“Don’t grow inward. Live beyond yourself” ~ Mike Penninga

 

These words were spoken from the stage at church this morning. I specifically chose the word stage, rather than podium or pulpit, because our pastor, Mike Penninga, is quite the entertainer. He is on fire for Jesus. And I mean ON FIRE. And it’s catching.

 

Each and every week, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about the power of the words he shares and his passion for Jesus. I have cried on more than one occassion listening to his sermon.

 

In life, we are all salespeople of one kind or another. We sell our ideas at work, we sell our opinion to our spouse, we even sell our expectations to our children. And Mike Penninga, well, he is selling the story of Jesus like nobody’s business. And I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. Not at all.

 

In order to be good at sales, we must wholeheartedly believe in our product, in our mission, in what we are sharing with the world. Mike Penninga is a complete and utter Jesus lover. He is in the business of selling the story of Jesus to every person he encounters. And guess what? I am buying it, people.

 

I AM BUYING IT.

 

Now, don’t get all weirded out. Stop.

 

Just hear me out.

 

I’m speaking specifically to those of you who don’t believe in God. Hold up! I am talking to those of you that are adamantly opposed to organized religion. Those of you who are too “smart” for Jesus’ story. You know who you are. Your intellect gets in the way of you surrendering to the possibility of God. I get it. That was me. That is me.

 

Just take a breath and open your mind. Open your heart while you are at it, too. I want to share my experience this morning at church and it’s worth a moment of your time.

 

I started going to church about 4 months ago. I’ve been going for 14 weeks now. I had a goal of attending 12 weeks in a row without a break. And I did it. I missed church last week because I was out of town and on a stage in front of 100 women, speaking the word of God in my own way. I hope that doesn’t sound too ego-centric or weird. But I do consider my speaking engagements to be inspired by something bigger than myself.

 

This morning, in the second of the “After Easter” series at KGF, Mike Penninga was talking about “Doubting Thomas”. His opinion was that this disciple should be called “Honest Thomas” instead. Honest because he was willing to speak into what everyone else was thinking, but not willing to say out loud. Thomas spoke up and spoke out. He was very clear with his words. And at one point, he declared he wasn’t going to believe in the resurrection unless he saw Jesus with his own eyes and touched his sacred wounds. That was Thomas.

 

The cool thing about this sermon was that Thomas was really caught up in his “unless story”. That was SUPER powerful for me because I have my own “unless story”. And that is I don’t understand how Jesus dying on the cross has any impact in my life or anyone else’s life. How does his death affect anything or anyone? I understand the story intellectually, but it doesn’t make sense to me.

 

Now, that may sound like blasphemy, but it’s my dilemma. It’s my unless. I can’t believe in this whole Jesus Christian show UNLESS I understand it and it makes sense to me. That’s my thing. Ha ha ha.

 

(That’s also my intellect showing up. And my desire for control. I don’t want to release the seeming control I have in my life by surrendering my existence fully and completely to a power greater than myself. I have done this on some level, but not fully and completely. Maybe it’s time to take this concept to an even deeper level in my life, but that’s a whole other story for a whole other time.)

 

Back to Jesus. Back to unless.

 

This whole Thomas story makes me think of the many different ways this idea of unless plays out in our lives. I can’t be happy unless I have a partner. I can’t forgive unless I get an apology. I can’t enjoy life unless… until…  without… with… There seems to always be some kind of obstacle to our happiness, to our peace, to our faith, to everything we so deeply desire.

 

Back to the title of this post:

 

“Don’t grow inward. Live beyond yourself” 

 

These two simple sentences are an amazing response to the dilemma of unless. Unless is really a very simple and common way for us to “grow inward”. Unless prevents us from reaching out, from exploring relationships, from feeling good, from pursuing our dreams, from connecting with God, from all sorts of ways in which we could “live beyond yourself”. Unless keeps us stuck and alone. It keeps us exactly where we have always been. And that’s not working for most of us. Not at all.

 

And really and truly, this whole idea of growing inward vs living beyond ourselves is something I teach all the time as part of the way I healed my depression. YOU CANNOT HEAL ON YOUR OWN, PEOPLE. You cannot experience relief, release and renewal all by yourself. You cannot experience happiness either. True happiness is a result of being connected to ourselves, to others and to a power greater than ourselves. In fact, that connection, the one with the power greater than ourselves is THE KEY.

 

It really and truly is. I kid you not.

 

And hey! I am telling it like it is, cause y’all know that’s my superpower.

 

So, I ask you this…

 

How can you more fully experience the glory of your own life and this thing we call living by living beyond yourself?

 

How?

 

Connection.

 

Connection is the key, people.

Connection.

With yourself.

With another.

With a power greater than you.

 

REACH OUT.

DO IT.

It is time.

 

And let me know how it goes.

 

Please

 

xo
Shyloe

10 Comments

  1. Meghan
    April 15, 2018

    I like this. I’m into it.

    Reply
    • Shyloe Fayad
      April 15, 2018

      Hey Meghan!!

