This is my fourth year in Love Unlimited. Our choir is based out of Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, but that actually isn’t my home church. I actually grew up in the Presbyterian Church. I was baptized there and have lived my whole life going to the same church. I didn’t even know that Love Unlimited was a thing until my brother joined it seven years ago. He insisted that I join the choir so I followed in his footsteps and became a member of Love Unlimited my freshman year of high school. I honestly believe that my life wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t joined this group.
It all began my freshman year when the choir went to England for choir tour. That year I became great friends with Georgie Latremouille and Kymberlee Sines. They were the kind of people we all aspire to be like because they live their lives for God and no one else. They live exactly how they want to and don’t let others get them down. I remember it was the bus ride leaving Warwickshire, England. The Georgie, Kymberlee, and I were sitting in the back of the bus. I decided I couldn’t hold it in anymore so I spilled all the beans telling them about how I was tired of doing the same old same old; wearing the same old clothes, listening to the same old music, and doing the same old things. Throughout my entire life I stuck to the norm. I did the same things everyone else did just because it was what you did to fit in. Everyone dressed the same, listened to the same music, and did the same things. I was tired of it. The two girls told me about how they struggled with the same issues. They told me about how God doesn’t care how we appear on the outside as long as we live for him and bring glory to his name. After choir tour that year I decided to make a change. I recreated myself and began living that way regardless of what people said. I began living life how I should have been my entire life. I began living with a goal to please God and do so while being my authentic self.
At first people were just confused. I got asked questions like “Brooks why do you listen to that music? Why do you not like sports? What are you wearing?” People were constantly questioning me and wondering why I wanted to be different. They began rejecting me and not hanging out with me because I wasn’t like them. I wasn’t a clone like every other popular guy in my grade. In fact I was no longer one of the popular guys and at first that made me sad, but I would always go back to the conversation I had with Kymberlee and Georgie on the bus. God loves me and that’s all that matters.
Things began to get better during my junior year. I had a girlfriend over the summer and suddenly people thought I was cool again. My old friends were more accepting of me and things were looking good. But as junior year ended and the next summer began it all changed for the worse. Alcohol entered our lives. Many of my closest friends started drinking. It seemed like the summer before my senior year everyone began to party. I knew it didn’t align with my values and it just didn’t seem fun to me. I knew God wouldn’t approve of it so I didn’t take part.
It was back to square one, but worse this time. The majority of my guy friends left me. Even some of my closest friends no longer wanted to hang out with me. This left me feeling rejected and lonely. Whenever I felt those feelings I would take my mind back to the conversation with the girls on the bus and reminded myself that God loves me and that’s all that matters. Going back and remembering that conversation would always turn my mindset around to what is important: living a life for God.
During this time I grew tremendously in my faith. I became more active in my bible studies, quiet times, church services, and learned the value of regular praise and worship. Our God is an awesome God who brings us hope and comfort when we feel alone or rejected. He is our safe haven, our rock and our salvation. The Bible tells us that persecution will come. There is no avoiding it. We are guaranteed to experience resistance in life. Matthew 10:22 tells us that “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Please take that to heart. Sometimes people will reject you and get you down, but as long as you endure until the end and claim Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will be saved. God loves us and that’s all that matters.
We all have different gifts, abilities, and talents inside of us that can be used to change people for the Glory of God. We all have a way to make a difference. That person inside of you is beating at your chest screaming to be let out and it is our duty as Christians with the help of the Holy Spirit to set that person free. No matter what people tell us we are valuable. So valuable that God made us a part of the Lord’s most valuable creation: this world and this life.
With all of my new found strength I decided to give back and help others who might be struggling with similar things so I started this blog with a goal to inspire others to live purposeful and impactful lives based around doing what they love. I have had many people reach out to me and tell me how much my posts have impacted them. I have received messages from people across the country and have had conversations in the hallway with my friends about it. Having these conversations with these people brings me so much joy and it pushes me to continue doing it. I know I have friends who roll their eyes every Monday and Friday morning when they see my Instagram story, Snapchat story, tweets, and Facebook posts about my blog, but it’s not stopping me. I believe that my purpose in life is to connect with others and inspire them to live purposeful lives for God.
My goal for you is to do some reflecting and really think about what it is that you want out of this life. People might think that you’re weird or different for it or it may seem too risky, but you only live life once so I say go for it!
One of of the songs we are singing during choir tour this year is Fierce by Jesus Culture. It has one of my favorite lyrics of all of the songs that I have sung over these past four years. “Like a tidal wave crashing over me, rushing in to meet me here, your love is fierce, like a hurricane, that I can’t escape, tearing through the atmosphere, your love is fierce.” God’s love for us is so incredible. It’s always present and never ceasing. That’s the reason our choir is called Love Unlimited. We aim to spread the word of God’s unlimited love with everyone we meet.
We’re all quite different and that is what’s so beautiful about God’s story. We are all unique in the image of God. We all have different characteristics. We all have different stories. We just need to find a way to use those factors to bring glory to his kingdom. I may not wear Southern Proper shirts, khaki shorts, and tennis shoes. I may not be a big college football guy. I may not listen to the music everyone listens to. An you know what? I could care less. It doesn’t bother me one bit because I know that no matter what, at the end of the day, my God doesn’t love me for how I look or what I’m interested in. God loves me and God loves you for who we are on the inside and that’s all that matters.
God, I thank you for your unlimited love. I thank you for the gifts and abilities you have given each and every one of us. I pray that you would fill our hearts with your Holy Spirit and give us the strength to live life being our authentic selves. Living a life for you and no one else. Help us to realize that you are the only person who gives us worth. I pray that we can embrace your fierce love and allow it to fuel our lives. Disturb us oh God. Disturb our lives and push us to new boundaries. I pray that you would challenge us to dare more boldly and take chances even when they aren’t the norm. Please help us to understand that you love us and that’s all that matters. I thank you for these incredible readers oh God and I pray that you would create change in their lives and bring them closer to your kingdom. In your name I pray. Amen.