I'm a firm believer in the idea that prayer changes things. Many times in life we come across situations where our first instinct is to judge. When I say "we," I am of course, implying myself. I have to be careful in jumping to conclusions about people even when everything appears as though it adds up. But what Jesus calls us to do is love and pray. I have to pray for others. I hope my brothers and sisters are praying for me too.
This life is a complicated one, because there are so many angles that it can be approached from:
Everybody has their own story
Everybody has their own distinct past
Everybody has their own skeletons, which in turn may affect how they act
Everybody has their own outlook on situations
Everybody has a side to a story
Everybody hears a story just a little bit differently
Everybody is the hero of their own story
I deeply believe that we're all trying to make it. We're all trying to feel loved. We're all trying to search for love. We want to connect and we want to feel appreciated.
As one of my favorite songs by Tasha Cobbs goes: "There's power in the name of Jesus to break every chain." What a powerful Name it is, and what a beautiful Name it is.
I'm working on loving my neighbors more, without any barriers. Unconditionally. Now, this mindset doesn't mean that you let people walk over you. Sometimes, "love" is correction, and/or rebuke. Love can take many forms, but I believe the root of it is God. In other words, I try to love my neighbor as God loves us. Of course God's love is immeasurable, but I believe that it is our duty to strive to imitate that. Man, I've spat in God's face so many times. And He still loves me. Unconditionally. Literally, without any conditions. That's how we should love others.
In short, we pray for our neighbors, because we love our neighbors. We pray for our enemies, because we love our enemies.
Over the summer, before moving to New York, some of my friends and I decided to go cliff diving in a nearby valley. After hiking for a while through brush, the trees opened up to a wide expanse of green. It was breathtaking. Blades of grass periodically leaned side to side as the gentle breeze ran past them. The assemblage of rocks and boulders resembled that of a shallow fortress that we had had the pleasure of entering from above. Individually, we leaped from the top of the fortress into the ice-cold water below. When it was my turn to jump, I took off my clothes, and leaped into the water. Up until that point, I was never really one to take off my clothes, and I had also only cliff-dove once. But hey, what not take chances.
Taking chances in life is crucial. It's important to step outside of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. For starters, it is a great way to grow. Secondly, it gives you practice on how to handle change.
Be confident today. Step outside of your comfort zone.
Say hello to someone.
Smile at them
Say "I appreciate you"
Go live on Facebook and stream one of your talents
Read your poetry out loud to friend
Read your poetry out loud to a crowd
Read your poetry out loud to yourself
Give yourself a high five
Laugh at your jokes
Clap when the clouds move and the sun comes back out
Believe you are worthy of God's love
I know I sound cliche,
But you might be stronger than you think
Give thanks at least 10 times today
Talk to your Creator