Walking on Air I once walked away from belief but only found air at my feet. All meaning and substance had ceased - pulled wherever passion blew me like the wind on a falling leaf. I thought I was seeking freedom; what I found was only more chains. To live with purpose and reason we must seek more than selfish gains. -Justin Farley
The Road to Recovery I tried walking away from madness, seeking peace. But found I was bound and a captive, unable to retreat. Astonished, I looked down at shackles clasped around my hands and feet. I have hollered until I was hoarse; solitude is the only company I keep. What is left now other than to shrink within my cell and accept defeat? But wait...what if this freedom I seek lies juxtaposed to relief? Maybe I need to start asking why these feelings run so deep. Yes, the road to recovery begins with acceptance and ends with peace. Justin Farley
Purpose Waiting in the darkness is the catalyst for change. A seed hides just beneath the soil and toils to germinate. It breaks out of its hard, lifeless shell and reaches desperately for the sun. It takes root and won't stop until it's done flowering and offering exactly what it was born to give - beauty to the world. Justin Farley
Let me be a noticer of things in your world
instead of a dweller of my inner thoughts,
worries, and selfish longings
that only keep me distracted from you.
For when I uproot myself out of the present moment
and plant my focus on myself,
I rob myself of the joy
of witnessing your glory and beauty
all around me.
I have always been a highly observant person, picking out minor details that others often miss. On my morning walk in the woods today I noticed an old, wooden beam with rusted barbwire wrapped around the edges that had clearly once been a fence post. The problem was that I’d walked this path dozens of times before. Worse, it only stood a few inches off the trail.
What may seem an unimportant observation worried me. I should have noticed this a long time ago. But then again, maybe I’m not quite as observant as I once was…not since anxiety and worry have become a constant companion.
I sat there looking at that fence post, noticing for the first time the rotting wood and the crumbling decay of age. In my perifocal view I then noticed a bee hovering around a flower and insects crawling along the earth. I was struck with the realization that I have formed a habit of being so stuck inside my head observing my anxieties and worries that I have lost an awareness of the world around me.
I’ve decided I’m still a highly observant person; I’ve just been preoccupied with the wrong details. Anxiety and worry cause us to retreat inward, focusing on only our thoughts and feelings, preparing for the “what ifs” of the future. In the process they rob us of the joy and experience of life in the present moment.
God dwells in the here and now. God speaks in the present. God walks with us in this moment. When we try to place ourselves in the future, we make no room for God. For the future is determined by His will, not ours. And that is what anxiety and fear inspire us to do, don’t they? To just sprint past God and try to prepare, plan, and control what happens next. We lack faith in God’s providence, so we seek out our own providence. We are finite creatures who are not built to withstand that kind of responsibility. When we put ourselves in control of managing our future, we collapse under the weight of worry.
Even more importantly, when we are constantly distracted by our worries and removed from the here and now, we miss out on the wonderful experience of witnessing God’s glory and beauty all around us. The beauty of a sunset, the feeling of the wind against your skin, the magic of the leaves changing colors, the love in another’s eyes, the wisdom God passes on in seemingly unimportant things.
It’s a hard fight to pull yourself out of your own head and leave all the worrying behind. It’s maybe an even harder fight to trust in God. But there are opportunities for redemption all around us, yet we have to be attentive to the present moment to recognize them. If we remain focused on the incessant cycle of self-centered thoughts, we deny ourselves the gift of seeing God’s divine presence right here, right now.
-Post and Poem Written by Justin Farley
One Step At A Time – An Inspirational Poem About Life Journey
A spiral, wooden staircase
reaches up like crooked branches –
oak fingers, determined to touch the sky.
Stairs with ornate, hand-carved railings
make way for impossible feats and give
wingless creatures a chance to fly.
And I stand humble before them,
wondering where they lead
and how high they climb.
A thousand steps is too many,
but one at a time seems possible
if I keep my head level and eyes blind.
Every journey begins distant –
hard, unfathomable, unimaginable,
while peering across the sands of time.
But complacency is a curse
that stands ready with force
to defend comfort in the battle of the mind.
Life is one continuous climb.
Each day one step closer to
the potential written in your heart.
No need for giant leaps
or desperate measures destined for defeat,
but you must find somewhere to start.
Progress comes to those who push onward,
planting seeds even when tired
and a day off is a tempting reward.
For excuses quickly become reasons
to idly watch months go by
without a step forward.
It’s the small choices you make
compounded over a lifetime
that leave you in the plains or push you to the peak.
