It’s Gonna Be A Great Day!!

A few weeks back I shared with you about how poorly the start to my day had become. How a lack of forgiveness had slowly spread to the point where anger, resentment and anxiety had filled my first few thoughts each morning. This vicious beginning immediately put me on a pathway towards unhappiness and a generally bad attitude.

I was not fun to be around, I was constantly negative, I was judgmental in my heart and head and I wasn’t productive. Not a good place to be.

The more I dove into what was wrong the more I realized that a lack of forgiveness was blocking me from living in freedom. This realization helped to turn the tide for me.  (read more about this here)

As I began to put some recognition around this thought, I began to see the importance of starting my day off with an overload of positivity, vision and truth.

Instead of dwelling in the depressed state of my mind. I had to begin putting words of victory into the atmosphere that would propel me towards the future I desired.

So, I started with something basic. I began telling myself each morning, as soon as my mind would allow, that today was gonna be a great day.

I’d say it over and over and over again, most of the time during my morning shower. I’ve got this little window in my shower (yes I know that’s weird and no, people can’t see into it) and I would stare out that little window and repeat the saying over and over again.

It’s gonna be a great day. It’s gonna be a great day. It’s gonna be a great day.

That worked for a bit, but I needed more. So I thought to myself, ok, maybe I should start telling others about the great day I was HOPING to have.

So I did.

And that’s when I begin posting each morning on Facebook, “It’s gonna be a great day!!”

This worked really well. For a while. I loved the way I felt sharing with others and the feedback I experienced. Plus, I got tons of likes, which always feels good, right!?!

But I was still struggling by lunch time to stay positive.

And that’s when it hit me.

  • If I desired to live a more peace-filled life, I had to begin casting a powerful vision of grace and peace over my day.
  • If I desired to live a more forgiving life, I had to begin forgive people – OUT LOUD – each morning.
  • If I desired to push through fear and overcome things that had held me back, I had to begin speaking faith, courage and confidence over myself each morning to get there.

The bible says this in Romans 12:2…

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

My sinful mind MUST be transformed. I need a fresh touch from God first thing in the morning or there’s no telling where I’ll go.

So, I sat down one day and wrote out exactly who I wanted to be, what I wanted to accomplish and how I was going to do it.

It’s called my Morning Mandate and here it is…

Lance’s Morning Mandate

Today is gonna be a great day! 

Today God has given me EVERYTING I need, to be Exactly What HE wants ME to BE

Today I will LOVE Ally with everything in me, always putting her first & prioritizing our relationship and our future above all.

Today I will bring positivity, hope and encouragement to everyone I encounter. People will walk away from our time together, changed, inspired and motivated to chase their dreams.

Today, when I struggle and I know that I will, I will persevere.  When I can’t seem to forgive someone, who has wronged me, I will remind myself of how much Jesus has forgiven me.  

When I begin to think negatively I will look up and be reminded that God has placed me in this moment, during this specific time in history to make a difference! To change the WORLD! Any time wasted on negativity keeps me from fulfilling the mission he has given me.

Today when I feel all alone and that there is no one going through what I am going through, I will force myself to realize that there is NOTHING, not ANYTHING that I can experience on this earth that my Savior has not already experienced.

Today I am a winner. Today I am a fighter. Today I will outwork my competition.

No challenge, No change!

Today I will overcome all my challenges, I will step into those moments that scare me, I will dream so big that only God can receive the glory for my accomplishments.

Today I will push myself in all areas of life. I will make great decisions because God has given me wisdom. I am financially prudent, I am an incredible vision caster and I am child of the Most High God. Specifically created to make an impact for the kingdom.

Today is gonna be a great day!

Now, every morning I wake up, post on FB, “It’s gonna be a great day”, get in the shower and read my morning mandate OUT LOUD!

I have it lamented, taped to my wall (along with my word of the year) so it stares back at me like a prize fighter. I know that if I don’t read it, believe it and claim over my life, I’ll get knocked out every day!

