A Letter To The Discouraged, Tired and Broken-hearted

I personally know many people who woke up this morning heavy burdened, tired and beat down from circumstances in their lives. A Letter to the Discouraged(pic)

Working in a large church, I receive a weekly update of some our church family that is in the hospital or has received some sort of bad news that they are asking prayer for.

Not only medically, I know a handful of friends who are struggling to keep their finances and marriages together. Either newlyweds who feel they are in over their heads or longtime marriages who have children my age and cant seem to ‘love’ each other anymore.

Half of my friends are married, and half aren’t. Being 4 months into my own marriage I can attest with all my newlywed friends that life doesn’t get easier, it only compounds and calls you to be more responsible, which adds stress and pressure to the relationship. (For the record – I cant explain how awesome marriage is.  I have been incredibly blessed.  My wife is amazing.)

The other half that isn’t married is struggling with their singleness. ‘Whats wrong with me?’ they ask.

Job security seemingly doesn’t exist.. I cant number the amount of families who are downsizing due to being laid off or poor financial management.

Working  in a student ministry, I know many teenagers struggling with their parents and working closely with a lot of adults, I know many parents struggling with their children.

I know 4 families who have had miscarriages in the past year.

2 of my classmates from high-school died this past year from heroin.

I’ve seen alcohol destroy families and marriages.

Businesses fail.  Relationships fall apart.

There are multitudes of people struggling with their purpose in life.

You’re probably not surprised by this information because You probably have similar experiences.  This is the world we live in…

…But take a deep breath. Are you still there?

Your heart beating, your mind thinking, your lungs filing with oxygen. It all means that you, my friend, have been granted the most precious gift of all…


When you were born into this world (no matter if it was 13 or 63 years ago), you were not promised another second. You did not receive a binding contract for a specified lifespan or certain quality of life. No one said to your mother “Here is your beautiful baby, he/she has 57 years”.

Although, when you were born into this world, there was a singular promise that was made by the one who formed you and designed every piece of your structure and personality.

God breathed life into you, wrapped His arms around you and promised that He would love you with an unconditional love that is stronger than any other love you could find.

You can run from Him, but you can never hide from His love.

No one can promise you health, wealth or happiness.  But…

-Even in your turmoil or anger or sadness.

-Even amidst a fierce army of negativity and problems you may be facing.

-Even though nothing goes right.

-Even if you feel like you have nothing to live for.

-I can promise you one thing: There is hope.

You have a heavenly father who loves you. You are His child. And he won’t relent. He will pursue you, whether you like it or not. YOU ARE IMPORTANT.

Whether your marriage is failing, you lost your job, your health is getting worse or you just can’t seem to get it together, IT’S OK.

Keep pressing forward. Keep your head up.  Give forgiveness to those who you have been holding a grudge.  Ask forgiveness from those you have been avoiding.  Love your family, your children, your friends.  Find the hope that can only be found in Jesus.

One last thing.  Taylor (my wife), has never seen me cry. Maybe I need to soften up, I don’t know. But I can count on my left hand how many times I’ve cried in the past 7 years. Three come to mind.  A good friend of mine lost my trust, I let my dad down and had to deal with the disappointment and my uncle died a little over a year ago.  I miss him every day.

A few nights ago, I listened to this song (link below) and was reminded of God’s love. It brought the same tears I had before, but this time, the sadness was replaced by joy. I was reminded that I am His son. I no longer will be a slave to fear, but instead can live in freedom.

Please, if you do anything today, read Ephesians 2 and listen to this song.  If you know God, be reminded of His love. If you don’t, turn to Him – He will set you free.

I hope this letter encouraged you in some way. Keep pressing on!

Ephesians 2 – http://bit.ly/1vq9K9R

No Longer Slaves – http://bit.ly/1yB4n3p


The ‘Get It Together’ Checklist – 5 Ways To Chase Your Dreams

Tyler ChecklistEver since I was 8 years old, I can remember wanting to be a rock star. I remember asking all my friends to join my band (none of us could play an instrument at the time), and surprisingly, most of them would say something like, “Yeah! I’ll play the guitar solos!”

I can imagine that you have had similar experiences, whether it was dreaming of pitching in the World Series, being a fireman or a doctor. Regardless, we all have dreams.

