THE THR33 LIES.

while reading a great book from a (new, yet) dear friend called ‘simple spirituality’* i stumbled across some interesting quotes by various authors but one stood out a little more than most. the lesson was by a man named henri j.m. nouwen a dutch born, catholic priest who authored more than 40 books on spirituality. in his writings henri said that there are three lies that one needs to overcome in this world for a full life.

1. i am what i have.

i have done many blogs on possessions and the attempt to collect and hoard wealth because, well that seems to be the new american dream. no longer is it the pursuit of happiness, but the pursuit of store bought happiness.

samuel kamalaleson, vice president of world vision said that if ‘we are unable to give something away, then we do not possess it, rather it possesses us. this struck me rather hard as i began to think/name off all the inanimate objects that i doubt i could part with. my car, my guitar, being a simple start but still convicting and makes me question ‘who owns who’?

2. i am what other people say about me.

this is a lie that i believe is even more potent and deadly of the first. this one has the power to change us into something unrecognizable, a shell of the person we once were. in my own life i see a childhood that was laden with insults; it took me years and years to shed those unwanted criticisms & actually believe that i could succeed and supersede expectations i had placed on myself in light of the words i placed myself under.

‘criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.’ –aristotle

as for the rest of us who may march to a different drummer, try something new, actually attempt to be ourselves and create change in our life (or the lives around us), then we must come to expect criticism. to be criticized is only human, but to change or amalgamate into what others have deemed is us is death. be secure in who and what you are, you are NOT what people say about you.

3. i am what i do.

you are not your occupation, your motivation, or your innovation. i have met many many band members that seem so lost after they quit the music business ; this is because the bigger you allow your pedestal to be built up the harder and longer the fall is on the way down. your career is placed in your life so that you can afford to spend time with your family, care for them, and meet their physical and emotional needs. your career is not a tag line on a business card that you begin to identify with and become.

changing your mind set in these three areas in your life will transform your life instantly, the problem is these lies may be so ingrained the process to rid yourself of them will NOT be an overnight or instantaneous.

work at it, began to take note of areas in your life where you: believe that you are what you do, believe what others say about you, and where you think you are what you have. call your thoughts out! and begin to realize that these are inhibiting lies that are poison to your potential & passion.

-estaban


* chris heuertz

Comments

billy said…
I really jive with this post. I've been pondering recently about how I've spent the past 5 or so years of my life pursuing things and trying to define myself based on those things. As a Christian, I know that my significance and meaning in life comes from Christ, and that whatever on this earth that I pursue is not what makes me who I am. Only the grace of God in Christ defines me.
Stephanielg said…
YAY! A new blog! :-)

This is great Stephen. Once we stop relying on outside things(our job, other people's opinions, material posessions) to define who we are we'll be set free. The most confident and strong leaders in history were those who didn't rely on anything but themselves to define who they are.

Also, you encouraged us on Twitter to start our own blog...well, I started one the day after your last post! check it out: www.morethanbeingalive.blogspot.com
:-)
Cali said…
this is a great blog Stephen, its really given me stuff to think about, like you pointed out once musicians leave the business they do seem lost, I'm not one of those but it is something to ponder, if we define our self by our career how will we ever be able to change...how will a musician ever be able to be a husband or a father...because those are VERY different jobs from what they already know, and the same goes for say a single parent, how will a person who has defined them self as a parent be able to be go out and be an available person willing to date...none of these examples relate to me, because i dont beleive i have defines myself as anything yet...but i now know i need to think carefully on how i do such things...

you always post the most thought provoking things on here and i truly enjoy them, so thank you for giving me the opportunity to think things i wouldn't have normally thought of.

much love,
Cali
sway said…
great post. the first one especially rings true for today's overly materialistic world. everyone's chasing success and big houses and expensive cars as a result of that success instead of simply realizing that love is what makes life living.
Ryan said…
I really needed to read the "you are what people say about you" part. I've been wrestling with that for almost five years now, and reading that let me know that I'm not the only one, even when it feels like I am. Thanks for continuing to inspire me.
This was insightful. You have succeeded in making me think. That's definitely a good thing.
Sarah (: said…
that quote that samuel kamalaeson said is what my dad told me! haha a lot of the things you post is what my dad has told me before..weird.