My life is lived one day at a time and my Morning Mandate enables me to start each day with a positive step towards freedom.

I challenge YOU to write a morning mandate yourself today. Feel free to use mine as an outline or use these questions below to help you get started.

Once you get it done email it to me, I loved to read it! (Lance@LanceLang.com)

I pray this exercise and new daily habit helps to propel you to living in the land of freedom each day!

With Hope,

-Lance

 

Questions to ask, to help you write your Morning Mandate:

  • What do I really want to be today?
  • What does the best version of me look like?
  • How do I need God’s help to get there?
  • What areas do I struggle in and what does scripture say about that?
  • How can I make today absolutely awesome?
  • What’s the best thing that could happen today?

He Sent Us A Bridge

I need to get honest.

For what seemed like forever, each morning I woke up pissed off.

My first thoughts went straight to specific people who had wronged me. And for whatever reason, during this bitter season of my life, the list just kept growing.

Morning after morning, my first thoughts would be of the person who let me down repeatedly. The gossiper who just couldn’t keep my name out of his mouth. The person who I trusted was honorable, but turned out not to be.

Every day for a LONG time these types of people consumed my first thoughts of the day.

I was angry, on the brink of building some hefty resentments and trapped in the land of un-forgiveness! This emotional state was destroying me and stifling any positive relationships I had in my life. And you know what? I was right where the enemy wanted me. Stuck living in the land of un-forgiveness. Bitter. Angry. Resentful.

Let me just be blunt with you. There is never any fruit produced when you live in the land of un-forgiveness. You can’t lead well. You can’t “husband” well. You can’t parent well. 

A lack of forgiveness is like a root that grows into each area of your life, suffocating all it touches. It’s like a poison that you don’t even realize you’ve drank until it’s too late.

Lucky for me (and lucky for you if you choose to apply this), I got a wake-up call. It came in the form of a random speaker at a church where I was telling my story. Funny how that works huh?! Before I spoke, this gentleman came on-stage to share a bit about his story. He spoke about how his father cheated on his mom while they were growing up, how his dad came out as a homosexual when he was in high school and then to top it off disappeared from his life for the past 10 years.

He went on to describe how long he lived in the land of un-forgiveness and where it took him. Not surprisingly he turned to substances and his life suffered for years. In describing his turnaround he said something I’ll never forget. He said, “I finally had to realize that if I wanted a life of FREEDOM I would have to live a life of forgiveness.”

This simple statement shook me and changed me. In a moment’s notice, I realized what I had allowed to happen and just how far away from God’s purpose it had taken me.

Maybe today, this is the wake-up call you needed. Maybe in this moment you realize how you’ve been waking up angry, frustrated and generally un-grateful. Maybe you too are living in the land of un-forgiveness.

If so, may I be the voice today that helps to stir in your heart a longing to live free again?

Today, join me, take a step towards freedom and forgive those who have wronged you.  

Forgiveness is the essence of a life of freedom.

And you know what? God created us to live free! But when sin entered the world, it created the land of un-forgiveness and surrounded it with deep valleys filled with emotions like anger, rage, resentment, bitterness and shame.

Thankfully God so loved us and so longed for us to live free again He sent us bridge. A bridge back to the land of freedom. And that bridge is Jesus.

We now have the ability to walk back to the land of freedom!

Jesus took our sin on his skin, SO THAT we could live free.

His forgiveness of YOU sets you free, but YOUR forgiveness of others allows you to STAY free.

I hope I never return to that nasty land of un-forgiveness. I know I am always just a few moments of weakness away. That’s why I do what I do each morning to help me stay in the land of FREEDOM.

You wanna know what it is? Check back in next week.

Forgive each other friends. It’s the best way to live.

With Hope,

-Lance

Comments: 1 Tagged with:

The Rhythm of Recovery

If you took a moment to step back and think hard about the past seasons of your life, I bet you’d see a common trend. You’d probably notice what I’ve noticed about each season of my life. In either good times or bad times each season had a unique rhythm.   