At the end of life’s journey,
the number of seeds you’ve sown
determines the character you reap.
-Poem Written by Justin Farley
About the Poem
I think we all have a place where we are and a place in our mind where we want to be. The gap between those two places can be overwhelming and cause many struggles along our life journey. Personally, I have the struggle with feast or famine – I’m either all in and try to drastically alter everything in my life overnight or feel defeated by how many changes I know I need to make and do nothing.
Life is similar to a spiral staircase that leads up to who we want to be and our idea of success. You don’t reach the top by quick sprints or you’re bound to get burnt out and tired. I have the temptation to try to change my big life struggles right away, but those can only be overcome with work and time. The way to the top comes by doing the small things right everyday and making good choices in the small decisions. Small baby steps everyday accumulate into major growth in our life journey over weeks, months, and years. Small steps prevent us from becoming too overwhelmed and inspire us to keep going during life’s struggles. One day at a time, one step at a time, we will reach our life goals and everyday move closer to who we want to be and further away from who we are.
Where are you right now in life?
Where do you want to be or what is the difference between your “ideal” self and who you are now?
What small steps can you do everyday to put you closer to achieving your goals in life?
The journey in life is never easy, but keeping your progress small, manageable, and attainable snowballs into drastic change over time.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy my similar poem,“Today”, which is about inspiring change in your life and taking the first step in your life journey.
Christians In Business- Can We Live Out The Gospel and Run A Profitable Business?
Are Christianity and Business Success Compatible?
As a Christian business owner myself, it is often difficult to mix the necessity of profits and making money with the language of the Bible considering the numerous warnings about money. Furthermore, I believe today’s culture labels business owners as greedy and always using other people to become successful. We now have a entitled society who bashes those who make money and believes everyone should be allowed to reap the benefits of success, regardless of whether they have sowed seeds of hard work or not. That doesn’t mean that some of society’s arguments about rich, wealthy business owners aren’t valid; it just means that for Christians in business, it’s easy to feel guilty or even sinful to make money and be successful.
Christianity and business (as well as money in general) are both compatible and incompatible. The key aspect that determines which category business men and women fall into are the business’s values. What contributions is the business making to society? Does it simply exist to rake in the highest profits at any cost? What are its core values? Are they consistent with the teachings of Christ? Is the business team using their talents towards the glory of God and to help serve a need in the community through a product or service?
Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about running a nonprofit business. A business has to make money and profits must fall somewhere among the top of key goals. But it must not be the only goal. There has to be something more – a key set of values and principles that it is founded on that are sacred and are never disregarded in search of higher profits. There is no need to apologize for being successful, but success comes with obligation to make a difference in the lives of others.
I think for Christians in business the main question we must meditate on and ask ourselves daily is “Am I running my business to serve me or serve others?” When we keep our focus on others, we can forego all of the guilt and hold our heads high in the face of public criticism of business in general. I think as Christians we often think of serving and helping others in terms of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc. And while these are things every Christian is called to do, I believe that God calls each of us to help and serve in different ways. Monetarily we can help, but we may not be called to the front lines on a daily basis physically. Our contribution may be making or designing a product or service geared to bring laughter to a child and put a smile on his or her face. We may be called to help people file their taxes, help people save money, provide a good or service that makes peoples’ life easier or better. And we must make money doing so. But Christianity is compatible with business when we ask ourselves what we can do to help serve the community, rather than serve ourselves. The mark of a great company is that it gives something back. It produces, but it does so by serving a need and making a difference in the lives of others.
Even as Christians in business, we have to make profits, or it wouldn’t be a business for very long. Usually though, when we place others in front of our own pursuits and constantly ask how we can improve the lives of others with our talents, profits naturally increase. What we do with those profits and with the gifts we’ve been given determines whether we’re serving God or serving self. Christians in business have tough obstacles and temptations, but we can be assured we’re in compatibility with Christian teaching when we wake up each morning with the customer in mind, instead of ourselves.
photo credit: Dr John2005 Shoreditch Bridge Portraits 265, Shoreditch High Street, London, 26 August 2016 via photopin (license)
“But I like the inconveniences.”
“We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.
-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Post-Modern Portrait
Steel covered sky.
Gun-stock gray rays.
Metallic molten moon.
Where do you turn when the hovering dome
That covers your head is sucked void of joy
Like an eternal vacuum, gasping for breath?
Is this really all there is left –
Empty shells consisting of robotic movements,
Resembling humans, but without hearts beating in their chest?
Why are the pure at heart so easily discarded as trash,
But the deceivers received as gold?
