Archives For integrity

Failing Forward

randomlychad  —  January 9, 2014 — 2 Comments

The last couple of years have been interesting ones to say the least. Amazing breakthroughs followed by agonizing defeats. One day, literally on the mountaintop; not long after, wallowing in my own hog slop.

I found freedom, got free, had liberty…

In Christ.

And turned it into license.

Because I was the enlightened one, had made the pilgrimage to the mountaintop. I knew better.

And I knew better.

For six months in 2012, I lived duplicitously. Without integrity. While nothing, as they say, happened, I nevertheless kept my wife out of the loop on something. And because I did so, things looked quite worse than they were.

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching since then, and have been to counseling. I’ve come to the conclusion that I had come to value success (and thought I had found a connection on that path) more than I did my own integrity. More than those close to me.

And that’s never the way to be.

Let’s face it: writing is like life; if an artist has no honesty, no integrity, what have they got, really? What have they got to say? What contribution can they make? Anything would ring hollow.

They certainly wouldn’t be anyone worth the follow.

The point I’m trying to make, what I’m trying to so haltingly state, is that it’s never too late:

To start over.

Success begins by taking an honest look at ourselves, and our failures. For it is then–and only then–that something glorious occurs. In that light of introspection, and repentance, our failures, setbacks, coal-black before, begin to shine like diamonds. For it is then, in that light of honest assessment, that what was once failure now propels us forwards.

We “fall forward” when we both acknowledge, and learn, from what has gone before. The only definition of success that matters is that it begins, and ends, in integrity.

How are you falling forward today?

'oneword rip' photo (c) 2008, Jem Stone - license: year was interesting one for me. I both ascended to some of the highest heights, and hit some of the lowest lows. After having God, at Bootcamp, show up so amazingly, I (like Elijah after Carmel) bottomed out, turned to man for something I could only get from Him.

At the age of 43, I’m only just now confronting some of the ugliest parts of me.

I’m often:





Yet I can be:




Thing is, I’m more often the former three at home, and the latter online. There is a disconnect, a dividing line know as “hypocrisy,” all too frequently crossed.

In the last couple of years, I’ve been pursuing success here in the
blogging arena, and all the while mostly flailing around in life. I keep looking to things, people, stuff for significance. Which is really an Adam and Eve: looking for validation apart from God. Which, to be perfectly honest, is idolatry.

But God, Who must really love me, keeps pulling down my idols, smashing all my golden cows, and grinding them into a fine powder. As He should. There can be no other before Him.

I would venture so far as to say that the root of all sin is this desire we inherited from our famous forebears to achieve something, to be something, to be significant apart from God.

In my pursuit of success, I gave up something I never should have: my integrity. Which lead me to places where I should not have gone (at least in my heart and mind). The irony is that this is no way to succeed.

That’s why I’m laying down my dream, and exchanging it for the one God
has for me. If I’m to be successful in anyway, I want it to be on His terms (not mine), in His way, and in His time. I only have a finite amount of time/energy/resources to invest. And I don’t want my family on the wrong side of “my dream.”

I want it to be our dream, and I want us to invest together.

Which leads me to my One Word for 2013: integrity. I want to be the same in public, and in private. Consistent in my actions, my life laid bare before those close to me. This word was not chosen by me, but rather (I believe) for me.

By God.

I am telling you, my faithful, constant readers for the sake of accountability. I’ve laid my heart bare in the hopes that it encourages you to do the same (not necessarily here, in this forum, but in your life–with those closest to you). The point of looking back is to learn, and by learning not to be ensnared again in the same way. That is the way of wisdom.

Which goes hand-in-glove with integrity.

Thank-you for reading, and make a great 2013!

'Let's be friends with benefits' photo (c) 2011, Sarah K - license:

C.S. Lewis said it well when he said that “love is pain.” This is so because love involves risk–the risk of putting one’s heart out there… only to have it stomped on.

Again and again throughout life.

The temptation here is to–like Montresor in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado–wall one’s heart off, thereby insulating it from risk.

Continue Reading…

>All art–whether written, spoken, painted, acted–is borne of a desire to create. To make something out of, essentially, nothing. Why do we creative types do this? What is our motivation?

We do it for ourselves. We do it because we have to. We create for an audience of one. (In this way, how more like God can we be? Who also created for an audience of one: Himself).

Don’t get me wrong: sharing our work is an eventual part of the process, but it can’t be the primary motivation. The artist must work for the art’s sake–work for the work’s sake–first.

It must be about challenging oneself to make the absolute best art one possibly can, else where is the “artistic integrity?”

Take, for instance, this blog: do I write for you, or for me? I write for me–because I have to. I’m compelled to exercise that part of my brain. I’m creating my art on my terms in a way that makes sense to me. I’m creating for an audience of one.

It’s not about comments, or money, but rather about love. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with being paid for our work, but if that’s the primary motivation, we’re monkeys. Love the work–the rest will take care of itself.

Trust me on this.

How about you? Who do you create for?