thanks for the inspiring post! <3
More Than Alive said…
Wow, thank you Stephen... :-)
Michael Packer said…
Very good, Stephen. These are things I already knew, yet it is so easy to forgot them in the daily grind and "pursuit of happiness." This blog was a very good reminder that the path to happiness is much easier than we think.
themusicelitist said…
Great post. I especially identify with the "i am what people say I am" section. sounds like we had similar childhoods.
lauren edwards said…
I'm happy to see a new blog! Those are really great points Stephen.

There are a few things in my life I couldn't part with easily. I know my guitar is one of those things.
It made me think though... I know music is what I love and I don't mind being 'owned' by it. No, I will probably never be a professional, but it will stay in my life forever. And as long as I am using it to glorify my God then I see it as being another way I am completly owned by Him. After all... He put this love for it in me!
aletheia said…
Thank you for the thoughts.

I don't think I have much of a problem with the first lie. It is the easiest for me to overcome.

The second lie is a little more difficult. I do worry about what people think of me. To an unhealthy extent.

The third lie is, and will continue to be, the most difficult for me. I have always been so goal-oriented. A very typical Pre-Med major. But I know I'm headed in the right direction. I just hope I can blossom in the other areas, infinitely more important areas.

I took the plunge- I created a blog. doubtisfaith.blogspot.com
I must really need to hear this, because this is the second time this week that I've heard a message like this. I received a lot of criticism and rejection as a child, and I have to admit that that's probably why I doubt myself so much today. Letting go has to be one of the single hardest things for me to do. Somehow the years of repetition engraved the lies on my soul. They've become true to me. Then there's the whole issue of careers. As a high schooler, I can't seem to get away from this topic. Everyone expects an answer from me. What college? What major? When will you go? Can you afford it? ...........I have no idea. I just want to do with my life what Christ made me to do, whatever that may be. Switchfoot said it well when they sang "I don't belong here". This is but a temporary place. Heaven is my home. Heaven's where my heart is. I'm living for eternity now. Nothing here seems to matter as much as it did.....except for the fact that people need love, help, hope, and a Savior. Thanks again for this post!
Erin said…
Thanks for the post, Stephen. Like a few of the other commenters, I really identified with the second point. I'm not that great at taking criticism, and that's definitely something I need to work on if I want to have a good life. After all, if you listen to (and believe) every negative comment someone makes about you, you're gonna be a pretty sad person! (I guess you already know this, from being in the music industry and all...)
Patricia M. said…
Wonderful post :) You commented on #1 that the modern American dream has really made us slaves to our possessions, but I think that typical American ideals and the influence of media incline us to think thoughts #2 and #3 as well. Celebrities and those that enjoy (or suffer) the public spotlight fall victim especially to the second, and you can really see it in a lot of musical artists, actors, and even authors who have given up their unique styles or even their own scruples for the sake of image and popularity. As for #3, the question has never been "What do you want to live for when you grow up?" or "Who do you want to inspire?" - since we've learned to talk, we've been asked "What do you want to be when you grow up" and we're expected to have an answer. We become so brainwashed into thinking that our jobs and our careers define us that we spend our entire lives chasing after self-fulfilling prophecies. Someone isn't less of a person for dropping out of high school than someone who graduated - and going to college often molds people over in the world's image more than it builds them up. I agree; education and occupation have nothing to do with the type of person you are.

I dunno, just some thoughts :D
Anonymous said…
This blog never ceases to amaze Stephen, thank you for your insight and valuable thoughts. I can completely relate to your last two posts. I've been going through some tough times in my life over the last several months but reading this blog always brings things back into perspective. Like the line in "Burn Out Brighter" says, "the more I live I see, this life's not about me." I have realized recently just how much I've taken for granted over the years and it needs to stop and I need to focus my life on more important and meaningful things than the newest pair of shoes or the popular clothing with the popular labels. In the end none of that matters. I also need to fully accept and embrace who I really am. The opinions of others and the judgments they might make should hold no weight on my shoulders. We must love ourselves and learn to love others w/o pre-judgment.