Life Happens…

Oddly though, something strange happens. People grow up and realize that movies are all scripted, everything is expensive, life gets busy and sometimes it is tempting to sleep in rather than get ahead. Life happens.

All of a sudden, people’s dreams get a little fuzzy and their dreams become more of a childhood fantasy. They get a ‘normal’ job and fit right in with society, which there is nothing wrong with, but what if they wanted more? What if you wanted to resurface that dream and make it a reality?

Daily Routines…

If you were to investigate the daily routine of a highly respected or successful person, generally, you will see that their daily routine is impeccable and looks very different than most.   John Maxwell says “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” 

Maybe you haven’t become a heart surgeon or rock star, but you still can improve from where you are. Don’t let your limiting beliefs stifle you from becoming better at what you do, or moving you to the next level!  The only person who can make you feel inferior is yourself.

If you want to improve things in your own life, you need a plan. Here are 5 steps that I believe will help you start on your journey to the next level:

– Tyler’s ‘Get It Together’ Checklist –

  1. Desire

Desire is the fuel of any mission or goal. The more you desire to see the outcome or work towards a goal, the higher the probability of you actually following through. If you have no desire to improve, don’t be surprised if improvement never happens.

  1. Measurable Goals

Living your life aimlessly with no way to measure success or improvement can lead to complacency. What gets measured gets done.

Often when you have a desire to improve, you begin to think of ways to make those improvements happen. Be sure to make goals that can be quantified, or measured. Such as, ‘I want to read 1 book a week’, or ‘I want to be in bed Monday-Friday at 10:00pm at the latest’. When you write out goals like this it will help you stick to it and know how well (or how bad) you are doing.

  1. Accountability

Many people try to bypass this and fight the battle on their own terms and conditions. Unfortunately, life happens and sometimes we get lazy.

It is important that you find someone who cares about you and bring them up to speed with your desires and goals. If the person does what they are supposed to, you will have someone to encourage you after success and guidance during failure.

I personally have two of these people in my life. One I talk to weekly, and the other on a bi-weekly basis. I will never be able to fully explain how helpful they have been, but I do know that they are invaluable to me.

  1. Learner’s Mentality

Chances are that if you have someone keeping you accountable, they will at some point, need to call you out on something your doing (or not doing) that is inconsistent with your goal. This can be hard.

The truth of the matter is that you will never reach a day when you have nothing more to learn. Our human minds are not capable of comprehending and retaining all possible knowledge and information the universe has to offer. You will always have room to grow and learn.

Be careful not to kill the messenger who delivers the news that you specifically wanted to receive! Be a lifelong learner and embrace failure as an opportunity to grow. 

  1. Discipline

Only 8% of Americans achieve their New Year’s resolution and 60% of Americans fail to make it one month before they give up or cave into their old ways. Discipline will help you keep your momentum moving forward even on days when it is really difficult.

In the end, it all comes down to hard work. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to make necessary changes and improvements in your daily routine, you are bound to find success in whatever area you are working. Of course, there will always be trials and failure, but discipline and a good work ethic will help you bounce back.

What are you doing to move forward?

5 Reasons You Should Quit Being Jealous

You know the feeling. Rooftop

It can happen over practically anything.  A friend gets a cool opportunity, buys a house, is more photogenic or gets more vacation days than you.  Whatever it may be, sometimes the simplest things can make us jealous.

You may think that it is only inside your head, but it actually affects everything about you and if you’re not careful, it can control you.

Here are 6 simple reasons you should stop being jealous:


  1. Jealousy Is An Ugly Trait…

This is pretty straightforward.

Jealousy is followed by a plethora of negative qualities and emotions.  A jealous person stands out like a sore thumb and is not enjoyable to be around. Oftentimes, envy drives us into a self-conscious, insecure and judgmental frame of mind.

Those traits are quite unattractive to others regardless of how close of a relationship you have with them. No one enjoys a cynical, hot tempered or resentful person, so be aware of how you treat others and how you are perceived.


  1. Jealousy Will Make You An Awful Friend…

In my previous blog, I wrote about how people struggle being excited for one another.  Why can’t we be happy for one another without getting jealous?

Be honest with yourself here.  Have you ever been upset when something good happens to someone else?  Someone else has the spotlight, and instead of being excited for them, you’re a little irritated.

Chances are, your friends and family can sense that irritation, so be careful not to become the person who others have to walk on eggshells around when good things happen to them.  Instead, be the person that others can share their excitement and triumphs with. 

