Don’t Hold Back

     I am convinced that most people do not have a clue how much glory is packed inside of them. We are made in the image of God and redeemed in Christ, filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing we are lacking in the love of God. We know that we are all so unique too. Even with all of that being true, most of us fail to recognize what we are carrying.

     We have so much potential.

     We have so much to offer the world around us.

     Every where I look (when I am seeing with God’s eyes, at least) I see massive gifting waiting to be developed. I see sharp-looking and stylish people who should be modeling. I see funny and intelligent people who should be writing and speaking. I see imaginative and strategic-thinking visionaries who should be changing the world and bettering society. I see artists, prophets, influencers, community builders… waiting to make their contribution. They are waiting to lift their voices, to take their stage, to be the face of the move of God happening in our generation.

     Most of us are only scratching the surface of what we are actually able to be and to do. We are just “toying with the idea,” while the earth is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God.

     I don’t want to miss my part in the drama of history. I don’t want false-humility, inferiority, or apathy to hold me back from fully investing myself in the dreams God has for me. I want to really go for it, and I want to be a friend who challenges my loved ones to do likewise.

     So let me just remind you,

You are sanctified.

You, in your own way, are a mover and shaker.

You’re heart has been made new in Christ and your deepest desires are in line with His.

Let what is inside of you out.

     Create your own content. Tell your own story. Reach your own crowd. Don’t hide your beauty — someone will really appreciate it. You are called to make your mark for the glory of God. He is your biggest cheerleader and loves to see you do brave things!

     You are the Father’s masterpiece of grace (Ephesians 2:10) and He likes to put His handiwork on display. So now and everyday, don’t hold back.

     Let your light shine.

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Where Are You Headed?

My name is Destin Michael, which means “destined to be like the Lord.” It’s not hard to guess that the concept of “destiny” has played a huge role in my thought life since I was a young kid.

I often think about where I am headed in life and how I am going to get there. I want to grow in the direction God would have for me — to know and enjoy Him more, and to fulfill His purposes.

In the process of reflecting on this, I have grabbed a hold of a few ideas others have shared over the last several years. I believe each of these proverbial statements can add guidance to the formation of our destinies.

Consider these ideas and how they might help you reflect on where you are headed:

  1. You are going in the direction you are pointed.

What do we put most of our focus and attention on in life? How do we spend most of our time? What practices and routines do we each follow on a daily and weekly basis? All of this can be highly predictive of where our lives will be in five years, or even further ahead.

Put some consideration into the choices you are making in this season. Our divinely-inspired dreams will not just come to pass on their own if we are always casual with the lifestyle we are engaging in currently.

2. You are who you hang out with.

People rub off on each other. It’s just the way life works. We tend to talk like those we spend the most time with, assume the same mentalities that they have, and learn to like a lot of what they like. If we want a good picture of where we are headed, we can look at the people we are closest to.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who challenge you out of your comfort zones, who encourage you and believe in you. And choose friends who are givers that are dedicated to contributing to your wellbeing. A community of healthy, mature, non-toxic peers is essential to our growth as people.

Whatever type of leader or individual we want to become will be determined largely by the character type of the those we are inviting into our inner circle today.

3. You will live in the fruit of this moment.

It’s easy to dream about the big picture of where we want to go in life. Often that dream feels intimidating to try to reach for. Really all destinies are fulfilled though as the result of the continual investment we make in a brighter future, starting right now.

Don’t just think about the kind of steps you want to take in the right direction through major lifestyle changes. Think about how you can make the most of your time and fully embrace the opportunities given to you over the next few hours. Set your intentions in the best direction you know how, and find simple ways to realign your trajectory in the space of time immediately before you.

If we think like this continually, in due time — we will see a harvest from these very moments.

4. You are already a success.

Our culture often encourages us to “make something of ourselves,” as if we can become a better, higher quality person based upon the accomplishments we achieve in life. I don’t like this perspective.

Human potential is best manifested in those who really learn to just be themselves, rather than striving to “make something” of themselves.

We are all created with the image of God within us. That is, with the desire to serve others, to impact society for the greater good, to create and to influence. These things will come from us naturally as we progressively learn to accept and express our God-given identities.

We are not reaching to become something great. We are already incredibly great in our Father’s eyes, and it is the validation He gives us that motivates us to practice walking in greatness through our life’s work. We need to be constantly reminded that we are already a success just because He says we are lovable… long before any external successes we accomplish in days to come.

5. Invest in the Eternal Kingdom.

Our dreams and passions are shallow if we are limited in seeking to serve our own interests. A truly significant dream is one that includes others, even future generations.

Every life has a ripple effect on the lives of those it touches. Let’s be conscientious about what kind of things we are setting in motion in the lives of those around us. We are contributing to the progress of humanity, joining in with Christ’s ageless movement to bring redemption wherever it is lacking.

Each one of us is leaving some kind of legacy. Our aim is to have it be one that fully maximized in helping bringing about God’s long-term agenda for total, widespread restoration. We don’t want to waste our short lives on what only we can experience for ourselves before we die.

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Feeling the Impact of this Crisis

Someone said to grab my five year old nephew and a friend of mine and go take cover in a small stairwell. “Don’t worry, this is just practice,” I was told. “But take it seriously.”

Thinking, “This is going to be fun,” I put an arm around my nephew and pulled him down into the corner of the wall. I assured him with a grin that this wouldn’t be too bad. My friend leaned into the wall of the stairwell with us. Before we could get comfortable though, a booming explosion went off. 

Holy crap. That did not sound safe.

The explosion did not sound like “practice,” and it sounded close enough that I thought the bomb could come flying through the top of the stairwell at any moment and penetrate the level we were hiding on. I pictured a massive rock blasting through the wall to crush us.

In a matter of mere moments I scrambled to pull my nephew closer to my chest and to make sure my friend a few feet away was still okay. At the same time I was struggling to move my jacket to cover all three of our heads and was trying to get us into a safer, lower position. I had no time to readjust everything, but I was desperately hoping I could protect us from the force of any debris now flying our way. And the explosions only continued to roar through the little stairwell one after another — coming from who knows where.

My nephew starting crying loudly, and then the dam broke in my own soul. I too began to weep profusely as I shook with the impact of the bombs hitting near us and with the fear and pain now rising in my soul.

It was real. And it was terrifying. 

All at once it had become clear that I was not preparing for battle. I was in the middle of war, and for the first time in my life I felt responsible to somehow preserve the life of someone else I cared for who was also under attack. But I had no idea what we were even up against.

I was in a swirl of intense emotions and feeling like I could only process them by just letting them all out. Then I woke up.

It was just a dream. Yes, I literally just woke up on a Thursday night from a nap and realized I’d just had a dream. But I was smart enough to know it wasn’t “just” a dream.

God just gave me a very vivid picture of what it is like to be in a war zone like Syria right now. I actually felt like He was processing His own emotions through me in the dream… conveying that He stands in complete solidarity and empathy with the victims who are currently suffering in this tragic situation. He was showing me how He really feels as He is present in the bodies and hearts of His children in that nation, seeing things from their perspective.

Jesus is not apathetic to the pain and injustice of this crisis.

However we respond to what the news is showing us, we must not become apathetic. Let the situation hit home, just as if it was your own nephew or friend going through this.

The Lord wants us to allow ourselves to feel the impact of what is taking place. He wants us to care.