When I was deep in my addiction, my rhythm looked like this.

Get up, get sick, use all morning, chase drugs all afternoon, use all night. Repeat.

Get up, get sick, use all morning, chase drugs all afternoon, use all night. Repeat.

This rhythm was as tight as the Thunder drummers outside Chesapeake arena before a playoff game. It was perfectly in sync. It was also devastating to my life and anyone that loved me. But this rhythm didn’t start out like a Tommy Lee drum solo. No! It started with a few random “beats” here and there… a handful of small choices

  • Take a pill here and there, lie to a few people, cover my tracks, manipulate a friend or family member, call in sick to work, not show up to committed events, burn some bridges, take more pills, try this, try that.

These “beats” were the building blocks to the rhythm that ruined my life.

Thank GOD I was rescued from this rhythm on April 6th 2011! It was on this day that my rhythm was wrecked. And you can’t find a new rhythm until the old one is interrupted.

Since that day, I’ve found a new rhythm. The rhythm of recovery. This rhythm has brought about incredible change and breakthroughs in my life. But unfortunatly over the past few months I’ve allowed outside fears, threats and distractions to interrupt my new found rhythm.

I know that I am not alone in this confession. I know many of you reading this would agree that life has interrupted your rhythm and caused you to get off beat. The sad thing is, it only takes a few small choices to lose the steady positive tempo our lives need to thrive.

Today, I am challenging myself and all my readers to find a new rhythm or to re-establish a past positive rhythm. Our lives desperately need a confident cadence to walk to. We need a tempo to dance to, a routine to follow and regular accountability to help guide us through the ups and downs of life.

For me, re-establishing a rhythm of recovery means my life can have meaning again. Because when I’m out of rhythm, I’m focused entirely on myself and that’s not healthy. God doesn’t work through selfish people. God works through people who are surrendered completely to His will, His ways & His rhythms.

Today, my prayer is that his post would wreck the negative rhythms in your life and challenge you to begin a new beat. I pray you start a fresh rhythm and that this rhythm brings about a mighty breakthrough in your life.

Application:

What do you need to do to start a new rhythm in your life? What do you need to stop? Start? Who can you share this with to ensure accountability in your life?

2 Things That Will Get You Drunk

I’ve had the privilege of working with tons of recovering addicts over the past 5 years. Lots of them are doing well today, some of them are still trying to figure it out, and many of them never made it past the first few months.

Why? Well, there are lots of contributing factors, but in my experience there are a couple glaringly obvious things that will get you drunk faster than you can say Cooter Brown.

Check them out…

1. Relationships

There’s an unwritten rule of recovery that says you’re NOT allowed to be in relationships within the first year. I swear, if people would just follow this one rule, the relapse rate would be cut in half in a matter of months. But most addicts refuse to follow this. They are stubborn and don’t like to be told what to do. Real big surprise, huh?

The reason why this is stressed so strongly in most treatment facilities and certainly in the HIA Mentoring Homes, is because addicts early on are just not ready emotionally to be in a relationship. For the first time in years, they are just beginning to feel their own feelings, which means they are in NO position to take on someone else’s.

On top of that, relationships takes energy. Energy we early addicts don’t have. For the first year of our recovery, our full energy should be focused on working OUR program and growing our connection spiritually.

As hard as this is for some of you to hear, early sobriety should be a very self-centered program. There will come a time to focus on others, a time to make amends and start working on finding healthy relationships. But the first year of your sobriety is not that time. This is the time to just focus on you.

Keep your eyes on the prizes, your hands off other people, and you’ve got a good chance at this…

2. Pride

Pride = Relapse

every. single. time.

If you have a big dose of pride, you probably have a very small amount of surrender. I would even go as far as saying the opposite of recovery is not relapse, but pride. Because true recovery starts and ends with humility. Every basic tenant of recovery requires a large dose of humility to accomplish. If you lack humility, then you have no shot.

