the time I really didn’t comprehend the full meaning of the lyrics.

I’m in a season where I’m learning to surrender my desires to God, it’s not that I’m throwing them away or saying they no longer matter to me; instead I’m saying “This is what I want God and this is what makes me happy but, if I don’t get what I want, I will continue to worship you.”  I’m holding my desires with an open hand, instead of in a tight-fist like a stubborn two-year-old toddler.

God wants our hearts.  Not much different than someone we are romantically involved with wanting our affection.  We struggle to put God first in our hearts.  There’s no shame in admitting that.  We might read our bible or pray first thing in the morning but often there are those desires that we think we hold locked away, out of sight and deep within our souls, often times above God.  We might not acknowledge them but they’re there.

God wants to hear about those desires, and if they are not godly well guess what; he wants to hear about them anyway!  We can’t hide anything from God.  Anger problem?  God can handle it.  Jealousy issues?  He can handle that too.  Porn problem?  He already knows.  He’s already got you covered but the first step is to open up about it.

It’s a daily process, not an overnight one.  I think we can learn to surrender a little more every day. ☺

So now I look at this song with new eyes.  I’ll leave you with the last few lines of the song.

“All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.”

“I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Love,
Maya

A heart divided

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Some hurts are BIG
And some hurts are LOUD
And some are just kind of quiet, nagging
Like today

The kind that eats away at you slowly, but surely
Until I guess you just don’t feel much of anything anymore

I am becoming a brick wall
And a glass house at the same time

I don’t want to hurt again
So I won’t love you fully
And I won’t let you in
I am guarded and fragile at the same time

Don’t look at me too closely
Else you might not like what you see
Don’t stick around
Otherwise you’ll be obligated to stay

Let me continue to build this house
That no one can get in
Let me continue to wall you out
While I lock myself in

This is what pain does to you
It stumps growth
It assaults dreams
It alters your reality

My vision often gets hazy
My compass often has to be reset
The thoughts can easily takeover
And have their way with me

The reality is there is sunshine and rain
Good days and challenging ones
Growth and lapse
Love and pain

Such is life
Peaks and valleys
Hills and lows
Sunshine and rain

You take the good with the bad and you live to fight another day.

Serenity Prayer 

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.

Dreams Deferred

black and white image of a woman swinging from a tree

I’m on a bus
It’s cloudy and rainy outside
The weather matches my mood
Gloomy and just kind of blah

A lot of days I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop
Feeling neither here nor there
They say no news is good news
Well no news for too long makes me nervous

I am a roller coaster
Sometimes up, sometimes down
Reminiscent of my childhood
Waiting for the other shoe to drop

I’m listening to a song from my high school days
Cheers 2 U” by Playa
And I remember the dreams of my childhood
And the new dreams that I’ve discovered

I’ve heard it said that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”
And “Worshiping the dream more than the Dream-Giver makes the dream an idol”

I have dreams that at times seem like God has forgotten about
Or doesn’t care to remember
Or has once again said “No”
Or has once again said “Wait”

Where do you place your hope?

If the dream fails is all hope gone?

A shattered marriage, a failed career and everything in between.

I smile at the rain.
My hope is in the Dream-Giver. 🙂

Your individual love journey

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There is a lot of advice floating around in literature, various social circles and the church on how to find love.   I see so many books, articles, seminars and podcasts with titles like “5 Steps to finding the love of your life”, “12 ways to make him love you” or “True love waits”, or something of that nature.

I used to be an avid consumer of relationship literature and though I don’t negate its importance; I am afraid we have taken a lot of this secular and non-secular relationship advice as the Gospel Truth, overlooking the fact that God has an individual plan for everybody that also includes an individual love story.  We have been fed the narrative that “just because it worked for so-and-so this way and she is a successful wife who married a big time preacher, doctor, entrepreneur or (fill-in the blank) if I do it this way it will happen for me just like that too.”  Or we think if we follow these 10 steps to love detailed in the latest relationship book, we’ll actually find it…because well the book said so and it’s a best-seller.  And the speaker on the recent relationship expert panel sounded so convincing they must know what they’re talking about so we must sign up for their expensive coaching package.

I also hear a lot of discussion in Christian circles and churches detailing what women should and should not do if they want to be found by a husband.  Such suggestions include being still (based on the scripture he who findeth a wife findeth a good thing), hiding her face in the Lord, not accepting dates from a man that she is not 100% sure is her husband, being busy in the Lord and basically just being perfect!

However, I noticed that I don’t hear similar instructions being directed towards men about preparing for a wife, which is a double standard.  If men are supposed to be the one’s finding wives I don’t hear any leaders instructing them to stop sleeping around, leading women on or fathering children out of wedlock and just marry them already.  I don’t hear any discussion encouraging a man to live his life in preparation for a wife, by building stability and cultivating an environment as a protector and provider for a future family.  It seems to me the messages that are being delivered is it’s the woman’s job to do everything perfectly and somehow God will honor her perfection by rewarding her with a husband, no matter how long she has to wait.

After listening to this type of talk for a few years I have finally decided I disagree.  I have a different viewpoint and here’s why: Continue reading

The battle within

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“We have met the enemy and he is us.” –Pogo
” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 O wretched man I am!”  Romans 7: 15-24

Life is a battle.  Point blank period.  There’s no escaping that truth.  The older I get the more battles I seem to face.  Relationships, work, family, friends, etc.  Each of these battles are time consuming, at times draining, but oh-such a necessary part of life!  But out of all of the daily, weekly and monthly battles  I face, nothing seems to quite compare to the battle within. Continue reading

Surrendering the canvas

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me at a Paint Nite

I have developed a new-found love for painting.  I regularly attend Paint Nite events with friends where an instructor leads a group of people through a guided illustration.  The whole purpose of Paint Nite is to have fun and let your creative juices flow!

As I reflect on my recent painting experiences I can’t help but think of how a painter’s canvas symbolizes the human life in its various stages of development. Continue reading