October was a good month. I’m thankful for the variety of experiences and creativity. Here’s a recap.
Nash’s Note: Alisha’s guest post is about patience. We’re all so obsessed with instant gratification, but there’s beauty in the long road. The process. It’s hardly ever about what happens in the end. The process of getting there, though, is where life truly happens.
How unfortunate it is to dwell in a world where quick fixes and easy way outs trump long-term hard work and seeing things to the finish. Where “Do what makes you happy,” holds priority over, “Do what is right.” We all desire to love and be loved, to experience endless joy, and to live in peace; however, we often forget that receiving these gifts requires taking the long journey with Jesus. When we walk with Him up the mountains, through the valleys, in many blessings, and among our most challenging trials; When we can feel His presence, and when we are not sure if He is there at all, this is when we find the beauty in the long road.
Although this walk is easier said than done, it is the only way. The one and only way we will have the slightest chance at receiving the deepest desires of our hearts. There is no alternate route or detour this world can offer that will compare to the journey that Jesus has prepared for each of us.
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Continue to take the long road, knowing that the best gifts in life will be waiting at the end.
I make list. It’s something I don’t talk about much, but should, because of how critical it is in my life. Here’s what it looks like for me to brainstorm and process my thoughts.
What am I doing now:
That’s what a list usually looks like for me. It helps me think. After making a list, my mind is free, because I’ve structured all of my thoughts, or at least some of them, which then allows me to make another list.
A list structures the noise with hardly any effort. It helps me think about what’s next. Whatever’s on your mind should easily fit inside of a list, or a variety of lists. This will uncover new ideas, solutions to problems, or peace for regaining clarity.
Today is the last day of my vacation. Tomorrow work begins again.
My work schedule this week:
I was off from work for 10 days. It doesn’t feel like it, because my schedule was so busy, without me even doing anything that was considered an actual vacation.
My simple vacation:
Yesterday, after discussing the remaining weeks of our small groups, we decided to make the rest of the public, mainly because most are things we’d have to plan ahead for anyway.
No Tellin’ Schedule:
Those are the last four weeks of a 12-week semester of small groups. It flew by. It always does. So far, I’ve to lead five different small groups.
My Small Group List:
Each one of these has taught me something new about leading, and I’m excited to lead much more.
Here’s the speech I gave at my cousin’s wedding:
I want to thank you. I always want to thank you. Growing up, you taught me everything: how to be a better brother to your sisters, a better son to your mom, a better basketball player, and as my manager, you taught me how to be a better employee. I’ve looked up to you for what feels like my entire life. I wanted to be like you, which helped me become a better person in every way. So it’s only fitting that you’re getting married before me, to show me how to be a husband.
You taught me how to expect more from myself, and how to not give up. Those are two things needed in a marriage for it to thrive. Continue being the best version of yourself. Your family deserves it. And when the bad days arrive, as they always do, you’ll know what to do next: you won’t give up.
It’s an honor to be your best man.
Nash’s Note: We go through seasons of warfare, where it feels like the battle is absorbing us. Janea reveals her scars, and what it’s like to go through one of these seasons, in this powerful guest post. I appreciate her vulnerability.
How do you fight your battle when the enemy tries to steal your lunch? Sometimes life has a way of knocking you off your feet. It happens to all of us.
Matthew 5:45 “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends the rain on the just and on the unjust.” (ESV)
I’m coming out of the hardest season of my life. Tension, death, heartbreak, betrayal, loss, and trauma back-to-back, has a way of bringing you to your knees—even your back. It’s the kind of stuff that brings out your weakness, and it exposes what you really believe to be true about God.
During this hard season of my life, I have struggled with extreme anxiety, depression, fear, hopelessness, crazy thoughts…you name it. I was not okay with any of this! I knew that this wasn’t me, and I refused to buy into the lies of the enemy. These were symptoms of my pain, but the enemy was having a field day. I knew I was in the midst of Spiritual warfare.