Pride will keep you from going to sober living.

Pride will keep you from going to meetings.

Pride will keep you from sharing in meetings.

Pride will tell you it’s ok to have a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Pride will tell you that no higher power can ever change you.

Pride will convince you that you don’t need a sponsor.

Pride will whisper in your ear that no one ever needs to know your secrets.

Pride will tell you that however many days you have accumulated, you’ve done it on your own.

Pride is a killer.

If you want to stay clean, start by staying humble.

There is one relationship you can have in early sobriety and it will also help you take care of that pride issue. That relationship is with God. What I hope you find in that relationship is a friend that will stick by your side forever. Someone who will listen to you, love you, and fight for you while you try to change your life.

I use this prayer every morning to help remind me that I need God and that I am not him.

God, I offer myself to Thee. To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! Amen

In summary, stay away from relationships and stay close to God. You do those 2 things, good chance that bottle never hits your lips.

Get OFF the Roller Coaster!

You know what I can’t do anymore? Ride roller coasters. They make me sick. I get dizzy, my head hurts and my entire day is ruined. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because my body has changed or what. But one thing is for sure, I don’t ride them anymore. I learned that I don’t like the way they make me feel or how they impact my life. So I quit.

Being in a relationship with an addict, is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. A rollercoaster of emotion, that you ride all day – every day.

They take us up and then they take us down. They take us side to side and for loops. And then just when you think the ride is over and it’s time to get off, they hit the reverse button and you do it all again, but this time backwards!

Loving an addict can be nauseating! Up and down, side to side, head over heels craziness can really suck the life right out of you.

I’m sure as many of you moms and dads read this your heads are nodding as fast as the Dwight Schrute bobblehead doll from The Office. You fully admit this is the way it is, yet for so many of us we can seem to avoid taking this ride.

We tell ourselves, we won’t do it any longer. We say NO MORE! I’m not getting back on that ride. I’m tired of being dizzy, exhausted, depressed and sick to my stomach! Yet so often we find ourselves back in line handing our ticket over to the carney and watching as he lowers the bar onto our laps and quietly whispers, “Hold on, this may hurt a little.”

Learning to stop getting on this ride is a HUGE step in the recovery process for all parents and spouses of addicts. Your ability to stop riding the emotional rollercoaster that their addiction produces is the first step towards finding your peace again. It also just may be the shove that finally pushes your addict to truly see their need to ask for help.

You see, each time you get back on that roller coaster with them. Submitting to their requests for money, buying into their grandiose stories of victimization or allowing them back into your home. You’re showing them that no matter how many loop to loops their rollercoaster has on it, you’re not getting off. You’re always gonna be there to hold the barf bag…

It’s time to get off and stay off.

It’s time to show them what a firm boundary looks like.

It’s time to start taking care of yourself and let them deal with the consequences of their actions.

I know it’s easier said than done. I get it. And if that’s the way you feel, then this week just start small. When he or she tries to pull you into their emotional craziness. Just take a deep breathe and say no.

No, I can’t help you today.

No, I can’t give you any more money.

No, I’m done bailing you out.

No, I will not let you back into my home.

No, I will not get back on this roller coaster with you.

When you stop taking your seat on their roller coaster of life, you start shutting down all the options that have supported their addiction. The longer and more effectively you can do this, the closer your addict gets to that pivotal point in their life when recovery becomes the best option.

For more help on learning how to get off the proverbial roller coaster that is loving an addict, pick up my book: Finding Hope, a Field Guide for Families Affected By Addiction.

Pain = Purpose

“Saddle up your horses; we’ve got a trail to blaze. Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace.”

These are the epic opening lyrics to the corny Steven Curtis Chapman song entitled “The Great Adventure.” It’s cheesy and full of over-the-top backup vocals, but the lyrics still ring true – regardless of the hairstyle of lead singer.

