What does it mean to be blessed? That’s a great question, and one that various schools of thought (and ideology) have different interpretations on these days.

To some, being blessed is largely centered around financial prosperity. I don’t buy this idea. It’s like thinking that having a ‘good’ diet is having a fridge full of bacon and nothing else. Is it food? Absolutely. But eating full plates of bacon, and nothing else, is a quick way to get fat and a one-way ticket to the emergency room.

In the Bible, Paul writes about the ‘fruits of the Spirit’. Jesus said “Ye shall know a tree by its fruit.” There’s no better way to tell the marks of a blessed person than if their tree is full of the Fruits of the Spirit.

What are these fruits?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

A few years ago, I hung up a wooden plaque on my wall that had the fruits of the Spirit written on it. Why? Because I wanted my home to be Petri dish where these fruits could thrive, grow and be the living embodiment of character for myself, Atlas and all those who enter here. At the time, I was still wrestling with my relationship with both God and the church.

For years, I looked at different experiences I’ve been through and wondered why a loving God would allow them to happen. Namely, the death of my Dad. In many ways, I looked at these circumstances like a child that wasn’t getting their way, instead of trusting the parent and the plan they have for them.

As I got older, I began to look at the life that I’ve had, the experiences I’ve encountered and the incredible journey it has been. Some of the most difficult things I’ve been through have actually been blessings in disguise that I wasn’t able to see until a few years after they happened.

In many ways, life is a series of events that occur within a timeline. Our lives have a very limited view of this timeline and I’ve found it’s very easy to get lost, upset or even angry about certain ‘bullet points’ that happen on the timeline, rather than have faith that the timeline will one day all make sense and turn into something beautiful.

It isn’t the ‘imperfections’ in the timeline that make it difficult or bad. Rather, these imperfections are the events that help the timeline one day become perfect, whole and complete.

Were you to imagine a perfectly straight line, free of imperfections or bends, it might appear to be the ‘right’ path for your life. However, the two ends will never meet and find closure. Yet, if you take these imperfections in the line – even something as small as a very slight bend in on direction or the other, and add the element of eternity – what happens?

The line becomes a circle. The ends touch again to close the loop.

That example came to me the other day while I was in thought, and I think it’s particularly relevant to the struggles we face in our life journey. Things aren’t always perfect, but when you add the element of God’s timing to your circumstances, there will be a day where someday all things are mended, healed and complete.

As a single Dad, I’ve wrestled with a lot of pain. Feeling like I somehow ‘lost’ my family from being together. Yet, there’s one thing that I’ve kept in the back of my mind that’s helped me on this journey: I will never have a household where Atlas sees a relationship where his Father is mistreated, yelled at, degraded or criticized for his beliefs. I will not tolerate a home where that happens, now or ever.

As a Dad, it’s my responsibility to set an example for Atlas and show him a working model of the relationship he can one day hope to expect for his own life. It’s my hope that Atlas leads a life where he puts his trust in God, as well as finds a relationship where God is the center of the relationship.

This year, I realized the importance of putting God first. It changed everything in my life, and I wake up every day feeling an abundance of peace. It’s a feeling that I cannot even begin to describe, as well as something that no amount of money has ever been able to buy for me.

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