If you are struggling with these things, don’t believe the lie that this is who you are. The enemy would love for you to stay in that bondage your whole life. God speaks the opposite over you, and He tells the truth.
Day after day, for the last 11 months, I would cry out to God in anguish, feeling like I wouldn’t make it through. I realized that, when you are down, the enemy definitely kicks you as hard as he can.
To be totally honest, sometimes I wouldn’t even hear God, but I would feel Him. And then other times, I would hear Him, but I wouldn’t feel Him. It came to a point where, I had to choose to remember how He had always come through for me before, and I’d just hold onto my mustard seed of faith that He was going to come through again. Sometimes, that’s enough.
God knows how we hurt. God understands. He knows loss and heartache better than any of us. Jesus knows how we hurt. Jesus understands. Jesus suffered more than any of us.
Luke 22:44 “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (ESV)
This passage has been super encouraging to me in this season. This might sound confusing and morbid to a lot of you, but I challenge you to really think about this.
Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (ESV)
Luke 22:44 states that even in Jesus’ darkest, weakest, hardest hour, ”….he prayed more earnestly.” Matthew 4 also shows us how Jesus handled warfare in the midst of a weak time. Jesus fasting 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness combated lies from satan with the Word of God. What an example for us.
There were some days where I was so mentally and physically tired of fighting in warfare, that I had nothing left to say. That’s okay too, because God fights our battles while we rest IN HIM, while we hold onto the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God), and while we meditate on the truth that WE ARE HIS and HE HAS US.
Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you, you have only to be silent.” (ESV)
So which is it, you might ask? Do we fight in prayer, or rest and let God fight for us? The answer is both. God doesn’t cause pain or torment, but sometimes, He lets us sit in the pain or go through a healing process to teach us things.
For me, one of the biggest things I have learned through this season, is that we fight from a place of rest, knowing that we are on the winning side and God is bigger. Sometimes we will pray, sometimes we will scream, and sometimes we will be utterly silent. But in whatever we do, we must know that WE ARE NOT DEFEATED. Despite how we may feel or despite how everything might look, GOD IS FOR US AND WE ARE HIS.
Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
I definitely don’t have all of this figured out, but I do know that God is good and He doesn’t leave us. He never has and He never will. So when the puny, ugly enemy tries to come and steal your lunch, you just STAND TALL, remember who you are as a Son or Daughter of Christ, tell him to SHUT UP, and fix your eyes on the truth, while Daddy God feeds him a knuckle sandwich.
Our prayers, our rest, our worship, and our battle cry: it’s all warfare, and that’s how I fight my battle.
It’s 12:32am. I’m in New Orleans for the night, and I just filled the activity rings on my Apple Watch (red: burn at least 800 calories, green: exercise for at least 30 minutes, blue: standing up and moving around for at least 1 minute during 12 different hours in the day). I had until midnight to reach 800 calories. I ended up burning over 200 in that last hour. Before then, I was stressing, thinking I would break my ongoing streak. There I was, in a neighborhood I’m not used to, but had nothing but the rings on my mind. I knew it would only take a burst of energy to complete another day of exercise, so I left the party I was with, and went for a run to accomplish this. It’s weird and rewarding at the same time. At about 11:56pm, I received the notification: Congratulations! You filled all of your rings, 19 days in a row.
It feels good to know how important my health is to me now, and I feel like this is just the beginning. I want to build good habits, and keep pushing myself to reach new goals. On that note, I realized tonight that I currently have four streaks going:
Welcome back to Nash Loves Basketball. Today we’ll be talking about how the NBA is starting up in just a few hours. Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Regular Season is (as I’m writing this) three hours away. Are you ready? Do you care? Let’s begin!
CP3 + Harden: of course this is my most exciting and most interesting thing about this year’s season, and of course I think they’ll shock everyone and be a contender. I wrote about it here.
Kyrie + Hayward: I like this new Celtic’s team. I liked last year’s Celtic’s team. Kyrie gets his own team again, and this time, it’s a good team. He’s solidified himself at the highest levels of the NBA, and now he’s out to prove that he can do it without LeBron.