Thank you for this blog, it makes people's lives much better, including mine.
kim said…
Ah, the most commonly asked yet unanswered question.. who am I?
I like what you said: "to be criticized is only human"
Accept criticism respectfully - but why dwell and act based upon what others think of you?
I strive to live and be obedient "with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men" (Ephesians 6:7)
Am I who God wants me to be? I can only hope.
Chris said…
Again, another great post! I wish I could impart these truths to our 15 year old daughter, but I believe that this knowledge comes with maturity and having some years behind you experiencing many bends and turns in the road along the way.

Sometimes I feel that we can be overly critical with kids, but for me, it's so they don't make the same mistakes...even though, while I think deeper about it...those very mistakes are what sometimes makes us a better person than we would have been without them.

Looking foward to your next post!

Chris
Cimara said…
this is definitely putting a lot of things into perspective for me-- thank you for sharing it. these are all topics that i struggle with on a daily basis, that i'm sure most people struggle with on a daily basis. most people just get comfortable with their lifestyles and fear making changes.

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."
-Plato
Becky said…
Going through highschool right now I can completely relate...but for me it is mainly seeing the dependance on earthly, especially technological, possesions. Just the other day a girl was sobbing because she lost her phone...which someone found an hour later. But also people so uncomfortable to be by themselves, or completely lost with out an ipod..they seem to have lost all meaning of truly living.
Its painful as I just want to cry out to them and explain how everything they need can be found in Jesus Christ!
A very inspirational book that is bound to change your life for the better is The Irristible Revolution by Shane Claibourne.
Min Lee said…
Very very cool read. Thank you for writing this up. It's definitely something to think about and a great analysis tool.
jeremydb29 said…
I really loved this as well. I don't have many struggles with #1 or #3. I hate material possessions. I actually like to NOT have things other people have. I hate cell phones, video games, and long for the days where people enjoyed their lives without those things. I have all those but rarely use them (and rarely do I ever buy them for myself). I am an old fashioned spirit in that way. As for defined by my position, my job pays the bills. Family is so much more important. I am not perfect in either area but have strong convictions about both of these.

I am not sure about #2. I don't feel I am defined by other people at all. I know I am uniquely me and am ok with that. I want to be liked and accepted like anyone else but I am not defined by that I know.

Yet I still have an identity crisis. I don't really know who I want to be although I understand who I am and what has made me. Jesus said that to find ourselves we have to lose ourselves. I am afraid to do that. In a conversation I had earlier I stated that I whole heartedly believe in God, Christ, and Christianity. I just don't do it very well. My faith is real, my convictions are strong, yet my faith isn't always strong. And until I truly give myself to God completely, I may alway struggle with a sense of identity even if I don't struggle with the things you mention above. I just have a hard time with losing myself to find myself.

Stephen, I admire you. I love your music and Anberlin. Best band/fave group by far. However, it's this blog and the PERSON I get to see that I admire. You aren't afraid to learn, test the waters, step out in faith, give of yourself, and be free and open to explore and engage to find truth and find who you are. I know it isn't always easy esp with the temptations you probably have. But the risks, the giving, and the desire to just put yourself out there (emotionally, spiritually, intellectually) has seemed to help you discover who you are. I think your life is a good example of the process God wants to take us through. For that, I admire you.
Mike-e said…
Ever since I began studying the Word, the best weapons against the lies that we convince ourselves of is the truth. If we believe what God has revealed in His Word, whether we "feel" it or not, we can fight these lies with the "full armor of God." (Eph. 6) I think this is especially necessary in this industry; for postmodernism and pluralistic thought is sadly adopted by most. And if we don't stick to truth, then we will inevitably fall prey to the lies that you mentioned.

Thanks for your thoughts Stephen!
Daniel+ said…
Nouwen is a wonderful, deep writer, and actually lived here in Canada during his last days. I've recently been reading a book of his on prayer called "With Open Hands".

Thanks for braving the cold last week. Please continue to pray for Sarah and I in our transition.

