10 Words That Might Change Your Life…SERIOUSLY

One day I was sitting in a coffeehouse with my friend Scott. I was pouring my heart out to him over a vanilla latte with whip because that’s about as masculine as my coffee ever gets.

I was telling Scott how it felt like all of the pain I’d ever experienced in life had coalesced into a giant sneaker-wave that grabbed me by the throat and was now pulling me out to sea.

Some of the pain had just “happened” to me because I – like you – live in a broken world and life’s not fair.

But to be honest, most of the pain was self-inflicted. The result of refusing to delay gratification, avoiding hard work because I felt “I shouldn’t have to do it”, and fear. Lots and lots of fear.

By not dealing with the bumps, bruises, and gashes that came along with being human, I slowly became a hoarder of pain. I felt like one of those people who fill their house with so much junk they end up on a reality show, ashamed and lonely.

Because that’s the thing about pain we haven’t dealt with: the more of it we have in our lives, the less room there is for anyone else.

Scott knew all that about me. He knew the chaos I was living in. He also knew I didn’t have to keep hoarding all that pain.

Scott had had built trust with me by first sharing his messes, his failures, and his doubts. So I knew he could handle my “stuff”2 and that I wasn’t crazy for having stuff in the first place.

So after patiently listening to me lament for about 45 minutes, Scott said ten words that changed my life. He said, “Jesse…

…it’s time to be a good steward of your pain.”

In other words, it’s time to turn and face the pain you’ve chosen and the pain that just “happened” to you. It’s time to own it, deal with it, and move past it. For your sake, and for the sake of a world that needs healing, too.

“Your life no longer has to be defined by your pain.”

So with help from others – good friends, a good therapist, even some good meds – I started picking up all the junk, sorting it out, and throwing it away. I started learning to be a good steward of my pain.

And in the process, I learned my healing could become healing for others.

So can yours.

So imagine you and I are sitting at a coffeehouse together. Knowing I want you to thrive, to get more and more free to be God’s best version of you, let me offer this:

You don’t have to keep living in all that filth. Shame and isolation do not have to be your predominant experience.

You have full permission to get started RIGHT NOW. 

The Key To Building A Life You Love

Why You Have To Understand What Makes You YOU

In the world of architecture, there is a rule: form follows function. The idea is that if a structure is not safe or sound, there’s no point in making it pretty. A pretty building that can’t stand up is useless.

In the world of vocation (call, purpose), the opposite is true: function follows form.

Let me explain.

As a California transplant to the Pacific Northwest, I thought it was pretty great when we moved next to a family of bald eagles. My neighbors didn’t admire the eagles the same way I did because they had grown up around them. Also, I’m way more enlightened and deep.

When you look at a bald eagle, you notice a few things. It has long, sharp talons. It has a razor-like beak. It has massive wings for soaring and powerful eyes that can see deep into murky water.

The point is, you don’t look at a bald eagle and think, “That would make a great pet for Aunt Tilly.” Instead you think, “That sucker could eat Aunt Tilly’s Chihuahua, no problem. And that would be pretty cool.”

Function follows form. It’s true for bald eagles. It’s true for you and me.

Contrary to popular belief we can’t be whatever we want when we grow up. And we shouldn’t try. We should be true to our form instead.

You’ve got a particular set of gifts, talents, experiences, relationships, and opportunities. Your combination of these things is completely unique. They represent your unique design.

When you make life choices based on your unique design, it’s good for you and good for others. When you make choices based on forms you feel you should be, you lose and we lose.

That’s why we need you to better understand what makes you, you.

And why we need you to function out of that form. It’s good for you and, ultimately, good for the world.

I used to want to be a bald eagle, but I’ve decided to own my crow-like nature. Crows have their place, too. Once – and I’m not making this up – I saw a couple of crows chase one of the bald eagles back to its tree. That made my inner crow smile.