Welcoming In 2017: Notes On Faith and Surrender

I woke up to the sound of my alarm, a rarity. It was 5am. The sun would rise in 47 minutes. ‘Twas a goal of mine to see every sunrise this year. But my head was spinning. I had slept on the floor. I don’t remember falling asleep. I just remember scrambling to plug my phone in. That must have been around 3am. Only two hours earlier. Yuck.

There was little possibility of getting up. Let’s be honest. So I rolled myself over and returned to my slumber. Five hours later I rose, at last.

That was NYE. A fun night spent watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbour and dancing with random groups of Brazilians and Canadians. My knees bear the scars of such antics. I think an impromptu game of limbo may have been the culprit. But we won’t ever know for sure.

It was now NYD. Cloudy. And a bit windy. Not ideal. But still a trip to the beach and a dip in the ocean was a necessary cure to my hangover pain.

I wasn’t entirely ‘with it’. My mind was a bit scattered. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. It was Sunday, however…

‘I wonder if there was a church service on today?’ I asked myself.

There was. At 5pm.

‘Perfect’, I thought, ‘enough time to grab one NYD beer with friends at the pub at 3 and then head in to the city for some spiritual healing’.

Of course, that was the plan, though surely enough the prospect of fun times with friends won out and, before I could say ‘Beach Burrito’, it was 1am and I was swimming in a local rock pool cooling myself down from the hours of dancing that came before!

I don’t remember exactly what time this finished up. Needless to say, the following day was a write off too.

‘Paul The Introvert’ now needed some time to recharge the batteries. It was time to go back to the beach; back to my place of calm.

The end of 2017 provided some interesting challenges. Challenges that I did not expect to face. It left me with a feeling of emptiness and in a place of intense soul searching.

Financial stress loomed larger than ever. My mind had become a constant flurry of numbers, dates and deadlines. Debt had slowly been rising amid my exploratory steps over the past six months.

And whilst I feel so much closer to the man I’m meant to become, still there seems to be an impassable gorge between myself and the final few puzzle pieces I need to discover.

How was I to find the answers to these questions I was asking myself?

I gazed over the ocean and wrote in my journal:

What good is this stress doing? I can only do what I can do, right? If indeed the time comes in which I am stuck, then I must ask for help. What other choice do I have?

It pains me to say this; to have to concede defeat, again. Though not yet. There is still time. I just don’t know where to start.

Wait, why am I still trying to figure this out myself?

God, please help. This is you now. I cannot do this alone. Please show me what it is that I must do. This is all that I ask.

I closed my journal and laid back down on my towel. Less than five minutes later, between the sound of waves crashing, I hear a noise. A notification. An email. Never have I sat up so quickly. I stared at the subject line. I could barely believe what I was seeing!

Could it be?

Yes!

An opportunity. The opportunity. The opportunity for which I had been waiting!

Words escaped me. I cried.

What is this that I keep doing? This erroneous belief that I must find all of the answers myself? That I am climbing this Everest alone?

Why do I so often forget the enormous power there is in prayer? The enormous power there is in surrender? The enormous power there is in faith? Faith even as small as a mustard seed…

God’s wonder surely does continue to amaze; His love remaining constant despite my sometimes wayward steps from His intended path.

And whilst this opportunity I speak of is far from secured, I can only ask now for your prayers too. If this is in fact what God has intended for these next steps in my journey, I do hope that this opportunity will come to fruition. And, if not, I trust there will be something better. Just as there always seems to be.

Patience, now.

Prayer, always.

PJ.

Advertisements

23 Things I Learned As A 23-Year Old

What an unbelievable year!

Since the age of thirteen the number twenty-three has been an important one for me. Inspired by my hero Mark Webber’s first number in Formula One, it would go on to become my number of choice throughout my stint racing go karts, growing then to hold significance across many other areas of my life in the decade that has followed.

Thus, the year being twenty-three was much anticipated!

I can’t say the year didn’t come without its difficulties, the details of which I will save for future blogs/books, though I can share and reflect on many of the lessons these difficulties taught me. Lessons that I’m sure now never to forget!

