The Call

choices, Christ, Christian, freeform, freewriting, Grace, lifetrack, relationships, storytelling, Uncategorized, understanding

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I’ve always had a problem of self-doubt. I think a lot of people have this problem, but for me its a huge factor that stops me from stepping out in faith with God. Yes, I said it. The “G” word, the God thing…the Christian thing is a huge thing in my life. People wouldn’t have guessed it because of the way I write and talk, but the man upstairs is a big part of my life.

I think the way you talk or look or dress shouldn’t be a factor on if you have a relationship with Jesus because at the end of the day he doesn’t care about your past or what you’ve done. He just cares about you and his love is unconditional. A lot of Christians can’t grasp this, myself especially. It’s a process to be able to walk in freedom everyday, but it all starts with a choice. When I wake up in the morning the first thing that I say to myself is that God loves me. I have to because if not, the Devil will tells me that he doesn’t.

My Devil is depression and immense amount of it. The Devil comes in many shapes and forms. He is the Prince of the Air after all. I don’t wear it on my sleeve but it is a huge factor in the negativity that is always consistently running through my head. I get stressed out and anxious about the dumbest things. It’s exhausting, but I always come back to, “ God loves me”. He does, I know he does, but I still struggle with him wanting to bless me when I’m always thinking that I’m a crap person.

So imagine my disbelief when on a cool crisp LA morning on the bus to work where I heard the voice of God tell me to move to Brooklyn, New York. This is where the doubt part steps in. This is where my depression, The Devil tells me that there is no way you’re going to move to New York. There’s no way you can survive New York. You can barely survive LA, how are you going to be able to handle the beast that is New York City?

I used to think that the main reason that God wanted me to go to New York was because of theater and writing. I have dreams of being a playwright and having my own theater company but that isn’t the case. God wants me there because of the people. People need Jesus, people need to know of the hope that is on the horizon of the greatest love ever and that is Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus wants me to be a dreamer and to believe that my dreams will happen, but it’s about getting to work and allowing the doors to be open so I can encounter the people who need him. I’ve encountered people here in LA too but it’s different. There’s always this little thing like a string that keeps pulling my heart in a different direction. Then it happened. I heard God tell me something that I wasn’t ready for. He said this: “Go to Brooklyn and see me.”

Okay, so here’s the thing… cartoons and movies have always wrongly depicted the voice of God. Everyone thinks its like Mufasa in The Lion King but it’s not. It’s different for everyone. When I heard his voice it was quiet and then afterwards there was an incredible amount of peace that flooded me.So I called my parents I told them of what had happened. We prayed together and then I was set on moving…That was four years ago.

A lot of things changed in the four years. New York was always there. The people were always there and so was my self-doubt. I let it get the best of me and for four years I ignored the voice of God and got distracted. A lot of things changed. My relationship with friends changed. My relationship with my church changed too. I started going back to drinking and partying. I just became a very angry person and because of the anger my friends weren’t there anymore. I left church because I didn’t want to listen to people and I wanted to listen to the people who I thought had their best interest in me. I was manipulated and threw everything about myself out the window all because I took the true call of God on my life and hid it with the call of the Devil.

It took me a long time to finally realize that everything that I had gone through in the past four years was all for a reason. It took a lot of tears and a lot of therapy to get me back to where my relationship with God once was. I used to overcomplicate my relationship and now I just simplify it. The truth is this…the relationship was always there. It never went away because Jesus had already made up his mind up about me. I was always his from the very beginning. He knew me before in my mother’s womb, he knew me before he created me. It’s been a journey to fully understand that but I believe it now.

The next part now is the faith part. The actual walking in freedom part. That’s why I start with, “God loves me” every morning. To remind myself, to tell my depression to kiss my ass and not ruin my day. To allow the call of Brooklyn have an impact on me. I say that to myself in the morning so my past does not define me but the love of Jesus does. My identity is in him, my soul is his. Everything that was before doesn’t matter because all that matters is forward. I know whats coming next. I know its something big.