Daniel+
Eve said…
I am guilty on all "THR33" counts here. It is a daily renewing of the mind.

However: the one that has stifled me the most is a never-ending string of insults from my Mother, all through childhood and continuing today.

It runs like a video loop, over and over. I can't seem to get free of it's weight. Something Stephen said has me thinking: {As he usually does}

Stephen said:

"it took me years and years to shed those unwanted criticisms & actually believe that i could succeed and supersede expectations i had placed on myself in light of the words i placed myself under."

The key is he admits HE placed himself under "the cage" that held him down. Ahh... that is so true. I guess I could have walked out of my cage anytime I wanted to, for I possess the key, not HER! I guess it's time for me to emancipate myself. I have forgiven her, but I never forget..all those words...so many words

Many opportunities have slipped by for me because I could not envision my own success. I stick my toe in to test the water, but never dive in. I hope I take the dive next time the chance comes.

The one positive aspect of all that I have suffered is this: I try to never miss an opportunity to encourage the talents of others. I have countless stories of a small encouragement changing the direction of a person I was able to speak words of hope to.

I firmly believe we can take our pain and make it positive for those behind..how else would we have empathy?

It is hardest to take your own advice! So here I go..I hope the water's fine..I'm diving in!

Thanks Stephen for pulling me in...I've been sitting on the side for way too long....Eve

As always GREAT POST!
Jess said…
The third lie in particular strikes me, since along with most of my friends I will be graduating from college in a few months. Everyone is trying to claw their way through the job search process right now, and many don't seem to consider what their true dreams are - only what jobs will be the most convenient and make them the most money. Unfortunately, it just seems that so many people become consumed by their jobs, devoting so much time and energy to them that they put their personal dreams on the back burner. Why do people in our society place so much value on a person's professional title?
Rover Fox said…
"I am what I have, I am what others say about me, and I am what I do," pretty much describes the average American's mindset. Its hard in our society to find life away from things, titles and positions, because so much of our society is founded on these subtle lies. This is something I too have been struggling with recently.

Here is one truth that I have been finding useful as of late.

Remember who you are.

The story of the Lion King helps us realize that we aren't who are society tags us as. We are the Children of God designed for his purpose. Don't let the things you have or don't have, are or are not, keep you from your destiny.
iwanttoplayguitarlikejoeymilligan said…
Very true. All three of those are bad, bad lies, and it's crazy most people believe them.
iwanttoplayguitarlikejoeymilligan said…
Uh...you know there's a book called "Thr33," right?
Grant said…
holy shit that's good stuff
Grant said…
and then, where do we find our value/identity?
i know the sunday school answer is "in God" but what does that really mean?!?! What does it mean to let my identity be defined by God? How do I live in that?
Book of James said…
Ah Sarah (: Older people tend look back on their lives and say, “man if I could go back to that time knowing what I know now!” If you are lucky enough to have a mom or dad that you can talk to, someone that was encouraging to you, that’s powerful. Look at them as a secret weapon.

Even though there are just some things you need to screw up or succeed at and learn on your own, it’s like going into the Test of Life with a big legal cheat sheet!! USE THE CHEAT SHEET!!

Thanks for being a great cheat sheet yourself Stephen… You’ll make a great dad some day.

Oh dear Grant, Dr. Henry Cloud describes it in his book “The Secret Things of God” a Christian alternative to the best selling book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.

You ask; “What does it mean to let my identity be defined by God? How do I live in that?”

Cloud echoing Jesus says; “Forget all of your wondering, all of your thoughts, all of your doubts. Wherever you are, right now, I just want you to ask him to please show you. Ask him to show you who he is and what his name is. If you ask him with a sincere heart, he will hear you and you will find him.“ That’s it.

Cheers,
More Than Alive said…
Grant, I actually had that question too a long time ago. What does it really mean to have your identity defined by God? First, remember that we have our agency in this life...only we can decide how we'll choose to live this life...a life towards good or one towards complacency and simply not good...

I think it means that the closer to God you get and the more faith you have the more you'll realize your true potential and divinity. I feel more confident, talented, and worth something when I have greater faith and when I choose to follow God. God is honest...when you follow Him and strive to become like Him you'll find your potential...and essentially your identity.