  1. Don’t be afraid to say no to the wrong opportunity, however amazing that opportunity might seem. Trust your gut.
  2. Be able to recognise when you’re doing some half-arsed. Take the time to understand why and reflect on your TRUE motivation in life. Chase that instead.
  3. You always know what you really want to be doing… Don’t let the bullshit the world tells you lead you away from that or lead you into thinking it’s not possible.
  4. Learn to recognise the omens presented throughout life. Trust them. Don’t be afraid to take a leap into the unknown.
  5. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends when they’re out of line. Co-workers too. And be ready to receive the same back!
  6. Take the time to understand the problem, yes, but always remember to steer yourself toward a solution. Don’t let emotion take over. Always be solution focused.
  7. When you feel your blood boiling, an argument brewing, pause, breathe, then speak. Repeat as many times as necessary. Revisit lesson number 6 if required.
  8. Anger is a good thing. But only when focused on the things you’re passionate about changing in the world. When someone is really pissing you off, remember that passion. Save the emotional outburst you want to unleash on them for what really matters. Channel that energy positively. Don’t waste it.
  9. Stop being so patient! Impatience creates impetus. It forces action and gets things done. Sometimes these things just take longer than we’d hope/like… Find a healthy balance between the two.
  10. Things don’t have to be perfect to get the result you want. Let your passion shine through. And if this passion isn’t bright enough for everyone to see, do something else. Something that you’re really passionate about. Life is short.
  11. Money is only money. Credit cards are helpful when you’re in the shit and need to survive a difficult period! Don’t let debt ruin your life. Accept it and work to fix it. Your bank balance, whether positive or negative, doesn’t define who you are or what you’re capable of achieving in the future.
  12. It’s not weird to compliment someone. In fact, actively look for opportunities to make someone’s day! Life’s so much better this way. Share the love.
  13. Own your situation. All parts of it. Don’t be embarrassed to say you only have one clean shirt to wear. Or that you’re broke and couch surfing until you have enough money for your own flat. It’s your story. Be proud of what you’re in the process of creating.
  14. True joy is found in simplicity. Don’t burden your life with meaningless shit just to fill your cupboards and bookshelves to fool yourself and others into thinking you lead a successful life. Focus on what’s important. People. Passion. Purpose.
  15. The best business meetings are held on the beach or in the water and are definitely not in a suit or tie! Mix it up. Get out of the cafe. Take your coffee down to the sand. Get out your notepad. And talk ideas in the sunshine!
  16. Sleeping in a car is terribly uncomfortable but not the end of the world! Silence your ego and do whatever is necessary to draw closer to your Personal Legend. Revisit lesson number 13.
  17. Being employed in job is better than not being employed at all! Don’t let the sexy career trajectory outlined in your CV lead you to believe your better than any role. There are always new things we can learn in life. And on that note:
  18. A leader is so much more than just a person who sits at the top of an organisational chart. You can lead and inspire from wherever you sit in the hierarchy. In fact, the mark of a true leader is someone who can do just that.
  19. Send out positive energies to the universe each and every day to attract the people you need in your life. Become acutely aware of the people that you’re just keeping around because you’re scared of being alone…
  20. Doing one small thing each day that gets you closer to your ultimate goal is better than doing a million other things that only stress you out and cause you to take ‘mental health days’ off work.
  21. Laying on the office floor for twenty minutes a day listening to meditation playlists and breathing is not a waste of time. Instead, taking the time to bring yourself back to a place of intimate connection with your surrounds instead of worrisome thought is perhaps the most valuable use of our time.
  22. Never forget the miracles that have occurred in your life. Stay true to yourself and be thankful for the helping hands, whether seen or unseen, that have guided and supported your journey.
  23. The power of prayer and faith continues to astound. Just as the universe is ever-expanding, God’s love and wonder too. Remember this.

Let’s see what the next twelve months have in store. To say I am merely excited would be a tremendous understatement!

PJ.

Isn’t life meant for so much more?

I sit here uncomfortably; the house a hive of activity.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I was more extroverted to feel comfortable joining in.

The challenge of couch surfing isn’t the couch but rather the lack of personal space at times like these. It’s nights like these that I remember just how valuable my own personal space is. A space to call mine.

It is however interesting to think of the culture and way of life they’re embracing. Weekend after weekend it remains the same. The young mentality. Quick wins. The high of the moment. Drug induced or otherwise.

Part of me would like to fit this mould to be able to genuinely enjoy such simple pleasures. And I do occasionally. But it leads me on a slippery slope. I cannot sustain such levels of enjoyment. I cannot help but feel we are missing the point…

Is not life meant for so much more than just one drunken, sleep depriving and financially crippling escapade across the dawn lit city skyline after another?

Perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe instead this is exactly what makes life the crazy adventure that it is? Raw uninhibited connection with our fellow human life-goers?

Maybe. Though I hope not. There’s a whole world to see and explore out there. And $16 vodka lime and sodas whilst trying to survive in Sydney’s eastern suburbs don’t help with such aspirations…

PJ.

[Originally written ~September 2016.]

‘What am I doing with my life?’

I haven’t blogged in quite a while now. It’s not that I haven’t had things to write about. In fact, I’ve probably had more than ever!

And yet, still, whilst my drafts folder has grown ever larger and hundreds of pages in my journal have been filled, nothing has successfully made it through my approval processes to appear on your laptop, tablet and phone screens.

Why?

When people ask me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’, in my mind the answer is pretty simple:

I want to travel, connect, share and inspire.

I want to write.

I am a writer.

I might not be the best writer. There are English lessons at school in which I wish I had paid more attention. Lessons on sentence structure. Lessons on poetic foundations. Lessons on verb usage and pronoun placement. Not least, the lesson on what an ‘adverb’ is…

Regardless, writing is what I love to do. The way sentences flow. The way sounds and syllables bounce from one word to the next. I read my blogs over and over again. I fall in love with the rhymes and the rhythms. I change words over and over in my efforts to perfect their sequence and timing. I mightn’t ever succeed. But it fills me with great joy.

I remember getting in trouble early in high school for sending an inappropriate message to a classmate of mine. She showed a teacher. There was no denying it. It was there in black and white. Sooner or later Mum found out. She scolded me, of course, but added an important message:

‘Paul, be careful what you write, there’s no taking it back. It’s there for all to see. No he said she said. It’s clear. Words spoken might be misheard or misunderstood. But the written word is different. Tread with caution.’

I paraphrase. But the point is clear.

The written word is powerful.

I first started writing properly soon after I left school. I was deeply depressed. Inspiration was easy to find. In six months I’d filled three complete A4 notebooks. These reside in my bookcase back at the family home in Brisbane. Sometimes when I visit I sit on my floor and re-read some of these.

It’s inspiring and energising to remind myself of how far I  have come. And whilst much has changed since then the many core ideals I have toward the world and humanity still remain.

When people comment on my writing they note with admiration the honesty through which I communicate. This is a great compliment. It is the foundation on which I have come to base all of my writing:

Honesty, Transparency and Authenticity.

And so to continue in this theme, I have something to share:

I woke up this morning feeling just about as bad as I ever have. I wanted to go to the beach this morning. To soak up some sun. But the grey skies loomed large overhead. The gym was also an option but the pizza hangover gave me every reason to bury that idea beneath the mountain of duvet and pillows in which my body found itself comfortably intertwined.

I thought about seeing friends. But this seemed merely a portal through which to maintain my connection with the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Well, sex, drugs and EDM.

It’s not a world to which I want to remain connected. And yet it does create the means for connection with other humans. The alternative? To spend my Wednesday morning sat in a cafe, alone, writing.

I remind myself:

Better to be alone than in the company of wolves.

I check my phone, searching for additional motivation. I have a notification. A WordPress notification for my old blog Greatness Via Passion. For many months I have tried to access this blog after the domain name expired. And yet it seemed to have disappeared. Strange it now was to discover that people were still reading it. And still liking it!

This was my motivation to get up.

And now, here I am, about to finish my first post in over two months. Stoked.

I have many ideas about what will come next in my life. This year has taught me so much and I feel closer than ever to the person God intended for me to be.

Perhaps I am not so much a writer as I am a helper. And the gift God has given me through which I am to help the world is my ability to write. Though there is still much for me to learn about this.

There will come a rebirth of Life of PJ now. A new direction. A new focus. And new blogs far more often! They might not always be pretty. But they will be honest. They will be me. And if you’re interested in sharing this ride, to learn and to be inspired, then I’d love for you to join me.

PJ.

The Six Month Sydney Summary

I didn’t think I’d like Sydney this much. It’s so beautiful. So diverse. Such wonder there is to discover around every turn. To finish work early and visit the beach for an afternoon swim. Or to start work late and begin the day with an early morning swim. Followed by breakfast and a coffee sat in cafes overlooking the glistening peaks of the waves crashing not fifty meters away.