All I have to do is just leap and be willing to be stretched. Jesus will do the rest. That’s what faith is. Not allowing the doubt to creep in. Allowing the faith to happen. I’m going to live my life as if it’s already here. I heard this great message the other night from a pastor at Zoe Church in Hollywood. He said this, “ Faith lives in tension. It is the vehicle to God’s promise.” I’m going to live in the tension. I’m gonna find the faith. I’m going to listen to the promise that God has for me.

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Story # 2 or “A Letter to Myself”

choices, Christ, Christian, Forgiveness, Grace, lifetrack, relationships, storytelling, understanding

Dear Rafael, 

We have reached the point in your life where we need to start actually getting real. Your Idenity crisis has reach a maximum  where you have no one to turn to except for God. Even though you have a crazy amount of fear rooted in this letter because you must face some truths there will be an endless amount of love at the very end of it because God has intended that for you. With that being said let’s begin shall we? 

For all your life you have been a wandering nomad. A traveling gypsy, a Jonah as we would say. Running away from that fish called fear. And let’s face it….its a pretty big fish. It’s the Christian fish…the number one truth you’re scared to face and that’s because you my friend are becoming a Christian. It’s the truth…you dislike (we use that word because the word hate is no longer in your vocabulary)to admit that your heart is becoming soft and that you hurt for the ones around you. Your mind is becoming like Christ. You have began to tithe and you actually read your bible. You were serving but have taken a back seat because you were wrapping your Idenity in it, but don’t take a back seat for too long. Get back up there when the time is right, you’ll see the joy all over again I promise. You have become honest with the people around yourself but yet you do not become honest with the person that you see in the mirror every morning. 

Let me ask you this. Would be a terrible idea to actually forgive yourself? Would it be a bad idea to forgive the ones who have done you wrong? Would the world stop and end if you actually began to accept the love that God has had for you all these years that you have lived in LA? I ask you these things because you have become comfortable on walking in the eggshells of these questions. To scared to actually dive into the greatness that God has had for you for a long time. No longer doubt that you do not have a relationship with God because the truth is YOU DO! BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS….he has called you to be! You say to yourself it’s easy to say, but then you ask yourself “How do I begin?” 

Well we begin with the base of love. Yes love, because we love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). We throw in some grace because for from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16). We add some hope because endurance produces character and character produces hope (Romans 5:4). And then finally the most important ingredient to a life walking alongside him is faith because for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Be strong and courageous Rafael and let go! 

Letting yourself go is hard thing because it allows you accept the things you cannot change but it gives you the ability to lift up your eyes and to see a life full of wonder and endless possibilities. A life filled with laughter and kindness and great memories. I’m not disregarding the fact that yes we have had a struggle for the past 6 years of our life, but we are just people. EVERYONE HAS PROBLEMS! But the difference is that we have been a people who has had Christ inside for a while and we have been denying that change that he has been trying to do for sometime. It’s time that we embrace our dad and accept that it’s okay to be a Christian. It’s okay to love people and to cry with them when they are hurting. It’s okay to think like Christ, and read your bible, and it’s GREAT to tithe! God is bigger than your biggest dreams and your greatest fears. Walk to the north and be the form that God has called you to be. There is a knowing in the stillness of just being quiet don’t be afraid of that stillness. 

A close friend of yours told you the other day that you are not meant to carry your cross all the time (Keep this friend she is wise, caring, and won’t put up with your crap. Because we both know that you can tend to be a bit of an idiot when it comes to friendship but that’s for a whole different letter to yourself). She also said there is a time to pick up your cross and go through but also a time to allow a time to allow God to pick up your cross and allow him to carry it for you. This is the season that you are in. A season of letting go and change. Don’t worry about the other things God will fix it. He will fix the relationships that you have lost and he will provide the people to help you with it. A time to plant is your through line….be planted and don’t run. See what he’s about to do and be content friend. Be encouraged, and I told you so…love will always be in the end. Learn to love and be loved always and forever. 

Sincerely, 

Yourself