When someone shares good news with you, give them a big high-five, smile or shout “That’s amazing!”  It doesn’t really matter, just do something that shows you care about their life.


  1. Jealousy Will Cost You Money & Time…

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you don’t fall victim to this, because we do it far more often than we believe.

As the saying goes, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”.  This may not be 100% true for you all the time, but generally we end up spending silly amounts of money to get things to impress people.

I have seen people spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to become like other people or acquire things that other people have.  It’s ok to make goals, or strive to become better, but be cautious of how much time and money you spend trying to be like someone else.


  1. Jealousy Will Steal Your Unique Identity…

The longer we spend being jealous of someone else and striving to have the things that others have, the less we become our own person.  We start to become a carbon copy, molded and sculpted by our petty, ever-changing culture.

Envy has the potential to take over your identity and steal your individuality.  You will find yourself chasing the passions and dreams of other people instead of pursuing your own.

It’s ok to look up to people and have role models or mentors, but be careful not to chase someone else’s dream. 


  1. Jealousy Can Ruin Today…

If we aren’t careful, we can end up spending our entire lives waiting for the day that we have everything that we want, or obtaining all the things we never had.  In that scenario, our lives can end up being wasted on looking to the future instead of living in the present.

Jealousy will take your focus off of the blessings you have today and instead will set your gaze on things you have yet to obtain. 

Make the most of today and set goals and dreams for the future.


My Challenge For You…

Take 2 minutes and write down 5 positive qualities about yourself.  Over the next week, be aware of those qualities, and try to improve on them.  (Are you energetic?  Compassionate?  Detail Oriented?  Intellectual?  Athletic?)

Work on not comparing yourself to other people for just one week and see how it changes your perspective.


5 Ways To Be Confident Through Change

5 Ways To Be Confident Through ChangeIf you are anything like me, transitions and change often bring a sense of anxiety.  Sometimes the changes are small, other times they can be massive.

Change can often feel like wandering in the wilderness with no sense of direction. 

But there are ways to approach change that can create in us a confidence that will help us through the tough and trying times.  The past six months I have had my fair share of change through graduation, engagement and a new job, which all have taught me about life transitions.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about change:

  1. Ask questions.

Many things in life wont have an obvious ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.  Ambiguity is probably one of the most frustrating facets of change.  You can easily spend hours wrestling different options trying to make the best decision and, at times, it can feel like there is no way out and you are trapped putting your future in the hands of chance.

This does not have to be the case.  Instead of trying to be a juggernaut and handling everything yourself, ask people you trust for advice.

Sure, they may not have a definite answer for you, but many times, people can give you a clear perspective and help you see the big picture.  

  1. Admit mistakes with dignity.

You will make mistakes.  You will not have a perfect track record. Everyone messes up, so be the type of person who admits their failure without excuses.  It speaks volumes of a person’s character when they can admit their shortcomings without passing blame. 

Fight the urge to give excuses, and own up to falling short.  Although it may be humiliating, people will begin to respect your maturity and ability to own up to your mistakes.

  1. Take advice from people you trust.

Everyone likes to give advice. If only the advice that everyone gave was good!  Through my transitions, there were quite a few instances were I was given advice and, unfortunately, not all of it was good.  It was quite difficult to know how to act, what decisions to make and who I could trust.

Have a list of people you trust, and take advice from them.  For everyone else, be respectful and acknowledge their kindness, but don’t feel obligated to take action on their ideas.

Just because someone believes something to be true, it does not necessarily make that thing true.

  1. Protect yourself.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be as joyous as you are about the victories in your life.  If you receive a promotion, buy a new car or get some new clothes, don’t expect people to jump up and down.  In fact, the majority of people will become jealous and may resent your excitement.

It can be extremely discouraging when people turn down your ideas or minimize your dreams.  Protect yourself, and share excitement with people you know care about your life and who will share those victories with you.

Don’t let the negativity of others keep you from moving forward!

  1. Be happy with the present.

No one can see the future.  People can make assumptions about what will happen tomorrow, but in reality, no one can REALLY know what to expect.  Oftentimes, people begin to resent their current stage of life and stare at someone else’s green grass.

I once read someone’s take on ‘the grass is always greener’.  He said this, “Stop comparing.  Stop staring at someone else’s green grass and start watering your own.”

