Godfidence.

So one of the highlights of the night went down something like this:

“How old are you?”

Me: “I am 23 now!”

“You’re so cute!! Well, handsome..I think you’re handsome.”

Not knowing what to do, I gave my best poker face to her (mostly her husband), trying to give him the “am I allowed to take this compliment?” look, asking for his approval.

I wasn’t sure if my excitement was pretty obvious, but quite frankly I didn’t care. I was ecstatic from the honorary compliment.

The woman that gave me the compliment was none other than the wife of a good friend of mine, who so happened to be a former Miss USA supermodel.

Being that it was the evening of my birthday, it pretty much made my year.

After seeing Captain America: Civil War and telling my sister what had happened earlier, she rolled her eyes and remarked “you know how Spiderman was star-stuck with fighting with all the superheros in the film? That’s totally you with your group of friends.”

The reality was, I couldn’t contain my excitement having everyone get together. My sister was mostly amazed to see how much diversity (mostly in personalities) was present in the group, but before she asked me why, I beat her to it.

“Each and every single person I personally invited here had a huge influence in my life. Whether big or small, they all motivated me to move forward in some way, shape, or form.”

The next day, my friend Preston took me out for dinner at the Grove. Being a fashion model, he decided to go browsing through Nordstrom. I obviously didn’t mind since he and I connected with our similar taste in men’s fashion.

Until out of the blue, this girl catches my eye.

She was drop dead gorgeous.

Not knowing what to do, I started debating whether or not to go pursue her.

To my surprise, I caught myself saying, “Preston, I’m going for it. I’ll be right back.”

It was perfect timing because I caught her completely alone, browsing through clothes. I felt so nervous, but I was doing everything in my power not to wimp out.

Long story short, we talked a bit and things went south immediately. I felt so horrible and disappointed, and mentally kept kicking myself in the head, trying to think of every single thing I could’ve done differently.

But then I started thinking of what made me want to overcome my fear of not taking action in the first place.

I was a man who went after what he wanted. That should be enough right?

Yes, but that wasn’t what fueled me to go for it from the get-go.

I felt off. Something was missing. A question I was trying to articulate but couldn’t figure out how to put into words. Knowing me, I usually don’t like leaving questions unanswered.

Then it came to me.

I thought about the compliment I received from my friend’s wife the night before.

Why did I make such a huge deal out of her “little” compliment?

Did her comment have more weight and validity simply because she’s a former supermodel?

Did it have to with the dry spell of hearing a woman (other than a relative) say “you’re handsome”?

Was it a confidence booster? I thought it definitely was!

Was it dealing with the drought with women? And not having dated a girl (since my 1st breakup) and being reassured that I still am worthy enough to find my gorgeous future wife one day?

I was busy trying to identify why I was trying to process a compliment, until I was reminded of a quote that I saw on social media that spoke volumes within my heart:

“Affirmation from others should not be your source for identity. What people say should be a reflection of what God has already said to you.”

Those words meant differently to me this time around. I felt comfort that the God of the universe would think of me so highly.

I found it tragic that I took my eye off the ball but at the same time, I’m glad I took notice of the indicator telling me to take notice on how highly God, the Creator and ultimate Engineer of our expanding universe, thinks of me.

Ultimately, people come and go. They’re here today and gone tomorrow (in this lifetime). But for now, that’s the harsh reality. But the beauty of it is that our affirmation should be and always should be what God thinks about us every single day. I fell guilty that I sometimes do this, but I want to change this.

Because true confidence comes from what God thinks about you.

This is what propelled me to approach the girl in the store!

But her two words still echoed within me! I couldn’t put into words what that reason was at the moment.

Why did her words have such weight that evening?

Because I got to taste the excitement of how much more it’ll mean coming from the girl of my dreams, the woman I have yet to meet in the near future.

I made it such a big deal because I envision myself having the same lifestyle in the near future.

This is why her words had such a profound meaning.

This is why I look up my friend, and the relationship he has with his wife. I admire it because it’s a rare relationship to have these days.

I see him as a huge role model in my life because I can see myself acquiring the girl of my dreams in the near future, and learning what I can from him right now to prepare myself to become the right man to attract the right woman into my life.

So in some sense, I could relate why my dear friend and his wife (and other men out there) have such a fiery, lasting passion in their relationship.

I crave of having that and learning what I can do right now to prepare myself for that.

I have no doubt that I’ll brag about my future wife 24/7, showing her off to the world and coming up with a multitude of reasons of how proud of her I am, let alone call her mine for the rest of my life.

