November 21, 2017

When you decide not to settle, you decide to face more adversity. The decision to overcome….

The above video illustrates a creative musical expression that Jennifer Nettles (lead female singer of Sugarland) never plans to settle in terms of life ambitions. If you research the background story of her career and the band, Sugarland, you would know the narrative for any artist to rise almost never comes easy. However if you seek to become more, the decision to become what you seek has a price.

That decision to reach for higher heights brings more challenges, almost guaranteed to create adversity. Those who settle for a day job and survival mode stay in the comfort zone of no risks taken. The individuals who face their fears to overcome them triumph to accomplish wonders that extend beyond imagination. Some historians believe that Thomas Edison tried over 1,000 different configurations (and some hypothesize even more than 2,000 times) to eventually discover the right construction with his invention, the light bulb. His persistence with this experiment and other accomplishments changed scientific history from that point forward.

When we reach beyond ourselves, we will face unforeseen difficulties, but it is those struggles that define the greater character within. It is those trials that teach us to hope when no light remains visible in our future. The talent to hope, no matter the circumstances, develops with experience and some might even say age. When we hope forward to become more, we soon achieve endurance to chase after any dream before us.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to never settle. The words of specific Biblical Scriptures and music like Sugarland’s song, Settlin’, inspire me to reach beyond myself. I will be discouraged. I will fail more than I succeed. I will pick myself up when I fall flat to the ground, maybe literally and figuratively. I choose the path of greater because I will be a better person for it.

The greater in my future guarantees I will encounter more hardship than most. However that is the choice I choose to make. I cannot be subpar. I cannot only be average. I strive to change lives and do great things. In the chase to struggle well, that is where I must find my satisfaction in the midst of the storm.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Sugarland – Settlin’ Lyrics

Fifteen minutes left to throw me together
For Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Forever
Don’t know why I even try when I know how it ends
Lookin’ like another, “Maybe we can be friends.”
I’ve been leaving it up to fate
It’s my life so it’s mine to make
I ain’t settlin’
For just getting by
I’ve had enough so-so
For the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low
So raise the bar high
“Just enough,” ain’t enough this time
I ain’t settlin’ for anything less than everything

With some good red wine
And my brand new shoes
Gonna dance a blue streak around my living room
Take a chance on love, and try how it feels
With my heart wide open
Yeah, you know I will
Find what it means to be the girl
Who changed her mind
And changed the world

Repeat chorus

I ain’t settlin’
For just getting by
I’ve had enough so-so
For the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low
So raise the bar high
“Just enough,” ain’t enough this time

I ain’t settlin’
For just getting by
I’ve had enough so-so
For the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low
So raise the bar high

I ain’t settlin’
No, no, no, no, no, no
So raise the bar high, high

Never give into the critics! Be you for yourself!

 “Watch out for the joy-stealers: gossip, criticism, complaining, faultfinding, and a negative, judgmental attitude.” -Joyce Meyer

KEEP SCROLLING – This is good preaching right here!

“Joy-stealers” – I love this saying! I think that noun accurately describes the worst of our critics. For instance, asking girls out, submitting book proposals, working daily with volunteers, and pursuing the greatness upon me, rejections face me almost every day with a “No” and/or a continuous negative person.

I try my best to never listen to those full of their own words. Some know not what they talk about. You cannot take it personally. Some will always become critical of everything, everyone, and every action, no matter what you do.


If you feel content the way you are, then you are excellent just the way you are. If those around speak negative in bad attitudes and criticism, then who cares what those individuals think? You know the opinions of those you truly respect, those that care for you and whose intentions continue forward as pure. The way you view yourself is the most important matter with your own confidence.


Do not apologize to anyone for who you are. I think we live in an “apology culture” when everyone feels obligated to say “Sorry” for simple tasks that warrant no apology. We remain a sensitive culture when sometimes we better serve those around us with toughness. If you pursue the greatness upon you with a true vision and no regrets, then fulfillment occurs with your very best.

You may not reach the level of goals and accomplishments you seek; however if given your best, then self-satisfaction stands at its highest levels.


“You can never date that girl, James!”

“You do not sleep enough, James!”

“You cannot learn to play the guitar, sing, and dance with two jobs and a business!”

“You cannot finish a second masters with all currently on your plate!”

“You cannot traditionally publish, speak professionally across the country, and work a day job!”

I have heard every criticism in my life, from every critic existent in this country, but at this point, it only motivates me further to fulfill the goals those who say I cannot accomplish the tasks above.

With no risk or the higher level reached for, there is no reward. You reap what you sow. You earn what you work for. Never listen to the negative criticism. Be yourself. And reach for the higher heights before you that you stand worthy. God deserves your very best. So let’s give it to him! “Greatness is upon you, and you better act like it!”

(Last line – quote by Eric Thomas.)