The one you feed

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I’ve read this so many times, perhaps you have too, but it wasn’t until recently that I fully grasped what this means to me. Everyday we have choices to make. “Will I speak kind words today?” “Who is more important today? Me, or the one bothering me?” “Will I act on what I’m feeling?” And every choice has a consequence, sadly.

But what helps you make your decisions? You could say your moral character, but we’re all selfish and faulted deep down inside. For me, I know I’m giving myself the best opportunity to succeed if I’m giving the decision to Jesus. If it’s something I struggle with, than how could I begin to think I can figure it out on my own? The Cherokee is right- the one you feed is the one who wins.

Today, everyday, I have the choice to choose good or bad. I could go into detail about “what is good? what is bad?”, but really I think that’s a pointless conversation. I think inwardly, we all know what is good or bad, because God gave us His Spirit to discern these things. And right now I’m preaching to the choir, because I’m right there with you.

I think this could be the shortest one yet, and I’m pretty thankful for that. I’m thankful because it’s not that difficult- all I need to do is give it to God. Hand it over and let Him lead me. Let Him show me a bigger plan, with more detail, beauty and adventure than I could ever imagine.

What will you feed today?

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

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If you really knew me

If you really knew me, you would know that behind all my sarcasm is a heart that cares deeply. A heart that will give and give, seeks to answer questions, and hurts for a lot of different things. You would know a heart that has been worn well beyond it’s young 22 years, and one that beats strongly and wildly, sometimes uncontrollably.

If you really knew me, you would know the struggles I have within me to succeed. To succeed is such a blank statement, and one that I find hard to define. My success is not written in cheques and dollar signs, but in smiles, mended hearts and warm hugs. But sometimes that version of success gets muddled up with other’s versions of success, and that’s where my struggle lies.

If you really knew me, you would know that the last thing I really want to do is leave my familiar, but yet it’s something I’ve been asked to do, and will gladly pack up and go, yet again. You would know that not being able to answer the question “Will you ever return permanently?” actually hurts my heart.

If you really knew me, you would know that it is my goal to make you laugh and smile when we are together. You would know that I take joy in your joy, that I hurt when you hurt, and that I don’t mind awkward silences- I actually induce and embrace them. Yes, I’m a sucker for awkward moments.

If you really knew me, you would know the peace I get from writing out my heart thoughts. You would know that God speaks, big time, when I write, and that if I’m having a bad day, all you need to do is hand me a journal and a pen and give me some space. It’s incredible what 15 minutes of solitude can do.

If you really knew me, you would see past the big smiles that I flash, and you’d ask how my heart is doing. You would know that to me, friendship is more than who you’re hanging out with on Friday night, and more about who’s going to stand with you when everything falls apart. You would know that I’m not seeking a person to fill my time, but to spend time, give time and make time for me. To fight for me.

And if you really knew me, you would know that I care. I care about the big things, the little things, the things no one sees, and the things people don’t want to see. You would know the dreams I’ve been having lately about these sweet little children that need someone to love them. You would know that I desire to fill a void, that I know there are BIG plans created especially for me, and that I will embrace what my Father is giving me no matter how much it hurts, or how much I have to sacrifice in order to get it. You would know that I am a million miles from perfect, and need to be knocked off my chair a few times in order to remember that. You would know that I desire for everyone to know my Father, not because they need to look like me, but because they need to look like Him. And He looks like grace, and love, and justice, and mercy and peace- oh my heart could go on and on.

I’d like to thank you for knowing me. And although I may not always reveal my true heart or feelings, I am so overwhelmingly blessed to be known by you. To be known by my Father, and to be loved in despite of all He knows about me.

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

You light up the sky

Hi there, my name is Sam, and I am one of the least disciplined people in the world. I’d like to take this chance (since it’s my blog) to apologize for my absence. I don’t know if you’ve missed me, but I’ve sure missed you! I really have no good excuse for not writing, except maybe I’ve been too busy? Even that one isn’t very good, because I’m sure you still find time to do things you love when you’re busy. So I digress- I have failed. But I’m here again, not making any promises on the consistency aspect of this, but I’m here now!

This summer has come and gone in a fury of activities, conversations, road trips, endings, engagements (best friend, people, not me), and a whole lot of falling in love with Jesus. My contract as a nanny finished up on the 14th which was a million times harder than I’d expected, of course. Those two children, along with their parents, have etched themselves inside my heart. I do not say goodbye, but a “see you later”. I don’t know the plans God has for them, but I’m sure they’re big and beautiful, and hopefully cross up with mine again one day! I also spent 2 weeks travelling eastern Canada with 3 other friends which was fantastic! If you’re travelling on a budget, might I suggest couchsurfing.org? We had a great time meeting locals, scoring a free show to Cirque du Soleil in old Quebec city, I touched a whale in the ocean(!!), and we camped on the beach in Prince Edward Island. This is definitely a trip I will always remember.

While we were relaxing one day on the beach, I went for a little walk with God and He said something to me that at first I didn’t really understand. I actually had a hard time deciding if it was Him, or just me and my heart trying to make something out of nothing. I’ve been having a tough time getting any answers out of the staff at YWAM recently, not at their fault, but still a tough time. Because of this, I’ve been doubting if this is the right path for me (because if it’s right, it should be easy, right?) So I was doing some heavy searching, just really wanting to do what God has for me, and He saw my desire, but quickly and gently put my worries to rest. In the quietest, quickest way, He spoke. “Search for me in the darkness; I will be there, shining my light”. It was one line, short but sweet. I quickly rationalized that this was indeed NOT God, because darkness does not exist where God is, right? But then I thought “Well, if that wasn’t God, who was it?” I’ve never had a thought like this before, or heard anyone talking about this either- so where did that come from? I was a bit frustrated.

Frankly, I was looking for a “Sam, you’re on the right track. They’ll respond to your emails, people will jump at the chance of supporting you, and everything will work out. I’ve got this, keep pursuing me and it’ll work out.” And how about that- He gives me an answer I have to wait to understand. So the next day I was listening to a podcast, and out of nowhere, the speaker says “God needs you to illuminate the darkness. He can use anyone, including you, so go. It doesn’t matter where, just go, and He will show you the way.” Of course that caught my attention, but I brushed it off, like we always do with “coincidences”. So I take Monique’s iPhone and listen to a different podcast, I believe a sermon from Francis Chan and boom! There it is again!

I’m not going to make any assumptions about the darkest places on earth- where they are or what’s going on there, but I believe we’re called to them. Not because we ourselves are so talented at showing God’s light, but because by being His child, it should emanate out of us. We’re called because we have freedom, and we should want to share that freedom. We’re called because we dropped all our struggles, our suffering, our garbage, pain, issues and past mistakes, and instead took up a belt of truth, body armour of God’s righteousness. We have peace that comes from the good news for shoes, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

He does not call us and send us out alone. I have not been called back to YWAM to be sent out alone. I have a church family that loves me, a blood family that will miss me and wants the best for me. I have supporters that believe not in what I do, but in what God will do through me. I am sent out with the stories of God’s faithfulness, provision, comfort and direction from so many brothers and sisters. He hasn’t failed me yet, and I know He never will.

So for now I continue on. I will meet with sponsors, I will plan fundraisers, I will work and do my photography. I will continue falling in love with perfect love, even when it hurts. I will share my joys and sorrows with the ones He has provided for me, and I will never stop singing about how He has changed me. He’s captured my heart, my life, my all. Some call me over dramatic, but I don’t care. I will continue on, because He never stops loving me.

With Strength that is not my own, Sam