That to me is one of God’s best gifts for a man, like when Eve came into Adam’s life.

It’s a little frustrating to have that now, at 23 years of age when I still have a lot of mileage in me to live life.

I have trouble understanding why I have that passion, at 23.

I have trouble understanding what to do with it.

Why now? Why do I have this within me right now? At this moment in time?

See in a nutshell, I’m just a nerdy college student who’s finishing up his degree in Mechanical Engineering. But deep down inside, I’m driven by curiosity to answer life’s tough questions, especially when it comes to relationships.

It’s been a little tough to pray over these questions; to receive revelation as to why I am the way I am towards relationships, since I have yet to get an answer through my drought with dating.

But as of now, I am learning and have been honored to finally get to know and meet the right people to figure it out.

I am honored to be able to know the men that I know so I could learn by watching from their example.

The main lesson to be learned is, you are never alone. Even though I may not have the answers that I want when I want them, I have control to accept God’s truth into my life.

When I woke up the morning of May 6th, 2016, I had an immediate “Flashback Friday” when I was suddenly transported to the exact morning of May 6th, 2015.

I remember exactly how I woke up that day.

Post breakup, and in the middle of studying for my finals, I woke up with a heavy, broken heart juggling how to process my grandma’s death sentence with her battle with cancer, having my sister’s marriage hanging on a thread, anxiety from performing well in college, and experiencing a heartbreak.

I felt unloved.

Alone.

Vulnerable.

Depressed.

Suicidal.

Loneliness was an understatement.

I had no friends.

At the time, I was trying to convince myself that everything was a nightmare and I was going to wake up at any moment.

But a voice echoed in my head and told me “I brought you out of it, and I gave you exactly what you prayed for. Rest assured this isn’t the first and definitely not the last.”

I woke up thanking God for every single trial and victory since the morning I woke up last year, and my heart felt completely restored that morning that I felt God hugging my heart ever so tightly. Not literally, but from those around me that I have gotten to know in such a short time span. I felt the love of God through those around me.

Why am I saying this?

Because the reality is this:

That truth is that I am made in His image.

This is why I am accepted.

This is why I’m handsome.

This is why I’m rare.

This is why I have favor from those I’ve gotten to know, because I had to make a choice to accept the truths that have taken time to scar into my heart from the darkness that I went through a year ago.

I am never alone.

This is why I am blessed.

It’s amazing how God can change the tide of the entire battle to your favor, when you put your identity in who God is and what He’s said about you, before you were even born.

I can have a supermodel telling me I’m handsome, while a girl I may approach the next day may not even feel that way.

But God’s view of who I am will NEVER change.

That’s where true confidence kicks in.

This is what propels me forward to keep trying, and the God I know would forbid that I give up on myself, after sending His only Son to die on the cross for me.

Because you are worth dying for in His eyes.

None of the disappointments in life can touch you when you see yourself the way God’s sees you.

And that my friend, is Godfidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Take Flight.

“Am I ever going to be enough?”

“What if I’m just not capable?”

“What if things won’t work out better than how I had it back then?”

These are just several questions that circled my head throughout my day. But a few seconds later, I remembered a true story that hit me in my moment of anxiety. Something in me reminded me of 12 men in the Bible.

Numbers 13. Verse 25. In short, this chapter tells of a specific moment in time when the Israelites were on their way to the Promise Land. However when they arrived at the wilderness, their leader Moses was led by God to gather a group of men to spy on the land of Canaan, the land that the Lord promised to the Israelites.

Just to summarize part of the entire situation that unfolded from Numbers 13:25-33 to chapter 14:1-15, it only took several negative comments from the ten spies sent to Israel to convince the entire group of Israelites to fuel their desire to head back to Egypt, the land of the “comfort zone”. This is the same group of individuals that were led out of Egypt where they were kept captive in slavery and mistreated after seeing God come as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

In Numbers 14:6-8, two men named Joshua and Caleb took a stand to remind the group of Israelites of the grand plan of God to lead them “into a good land filled with milk and honey”, which served as a friendly reminder that the same God that did the unthinkable was going to provide a way through to live life to the fullest in the Promise Land. The good news that these two men proclaimed of the Promise Land almost got them stoned by the congregation. Interestingly enough, although the Israelites were on the same team, they still felt an urge to turn against their own “teammates” to help overtake the land that God promised. Fast forwarding to verses 36-38, ten of the twelve spies that were sent gave a bad report of the land that God promised. Only Joshua and Caleb gave a positive report of the land and survived to make it to the Promise Land.