The song says this:

Come on, get ready for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for

Saddle up your horses; we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other – this is The Great Adventure

This is so true. I love it! “A life like no other.” Doesn’t that sound good? It does to me. Today I feel like I live a Great Adventure-style life. A life so far past anything I could have ever dreamed I could live. And you know what? It has nothing to do with money, status or success and everything to do with fully accepting my purpose and my pain.

This is the life I believe we are all called to live! When we fully embrace grace and fully release our guilt, then we’re embarking on a great adventure that will take us to places we only dreamed we could experience. It will place us perfectly in the path of a stranger who needs just what we can offer. It will give us talents we can use so effortlessly people will think we’re part alien. When you find yourself in the middle of God’s great adventure of grace, you’ll feel like you’re dreaming a dream so pure and perfect it could only come from a perfect Creator.

The adventure of grace is where we belong. It fits around us like a perfectly stitched set of footie pajamas. You slide into it and life just seems to make sense around you. Ego and pride seem meaningless, worry and doubt seem like wastes of time, and the solitude you used to despise becomes a welcome home. When you step into the grace of Jesus Christ, the world begins to make a lot more sense. Your life begins to make more sense; your past begins to make more sense.

Your pain will begin to make more sense.

Yes. I said pain.

How can a great life – one that makes perfect sense, that is filled with meaningful and significant relationships, that basically fits like a glove – have anything to do with pain?

For starters, pain is a universal affliction no human is privileged enough to escape. Every person who has taken even a brief tour on this planet has experienced pain at some point, and until we pass away, we will continue to experience it. We cannot escape pain. We can’t run from it, pay it off, ignore it, move away from it, yell at it until it cowers in submission, shop it away, drink it away, snort it away, eat it away, or push it away. Pain hits all of us. For most people, it hits us hard, it hits us early, and it keeps on hitting.

But it doesn’t have to keep you bound forever. Pain can be made purposeful. Pain can be the fuel that God uses to initiate the rescuing of your lost dreams.

Over the past several years, as I’ve journeyed through my own personal battle with pain and walked alongside hundreds of others, I’ve seen a theme in those who find a way to overcome and those who don’t. For the latter, it sucks. I hate it. I can’t stand to see someone hurting and feel useless. I want to put my hands on their shoulders and just scream, It doesn’t have to be this way! There is hope! You can have your dreams back!

But for the former, the pathway to peace is a beautiful journey that starts with a powerful word that changes everything. Hope. Hope gives you the courage to claim your pain, stare your past in the eyes and refuse to allow it to determine your destiny any longer. When you put your Hope in Jesus you begin to realize that there is nothing you can’t overcome and no past mistake that He won’t use to fuel your future. God will use your past pain to become your perfect purpose.

Addiction can’t stop you

Depression won’t slow you down

Anger begins to slip away

Hurt becomes forgiveness

Resentments bring new opportunity for growth

Hurts fuel your progress

Pain becomes purpose

Pain is a common ailment for humans. But we don’t have to let it steal our dreams and God given purpose any more. Claim your pain for what it is: experience. Claim your strength in the one who will never fail: Jesus. And let the new found HOPE in your life begin to change everything!

—-

This is an excerpt from my second book, Hope Changes Everything. To read more on pain, dreams and the purpose God has for your life pick up the book here…

I Almost Relapsed on the 4th of July

“I Will Not Use, No Matter What!”

I wrote that phrase in my lecture notebook during my stay at Rob’s Ranch, and I still remember the exact moment I wrote it. A feeling of strength came over me as I made a personal mandate that I was done with my old way of living.

This statement became my mandate and it has pulled me out of many traps the past few years; but one such occasion stands out.

Like an idiot, I took off by myself (not something I would suggest early in recovery) on a camping trip to Roman Nose State Park near Yukon, Oklahoma. I was looking forward to this trip—just me and Mother Nature for an entire week. I was convinced I would spend the time sitting outside my RV, writing, reading books, and enjoying the scenery, undisturbed for days.

