How you do anything is how you do everything. That statement has been floating around in my brain for a long time. At first I disagreed, then I totally agreed, then I wrestled with it more. The reason I wrestled with it is because I didn't want it to be true. I didn't want to believe that I wasn't disciplined in all areas of my life. The reality is there are certain areas of my life that I struggle with being disciplined in. The more I was honest about my life I could see patterns develop. How I do anything is how I do everything.
When it comes to being healthy in all aspects of life, discipline plays a roll. If you want to be healthy physically you need to be disciplined with exercise and with what you eat. If you want to be healthy emotionally, you need to get plenty of sleep, have a community of people who love you and that you can be honest with. If you want to be healthy mentally you need to be challenging yourself, reading, learning, creating a healthy internal dialogue, knowing your identity and what you believe. If you want to be healthy spiritually you need to be in God's word consistently, pray constantly, practice fasting, taking time to be still and silent, listen to the Holy Spirit and surround yourself with people who can encourage and challenge you to be who God wants you to be. In all of those aspects of life it takes discipline. With each area of life, you are faced with choices to make to pursue health in that area. Those choices determine how you do certain things. I believe that if you make healthy decisions with one area that will help you make a healthy decision in all areas.
I am a walking case study. My diet has always been my achilles heal, Im not unhealthy but I am definitely not the healthy physical adonis that sometimes I convince myself I am. When life is stressful I have a decision to make, Oreos (anything sugary, fatty, etc) or no. For whatever reason I find comfort in comfort foods and that has been evident as I look back over my life. I have seasons of good decision making when it comes to my physical health. There have been seasons of consistent working out, running, eating right. In those seasons I have found that most other areas of my life are operating like they should as well; I am more patient, I spend more time with God, I am emotionally in a better place, I am mentally more clear and intentional. When life gets hard, busy, or not ideal is when the rubber meets the road for me. How I do anything is how I do everything. When I am disciplined in the area that has the most control over my life, the other areas fall in line. When I am undisciplined, I am undisciplined everywhere. Sure, it has taken my 38 years to figure it out, but I have. That doesn't mean I will always have it under control but it means that I know myself a little better than I did years ago and that will inform my future!
How self aware are you? This took me being really honest with myself to get to this point. I don't like admitting my flaws because I desperately want people to think I have it all together. The truth is, I don't. Every day is a new day for tough decisions, choices that will affect other people and other aspects of my life.
How you do anything is how you do everything... change my mind!
What areas of your life influence the other areas of your life?
I have never been a huge “outdoorsy” guy or someone who desires to rock climb, scale a cliff face at Yosemite or scale Everest. That kind of activity isn’t something that gets me going! I can totally understand why people love it. I am sure there is some sense of accomplishment by the actual physical activity but the real reward is making it to the top to see how far you have come. I have been to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. Why would I climb to the peak when they have a perfectly good road to the top where I can drive and save myself the time? It was incredible to look out over miles and miles of God’s creation. Down the mountain you could see the lush green valley and the city of Colorado Springs. You could also see the Rockies as the mountain range stretched over miles and miles. That moment is etched into my brain, it was awe inspiring. We have these types of moments in our faith as well and they are so important. As a student pastor these mountain top moments may look different for you than it does for your students.
1. Mountain Top moments are when you feel close to God like never before.
Mountain Top Moments make you feel like you are really in the presence of our creator and king. These are powerful and life shaping moments that I believe God uses to give us an idea of whats to come!
I remember being a high school student headed to summer camp in New York. I remember the worship, “This is the Air I breath” was my jam. I remember the speaker, not his name but what he said challenged me to the core. I remember the decisions I made that week to change how I as going about my life. It was a pivotal week in my faith journey. It was one of my first mountain top moments that I will never forget.
2. Are you giving your students the opportunity to have mountain top spiritual moments?
Are you creating times where teenagers can get away from the routine of life they are currently in and spend intentional time with our Savior. We’re talking about Summer Camps, Missions Trips, Retreats, Get Aways, Discipleship Meetings, even regular church programming. These moments are faith-shapers. Teenagers need to know that the mountain isn’t forbidden, its attainable and all are welcome.
Obviously within these moments there is a place to teach, guide and shepherd. Some students feel loss when they lose sight of that feeling and those emotions. The truth is… its ok. It’s ok to feel different and not feel the same. The feelings are not what fuel our faith, its the experience that allow us perspective and allow us self evaluate. God uses that perspective to help us make necessary changes in our lives that propel us into greater knowledge and love for Him.