Sorry this is somewhat off topic, but I wanted to answer your question as well...
shanrocks777 said…
I know that store bought happiness doesn't give someone a full life. But lack thereoff doesn't either. Only passion does. And I'm getting off topic here a bit, but I have to mention that I loved your comment about how "education doesn't mean everything in this world; it doesn't take passion into account". Success is more apt to happen where passion is the catalyst rather than anything else, be it formal training or grades in the Dean's Honours category. And your career is a prime example of this, since you never had formal vocal training in the beginning, but you did have a message to convey and the belief to back it up. :) It's basically the reason why I don't pursue something in my own field of study because I simply don't have a passion for it and no amount of doubling my income could compensate for. I only went to college for a love of learning in and of itself, not necessarily the desire to have a career in the subject I studied.

Veering back on topic.
Lie #1: I am what I have.

Parting with material items isn't a tough one for me. I ran away with two suitcases to my name and could do the same tomorrow. I don't have a car and I don't even have a license (though that will change this year :) however, it was tough leaving my guitar behind. Little did I know the place I was running away to had more and better guitars than the one I left behind. :P But the fact is, I could part with it.

Lie #2: I am what other people say about me.
This is a tougher one.

That said, I do tend to understand a lot of these concepts in theory and not apply them to my life with meaning. Understanding has never been a challenge for me, but 'living it' has. I know that other people's opinons are sometimes based on filters of perception and usually not fact, but it still can hurt when someone judges you and they're wayyyy off. You can't help but think, what made them think that about me? But then again, those types of comments are usually coming from someone who really doesn't know me. I think that people who are so afflicted that they contemplate or even attempt suicide are actually struggling with an 'identity' issue at the heart of it. That's why it's important for us, as individuals, to have a strong, personal, sense of self, so that others can't be given the power to define it. It reminds me of this Alanis Morissette song called 'Joining You'. I always got the impression the song is about a friend who was contemplating suicide because he was taking 'labels' to heart. And Alanis is like "If we were our nametages, if we were our rejections, if we were our outcomes..indignities, successes, emotions, projections, paranoias, incomes..." ect. I'd be joining you.

Lie #3: I am what I do.

At the most basic definition, a career is a *functional* aspect of a person's life, not a defining one. The function is to provide a living. The job is not necessarily the living in and of itself. However, some people are courageous enough to realize that they *can* be closer to one in the same. For instance, I'm sure your living is more in line with your life's desire than mine is. At the end of the day, I can pay my bills. I'm working so my life is functional, but how much does it really matter when it drains so much out of me, that I'm too lethargic to enjoy what I've earned on a lot of days? Sometimes it seems it would be easier if I had a job that is less functional and more passionate. That's why I do my best to find the aspect of my job that allows it serve as an outlet for self-expression. But again, I digress. That's not the point of #3. The point is that my career is not who I am. And neither is yours. :)
Dids said…
I just have a question...

"What if the things others say about us are good, but you don't think that's what you are?"

ex. complimenter: you're so hysterical

complimented's inner-thoughts or external 'complaints': not in the least. I'm sarcastic. There's a difference.

Maybe that was a bad example, but I'm just really curious...
Damn this was a potent work. Really compelling and convicting. As a Christian, I struggle to understand what it means (in practical day to day terms) when I hear that other's views don't define me, nor does what I do for work or do for creative purposes. This post led me to prayer in asking for Christ's help as I find an identity based on my "true" self. thank you for pointing it out...
chris said…
this blog is brilliant! thank you for posting this!
guard my dreams said…
the first thing you said in this post about the emphasis on possessions. its America's kyrptonite. great song by five iron frenzy talks about it, if there are any fans out there who know what im talking about.
guard my dreams said…
the first thing you said in this post about the emphasis on possessions. its America's kyrptonite. great song by five iron frenzy talks about it, if there are any fans out there who know what im talking about.
Tsianna said…
What a wonderful post, Stephen. I'm not sure if you read all your comments or not - I tried to email you regarding a previous posting (it was from June or July) but the system was having trouble delivering the message.