It was gonna be good, the only problem was I forgot what weekend it was. I was so focused on packing the right stuff, getting out there, and getting set up that I totally forgot the date.

It was 4th of July weekend . The year, 2012.

Now, I am not a complete idiot. I had realized it was a holiday week, I just didn’t realize everyone would stay at the state park the entire weekend! Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by thirty other RVs full of people partying and partying hard.

So there I was, all alone, stuck in between what sounded like some pretty quality parties. I had no accountability (first mistake) and nowhere I needed to be for days. I have to admit I had some pretty troubling thoughts that first night. But each time my mind wandered into a thought like No one will ever know or You can have a few beers, what’s it gonna hurt? something would click inside my head and I would immediately begin to speak my mandate quietly to myself.

That weekend, saying “I Will Not Use, No Matter What!” as my mandate statement became a habit that has stuck with me every day since. I made it through that camping trip and came home stronger than ever in my sobriety. While I should never have put myself in that situation in the first place, I view that time as a turning point in my recovery. It was one of the most tempting times I had experienced, and I came out of it victorious.

I knew I could do it.

So what is your mandate? Have you ever sat down and thought about it? Do you have a statement you live by, something that drives you forward or keeps you on track? Use whatever analogy you would like for your mandate.

Call it your rudder, your barometer, your compass, your GPS—whatever you want. Just get one that means something to you and convicts your heart to act. That is the most important facet of a moving mandate. It must have a passion behind it that will stir you to action.

Keys to a good mandate statement:

  • Keep It Short. A mandate statement should be between five and ten words max; a phrase you can memorize within a few minutes. You want it to be something your brain will immediately turn to at a moment’s notice in the heat of battle.
  • Keep It Specific. Make your personal mandate attributable to your life experience, addiction, or struggle. It should be a command that will instantly speak to you while pointing to your future.
  • Keep It Singular. A mandate should have meaning behind it that draws you to a certain time in your life or particular emotion you’ve experienced, acting as a verbal reminder of who you once were and what would happen if you made the wrong choice. It should be uniquely singular to you.

If you have a mandate statement let us know by leaving it in the comments section. If not, write one up now.  I’d love to know what drives you to stay clean, make the right choices, or just stay on track every day.

This is an excerpt from my first book, Hope is Alive. It’s part autobiographical and part practical advice on how to stay sober in the modern world. You can pick it up here.

5 Years

Today I celebrate 5 years of living clean. Wow. That’s crazy to even say. It still doesn’t’ even seem to be real. This sober life.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asking myself this question a lot…”what do I want people to know about the past 5 years of my life.” It’s a tough question. It’s a loaded question. It’s got answers so long it could fill a book.

Each time I think about it tears begin to stream down my face. I’ve been so blessed. My life has not only been saved, but it’s been remade.

God has taken the most ugly aspects of my life and my choices and he’s turned them into an exquisite masterpiece of restoration.

I feel like the luckiest man alive. I’m marrying my best friend, my true partner, a woman I will never deserve. Someone who oozes care, compassion and creativity– things I lack desperately. She is my perfect match and I’m blown away she said yes.

I lead an organization that is so far out in front of my abilities it’s comical. God has taken my selfish little dream of living with other sober dudes and created a movement with unfathomable impact and potential.

I have two of the kindest, forgiving and understanding children on the planet. Kids who have put up with their daddy sharing his crazy story all over kingdom come. But not just put up with it, but supported it!

I have two parents who double as my biggest cheerleader and my agent. I’m nothing without them. They stood just as proudly with me on day 1 as I kicked and screamed my way into detox as they have each and every time I’ve stood to tell my redemption story. They haven’t ever said slow down, please don’t say that, don’t go there, why are you doing this? No, they’ve just encouraged and supported me with everything they have.

But back to that question….”what do I want people to know about the past 5 years of my life?”

I think this is it.

I want people to know these 3 things. HOPE is real, change is possible and God is love.

