What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

 

This is an essay I wrote this year that really gets to the core of what I want to do with my life. In simple terms, I want to be a storyteller. There are so many avenues that can be followed when pursuing storytelling, and I don’t necessarily mind how I end up working as a one. What I really care about is what makes a storyteller. The motives of great storytellers and the characteristics and values they have are amazing, genuine and rooted in what I believe to be some of the most important things in life. Being a storyteller means so much more than people know, and in this essay, I want to explain to you what it means to me.

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Hi, my name is Chad Campbell-Gonzalez and I would like to share with you how I figured out I want to be a storyteller. Growing up, I loved writing. In elementary school when I was asked what I want to do I said become a writer. There was something about writing that drew me in. I think at the time it was the limitless expression that writing offered. Blank pages were like blank stories, empty worlds, and untraversed universes, waiting to be explored by my imagination and my pen. Each word I wrote added to this thing I was creating that came from inside me. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was falling in love with creativity.

Creativity is a critical aspect of storytelling, and it is so fascinating and unique. Getting to express myself through words and imagery is powerful. It’s personal. Creativity is like the key to a door that opens up a world of adventures in self-exploration and understanding. Through it, we try and better grasp who we think we are and, in the process, gain a greater appreciation for those around us. That’s why, although unique and definitely a self-journey, creativity is also a voyage of all people and an adventure that leads to building community.

As I grew older, middle school and high school weren’t environments where creative writing was prioritized. It was still there but you really had to search to find it. All that given, I drifted away from writing and pursued what I thought would make my family and those around me proud. I wanted to be someone important and powerful. I wanted a job that was hard to achieve and when I accomplished it, people would be impressed. I wanted to be everything except what my heart wanted me to be. And so I pursued those things. All through high school and through the beginning part of my college career I had myself convinced that was what I wanted. Over that span a few things happened that, at the time I didn’t know, but were slowly turning me back towards my passion for storytelling.

I found Jesus on May 30, 2015, my sophomore year of high school. My experience with Him has shown me how important people are, and most importantly how important love is. Love is one of the most powerful things on the planet, and it wasn’t until I started following Jesus that I really took a look at my heart and the love that was in my life. I was going through some family issues, as we all are, but I starting to really think about what it means to love and how to do it and I was able to start working through some of those things. Then my journey with understanding love grew even more in my senior year of high school when I read the book “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver. I could see him exploring ideas on love and trying to understand what it meant to him and I thought to myself, I want to do that! Carver helped me see how writing helps a writer work through and wrestle with confusing things in their life, and lets others see what they take away from it.

So, with these things in mind and my passion for writing starting to spark back up I decided to take a writing class at the University of Washington. It was amazing. Writing again I could feel the creative cogs in my head creak back into life. I felt like a kid again. I felt like me. I was able to start unpacking and working on things in my life that hurt me, confused me and I was able to express and share all the things that healed me and uplifted me. It was like all of these huge realizations flooded me and I was able to hear my heart again. I came to realize that being a storyteller means wanting to understand and love yourself, and more importantly, sharing what you discover with others so that they can learn, grow and be reminded that they aren’t alone in their struggles. I began to really appreciate the personal therapy session I received every time I put the ink on the page or my fingers on the keys. Being a storyteller means creating and it means listening. It involves getting out in your communities and sharing experiences. It means helping each other see their best self and get the most out of life. Being a storyteller means loving people, and that’s what I want to do with my life.

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The Truth about Affirmation

Affirmation is a powerful thing. However, I think our mindsets are a little off on what true affirmation looks like in life, and I think that it is very important to understand what it really is. Through this post I want to share with you three stories of recent affirmation in my own life and then explain the truth about affirmation.

1

I work at a restaurant as an assistant server, more or less a busboy, and I love my job. I get to serve people and most of the time that is behind the scenes, doing things that nobody knows. It is only human to want to be recognized and acknowledged for the work that you do. Sometimes, it was extremely difficult to convince myself to keep working so hard for what seemed like no reason. So one night I was working with a server I had never worked with before, and I was battling with feeling like I was unnoticed, unimportant. But I decided to keep up my spirit and keep doing my work. In the middle of the shift she comes up to me and says, “Do you love Jesus?” I smiled and told her I do, and I asked her why she asked me or how she knew, and she told me, “Because you are really happy and really kind.”

2

One night after I had just finished up meeting with some people, I was walking down the sidewalk on my way home. I passed by this place called “WOW” which serves bubble tea and other drinks, and something just came over me to go buy two drinks for people in my house. I went in and the place was empty except for two girls who were waiting for their drinks to be made. I walked up to the counter and ordered the two drinks. As, I was standing there I noticed the two girls look at me and then giggle and whisper to each other. This went on for a little and then eventually one of the girls came up and explained how they weren’t trying to be rude, but they thought I looked a lot like this guy from a show they watched. I laughed and ended up talking with them for a while and explained how I just felt a random urge to come in and buy drinks for my friends. The other girl noticed my bible and started asking me questions about my faith, and I got talk to her about Jesus. Afterwards, they gave me a hug and told me to “keep doing good things.” I got my drinks and headed out.

