A couple of months ago, while playing around with Snapchat, I created an alter ego named Frank. It was silly and completely uncharacteristic for the professional, polished identity I had created, but it made me laugh—a lot. In fact, it was like something happened as I explored this part of me that set me free. Not that anything before was fake, I had just discovered something new—like when I first learned how to play the guitar.
While many laughed along with me, not everyone approved of Frank. Some actually thought it was offensive. At first I tried to defend it by explaining myself and justifying my reasons, but eventually, I was forced to make a decision: abandon this foolish pursuit or continue to explore it.
Unknowingly, in the quiet space that’s often out of public view, I was being held captive by the expectations and approval of others as well as my own self-imposed limitations—like a cage match where the “authentic” me was wrestling with the “produced” me that the world demanded.
Sadly, so many people live and die, stuck in the space between authenticity and approval, groveling over pursuing their true heart and worrying about what everyone will say. Whenever my time comes, whether I’m seventy-five or thirty-five, I refuse to look back and question.
So I’ll be the guy who always chooses to dream big, and pursue those dreams with every ounce of passion I have.
If that makes me a fool, so be it.
The Bondage of Other’s Opinions
There’s nothing as toxic as the fear of being judged, which is why there’s nothing as challenging as being your authentic self.
From our politicians to our entertainers to our co-workers and closest friends, we have become great at living by the opinions of others and putting on a facade to give them what they want as a way to avoid pain. Or, on the flipside, we toss their opinions to the wind and raise a defiant finger in the air.
Both are exhausting.
There is nothing as physically and emotionally draining as not living within the blueprint of how you were created to live. It’s like constantly swimming upstream in a direction that you really don’t want to go, but you have to keep paddling just to stay afloat. As a result, we’ve raised a generation of professionals who loathe their profession. Not because they dislike it, but because someone expects it of them.
That’s not to say that all professionals are off course, but there are so many areas in our lives where we’re struggling to live within our design, searching for our “why”, and hoping that it will be found in the affirmation of a world that demands more yet fails to really satisfy.
As the world urges you to work hard, play it safe, keep up, and calls anything else foolish, what will you do?
The Wisdom of the World
I spent many years searching for the world’s wisdom as a way to better handle the challenges that I faced and the desires that I longed to pursue. Self-help books, online gurus, and motivational speakers became a steady diet. In the end, I was trying to cure a symptom rather than addressing the real problem.
Beneath it all, I was looking for stability and peace and hope in the wisdom of the world and the approval of man—a shakable foundation at best.
Somewhere along the way, I learned to lay it down, that is, my ambition, my desire, my fear, and truly begin trusting God. Not with hypocritical lips that could recite Biblical truth while resting in my own understanding, but with a surrendered and humble heart that was willing to be led, wherever that might be.
Common fears will continue to sell us on their version of wisdom while true wisdom is poured out, step by step, as we humbly fear the Lord. The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God, and we might be able to recite that, but are we really going to live that way?
When the chips fall, whose wisdom are we going to lean on? His? Or our own?
The real journey to becoming wise begins when we become a fool to this world.
Whether you’re willing to believe that or your circumstances have to beat you into submission, you’ll eventually come to the point where you have to decide and begin living accordingly. I finally did, but it took a cancer diagnosis.
In time, by His dim lamp that lights my path, I’ve learned that the only thing strong enough to transform our lives and give us our true identity is the power and conviction of God’s truth poured out by His Spirit in our lives.
And yes, that may seem like a foolish journey, but it’s one I’m willing to take.
Should you care to come along, Frank and I are good company.
Over the past three years, my journey has led me to write a book and has provided opportunities to share my story with thousands of people. Now, I’m excited to announce and launch the next step in that journey.
I have partnered with Zondervan author, Kevin Adams, to create YouPrint, an entrepreneurial, kingdom-minded, social enterprise whose mission is to invest in people that are ready to thrive in their gifts and live the life of impact they were created for.
In the end, we’re two guys who are trusting God to do what He said He would do. And from how he brought us together to providing us with a radio show to brining YouPrint to life, He’s exceeded every hope we ever had.
And we firmly believe He will do the same for you.