I love what you've said here, as I have often explained to people that I am NOT 'what I do' and I also refuse to believe I am what some people will say. I was not born with such confidence, it took a lifetime to grow. Insecurity breeds insecurity, so people who are incomplete and insecure will try to tear down and criticize and hurt others to bring them to the same level. This has no bearing on someone's actual value, it's in the mind of the criticizer. At the same time, if you try to build others up instead, you can become the change you want to see. I prefer to fight negativity head on with something positive because I want something better, not more of the same.

To address the first concept of our possessions 'owning' us, our society is basically materialistic. We no longer see a job and income as a means to an end but something to help us be 'better' than someone else. I would sorely miss my computer, my cell, and my car but I think I'd give those up rather than my husband and daughter... if I had to choose. Of course I'd also do whatever I had to to get them back.. so yes, I suppose I am partially owned. Technologically dependent.
Tsianna said…
PS: if you're interested in another blog here is mine:

http://tsianna.blogspot.com/
malinna said…
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malinna said…
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malinna said…
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malinna said…
The aspirant who is seeking the Lord
Must free himself from selfish attachments
To people, money, and possessions.
When his mind sheds every selfish desire,
He becomes free from the duality
Of pleasure and pain and rules his senses.
No more is he capable of ill will;
No more is he subject to elation,
For his senses come to rest in the Self.
Entering into the unitive state,
He attains the goal of evolution.
Truly he attains the goal of evolution.


-Paramahamsa Upanishad
Cid said…
I agree with all of these 3 but the last one. Don't our actions define us? Our choices?

If we are not what we do, then pray tell, what are we? You have told us what doesn't define us, but what does define us? What makes us who we are?

These aren't only questions for you, of course. I'm only wondering out loud.

Very thought provoking blog.


Cid.
ekozania said…
1. it is hard to stray away from this even if you despise it. How do you reject this idea when reality seats you at a better table and gives you customer service at a retail store based upon your dress code, gives you a better parking spot based upon the car you drive, hires you for a job based upon your physical looks….i find myself caught between a two-edged sword, wanting to be like into the wild and throw everything away to cleanse myself, yet find myself suffocating in a cut throat society if I don’t succumb to their demands. How are we supposed to balance the external and internal worlds?

2. this is the hardest of all tasks….it’s easy to fall to their lies the more you listen to them. I always try to remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint, that we take hits from the left and right but we have to just keep going straight on our path towards our dreams in order to succeed over them. i find myself trying to resist the corporate world, the style of clothing it accepts and rejects, the plastic masks of makeup it requires, and I find it harder than I could have imagined to reject their thoughts, reject their voices in my head, reject their ideals of who and what I should be…everybody keeps saying I can dress like that and get a tattoo like that when I’m famous….why cant I just be who I am now?

3. To every person out there who has ever wanted to just do what they wanted to do….do it now, don’t wait for the world…..don’t wait for the economy to cure itself to start a clothing line, don’t wait to tell the person you love them because you’re afraid of rejection, don’t wait to put your personal self out there for fear that people will cut you down……be yourself, follow your dreams, live the way you would….. like you imagined your life as a kid without the distractions and complications you never knew existed.
Follow the truth = your heart, and with it will come the honesty to overcome the first 2 lies. Start now, this minute, this second, because you might not get another second to start.
Anonymous said…
In response to Cid's questions...

If we are not what we do, then pray tell, what are we? You have told us what doesn't define us, but what does define us? What makes us who we are?

I have a cork board in my office that is covered with quotes, sayings, and other memorabilia, such as an old ticket stub to an Anberlin show, and a sticker that says, I love Spring Hill.

Posted at the top of the corkboard is the saying, "You are called to someone, not something. Your identity is not what you do - it is your relationship with Christ." So for me, that is the answer to your questions.

It is not what that defines me, but rather it is who. I believe that there is a God that created the universe; I let Him define me -not the world.