      So great to hear from you!! I am glad you like it. I am glad you are into it. It was a little scary for me to write as Christianity has lost its allure in the last 50+ years. It’s no longer hip. Ha ha ha. But, there is something there. I know that I could not have overcome my depression had I not developed a relationship with a power greater than myself. I cannot cure myself of depression, only God can do that, only something outside of me can transform me like that. I did the footwork, but in the end, I cannot take credit for my healing. It’s not all about me. Does that make sense?

      Shyloe

      Reply
  2. Cara Jahnke
    April 15, 2018

    I enjoyed reading this Shyloe as I have the same thoughts when it comes to Jesus. I have no problem believing in a higher power (God) but this whole Jesus on the cross thing just keeps me baffled! I too keep thinking I can’t fully and completely believe UNLESS…..
    I just want someone to sit me down and tell me how it is, talk to me until it makes senses and I can have that aha moment and just “GET IT”but I know all too well that’s not how it works especially when it comes to Jesus……I will keep working on it!
    Thank for sharing!

    Reply
    • Shyloe Fayad
      April 15, 2018

      Hey Cara!

      Thanks for sharing your reflections. It is so awesome to have feedback in this way. The whole Jesus on the cross thing is something that I’ve struggled with for a good long while. I know my ego is a big part of why I don’t get it, but I can’t seem to get past it and I have a hard time considering myself a “real” Christian with this big road block. All I know for sure is that I love God and I love believing in something bigger than myself.

      There have been moments, though, in this whole going to church thing and listening to Mike where my heart opens up and lets Jesus in, but it doesn’t last for long. I’m not sure what I am afraid of, but there is something there. I know I am open to finding out what that is.

      Thank you for sharing!!
      xo
      Shyloe

      Reply
  3. Jennifer
    April 15, 2018

    HI Shyloe

    I’d love to talk with you……

    Jennifer
    250-505-8003

    Reply
    • Shyloe Fayad
      April 15, 2018

      Hey Jennifer! I’ll get in touch tomorrow 🙂 Shyloe

      Reply
  4. Tami Harker
    April 16, 2018

    Hi Shyloe: Good for you being able to speak your feelings freely and openly about your beliefs. In so many situations I am in these days I find that many people are afraid to speak about God, Jesus, or anything to do with Christianity. I have been a Christian my whole life but really converted in 1987. That’s a whole other story. What I know is that Jesus is real, he is my brother, my friend and my spiritual guide through this life. Because of his example I am a better mother, friend, daughter and all around person. He reminds me to be grateful, serve others and live outside myself everyday. I appreciate so much you telling your story. I’m glad you are buying it. I can’t imagine my life without the gospel. I heard a talk last week in church about “Marginal Gains”. Sometimes we try to know everything right away and we think we have to see the whole picture, but learning anything is like a puzzle, we have to take one piece at a time and learn it’s shape and color to see where it all fits and we have to learn it for ourself. The small and what seem to be the insignificant everyday choices in our lives (Marginal gains) are what help us put the magnificent puzzle of this life together. The trick is to not get discouraged as we fit the pieces together and keep looking at the picture to see that it is doable. It is. It is.
    Have a wonderful week. Warmly, Tami

    Reply
    • Shyloe Fayad
      April 18, 2018

      Oh Tami!! It’s so good to hear from you!! I miss my SelfDesign friends and family 🙂 This is a lovely reflection. Thank you so much for sharing bits of your journey and the idea of “marginal gains”. That makes so much sense to me. I am someone who wants to know it all right away, but perhaps my journey is one of “marginal gains” as well. My biggest desire is to KNOW the truth of Jesus in my heart, not in my head. And I recognize that journey involves surrendering. Surrendering is not something I am very good at as I always want to be in control. It is something I can work towards though. Or perhaps it will descend upon me in one fell swoop. Who knows! Thanks again for reaching out. Love you and miss you. xo Shyloe

      Reply
  5. Janette
    April 16, 2018

    Hi Shyloe!
    I’ve never worked with you but I get your emails. Thank you for sharing your moments in life. I loved this message. It seems like so many people are coming to God. Not only a “higher power” but Jesus/Christianity. It does get so confusing and I am one that lives on faith and don’t know much about the bible. But from what I gather Jesus was crucified to fulfill prophecies that were fortold to the Jews. Also Jesus said he had to die so that God would be in all of us in the form of the Holy Spirit. This is not an age and time I can truly grasp but this is what I understood of it. Netflix has a few shows that are supposed to be very close to the bible writing… A.D., The Bible and Son of God. I’ve only seen A.D but found it very interesting. I read the bible through the week and this pop out at me and make sense more and more each time I read it. I’ll be praying for your Aha moment, but it sounds like God is already in you and working through you!!!

    Reply
    • Shyloe Fayad
      April 18, 2018

      Thanks for sharing, Janette! It’s so nice to have some feedback. I appreciate it. I have had a deep love for God for a long time, but I have not felt as connected to Jesus. I understand the crucifixion and what it’s supposed to mean, I just don’t “get it”, if that makes sense. I’m excited to find out more and to explore my new passion for deepening my understanding of the Jesus story. He was a pretty cool dude and I’d like to be able to relate to his sacrifice in a way that makes sense to me. We’ll see! I’ll keep you posted 🙂 xo Shyloe

      Reply

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