Spurs Done?: The system is what I fear. It doesn’t matter what their roster looks like, because I’ve seen them destroy teams with just their bench, while the starters rested. Every year, we count them out, and every year, they’re a top three seed in the West. Will this always be the case? What year will they not be good? I never know how to judge their team going into a new season. On one hand, by judging their offseason, their injuries, and the competition that has strengthened around them, I have them not being a top four seed. But on the other hand, I see them going through the season, business as usual, and ending up right where they usually do. If you asked me to play my cards with this team, I’m folding. I wouldn’t bet for or against them right now.
Sixers Process: Trust the process is what they tell me. The potential is there (Embiid and Simmons are scary if healthy), but will it grow into more than just potential? That’s what I’ll be watching to see.
Pels Smell: I’m tired of Anthony Davis being treated as if he doesn’t matter. This guy is too good to be on a bad team (since we’re on the topic, I’m tired of bad teams). The Pelicans are wasting years, and by the time they figure it out, he’ll be gone. I’ll be watching to see if anything changes.
Dark Giannis: a team that nobody is talking about, but should be terrified of? The Bucks. Not because of the Bucks, but because of Giannis Antetokounmpo. If I could pick anyone in the NBA to start a team with today, it would be this guy. I’m anxious to see his growth this year.
Cavs Storylines: This team seems weird to me. They’ve gotten worse at the point position, especially with IT being out indefinitely. Derrick Rose is their starter until then, and if (when) he gets hurt, Jose Calderon is starting at that position. Wade and Bron will be fun to watch together again, but they’ll be coasting for most of the regular season. Even with the coasting, and even with the questions at the point guard position, It says a lot about the East that they’ll be the best team in that conference. This is also (most likely) LeBron’s Farewell Tour for the Cavs.
Thunder Trio: Westbrook, George, Hoodie Melo. There’s only one ball (bothers me when people say that), and these are three guys (pick one) that I’d be scared to go up against if they have the proper help. Teaming up with each other could be the help they’ve been needing.
Warriors Again: Everyone is betting Warriors, and I look at that, and I think, there’s always been a “Warriors” team (a team that nobody wants to face, and everyone assumes will pile through every-single-team). Take a look at the best team in the NBA for the last 10 years, and then think about how long that run has been. Eventually, that particular team fades away. For some reason though, everyone assumes the Warriors won’t, and they are a wall that will never move. I’m betting the other way. Yes, they could easily dominate the league and win the championship once again, but I’m craziest enough to think otherwise.
This is chapter three for Chris Paul. I’ve been following this guy his entire career, so there’s no question how excited I am about this upcoming season. I’ve had all summer to think about this new situation with the Rockets, and the more I think about it, and the more I watch the team play together, the more fascinated I am by what’s coming.
The storyline about the Rockets since the Paul trade is that both Paul and Harden need the ball in their hands to succeed, but there’s only one ball. That undermines the leadership of Paul, and discounts the years that Harden played next to Westbrook and Durant. It also doesn’t account for Mike D’Antoni’s innovative mindset when it comes to offense. (I also like that with all that offense, the entire mindset during the preseason was about defense.)
After watching what the Rockets did last year, and then watching how Paul blended in with that style during the preseason, it has me anxious for Tuesday night, when the season kicks off. I watched a team who always had a superstar point guard on the floor: it was more like watching a wrestling match with the two powerhouses, as they tagged each other in and out, while also sharing the court and playing off-ball for each other. It was only a small portion-size to observe, and it means absolutely nothing in the preseason, but it was still interesting to watch those dynamics in action. It seemed like whoever else was on the court next to Paul and Harden was a knockdown shooter, and threes were raining from all sides of the court.