  • Find joy in simplicity.  Live your life sharing love and compassion. 
  • Tomorrow will come without your command and will have its own troubles, so stick with today and deal with tomorrow when it comes.
  • Keep moving forward even in the midst of resistance and trials.   Transitions can be tough and unclear, but many times will lead to growth.


Everybody talks. 

If you put two people together they will undoubtedly talk about something.

-The latest episodes of whatever shows are trending…

-The superbowl halftime show…

-How the weather needs to ‘make up its mind’…

There is a good chance you have been a part of one of those conversations, but what about these?

-The way your friend treats his/her spouse…

-The way your neighbor spends their money…

-The way your coworker has been dressing…

Unfortunately, if we are honest with ourselves, we have all been a part of these conversations as well.  As innocent as it may seem, gossip has many negative consequences.

Effects of Gossip:

It Destroys Relationships – It’s difficult to trust someone who is always talking about someone else.

It Ravishes Our Integrity – Complimenting someone to their face and then destroying their reputation behind their back traces back to a lack of integrity.

It Provokes Negativity – Cynicism is the hottest relational ‘drug’ on the market.  Don’t be strung out on cynicism and addicted to the negative rush.

Whether you are all about the tabloids or couldn’t care less, we all should take precautions to help us fight the temptation to tell

Here are 10 things that can eliminate gossip:

1.    Check Your Jealousy At The Door…

Gossip stems from many different things, but one of the prime contributors is jealousy.  If you have jealousy issues, I would suggest dealing with that first.

2.    Avoid Gossip…

This one may seem silly considering its simplicity, but don’t count it out.  Chances are, if you surround yourself with people that gossip (reading or watching gossip as well), it will be increasingly difficult for you to avoid doing it.

3.    Tell The Truth…

This is massive.  There are so many relationships that have been ruined because of lies and over exaggerations.  Don’t stretch the truth to make your story seem better or make up a story about someone else. Be careful about what you share to others, because it may not have been true in the first place.

 4.    Stop Comparing Yourself to others…

It’s easy to take someone else’s life and compare it to our own.  Avoid taking someone’s positive thing and making it your negative conversation.  The more you focus on other people, the easier it is to become cynical and condescending.

5.    Think Positive…

This takes work.  It’s much easier to find the negative in something than it is to find something positive.  Protect your thoughts and be very intentional about what thoughts you communicate to others.

6.    Say ‘Never mind’…

Sometimes during a conversation it’s easy to roll into gossip without even realizing it.  If you catch yourself mid-sentence mentioning someone who isn’t there, just say “never mind”.

7.    Do A Detour Around Sensitive Issues…

We all have sensitive issues and hot topics that make us prone to vent.  If you are around someone who has a tendency to talk bad about Julie, then avoid talking about Julie.  Don’t provoke people into their own demise.

8.    Be Content With Not Being ‘In The Know’…

I hate gossip, but occasionally find myself in the middle of it because I want to be in the loop.  Avoiding gossip requires an acceptance of being on the outer ring of the social circles.

9.    Quit The Drama…

“Remember Julie?  Well, she told Peter that Sharon has a thing for Will, but Will ‘doesn’t want to be in a relationship’ and Peter is the one with a thing for Sharon.  Can you believe that?”  

These types of conversations have to stop.  Don’t let this type of drama ruin your relationships.  In the end, it’s not important.

10.   Be The Protector…

If no one else is doing it, then its time for you to step up and be a leader.  Care enough about your relationships (friends, family, coworkers) to take initiative and spread the truth and positivity while stifling jealousy and drama.

Do you think anything should be added to the list?

How do you keep yourself from gossiping? 

The Importance of a Unified Team

Think about it. 

Most of our lives are spent working around people we didn’t choose to be around.

-The boss hires a new employee.

-The leader will organize a team for you to work with.

-The manager decides where to put your desk.

You suddenly are forced into an environment where the only variable you can directly control is yourself.

It’s rare to be put into a situation where the people around you will see things the way you do, or will work in a way that is similar to your work ethic.  Most of the time, it’s a daily crossroads between coworkers, fellow employees and other volunteers.

Setting political, religious and ethical differences aside, the struggle is real when it comes to keeping the peace within a team. 

Here are my words of encouragement:  It’s Ok.

