When Doubt Creeps In…

Hello once again!

It has been a very long while since I wrote that first post.  To be honest with you, after writing that first post, I got discouraged and tried to disqualify myself from being an effective communicator through blogging.  I do this quite frequently.  In fact, I believe that we all do this more times than we need to.  See, when we try to disqualify ourselves, we are letting in doubt.  This is interesting and I know that the Holy Spirit is at work here so I am just going with it.  The reason I tried to disqualify myself is that I started to compare myself to other bloggers.  This is really the first blog I have ever done so I should not have expected it to go viral and attract hundreds BUT, I am human and as humans, we look for instant gratification and acceptance.  I was convicted of this and God revealed to me that He did not want me to start this blog to attract large numbers.  In fact, I felt so convicted that I chose not to write again until my heart was in it for the right reasons.  I had to remind myself what I am passionate about and why I am writing this blog.  So, I reread the first post because I was fired up about getting a blog going.

I do not care if I help one person or one hundred people.  I only care that what I say and how I live has a positive impact on others and gives them hope.  I am a motivator and encourager by nature.  However, when it comes to my own life, when I encounter problems and struggles, I become very reclusive and allow doubt to creep in.  My wife will be the first one to tell you that I am usually a very negative person and she sometimes, only sometimes, wants to punch me in the face.  This is hilarious because I just figured this out today and my wife responded with “….but I still love you.”  Now, my wife is a very positive person and she doesn’t beat me (although she probably could because she works out and has big muscles), but she gets frustrated that I allow myself to become so reclusive because I try my best to encourage and motivate others, but when it comes to my own life, I become very negative and forget all of the things I share with others that are struggling through the same things.  So, just the other day I was feeling pretty reclusive, and my wife was trying her best to encourage and motivate me (By the way, always encourage and help your spouses no matter what.  The minute that judgment or blame comes into play, that is the enemy’s playground and he will cause so much havoc.  Remind each other that you are on the same team!)  She was bringing her positive kool-aid and I just was not having it.  So, she shared something with me that I posted the day before about trusting God when seasons of losing are occurring and knowing that God is not a God of losing.  My wife is very resourceful and she knows me really well.  She understands how passionate I am about helping others through motivation and encouraging and so she started pulling things that I have shared to remind me of that passion.  She knows that the enemy attacks my self-worth and will try anything to get me to be distracted from allowing God to work through me.  I thank God for my wife because she can recognize what is troubling me and instantly helps through encouragement and prayer.

This is where revelations and breakthroughs happen.  When we are passionate about doing something for the kingdom of God, the enemy will attack that very thing because he is trying to distract us and turn us away from making an impact for the Kingdom!  However, God will use the relationships around us to encourage us and help us through our struggles, not to justify why they are occurring.  This requires a choice.  A choice that many of us struggle with.  We can either continue to be reclusive and focus on our struggles, or we can know that God has big plans for us because the enemy is trying to get us to doubt ourselves.  Let’s take a look at what the Word of God says:

Romans 8:28
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
John 10:10
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Each of these verses has a common theme to them.  They are all full of God’s promises to us.  The verse is John is also a reminder of the purpose of the enemy.  So, when you are going through struggles and doubt is creeping in, be encouraged of God’s promises to those who love God and want to pursue his calling for their lives.  The minute that we decide to pursue God’s calling, the enemy will do everything to try and stop us.  I do not say this to discourage you, but to warn you that opposition will happen.  This is why it is so important to surround ourselves with people that will encourage us and help us through the struggles.  God is a God of relationships and if we surround ourselves with the RIGHT people, the presence of God is there as well.  Matthew 18:20 reiterates this:

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

Basically, when we gather in the name of the Lord, good things will come out of it.  Sure, opposition is going to happen, but God is faithful and his plans for us are for good and not disaster.  Some of you may be saying, “Yeah, but Shayne you have no idea what I have been through.  How can I be struggling so bad right now and think any of this will turn into good?”  There is some truth to this.  Some people may never be able to relate to certain situations because they may have never experienced it themselves.  All I can tell you is that I have been through some big struggles and trials that I never thought I would see the light.  I do not say this to boast or say my problems were worse than yours, I say this because I wish that I never had to go through those struggles.  However, because of the people in my life that God has used to encourage and help me through and because of the promises in His Word, I know that everything I have experienced that was so dark and depressing while be used for good, to bring glory to God.  So, if you are going through some similar situations and you feel like the bad is only going to get worse, be encouraged.  I want to share some characters in the Bible that struggled through the same things.  For the sake of turning this into a book instead of a blog post, I will just share the Scripture reference and hope that whoever is really wanting to experience change will open the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit work in their lives.

The life of Joseph – Start reading in Genesis 37

The life of Job – Start reading in Job

The life of Samson – Start reading in Judges 13

To be honest, just open the Word of God and let the Lord guide you.  We are all imperfect people and allow doubt to creep in from time to time.  But God only uses imperfect people because NONE of us are perfect.  The only perfect person to ever live was Jesus.  And guess what?  Jesus died on the cross for YOU and ME.  So, the next time the enemy tries to allow doubt to creep into your lives, remember that Jesus was the Ultimate Sacrifice.  Jesus chose to die on the cross because he knew that was the only way for us to get to the Father.  Jesus thinks we are significant and worthy.  It is time that we all started thinking the same thing and realize that God will always make beauty from the ashes in our lives (Afterall, a diamond is not a diamond until it has been refined!)

Shayne Tower

Live.Laugh.Love

The Meaning of Life…

“When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus  Aurelius

What is the meaning of life?  Man isn’t that the million dollar question.  How in the world am I supposed to start off a blog with a title such as this?  Doesn’t it take a lifetime to figure out this concept?  Well, even though I don’t want to start off with such a cliche as this, it is extremely important to have a strong foundation on what the meaning and purpose of life is, in the proper context of course.  Now, I am only twenty-nine and I still have so much to figure out and I do not claim to know all the answers about life, but I do have a strong foundation on the meaning of life that sets the stage for the journey I take through life.  Basically, I have a multi-use tool that helps me navigate through life.  This tool is an instructional manual and a map that helps me as I get up in the morning and go to bed at night.  When I do not use this tool on a daily basis, I find myself trying to find my own way and I get lost, run into trouble, and end up farther away from where I am supposed to be.  This tool that I am speaking of is the Word of God.

Now, before some of you check out and exit the browser, I am not just another Bible-thumping person that is trying to push the Word of God onto you.  I am not perfect, in fact, I understand that perfection is unattainable (which is hard to grasp because I am slightly OCD….just slightly).  I make just as many mistakes as the next person and I do not judge people on what they believe or force my beliefs onto any else.  I simply recognize that I cannot do life my way because I tried that and I failed miserably.  Now, some of you may be saying to yourself, “well, this is my life, and I am going to live it how I please,” and that is perfectly fine.  My intent in this post is to not say you are living life wrong, I am just sharing what I have experienced and what I found is my foundation for the meaning and purpose of life.  But, for those of you that are living life according to your standards, I ask a simple question,

What is your meaning and purpose in life?

I do not ask this rhetorically.  I ask this because I tried to do life my own way and I ended up hurting so many people along the way, burning bridges that may never be reconciled, standing in ruin in something that I tried to base life on and it ended up burning to the ground (this happened in a five year span, if you were wondering).  So, I ask this question honestly and would encourage you to take out a piece of paper and jot down what you think the meaning and purpose of YOUR life is.  Think about what you wrote and dissect it.  Why do you believe life means this?  What is your purpose based on your meaning of life and are you in pursuit of it or have you already obtained it?  Do you have core values that are behind your meaning and purpose?  Why am I asking so many questions?  I want people to take a second, sit back, and view their lives from a different perspective because, most of the time, we are so consumed with what is going on in the present, that we fail to focus on why we are here in the first place.  Ever since I was a little kid, I can remember always thinking about why in the world am I here?  What is the point of life? I would get so consumed with the thought of why life was created that it gave me some anxiety, which is easy when you are ten years old thinking about the meaning of life.  So, from what you jotted down, the next thing to think about is the cycle of life: the beginning, middle, and end.  That’s right, life does end.  Life is a cycle, not just a term, and it WILL end.