As far the rotations, for the first time in Paul’s NBA career, I didn’t see a team with a traditional starting lineup and a second unit. Instead, I constantly saw guys rotating in and out of the lineup. Because the roster has so many players that can play a variety of positions, there was never the traditional point guard for point guard, center for center type of subs. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
Tuesday night, the opening night for the NBA regular season, they’ll be playing the Warriors. Will these rotations matter? Will Paul teaming up with Harden and company turn out to be a smart move? I think so (shooters everywhere, and a scorer like Harden, that can takeover a game by himself, who was a few votes away from winning MVP last year). Paul had nothing to lose by going here. All upsides.
And when this season is said and done, it’s the final year on Paul’s contract (same for LeBron and Wade), so whatever happens doesn’t remove the options for Paul going forward. Consider it a trial year, to stay or go, and Tuesday is the beginning of just that.
I want to talk to you about being productive. The tools I use matter to me (I use OmniFocus), but they’re just tools, and you can implement these same methods with whatever tools you have in front of you. It’s about taking all the little things, as well as the big things, and turning it into daily actions. (This method comes from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.)
It all starts here. With an inbox. A place where I have the freedom to throw all the good and bad ideas into a bucket, and not worry about what it all means. The brain dump is something I do throughout day when an idea arrives. I don’t worry about what to do with it, I just throw it into the inbox. Knowing that I have safe place to get everything off of my mind, until a later time, helps my mind stay free and ready for life, as well as new ideas.
Every idea and task added to my inbox most likely has an end-goal, meaning what does finished look like for this item? What are the handful of next-actions needed? Over the years, I’ve learned that thinking through projects is often as important as completing the task itself. It creates clarity.
An example project would be:
Clean out closet:
Each one of these items move the project forward, until having that one last item that completes the entire project. It’s important to write out even the smallest next-action, because each next-action has a different context.
Every next-action has a context. A context is not the task, but the location or item needed to complete the task. What this ultimately means is, you may have tasks in a variety of projects that require calling someone, and instead of bouncing around, attempting to complete a dozen task inside of one project, you would simply focus on the “Calls” context, moving several projects forward quickly. When getting in your car, you would move projects forward by focusing solely on the items that have the context Errand. The momentum of already being on the road, or already making calls, helps keep things mindless and easy to finish.
The review is a weekly (or as often as you can or need to) meeting with yourself, as you go through each item and project, making sure they all have an end-goal, and you know what finished looks like. More often than not, finished doesn’t look the same as it did a week ago. Life happens, and it’s important to constantly know what you’re working towards. This entire system falls apart if you don’t set time aside to look over what you’ve added, make sure your inbox is empty, make sure nothing slipped through the cracks of this system, and to realign your mind with the tasks at hand.
Rinse and repeat. This isn’t something you do once. I’ve been practicing GTD for almost a decade now. Enjoy the process, and even if you never perfect it, it has to be better than doing nothing. Even when I’m struggling, I know that my attempts mean more than wishful thinking.
I hope this helps get some of your projects started, and ultimately free your mind for new things.
I recently bought flowers for my apartment. I never thought I’d say that. Three little succulent plants, sitting on my window seal. It was only a few months ago when I moved into this small apartment, and since arriving, I’ve been very intentional about making this place minimal with character. The size, layout, style, and even location, represent me more than any place I’ve ever lived.
I’ve been enjoying my new morning routine: wake up at 5, turn on Hillsong Radio (Pandora), get dressed, and then go for a run through the city. I then get home, shower, and walk to the local cafe to eat breakfast and drink coffee with a friend. Afterwards, I walk home in silence, enjoying the ambience of the morning. This is my time to be thankful for the big and small things in my life. Waking up early, instead of getting more sleep, allows me to be proactive with the start of my day. Watching the sunrise, getting a good exercise and breakfast, and completing all of this before 8am, has changed my perspective on how beautiful life can consistently be.
It’s been almost a year now since I went part-time at my job, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Now, I work four days straight, and then I’m off Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of every week. Because of this, my quality of life has increased, and my energy towards more projects have significantly gone up. I feel like I finally have the proper balance for working, creating, personal life, and family time. I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore. I’m thankful that I have the right amount of time to be a better employee, writer, friend, son, and brother. This is definitely the best version of myself.