Hope is Real

The past five years almost everything I’ve hoped for has come true. The dreams and visions God planted inside of me, He watered and brought to life. What was only a small “hope” has now become a thriving organization helping hundreds of people every day. Hope, when birthed inside the will of God is the most powerful thing on this planet. It’s these hopes that God uses to pull us to more fulfilled and free lives. It’s these hopes that God uses to provide for the joys of our hearts.

Hope has pushed me to be a better man. It’s made it possible for me to live fully known, because I now believed I am fully alive. Hope does that.

Change is Possible

If you saw a movie trailer style overview of the last 5 years of my addiction you’d be sick to your stomach. I was thief. I was jerk. I hid out in my home, with no friends, no life, no plans other than intoxication on repeat. I was truly pathetic and sad. But today I have a purpose. I am making something of my life. I am changed in so many ways. I get up early. I take care of my responsibilities. I love life. I have friends. I have meaning. I care for others. I forgive. My words have meaning. I’m honest. I work hard. I am changed. It’s possible.

You can change. The one you love can change. Your son, your daughter, your spouse. They can change. If I could do it, anyone can.

God is Love

God so loved me that He gave me a way out. He loved me enough to let me hit the bottom. He loved me enough to watch me suffer, cry, scream in agony, fall deeply into depression and slip slowly into isolation. He loved me enough to put up with my baseless ego and pride. He loved me back to health in detox, softly whispering to my soul, subtly reminding me that He was there. He walked with me down the trails and to the cross that sat in the fields of Robs Ranch.  He heard me as I cried out for forgiveness and He promised to give me a hope and a future.

God loved me through the blackest of sin and the darkest of days. He didn’t leave, he didn’t judge, he loved. And when I got back on my feet, vowing to do better, but failed again, He loved me still.

Do you know God loves you? Really really loves you?

Hope is real, change is possible and God is love. This is what I’ve learned in the past five years.

A big thanks to everyone who came along for the journey.

Here’s to another 5..

Comments: 4 Tagged with:

S.T.O.P the Negative Mix Tapes

Do you remember making Mix-Tapes for your girlfriend or boyfriend back in the day? I sure do. I was a mix-taping machine. Now, I will make this disclaimer, my mixtapes were actually mix-Cd’s, but I still did it and did it A-LOT! I would throw down some Boyz 2 Men, some Nsync, a little Savage Garden (Don’t judge me) and then a little DC Talk just to show them I had some Jesus Freak in me.

Whether you mixed cassettes, CD’s or now make Spotify playlists for your crush—the goal was to fill the head of that special someone with positive vibes to help remind them of who you were and the way you felt about them.

Today many of you are still making mixtapes and you don’t even know it. Not mixtapes filled with your fav R&B jam, but negative mixtapes from the pain of your past. Yep, for many of us songs like these fill our heads all day long….

             “I’m not good enough”

                “I ruined everything with that decision”

                “Everyone is talking about me”

                “I’m such a loser”

                “I hate the way I look”

                “They seem to have more than I do”

                “Why can’t my life be like theirs?”

Or my personal favorite… “oops, Gods mad at me… again”

These negative tapes are stuck on repeat and produce nothing but misery and jaded views of who we really are. These tapes are toxic. They enhance the pain of the past, poison our present and prohibit us from stepping into the perfect purpose God has for us. These tapes keep us from sharing the second chances stories we’ve all found through our salvation. We’ve got to learn to shut down this negative noise and turn off these tapes!

Here are some steps that I use to help me STOP the negative tapes!

  1. Specifically acknowledge the tape

The first step is always to acknowledge or point out the tape you are listening to. I gave you some examples earlier and one of those may have really turned your stomach. If so, that’s probably your tape. If not, think about it for a bit. Really dig deep and ponder what it is that gets you off track, pushes you to anger, turns you away from God, causes you to isolate or separates you from the freedom you desire.