Life is a good thing.  Life is the opposite of death, but death is very much a part of life because it is part of the life cycle.  Man, that was confusing, but it holds so much truth.  Life does not just have a beginning and middle, it has an end as well.  The end is never thought of because it involves the ABSENCE of life.  Now, I am talking about life biologically, stating that each of us will face death.  However, there are different contexts of life that we use to define our meaning and purpose.  For instance, if you own a business, that can be considered your meaning and purpose in life, but that too has an end.  When you retire, you are no longer apart of that business and it either gets passed down to children, sold to another interested party, or it ceases to exist.  The point that I am trying to make here is that we cannot spend all of our time focused on the present, we need to understand that life is a cycle and it will most certainly end.  So, how does your meaning and purpose measure up to the life cycle?  What stage of the life cycle are you closer to?  Are you closer to the beginning than the end?  Are you in the middle?  Are you close to the end?  Take your eyes off of what is going on in the present and view your life from a distance so you can grasp just how precious life is.  It does not matter if you are a Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or another form of belief or religion, there is one inevitable truth that we all must agree on, and that is the death of ourselves.

Okay, enough about death.  I brought that up because that is the one thing that none of us can avoid, but we avoid talking about it the most.  Back to the meaning and purpose of your life.  Just as I have an instruction manual and map for my life, do you have something similar?  Do you have a roadmap to navigate through all of the ups and downs in life?  With anything that guides us, there has to be some validity to the source.  In other words, how does our instruction manuals hold up to all that life has to offer?  I looked up valid on dictionary.com and it contains three different definitions, but only one of those stood out to me the most.  Valid means sound; just; well-founded (www.dictionary.com).  Did you catch that last part?  Well-founded.  Foundational.  Is your instruction manual foundational?  Can it stand firm through the trials and storms of life?  I know that I am throwing a ton of questions at you, but I want to get you thinking about the meaning and purpose of your life.  My whole reasoning to get you thinking about life is because you have a life worth living.  Life is a precious gift that should not be taken for granted and should not be thought about only when death comes into play.  We exist to live, we don’t live to exist.

My entire goal with this post is to just get people thinking about their lives from a different perspective.  I had said that many times because it is important to know where you are going and what you are using as a guide.  I have also stated that I am a Christian and my instructional manual is the Word of God.  However, I did not throw a bunch of Bible verses at you that have to do with life because I just want to get you to think about your life as it is, right now at this moment!  I created this blog not to condemn or shame anyone, but to just have a conversation with others and build relationships with others that I may not be able to do so in any other venue.  I also want to encourage others and offer my help when needed because life really is a journey and it is never meant to be done alone.  There are an estimated 7.5 BILLION people living right now on this earth, and if we were meant to do life alone, then the earth is way too crowded.

I leave you with this:

Life is an amazing journey and every single day that we wake up, breathe in air and go about our days is truly a miracle.  Do not take the life that you were gifted for granted, because you are here for a reason.  If you are still reading this (I know that I have lost some), then this is meant for you.  Until the next post, I want you to really think about what you wrote down earlier and put those thoughts to the test with some of the questions asked in this post.  I have done this myself because the foundations I was using in my life were very weak and my meaning in life last a short five years.  I want to help, encourage, and empower others to know that a strong foundation in life is everything.  A strong foundation stands the test of time and lasts through the storms of life.  It is much easier to bulk up your foundation to stand against the storms of life than having to stand on the ruins of what destroyed the meaning and purpose of your life.  Trust me, I have been there.  Be encouraged, this is only the beginning of a great journey we are going to be on together.  You will not only hear from me but from my beautiful, smart, talented, amazing wife as we encourage, empower, and help you navigate through the storms of life through our own personal experiences.

Shayne Tower

Live.Laugh.Love