I didn’t think I’d learn so much here. At least, I didn’t think I’d learn so much about the things I have. Many of which I’ve been forced to learn the hard way. Of course, these things are not easy to deal with. I’d be lying if I said a trip to the Emergency Department of the local hospital wasn’t a part of this learning process. Or the three days in a mental health ward that followed.

I knew this year was going to be a game changer for me. I guess I just saw the game changing in a different way. Six months in a relationship doomed from the start was one such hurdle to face. And the bi-weekly psychology appointments that have followed are another. And yet without these, certain revelation-ary breakthroughs would never have been made.

I’m twenty-three this year. It’s my favourite number. Inevitably my expectations for the year were high. My move to Sydney and step up and into my ‘dream job’ filled me with the idea that I was on the right path for an incredibly stable and exciting year. And yet the stability train derailed just weeks in.

It’s hard to believe six months have now passed. Beginning with three weeks sleeping on a couch and ending with another three weeks sleeping on a couch [before moving into my new flat]. Strange also to think that I began my time here managing my own gym only now to be working as a receptionist at another whilst earning the lowest hourly wage of my post-school working life.

And yet remarkably for the first time I feel free from the expectation of society as I pursue things outside of just a ‘career’ but instead things that I am genuinely interested in; things that I have always been eager to explore.

There was a poignant moment in recent weeks in which I declined a number of opportunities to further my career within the familiar surrounds of the fitness industry choosing instead to prioritise both my mental health and the pursuits of inner potential left largely untapped until now. I cannot accurately describe the sense of freedom I felt in these moments.

I am always drawn back to the thought that we always know what we would rather be doing; we always know the things we really want to be doing in life. We just create a shopping list of excuses as to why it’s not possible.

As children are are lead by instinctual desires. We know things and act on things not from fact but from instinct. At such an age it is all we have. And yet as we grow older we lose sight of this. It’s sad. And confusing.

I am learning now to go back to these roots of instinctual decision making. To trust and respect myself enough to act on these deeply rooted desires of my heart and of my soul. Not to doubt or to second guess. But to believe.

In a way it is faith. The courage to act on something not seen but felt. Might I reference the law of attraction? Or what others would call prayer? Sending out positive energies to a God or the universe. Such power there is in something even as small as a mustard seed.

I am beginning to understand the complexities of creation. I am beginning to grasp a more holistic understanding of humanity and what we all feel. The connection we all share to something greater; our united pursuit for an understanding of how and why we have come to reside on this planet.

Of course this blog began with the title, ‘Beaches, Bibles, Beers and Babes’. I was assured that I was embarking on a journey toward spiritual enlightenment. I saw that coming in a different form though early adventures to protestant congregations were short-lived. I could not remain a part of such a close minded family of ‘believers’. Surely there is more they don’t believe than that which they do.

As my mind has expanded through experience and connection my faith has not withered but flourished. And it will continue to do so. The prospect of further adventures abroad and escapades into the world of film, TV and theater continue to whet my appetite for exploration, both of myself and the world around me.

Herein lies my purpose with love both my means and my motive.

Excitement builds.

PJ.

 

 

When You Pray For A Sign And Get A Billboard

I arrived home last night, frustrated, angry, anxious. I lay in bed, my hands trembling, my body slowly curling up into a ball. My thoughts were racing, none good. I messaged friends though my enthusiasm for conversation flirted with record lows.

There was no reason to be feeling this way. Aside from an afternoon spent running around Sydney’s CBD trying to find a toilet, a PowerPoint to charge my phone and laptop, and a chilled place to sit and study. I failed in my quest and felt myself slipping further and further behind.

There was so much to do.

I really didn’t know what to do. So I started to pray. I asked for calm and clarity. Direction. SOMETHING. Something that made what I should do next in my life that little bit more obvious. I asked only that this revelation would be clear. That I would be able to differentiate it from life’s many ‘coincidences’.

Inevitably, mid-prayer, I got distracted. I started checking Facebook again. Then Instagram. I decided to re-edit some photos from the day. Earlier I had posted a selfie (a rarity), though another similar photo I began to edit. As I flicked through filters, played with the lux, structure and fade, I noticed something…

What was that in the background?

A sign. Literally. A literal sign. A billboard.

‘You Make The Leap.’

Wow.

The sign was clear. It was time for me to believe. It was time for me to make the leap.