Nash’s Note: We often look ahead of the current season, as we anticipate the next. We miss out on the gifts of today, so we can prepare for something that might never come tomorrow. Here’s Chelsea’s guest post, where she recognizes the differences between the two.
Elisabeth Elliot once said:
Single life may be only a stage of a life’s journey, but even a stage is a gift. God may replace it with another gift, but the receiver accepts His gifts with thanksgiving. This gift for this day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived-not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.
A couple years back, I played one of those secret santa games during the Holidays with a group of people. Some of them I knew personally, some I didn’t know all too well. When it came time for us to hand off our gifts, I realized my name had been chosen by someone I did not know personally. I thought to myself, surely it will be fine. As long as she sticks to my paper of interests, she can’t mess this up.
Prior to opening the gift, I was excited to see what she would have chosen for me. When I saw what laid in the bag beneath a mountain of tissue paper, I grimaced and then quickly smiled reassuringly that I was happy with the gift, when I indeed was not. Anyone else would have loved the gift: it was in style and everyone wanted thesm. Everyone except me. I wasn’t big into technology or the latest gadgets, so colorful water speakers weren’t on the top of my list. I went literally months without even taking them out of the box, and eventually, I sold them at a garage sale for really cheap to a teenage girl who begged her mother for them.
When I think about my single season in life, I reflect on this moment. God chose my name and wanted to give me a good gift. He wrapped it with opportunities to travel, mission trips, guiding youth, teaching children, speaking to women, and writing books. But when I look at it, I frown angry that He wouldn’t have gifted me something better. Doesn’t He know that I want a family someday, and that by thirty five, women have more risks during pregnancy? Doesn’t He know that I want to be married and impacting the world with my future husband? Doesn’t He know me at all?
Of course He does. He not only has your paper of interests, but He helped you write it. He sat with you going, “Oh, don’t forget, He has to love sports, fishing, or anything remotely manly.” In fact, He knows you better than you do, so when He gifts us with something, He’s not only thinking of what we would like, or want, but He considers what we need. God doesn’t give awful gifts. It’s not in His nature. So when we consider our single season as a terrible time, we literally are saying to God, ‘you could have done better for me. You could have stuck to the paper and given me exactly what I want. Then I would have been happy.’
But we wouldn’t be. Happiness isn’t defined by our season, or our accumulation of things. It’s defined by our identity, by who we are, and how we choose to perceive life. If you wake up saying ‘oh, I would have been happier to sleep ten more minutes,’ you’ve already treated your gift like it was trash. You awoke, the sun is shining, the day is at your fingertips, and you have mass amounts of opportunities before you. This alone (life, living, breathing, being) is a gift.
The same can be said about singleness or marriage. If you wake up every day trying to skip over the chapter you’re in, you’ve already chosen to hate where you are. But if you were to look at your season as a time to steward a gift God gave you, then you would cherish every profound piece of wisdom gained during the journey. You don’t have to like the gift you’ve been given today, you don’t even have to enjoy it, but accepting it and embracing it will take you steps closer to future gifts to come.
It is in this season that we learn who we are, what we are passionate about, and how to fulfill our purpose. It is in this season alone that we are capable of learning what only this season needs to teach us. Whether this season is preparing us for another gift in the future, or has been graciously given to us for the rest of our lives, it is a gift. We can choose to live it, or grieve it, but either way, we cannot skip it. We are responsible for today. God still owns tomorrow.
I didn’t realize how much I did in September until I sat down to write this monthly recap. I’m surprised, proud, and excited about how much could be accomplished in a single month. Thanks to these recaps, I’m able to recognize this.
All this noise and nothing to show for it. It’s easy to use your voice without ever executing anything. Being loud isn’t the same as being successful. Instead, be someone who’s known for their efforts and results. Don’t talk about helping someone, just help them. Don’t tell us what you’ll accomplish, just do it. Let the results speak louder than your voice ever could.