3. Are you planning for the moments?
Are you looking at your calendar and planning for moments, or times where you want to lean in a little harder to what God may be trying to teach the teenagers you shepherd? Your year starts now, it starts with a plan and ends with praying like everything depends on God (because it does).
What mountain top moments are you praying for this year??
Are you doing ministry for Jesus or with Jesus? One of the questions that rang in my head thanks to Samer Massad at NYWC 2019. It was a question that I think I have been wrestling with for a numbers of years and haven’t really been conscious of it. Was I being Martha, striving to serve, to do things for Jesus, to use my gifts and talents but fail to see that all He wants is for me to sit at his feet and BE WITH Him? Also at NYWC 2019 Albert Tate decided to hit me upside the head about the idea of remix. Does something old need a remix to be new again in your life? The week before that at Northview church, Steve Carter decided to pull out the scripture about remaining in Christ; "keep the remain thing the main thing". Then a few weeks before that I had a moment of weakness, of doubt, of insecurity, of pain and broke down while talking to my amazing wife. She said, maybe its cause you always try to do it on your own. Echoing in my ears, was this thought of striving, pursuing, pushing, driving towards what I thought God wanted me to do, what my job was calling me to do, what people expected me to do.
I have been doing youth ministry for the past 13 years. I have had the privilege of serving with some of the most selfless staff, leaders, volunteers and students over this time. I feel truly blessed and honored to be around such incredible people. I didn’t go to college to study how to be a pastor, in fact, I did a pretty good job of running away from that direction. I had an incredible youth pastor growing up and he encouraged me to think about youth ministry. I had bigger visions of making lots of money and living comfortably. As God always does, he put this longing in my soul for something that actually was a bigger vision for my life, working with this generation to help them see HIM, know Him & love Him. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was what I should be doing with my life. I stepped into the role of youth pastor at the church I grew up in, me Jesus in, was baptized in and loved. So… in typical Enneagram 3 fashion, I dove in and got after it. I had a chip on my shoulder trying to make sure everyone knew I could do it, even though I didn’t have the experience or the schooling. I kept pushing, driving and doing more with the ministry at church. I wasn’t good at asking for help, I needed people to see that I could crush it on my own. So for the next 13 years that was my mentality, not on purpose, but in my humanity I fell into the achievement trap of ministry. This doesn’t mean that God didn’t use my misguided subconscious. God has done so much in the past 13 years and has shown up time and time again (like there was ever any fear of Him not showing up). I have had a front row seat to God working in students lives, transforming them from the inside out to be reflections of Him. I tear up just thinking about all the ways I have seen God work these past 13 years.
I've had moments of clarity along the way, where I was honest with myself. I’ve had moments of candid conversations with people I trust about my inner drive to be loved for what I got done, to be loved for what I can accomplish, to find acceptance for being great at whatever I do.
What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and pop 25 year old me in the nose. Pop him in the nose and let him know that all the striving, all the pushing for more, all the stuff you went after in your head isn’t really the main thing God wants for you. Jesus told Martha in Luke 10 that Mary had it right, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and was with her Savior.
I had been doing ministry FOR Jesus for far to long and it has to change. It has to change for myself and my own spiritual maturity. It has to change for my family and modeling what following Jesus actually looks like to my kids. It has to change for those I have the honor of leading, because they need to know the its not about what you can do, its all about what has already been DONE on the cross. No amount of striving can ever earn God’s love, it’s already been given to me. God loves me no matter what I can accomplish. My thick skull has been mulling this over for the past month or so and it was in TAMPA at NYWC ’19 that I think the hammer came down. I have to completely surrender all of me so that God has more to work with. I have to surrender my accomplishment attitude, my drive, my striving to Him in order for Him to get more out of my than I ever dreamed.
For anyone out there in the same boat, I feel you! I know where you are at and I know what the enemy is saying in your head. Ignore the insecurities, rest in your identity being in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to actually lead your life. Control is a comfort but not a way to live the fulfilling life God wants for you and for me!
I am going to start sitting at HIS feet.
I am going to start carving out time to just BE in His presence.
I am going to sit and listen to that still small voice.
I am going to be sensitive to His spirit and direction for my life.
I am going to lead from a place of Christ like surrender.
I am going to stop striving, pushing and driving to be perfect.
I am going to get out of the way and let God be what HE always should be in my life… the leader!
That's my #NYWC19 moment…