3

I was in a waiting room, hanging out before an appointment and I noticed that the room was pretty empty. It was just the receptionist and me. This thought crossed my mind to start a conversation with the her. It was early in the morning though and I didn’t really feel like talking but I decided I should. We started talking about random things, mostly small talk, and I had actually thought the conversation was over but then she asked me more about my life. We talked for a few more minutes and then she paused and said, “What did you do to end up going in the right direction?” and I laughed because I hardly feel like I know where I am going. But I got to explain to her that my faith has led me to where I am, and I definitely don’t know if it’s the “right” direction but I love the path that I have been on ever since I started following Jesus. She scrunched up her mouth and looked up over my shoulder, somewhere into the distance, and after a moment looked back at me and told me thank you.

I think that it is very easy to let our focus turn to pursuing gratitude and affirmation in life. But what we need to do is focus on Jesus, because when you do that you won’t even care about being affirmed by the world because you are affirmed by the God of the world who sees every second of work you have put in. Affirmation from the Lord will leave you feeling encouraged and inspired and through that you will give into others selflessly and without concern for your own acknowledgement. Also, when you pursue Jesus and let him affirm you it becomes so much more evident all the little ways we are affirmed each day. We have come to believe that affirmation must be a big event that will leave us in awe, but the truth is affirmation is in the smiles that we see from others, the simple and sincere words they share, and the small acts of kindness people do for us. In the stories I shared it wasn’t until I was really doing things for others, without my own desires leading me, that people said something. It wasn’t by my own strength or desires to do something and try and be acknowledge, but a prompting from the holy spirit that led me to affirmation. When I step out of my own way and let Jesus lead, people see that and respond. I also think that it is important to consider that these are what I would call “big” moments of affirmation. You have to realize that these happened after years of following Jesus. They don’t happen every day, but the small things do. If you let your thoughts become focused on being affirmed in huge ways and spend your time and energy living for those moments, you will always end the day feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled. The truth about affirmation is it’s simple, effortless, and everywhere if you focus on Jesus.

*Image is called Picture My Thoughts by Myra Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consistency through the Climb

 

Hello everyone! I haven’t written anything on here in a long time, and I miss it. I miss you! Writing on my blog has always been in the back of my mind. I want to do it, I just kept finding every reason not to. But I don’t want to do that anymore. So this blog post marks the beginning of consistency in my writing. I want to commit time to my community on here and I want to start holding myself more accountable. From now on I am going to be posting on my blog once a week on every Friday. I am not holding myself to a specific time on Friday, but it will be before the day is over. This is doable and this will help me post frequently and consistently, but it also allows me enough time to write quality posts. I would love your feedback if you want me to post on a different day or have any questions. One thing you may be saying is, “Yah but Chad, what are you actually doing to be more consistent?” and that is a great question! Here are 3 things that I am implementing and trying out to help me become consistent.

 

  1. Planning. I am setting side a very small amount of time each day dedicated just to working on blog posts, 30 min each day. However, I am not just saying that I will do that. I have written it into my calendar, and it is usually really early or late so that it will hopefully be a time that I won’t have to move around. By putting it into your calendar rather than just saying you are going to do it, the plan becomes more solidified and you will more likely get it done.
  2. Micro Goals. Of course, I think that you should dream big and have a mountain top goal that you are working arduously to achieve. But if you want to keep your sanity and faith along the way then you better set yourself some micro goals. If you already took my advice from part one then you my friend, have already set yourself up to be successful with a micro goal. What will ultimately determine what these goals are is based on what you want your end goal to be. What is your mountain top? For me, blogging is something that I do because I enjoy it and my goal through it is to learn more about myself and work on my writing skills plus share that with you. But my Everest sized goal would be to reach as many people as possible, whatever that looks like, and have my writing be something that brings joy, positivity and guidance into their lives. I want to reach people and let them know that they aren’t alone in whatever they are going through. I want to build community. A micro goal for this could be reach five people. Just reach a few people first. Then ten, hundreds and keep climbing. Achieving these micro goals helps you build confidence and momentum and reminds you why you started this journey in the first place.
  3. Extraction and Passion. Consistency demands from you time. You have to make room for whatever you are pursuing. For me, I plan on cutting back on the amount of time I spend watching YouTube or Netflix. In my case I don’t have to make too much room to achieve my micro goal of 30 minutes a day of working on my blog. Rounding up some time to commit to what you’re pursuing doesn’t have to be hard. A few minutes here and there and you can gather a lot of time quickly. So, if you haven’t been consistent in whatever it is that you want to be, that means something has got to go for you to have time to commit to it. For some, this could be the biggest obstacle standing in your path to consistency, and that’s because it correlates with the most important thing that leads to consistency: Passion. You have to ask yourself, is this something that I really want? If the answer is no, then please do not waste your time trying to pursue it. Find what you are passionate about first because I truly believe that the secret to being the most consistent you can be, is by having passion to drive it. Passion will lead to consistency. It’s easy to devote time to something that you love and want to invest in.