After reading this at the moment it all hit me. It didn’t feel great because I felt convicted of how wrong I allow worry and anxiety to come to a point of negativity in God’s eyes. However, worry isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it can also function as an indicator that you care to resolve the issue at hand. But surely not more than how much God cares about your well being. On the contrary, worry can also be the heart’s tendency to rebel on how God sees you and proudly say, “Lord, what if I am just not capable? It doesn’t look good; I am weak and outnumbered.”

The Promise Land doesn’t look good. 

See, how worry and anxiety works is that it steals the hope out of the human heart. If God made man in His image (as stated in Genesis 1:27), then this is a sure way to destroy His image of us, losing His perspective in our lives. When this happens, we tend to diverge away from God’s heart and start to fall out of the sky when He takes us under His wing to develop into the person He’s called us to become. What He wants us to become is where the greatest blessing is found: reaching out to the world proclaiming the goodness in our lives that the Lord is leading us out of land of sin and comfort zone of living our old lives. This is our Promise Land: living in God’s will. We can’t question God’s plan for our lives too critically because we have to trust that it will be good, because the minute we do we are bound to miss out on what God has for our lives just like the majority of Israelites did when they chose to trust the words of human reasoning. The opposition in the story turned real when these Israelites hardened their hearts after Joshua and Caleb proclaimed the goodness of the land as they prepared to stone them.

What’s interesting to note is that the Israelites wanted to stone one of their own, which paints a picture of the war that the human heart goes through daily to want to stay in the comfort zone. Your heart will battle itself to quench the goodness of God’s promises in your life, but it can be quick to turn against itself and degrade your worth by reminding you of your past and causing you to believe that God’s hand is not great enough to help lift you out the land of guilt, shame, and comfort zone(s) in your life.

Fear often paralyzes us from our true potential and can make any human being weak to their knees. But it’s at this moment where we have an opportunity to look up and trust the Creator of the Universe to pull us toward His plan, because His plan is rooted in perfect love. When this happens, over time you will begin to invest more trust in God than in your circumstances. I take joy in what the Holy Spirit said through the apostle John in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”. 

When I read the last segment of this verse “whoever fears has not been perfected in love” my heart sank. Discouragement began to settle in when my past mistakes loomed behind me to overcome my hope in God’s plan for me. If I were to look back toward last year, I battled depression and came close to taking my own life since I couldn’t deal with the guilt of my mistakes toward myself and others anymore. After I overwhelmed myself with so much worry amidst the struggle with the anxiety attacks that I experienced from my past, it drove me to a place to kneel wholeheartedly to surrender my ways and problems to the presence of the Lord.

But even after I forgot what he delivered me out from, the beauty of God’s character radiated when that He never leaves His loved ones hanging even if we forget His goodness from our past, since He loves you and me so much. A short record of my birth will reveal that even after being an only child, my mom refused to go through an abortion even after hearing that there was a high risk I would grow mentally incapable, but her faith nonetheless drove her to offer my life in the hands of God when she promised that I would live my life for Him.

He has delivered me from the hands of death. 

No better verse came true when God reminded me one of my favorite verses in the Scriptures in Joshua 1:8-9:

“Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be dismayed, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go.”

My confidence is rooted in the fact that He was with me before I was born and was with me in my lows. 

If God was with me in my lows, then I can rest assured He will be rejoicing with me in my pinnacle moments in life. Only God has the power to resurrect hearts that have been broken and starved of hope to restore true confidence in His loving character. It’s only fair to point out that God will be with us in our lows because it’s in those moments where the heart of mankind is driven to seek God the most.

The test that is being presented to you and me is not a test where you get paid a letter grade or currency for it because its much more than that; it’s a test of character. What you get paid in return is the crown of honor that God gives you once you accomplish and overcome and reach new levels for the Kingdom. The honorable part is that this acquired crown of character cannot be stolen, which is why it cannot be compared to human awards because your character is unique to who God created you to become!

The Promise Land is a good land that flows with milk and honey.

Whether this would be a job opportunity, relationships with the opposite sex, overcoming a dark past, or sins that have kept you bound, you have the power invested in you to reach your fullest potential.

True confidence is this: knowing that when you fall, you rise up because the Lord who goes before you is already standing.

So this is my declaration that I hope you can be brave enough to acknowledge with me: I have the power to be who God wants me to become. Because of this, my future (my Promise Land) is secure and will be as abundant as the flow of milk and honey.

I encourage you as much as myself to take flight over strongholds of worry; the Lord goes before you where ever you go and will lift you up to carry you to your Promise Land. You can bet your life on that promise.