  1. Throw it out (for good)

Once you’ve determined the tape or tapes that are ringing in your head, the next step is to get of them! I like to practice this by literally writing down the phrases, the words or the negative memories that are stuck in my head on a piece of paper along with the consequences I experience when I allow that tape to keep playing. Once I’ve done this I go through a process of praying, mediation and destruction of this paper. You see there is power in confession, perspective found in mediation and closure in eliminating the physical reminder of the tape!

  1. Operate in how God sees me

Too often we operate in how the world sees us or how we see ourselves. By acknowledging the TRUTH of who God says we are, we put up a positive set of daily “bumpers” that help keep us headed down the right path. When we do this we are able to remain operating under God’s voice not the voice of the negative tape that’s kept us in bondage.

  1. Practice playing positive tapes

This may be the most important of all the steps in the process. Keeping the negative tapes from turning themselves back on is critical. And difficult! What I focus on is a new mixtape fill with positive sources of encouragement, gratitude, biblical wisdom and accountability.

Coming up on April 29th and 30th, I’ll be joining a host of other pastors and leaders from across Oklahoma at a weekend conference for MEN called Rewired. Me and some of the staff from Hope is Alive will be facilitating four sessions over this very topic. We will dive deep, root out the core issues and help you find a way to live in the freedom God has promised.

This conference is one of the highlights of my year, I’d love for you to join me for this powerful weekend.

Click here to sign up.

Comments: 0 Tagged with:

My Moment

“We do not remember days, we remember moments” – Ceasre Paverse

It was a normal morning. It started off just like almost every other morning had the previous three years.  I woke up blurry eyed, hungover, jonesing for something to take away the pain.

My legs were kicking and my stomach was aching. I took my time getting ready for the day, stopping every few minutes as my gut rejected all the previous night had forced upon it.

It was miserable, but it was normal.

With a hand full of pills in my pocket and a few more waiting for me in my top desk drawer, I headed out. A couple Red Bull pit stops later and I made it into work about 9:45.

Locked inside my office, my day began. Chopping, smashing and lining up 3 beautiful rails that would be my breakfast. A mixture of Oxy’s and Lortabs flew up my nose, at about the same time I heard a pounding on my office door!

My life changed in this moment. It was at this precise moment that everything began to change. It was April 6th, 2011. 5 years ago today. (click here to read exactly what happened)

I often ponder what God must have been thinking the days leading up to this moment. Was He excited? Was He smiling? Did He wonder what choice I would make when given the opportunity? Or did He already know? What did God think about this moment?

Of all my experiences the past 5 years, it was in this moment where everything stood in the balance.  I could go and open the knocking door, face the truth and begin to change. Or I could open the door, continue living in denial and run from reality like I had done for so long. This moment offered two distinct options. Freedom or continued bondage.

I’ve often said that what changed for me in that moment was the choice I made to finally confess. Instead of arguing over details or trying to manipulate my way out of it, I just admitted the truth that everyone else already knew. I was caught and it was time to get honest. It was my moment.

Since that moment at roughly 10AM on April 6th 2011 nothing has been the same. Life has truly been magical.

That magic moment brought so much truth into my life. I learned that confrontation breeds change. That God is not, was not and will never be, mad at me. I realized that He had a plan for my life. I began to see that my life was worth living and living to the full. I chose freedom and I’m so glad I did.

That moment changed me forever.

I believe moments like this happen every day for so many of us. I believe God provides “a way out” of pain, divorce, addiction, guilt, shame and resentment all the time. Sometimes it’s through people and sometimes it’s through circumstances. But the moments of change are always present. Freedom is always one moment away.

The question is, “What will you do with the moments God gives you today?”

Could it be that the life you’ve always wanted hangs in the balance of the choices you make in the moments God gives you today?

My life is proof that that is possible.

So make the most of the moments God gives you. Choose to embrace challenge, step into confrontation and as often as you can, confess you baggage.

Life is meant to be lived free. May you step into the moments that God gives you today and find the freedom you deserve.

Hope is Alive!

 


Search LanceLang.com

Available Today!

Finding Hope Book

LanceLang.com Archives