 

I hope these 3 tips will help you reach the level of consistency that you desire. Being consistent is your own journey and what that looks like is different for each person. The last piece of advice I want to give you before I go is to support all those around you. We are all trying to work on ourselves and pursue our passions. Whatever it is that you are trying to be more consistent in, I hope that you also strive to be consistently kind and encouraging to one another. Let those around you know that you see and acknowledge their own work in reaching their mountain top.

10 Things to Keep in Mind for Life

10 Things to Keep in Mind for Life

 

First off, I would like to say the number one piece of advice I can give you as a Christian, is to follow Jesus. It is the best choice I have made in life by far and it will change your life. However, I want this post to apply to everyone, regardless of beliefs. So, here are 10 things that will help you get the most out of life.

  1. Take time for yourself. Pray, reflect, meditate, journal, blog, do something that is just for you to process and be with yourself. Life is busy and filled with people, and I think it is easy to forget how to communicate with just ourselves and understand what we are feeling. Take time to feed your soul and ask yourself the hard questions in life. Keeping in touch with yourself and your beliefs will help keep you focused on the important things in life. More importantly, taking time to be alone with your thoughts will remind you of the path you are on and why you are on it. It helps you see the purpose of living.
  2. Work hard. Whatever you are working towards, I guarantee you that if you put in the work and time you will get the benefits. It may not happen the way you want, how fast you want it to, or how you pictured it, but it will happen. You will get there. It may be difficult and require a lot of sacrifice, but the best things do. You know what you are giving towards something. Whatever it is, earn it.
  3. Know your value. Acknowledge who you are, and the unique presence that you bring with you. Appreciate the type of person you are and what you contribute to others lives. You are special, and it is important that you know and value yourself. If you can’t do this for yourself, it makes it hard to do it for others.
  4. Surround yourself with good community. Stay close to those that push you to better yourself and help remind you of who you are. Keep friends in your life that truly want what’s best for you. Those that are willing to pick you up when you are down and humble you when you’re too proud. Your environment and community should be something that helps bring out the best version of yourself.
  5. Love others and love them fully. Truly loving others is one of the scariest and best things you can do in life. It’s scary because it makes you vulnerable and can lead to you being hurt. But I promise you that it is always worth it to give with all your heart to others because the good moments that come from that, will always outweigh the bad ones. I believe that when you look back on your life you will never regret knowing that you loved with an open heart.
  6. Have forgiveness. Holding on to a grudge or a hurt, regardless of who was wrong or right, is so detrimental to your health and well-being. It will only weigh you down and restrict your confidence in others. Forgiveness is the foundation of trust. Being understanding and forbearing with others frees your mind and relieves you from the burden of stress that holding a grudge can cause. If you let your animosity for someone or an event fester, it will turn into bitterness, spite, and resentment. Something that is sometimes harder than forgiving someone else, is forgiving yourself. If you can’t let go of things that have happened to you and forgive yourself and those that from your past, then you will never truly be able to move forward.
  7. Be generous. This one seems straight-forward. Of course, I think there are plenty of benefits to sharing financially when you can to help those that need it. However, I urge you to consider being generous with your time and attention. I know for me one of the best things someone can give me is just some of their undivided attention. When you put away your phone and disconnect from the world and give your time to someone it is so meaningful and considerate. So, be present and engaged with people and deliberate with your time because it shows you really care.
  8. Listen and Share. There is no avoiding hardship and struggle in life. No matter who you are there have been times in your life that are difficult for you to talk about. These times of adversity play a big role and shaping who we are but often scar us with silence. We need to address our silences and help others with theirs. One of the best things we can do for others is listen to their story. Be somebody that they can talk to and help them overcome the silence in their life caused by tragedy. As for yourself, find your voice to speak about the misfortunes that you have dealt with. The worst thing you can do is try to handle your hurt on your own. Don’t let the silence consume you. Share your pain and listen to others and you can overcome, and help others overcome, even the worst trials.
  9. Be scared in all the right ways. If you’re scared of losing someone, failing, or not knowing what the future holds, then you are doing everything right! That means that you are fully committing yourself, your heart, and your energy. You have something to lose. I think that is the best place to be in because regardless of what happens, you are going to grow. You are challenging yourself and taking a risk. If you fail, then you learn from that and grow. If you succeed, then you learn from that and grow as well. So, get out of your comfort zone and get in uncomfortable situations, because that’s how you better yourself.
  10.  Be thankful. It is so easy to focus on all the things we don’t have or the situations we want to be in, that we forget to be appreciative of the here and now. All the things I have shared here are good things to keep in mind. I would like to end on the point of being thankful because if you can be thankful when it seems things are at their worst, you are going to develop a joy that is unbreakable. Whoever you are with, be thankful they are there with you. Wherever you are, be thankful to be in that place. Even if circumstances aren’t the best at the moment, you can still be appreciative because you know things can get better.

I hope you have learned something or at least been reminding of something you want to work on in your life. These things are easier said than done and I know it is unreasonable to do all these things, all the time. But try your best to apply these in your life and I am sure you will notice a difference.