What kind of world do we live in when all meaning has been lost –
A heirloom remembered, but regarded as ancient and old?
I’m afraid the heart seeks a treasure that doesn’t exist,
Washed out by the waves of progress
And swallowed by the deluded ideals of feminists.
Woman, do you want to know why there’s no longer
Knights in shinning armor walking the streets?
Because you have become accustomed to the darkness,
Mated with the dragon, and your pride refuses to admit you’re in need.
Independence and self-reliance have paved the death of the soul.
Romantics lay in anguish,
Lost in a world gone cold.
When the Self becomes king,
Selfishness reigns supreme.
Love is shackled and silenced When “ME” “MY”, and “MINE”
Are the passions and desires the heart screams.
Gun-stock gray flock
Of unfulfilled passionate yearnings
Flutter across the cold, metallic sky.
Heartless, inhumane existence clatters
With each footstep of people passing by.
And I am lost in this game.
I don’t know how to join in the delusions.
I have no desire to come to your miscalculated conclusions.
I don’t know how to still the warm heart beating in my chest.
I have no desire to walk like a lamb to the slaughter
And watch my soul shrivel like all the rest.
I have no desire to play by the rules
Of this revised edition of the Game of Life.
I’ll boldly wait in my alienated prism reflecting the light
Rather than sell my soul and vulnerability for the sake of safety
And step out into that dark night.
-Poem Written by Justin Farley
Illusions – A Poem
The demon water you drink
Is devouring your soul.
Don’t you know this road has no happy ending
And your heart will turn cold?
Repeating lies does not change reality.
Sooner or later you’ll have to face life’s inevitable truth.
Don’t set yourself on foolish paths, don’t chase foolish pursuits,
And hang your happiness up by your own noose.
The lies we tell our hearts are more deadly…more potent
Than the poison spewed from your lips.
Silence the serpent, the viper, the piper
That sings you mirages of bliss.
Strength is weak;
Weak is strong.
Pride brews careless ways
And pushes you to places you don’t belong.
Independence is dependence;
Dependence is independence.
Try to sweep the truth under the rug if you like,
But in solitude you depend on a mind of madness.
The free is captive;
The captive, free.
For the one who relies on self alone
Is bound in lonely chains of slavery.
Call yourself what you wish,
But truth still stares back at you in the mirror.
Pretending to be confident and defiant,
Does not erase your heart of fear.
The proud are brought to their knees;
The meek stand on their own two feet,
For the first step of growth
Is admitting you’re in need and weak.
So bat your lying eyes and put on a show.
But through your smirk, you’ll find only tears.
The road to hell is seen as heaven
By eyes that are blind and ears that refuse to hear.
-Poem Written by Justin Farley
Today – A Inspiration Poem
The sun is rising.
Open your eyes to the possibility of a new life
That waits for you upon the horizon.
Let the aroma of fresh brewed coffee stir you in bed
And lead you from where dreams remain fixed in your head
To where they are transfigured in motion through action.
Today we set course for the future;
We throw all past failures overboard
And load our cargo of dormant potential in the hold.
Today we set sail to new destinations
We’ve been planning for years,
But never had the courage to leave the comfort of familiar harbors.
Today we become masters over our inner self
And shed the shackles of slavery,
No longer submitting to the will of our weaknesses.
Today is the first day of your new life –
Reborn, awoken, reformed into the image
You’ve always desired and known you’re capable of.
Today will find us working
And not bewildered by fear or past distractions.
We will set course on a path of purposeful, rigorous action.
Today we set sail for the future,
Which does not come to us,
But we confidently create and seek.
Today is the only day of your life that’s guaranteed.
So pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
Smile, don’t fret. Let’s make it one for the ages.
-Poem Written by Justin Farley
The Woman in the Mirror
You are a seductive temptress
that tempts with the ticks of time.
In control of the clocks hands,
only needing to rewind to the moments we left behind.
You still lurk in the shadows –
a creature stalking in the dead of night.
But potential follows wherever your heart goes,
needing only to let go of the darkness and step into the light.
My heart goes out to you in your struggle,
to the battle that rages in your mind.
Pick up your feet each time you stumble
and never settle for the chains of fear that bind.
Though our paths have diverged,
I still desire to see yours lead to a happy ending.
I still long to see the woman emerge
from your battle – the beautiful soul I’ve seen since the beginning.
May your head be held high.
May your feet walk into the flames of fear.
May your spirit learn to fly.
And may you love the woman in the mirror.
-Poem Written by Justin Farley