Every social network has it, but I don’t think people use it enough. My Instagram has zero followers. My Facebook feed only has a handful of friends. My Twitter feed only shows me a select group of people and websites that I want news and information from.
My point is this: YOU can decide what you let you into your life, and what you let into your life can often define who you are. If you like pictures and gifs of cats, you can have your entire news feed show cats all day, every day. If you like cooking videos, that’s ALL you have to see. And if you ever see something you don’t like, guess what? UNFOLLOW BUTTON. You don’t have to reply back to that person letting them know that you don’t like it. You simply press that little magical button that erases any existence of something you don’t like.
Let’s continue: if you like Popeyes, and Dominos, and 10 other food places, and they’re that important to you, you literally can ONLY see that ALL day.
And my main point is this: you have to ask yourself, do you like drama, do you like feeding into the world’s problems, and do you enjoy being upset? If the answer is yes to any of those, then never use the unfollow button. It’ll pour into your life daily.
If you’ve accepted friend requests for a decade now, and if you’ve liked a couple of Public Pages, then there’s noise all around you. And you’ve yet to do anything about it.
Imagine every post you see online, but instead, it’s someone knocking at your door and handing you that information. Maybe it takes that analogy to put it into perspective. You can choose who knocks at your door. You can choose what information reaches your heart. Good or bad. It’s totally up to you.
This is a long rant, but it’s important for me to say, because I see what social networks do to some of you. There’s hate, and anger, and drama, and noise. But you can turn it down. It doesn’t have to be that way. Whatever you enjoy, fill your life with that. Don’t be upset with someone when they post something you don’t like. Just unfollow them, and without ever telling them anything about it, wish them well.
That’s a life hack that will enhance your day in every way.
I wrote this in my email and then Facebook this morning:
I’ve been awake since 3am. I started with coffee and podcasts, and then I began making my bed and washing clothes. I then posted my daily Loop song. And then I went for a run. It was 2.5 miles, which turns out to be the exact distance to my job and back. I’ll use that 2.5 number as a goal to win every morning. I can’t let the previous day beat me in time.
How are you winning your day? What are some good morning habits that I should pick up?
Winning the day truly feels possible when you wake up early enough. Feels impossible to be beat by anything when you do this. Some days are harder to wake up than others, but I’m learning how to overcome this. As soon as I become conscious, I get up. If I get up right away, I’m excited about my coffee, releasing a song, and making my bed. Those three things keep me focused. Oh, and putting my shoes on. I feel like once your shoes are on, the day has started. No turning back (unless you take them off and jump back in bed).
It started with this incredible Momentous Trailer.
I’ve played this trailer twenty times already. I had to do some digging, though, to figure out who actually sings the song in the background. Turns out it’s Ekali.
This song is pure motivation.
I just ordered the new cellular Apple Watch. For my lifestyle, this is a game changer. For over two years now, my Apple Watch has been the first thing I grab and put on as soon as I wake up.
For health: tracking movement and monitoring heart rate.
For communication: messages and calls.
For time management: calendar and todo lists.
A combination of being connected while still being focused on the environment around me, changes the way I think about technology. I want all of this information constantly, but I want it to compliment my day, not interrupt it. That’s what the Apple Watch does. I always keep it silent, so it taps me on the wrist with information, and I respond to that tap whenever I’m ready.
With a cellular Apple Watch, I could go to the gym, or go for a walk around the city, or run errands around town, without the need to bring my phone with me. Just the Watch and my AirPods.
Phone calls and Apple Music will go directly to my ear, without me ever having to reach for a phone.
Siri will always be a command away (and because of the W3 chip inside of this new Watch, Siri actually speaks out loud again).
Maps and directions would all happen from my wrist.
More than anything, though, the chains of technology are now broken off. I don’t have to hold a gadget to get an incredible amount of information, it’s now always a glance away.