Whichever God that is who continues to love me in such amazing ways, he’s a pretty top bloke.

More daily inspiration and insight on my Facebook and Instagram.

 

IMG_20160628_233715

Pleasure v. Purpose: The Enduring Battle

Sipping my morning coffee, I gaze out across the the affluent streets of Double Bay.

A Lamborghini rolls past. Its eloquent grace interrupted momentarily by a roar of self-indulgence.

I take another sip, turn my eyes to the deep blue sky through the window to my left and breathe in the day’s Autumn splendour.

I wondered this past weekend, amid the challenges that sickness presented, what the future would hold.

Binge watching financial drama on Netflix, the victorious lure of material wealth seemed inevitable.

Cue cash-flow projections and budget analyses. Just as in London, saving here seems impossible.

Part of me wishes I’d played my cards differently since leaving school early seven years ago. Entry level salary brackets now a distant memory for some. For me, not so much.

I do feel behind the eight ball. I do feel as though I should be in a different stage of life right now. And yet, as my girlfriend reminds me, I am still only twenty-three… It feels like I’ve been fighting these battles for so much longer.

How much longer will these battles endure? The battles that separate me from the day I can slip into my own Lamborghini en route to my beach house and morning surf? Before continuing to write the day away just as I am now?

Because that’s all I really want to do: Write, philosophise – change the world.

Simple stuff really.

I’d give up the dreams I have for those material things in a heart beat if I could just have the latter.

That’s where real fulfilment lies, at least it is for me.

It is no longer a matter of asking myself, ‘Where do I start?’, for of course the journey has long since begun. My destination, my goal, my dream, draws ever nearer.

 

Prayer. Patience. Persistence.

Surrendering To The Beat, Surrendering To The Father

Yewwwwwwww!

I raise my hands in unison with the hundreds around me and scream at the top of my lungs. Our fists pump the air. Our smiles beam. The lasers and stunning visual effects reflect our euphoria.

On stage the guitarist lets loose. His silhouette magnifies the joy we all feel. We jump as one. The decision to wear a sweater now haunts me. The tee underneath approaches saturation point. But I don’t care. No one does.

As the beat shakes my bones and soul as one, my arms raised, pumping uncontrollably, my hips joining in on the fun, I have a thought:

So easy it is for me to raise my hands. So easy it is for me to lose control. So easy it is for me to lose myself. Here, in such a worldly environment, surely many of those around me ‘tripping’, I am completely consumed by my surrounds. Could it be the beers, the rum and cokes, that are making me feel this way? No. This feels different. The beat, the energy, the company – everything.

Just like that time a few months ago in which I found myself rocking out my best attempt at a Samba in a Brazilian club near Bondi at 1am. Never had my smile grown so large. Never had I felt so free.

And yet, put me in a church, at 6pm on a Sunday night, the music pumping, the crowd jumping, just as they are now, and you’ll find my hands in my pockets, my lips sealed, my eyes scanning the audience blankly, waiting for the moment that I can ‘take my seat’.

Despite all of those around me surrendering to God wholeheartedly, I cannot help but feel embarrassed to raise my hands and sing out His glorious name. I cannot help but feel I would be judged. But why?

It is only now, in writing these words, in reflecting on such feelings, such emotions, such dilemma, that I realise what is in fact happening here.

Wordly deceit. Evil tricks. Evil itself.

It is, of course, the evil one who is playing these games with my self-esteem; these games with my confidence and ability to surrender, to confess, to profess my relationship with God to all those that surround me in witness. Such a contrast in feelings between environments can only be attributed to such cause.

For many thousands of years he has been crafting these methods of trickery, refining the means for this devious deception. So young, naiive, unskilled I am to withstand such advances on the relationship I have with my creator.

To look within to find the strength to overcome such challenges will surely only result in my imminent demise. For the strength required to overcome such evil can only be found in the Father Himself. The Father of all. The bearer of all knowledge. The infinitely wise.

 

It is the only way.

Just as these trials will continue to repeat themselves, that needed repeating. To God I must look. Yes, again, it is the only way.

‘You are the way, the truth and the life.’

Opportunity For Fall, Opportunity For Faith

As I sipped my coffee, reflecting on the decision I’d just made, a man named Steve approached me and extended his hand.

‘I believe you were the one next to me up the front earlier. It’s a brave leap we’ve both taken.’