Don’t get discouraged because people don’t think the way you do, because in the long run it will actually benefit your team.  Different viewpoints, ideas, skill sets and passions will help your team stay objective, creative and hopefully successful.

Many times, diversification will help coworkers compliment one another.  It’s good to have a team where others can see your blind spots.  

Although problems will arise and personalities will clash, here are a few ways to keep a team unified and to avoid a hostile environment: 

1.    Speak Clearly and Gently…

Be very careful when communicating, because the content and tone of your conversations are equally important. 

Charisma is the key barometer when judging your relationships within a team. Start critiquing yourself when walking away from a conversation.  Do people leave a conversation with you feeling better, or worse about themselves?

2.    Be Prepared And Organized…

There are few things more frustrating in a team than someone who is frequently unprepared.  One person’s actions and work ethic affect the entire team.

Do your best to make the team better and make your team and leader proud.  Be someone your team respects and appreciates, and avoid being a liability

3.    Pay Attention…

We have all experienced the mid conversation text message.  Right in the middle of you telling a story, someone gets out there phone and starts messing with it.

Whether you are in a meeting, or just holding a simple conversation, make an intentional effort to let others know you are listening.

4.    Smile and Laugh…

You don’t have to be the office jokester or have the most contagious laugh, but you can be someone who others enjoy to be around.  Think about the last time someone smiled at your story or laughed at your joke.  There was probably a little skip in your step or boost to your mood.  It makes a big difference.

Be someone others can look forward to being around and try not to make people walk on eggshells around you.  It’s easy to find faults in others and your job, instead, be a leader and stick to the positive.

 5.    Resist Gossip…

Gossip is like cancer in the workplace and spreads uncontrollably.  Once a culture of gossip is set, it can feel like a wildfire that cant be contained.  No one benefits from talking negatively about others and will only hurt the team in the end.

Even if gossip is regular in your team, stray from being involved in negative conversations.  Reject cynicism, insubordination and gossip on a daily basis.


You are a part of a bigger picture.  Your team needs you and you need them, so learn how to play nice.  Respect your leader and be a positive force for your team.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.  The more your team can learn to work together, the more you will be able to focus on the road ahead.

What I’ve Learned As A Volunteer: Time Management

The volunteer life is not easy.

Anyone who has been a volunteer long enough knows the difficulty of time management and all the baggage that comes along with it.

For a large portion of my life I worked in a few different volunteer positions that easily brought me to ‘full time status’.

Many times, I was there before the paid employees showed up, and stayed long after they had left.

I would dream about my position and cast a vision to the other volunteers that my position required me to lead.  I loved what I did.

To say that I had a lot of plates spinning would have been an understatement when describing my schedule.  Being a full time student and volunteer, working two part time jobs and sustaining relationships with friends and family was no easy task.

Quite often I encountered a feeling that almost everyone can relate to: I was overwhelmed.

Somehow in an effort to pursue a hobby that we love, or fight for a cause we believe in, we become overwhelmed with life and soon the line between priority and passion becomes blurred.

Volunteers require excellent time management skills in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.  Here are three important keys to managing your time:

1.    Avoid Procrastination

We all know the late night feeling of finishing a project just moments before it is due.  Not only does the stress build over time and strain other areas of our lives, but it also ravishes our performance.  No one produces a better result by rushing.

Give your future self a break and quit putting things off for tomorrow.

2.    Plan Better

The times in my life when I was most overwhelmed were the times when I was unprepared.  If I approach a busy, relentless week unprepared, I will end up being late to meetings, slow to respond to emails and quick to forget what needs to get done.  Life feels much more chaotic when we fly by the seat of our pants.

Get a calendar, use the ‘Notes’ app, write yourself reminders, leave 5 minutes early and show up prepared.

3.    Say No

There are many reasons we say ‘yes’ when we should say ‘no’.  Either you want to fit in with the guys (or girls), you hate disappointing people, or you just have a hard time knowing when to say which.  Either way, many people struggle with making the right decision.  The best way to begin is with your priorities.

In order to protect your priorities, there are times when saying ‘no’ is the most beneficial thing you can do.

Each day, we have to define our priorities and protect our time.  ‘If you chase two rabbits, both will get away’.  Cast a daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly vision and be sure to protect it, even amongst the most chaotic of times.

Is there anything you would add to the list?  

What are your experiences with volunteering?