light the fire
Just start writing, Matt. You’ve put this off for far too long. What are you so afraid of anyway? Is it failure? Is it the thoughts of others that intimidate you? What happened to you? How did you lose yourself? You were so strong, so confident, so inspired. You began with one key motivation: honesty. Honesty means saying the things that you feel, even when it’s difficult to do so. At the onset of this journey you were okay with the temporary discomfort, because you trusted in God’s plan for your life. You KNEW that if you spoke from the heart that you would find the truth. And in the truth you would find your freedom. You would find your life.
But somehow you lost your passion and drive. You began to forfeit yourself for the distractions around you. Life became all consuming. The world began to once again feel as if it was overwhelming you. You started making excuses for settling back into limited thinking. And as things grew more and complicated, your world continued to shrink. The walls began closing in. You tried desperately to settle back into security…to make excuses for the way that things were and for the prospects of your future. But you quickly found that there was something horribly unsettling about being comfortable. In fact, there was something awfully destructive beginning to take place inside of you. The fire that once burned, igniting a powerful flame to light the torch for others to navigate the darkness was beginning to fade. In fact, it had been nearly extinguished. Only a small glowing ember remained. It was time to fan the flame.
I watch a show pretty regularly on the Discovery Channel called Dual Survival. You’ve probably seen these types of programs before. Two guys are dropped in the middle of an extreme wilderness setting with little more than the clothes on their backs and are forced to live off the land and find their way out of their desperate circumstances by initiating a rescue. The entire hour of the program is very engaging, but the part that I find most fascinating is the duo’s ability to build a fire in even the most extreme of circumstances. Cody Lundin, one of the shows main characters is routinely able to take the tiniest of embers and gently handle and nurture it into a life sustaining, roaring fire. Fire is the most critical element of survival for the team. Without fire, the spirit dies and subsistence is threatened. It’s not simply about the physical threats that will arise without it, but the psychological as well.
You may find yourself in a place like me. Life has thrown you into a bit of a whirlwind. Perhaps you too have taught yourself not to thrive, but simply to survive. And in doing so, you’ve sacrificed a good part of who you are in the process. You know that the old “you” exists somewhere, but you feel lost in the darkness around you and seem unable to commit to taking action. Your fear has begun to paralyze you and your ability to move forward. So you stay still and wait. And not surprisingly, your circumstances remain the same. Perhaps you are waiting on the Lord to rescue you…but what if He is waiting on you to take the first step?
I think that it’s often too easily forgotten that the Lord has given us the most powerful survival asset of all, one that we carry with us at all times. It’s the Holy Spirit…the Spirit of truth that speaks to those of us who believe. The Spirit is the tiny burning ember that remains aglow within us no matter how troubled our circumstances may become. It is a reminder that while we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Christ is still alive inside of our hearts and He is ready to lead us back to the light. He is just waiting on us to take action, to fan the flame of faith and truth that will provide the light to shine the way to our rescue. God wants to direct us back to a life where we thrive. Survival is meant to be a short term stay. Life is meant to be embraced. After all, it’s the Lord’s gift to us.
So if you find yourself lost, conflicted, scared, perhaps even hopeless…I encourage you to reignite your faith. Engage your relationship with God, for He is the answer to all things. There is no situation too desperate, no obstacle too forbidding for the Lord to help you overcome. Nurture the ember that glows within you. Take the fear that restrains you and transform it unto unwavering faith by trusting that you don’t need to have all the answers…you just need to have the guts to stand for the truth. Because when we’re embracing the person that the Lord created us to be His plan comes together for us in miraculous fashion. We don’t own the map that illustrates how to get to that ever elusive light at the end of the tunnel, God does. And if we trust that by stepping forward with faith, little by little our flame will burn brighter and light the way. And we’ll find that we will end up at our destination faster than we had ever imagined, and we’ll enjoy every aspect of the journey in the process, even the difficult ones.
God didn’t create you to be anyone but you. It’s true…He broke the mold when He made you…just as He did with every single individual walking this planet. We are all unique by plan, and each of us has something very special to offer those around us. But our special gifts cannot ever be recognized if we choose to allow fear to threaten us into following the crowd, fitting in, and settling into comfort. We are meant to do big things. We all have a purpose…don’t let yours go to waste. The Lord gave you a voice, use it. Speak up about what it is you believe in, chase your dreams, engage your passions and truly become the change that you wish to see in the world – you have the power to do it…perhaps it is your calling?
Easy for me to say, right? I’m the person who started this blog by referencing my own unwillingness to embrace the life that I desire. Well, perhaps that’s a good point to be made. It’s not easy. Life is going to deal us blows. There will be distractions, and at times we will feel disconnected from the truth. And the devil will knock at our doors during moments of weakness seeking to cripple us with temptations. That’s why it is extremely important that during times of adversity and “survival” if you will that we remain committed to our faith, even when it’s a fight to do so. We cannot let that ember escape us. We must nurture it and guard it with all our might until the day comes that we find our spark and reignite the fire that leads us back to life.
I was lost, broken down, and at times I felt very discouraged. But I never gave up on my faith. I kept the ember burning. And although it took awhile, I believe that I’ve finally found my spark. I’m writing again, so that’s a start. I know that this little hobby of mine never led me astray before. And I trust that if I once again focus my commitments on speaking from the heart and leading everything I do with complete honesty and faith that I’ll learn to thrive again very soon.
So, with that being said, the filter is now officially off. I will no longer be silenced by critics who seek to quiet my voice. My honesty is what makes me special. My story is my gift. My writing is worthwhile, and it is very therapeutic for me. If it is seen as a benefit to someone else, even better. I will not be intimidated. I will not fear the judgment of anyone other than my Creator. I will be the man that God has called me to be.
Because starting today, my fire burns bright….