It wasn’t the first time for either of us. Though we’d both since allowed the world to swallow us up amid its sea of shallow pleasures and promises. And yet the realisation was clear. We knew the path for which we were intended.

So here we were. Taking that leap of faith once again with renewed enthusiasm and intent.

Steve went on:

‘You must realise though Paul that this re-commitment serves only as an alarm to the devil. He is now reminded of the battle he is losing. He will seek now to attack you with more intensity and furore than ever before. Be ready.’

I nodded in agreement. I knew the battles to come. I had faced them before. I had succumbed to them before. Though now I felt prepared. I felt ready. And yet once again the devil’s wile blinded me to the nature of the devious course [in]corrections he was making in my life.

Regrettably I cannot sit here now and say that I have been strong enough to withstand the barrage of temptations that have been fired my way over this past month. Never have I felt weaker, in fact.

It was far easier before that moment of surrender. To cruise along, under the radar, to blend in, not to raise any eyebrows. To go about my life, to follow the norm. Satan kept tabs on me, of course, but my life presented no great threat to his shrewd plan for my demise.

I was naive. ‘Life’ seemed to be delivering what I required. I felt confident. I felt myself. Financially things felt stable; stable enough for the odd brunch here and there. I met an incredible girl; someone who I could previously only dream of meeting. Work too provided the comfort and challenge I sought prior to my Sydney relocation.

And yet in these I placed my sense of security; my sense of self worth; my sense of purpose.

I guess the pain I now feel should be accompanied with a certain sense of gratitude; there are many who don’t feel such levels of un-comfort; they don’t realise the erroneous nature of their actions and course through life. Sadly, they never realise. And so the glory that once awaited them drifts off into an unfortunate and saddening ‘what could have been’. Indeed, what should have been.

As I write this, I feel to have plummeted to this realisation once again. No, this is not a symptom of a once diagnosed personality disorder or the anxiety I’ve faced for the past decade. This is a game of spiritual warfare. A game for which there is always extra time for those with receptive and repentant hearts.

At rock bottom it is He who is the springboard back toward our intended success. No, not the success that we can envisage, rather the success that He has so carefully crafted for each of us.

It is His purpose that we must seek if we are to feel that level of fulfillment and satisfaction we all so deeply crave.

Surely these words will spark those same alarm bells within the depths of Satan’s hellish lair as they did twenty-nine days ago. So it is now that I must look only to God for the strength I require, not to the fruits of my worldly labour or the comfort that it provides.

Only God. Only God.

‘You don’t want perfection, just my soul’s attention.’

Lord, it is my attention that you will get.

The Lure Of Worldly Pleasure

This new adventure certainly has come with its temptations.

Every day I am surrounded by such beauty; beauty in the form of exotic cars, luxurious apartments, Michelin starred breakfasts and, of course, babes.

“Paywave, Sir?”

I tap my credit card with an air of nonchalance as I purchase my morning coffee and $22 Chorizo breakfast dish whilst gazing confidently across the top of the Ferrari and Bentley parked opposite.

I cannot help but dream of such a lifestyle.

Though hidden beneath my confident gaze is one big gulp of financial insecurity. Wind back the clock and just an hour earlier I was waking up on a couch with my life piled on the chair opposite.

It was nice to watch my bank balance grow over the past month; the taste of financial freedom as sweet as it was distracting and invariably tempting. Inevitably the bill bandit came to return me to the realms of reality.

The pain.

As I stand here breathing in the morning air perfumed by the sweet smell of Italian leather drifting from the open top of the prancing horse next to me, I am lead to a poignant realisation:

God lead me here to grow closer to Him; to His calling for my life. He lead me here to learn more about his wonderful works and ultimately to spread His name to the world.

And whilst I pray for financial security and the freedom to travel and adventure to further bring glory to His name, the devil craftily uses such answers to prayer to tempt me into this false sense of personal accomplishment.

These fruits from my labour are not my own; such an easy lie this is to fall into believing. Satan will use these small successes and freedoms created along the way, these answers to prayer, to trick me into thinking that I can do this on my own.

So easy it is to fall into the comfort of worldly pleasure.

And so I must pray now for the wisdom to discern good from that disguised; that the sweet taste of these fruits will be eternal and not those shallow and short-lived.

We are at constant war; these games of deception everlasting.

Indeed, this is the challenge of life.