PS Stephen, am I going to be seeing you at the mayan anytime soon?
saludsod said…
‘criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.’ –aristotle


i like this quote. it's like this quote i read from Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist:

"People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they are concerned with looking good and not making mistakes."

we must always be ready to accept criticism and mistakes, and make the best out of them.
michael said…
stephen, awesome post. samuel kamalaleson's quote really stuck with me. i really like that. i will probably do a post about it soon on my blog.

but on another note, i am trying to spread the word about mae's 2009 project. for more information please check out my blog (http://notlikemost.blogspot.com/), i put up two posts about the project. please support the project, there are in desperate need of support. thanks,
-michael
Anonymous said…
develloping on point 2: "dont worry about the praise of men and you wont worry about the criticism of men."
-Reggie Dabbs

do it.
sj. said…
i love this!! thanks stephen.
Brendan said…
The quote you put in here really stuck with me. I don't have a car while most of my friends do. However, I think about the quote you posted and it makes me feel bad for wanting tangible objects. I look at myself and imagine the kids in africa that don't have running water or food to eat. Truth is, your blog really puts things in perspective for me. Also, Burn Out Brighter has to be my theme song. Keep it up stephan.
Mark Duarte said…
absolutely brilliant.
Tyler said…
nice Stephen! really liked this one. like Stephanie (who is amazing by the way) i started a blog like you reccomended on twitter

www.tyler-lifeingeneral.blogspot.com
themockingbyrd said…
It's difficult to overestimate how strong these lies can be, but at the same time, what we do is a result of who we are--"from the abundance of the heart, the tongue speaks." and what people say and think about us is a result of what we do. As such, the things we do and the things people say and think about us can serve as barometers of who we are, when our own minds cannot be trusted.
Renny said…
So great. A friend once told me, "the only thing you can know about yourself is that you're a child of God." This blog reminded me of that.
Jo InTime said…
For the record, I am new to this.. am I really going to be read by THE Stephen Christian? Cool! So it says no fan mail, and I will respond to the blog post, but is there another forum or medium in which my 'fan mail' would be better received?
Well, cool blog post. Some simple yet very important ideas here! I agree with them and try to keep them in mind.
I do not mean to question anyone's faith or belief here, but let me raise something I considered when reading lie # 2. In my own skin and my own world and conscience, I am whatever I say I am. I can live however I want to live, do whatever I want to do, regardless of what others say. Outside of my own world though, I am perceived much differently. Is # 2 suggesting I should ignore this outside perspective? I do not want to ignore it because once I am gone, this outside perspective will be all that is left. I will one day be defined only by the impact I have left on others; of course, I want to make this a positive one!
Be yourself and do what you want to do, this is important stuff! However, don't forget you are part of something that gives a reflection!
Thats my part, and of course my own opinion. Would love you hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
Anonymous said…
Hey Jo InTime, I wanted to reply to your question. You said:

"Is # 2 suggesting I should ignore this outside perspective? I do not want to ignore it because once I am gone, this outside perspective will be all that is left. I will one day be defined only by the impact I have left on others; of course, I want to make this a positive one!"

Firstly, I think it's amazing how people can share the same planet and have differing views on the questions concerning how to live life here. It makes for a unique experience, that's for sure. :)
While I get how you can be concerned about the impact you have made on others (good deeds are a good thing), my opinion differs in that I don't think it's the only thing left after I die. If you consider that you don't actually cease to exist after you die (e.g. have a soul) then all that 'you' will be left with is not what everyone else thinks of you, but what you, yourself, think of your...self. You won't be 'defined' so much by the impact you have left on others, but by the introspection you've spent in defining who you are to yourself. You have to live with yourself forever, and you can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I think the answer to your question starts with considering the difference between a legacy (what you leave behind) and what continues to live on (what and who you consider yourself to be). This planet will not exist forever, so your legacy created here will only live as long as the planet lasts (or people remember you), but what you mean to yourself can live on forever. I'm sure you wanted Stephen's thoughts on this and not some other reader, but I really felt inclined to reply to what you said. I hope it helps. ~Shannon
Hahn said…
hey,

I just wanted to enlighten you and those who read this as to how God used your words in my life tremendously in the last three days. I'm actually going to write a post about the whole story later today. Thank you.

God works in mysterious ways.

-Hahn

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