#YourLifeMatters – The Transformation Project

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“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

See the source image

Two Questions I always ask those who are assembled –

  1. Is there anyone that can see any reason why these two should not be married, if so speak now or forever hold your peace?
  2. Who here will be willing to support this marital union with the love and support they will need on this life long journey?

Marriage is an institution created by God – We find this in Genesis 2:24 where God says –

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.”

(Talk about the meaning of leave & cleave)

Instructions for Husbands continue –

1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise Husbands, dwell them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel

(Talk about knowledge – come back to weaker vessel in the Unity Heart)

Then finally – Ephesians 5:25

               Instructions for Wife –    Ephesians talks a lot about marriage – one of the main things I want to mention is the idea of respect – Which is the greatest need of men – to be respected and Eph 5:33 tells us this clearly. Earlier it also talks about submitting to your husband, as to the Lord, as the head of the house. While I realize that some of these concepts are not popular in todays society, I can tell you that if you have a marriage filled with the love of God for one another, it is as natural as breathing, especially when we look at a previous passage that tells you guys to submit one to another in the fear of God.

After hearing all of that – let’s proceed with the vows.

“Will you (Gary Ken Briden, Jr./Amanda Lee Cosby) have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”

Then Repeat after me

“In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

Exchange of rings

Rings are a symbol of love and the nature of love that has no beginning or end. You see I believe that this kind of love is a gift from God, that was ordained from long before and was therefore just waiting to be discovered and it just continues through eternity.

Ken – repeat after me – “With this ring, I thee wed.”

Amanda – repeat after me – “With this ring I thee wed.”

UNITY HEART

Prior to this wedding we had two hearts here – and they are represented by these two sculptures. The grooms is the outer and the brides is the inner. The grooms is representative of a sturdy sense of strength, protection and security but by itself is empty. The brides heart is represented here as an intricately carved piece of artwork, beautiful but by itself is left unprotected  – I want to talk a moment about the Biblical Idea of the “Weaker Vessel” and what this means…

When we put these together, by themselves they are beautiful but still there is a third element that ties it all together and makes them one – the power that created the Universe, who invited love and marriage – God Almighty.

I now pronounce you husband and wife – you may kiss the bride.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I be the first to present to you – Mr. & Mrs. Briden!

This weekend, I was asked to perform a wedding, as an ordained minister, it isn’t my first time but it was really special – this was my first time back in this role in almost two years and it was for a good friend who works for me. I have seen this friend of mine go from homeless to hopeful to hopelessly in love and it has been a beautiful transformation to watch. The pain of a past relationship/marriage breakup, whose wounds were still fresh, seemed to be soothed and healed by the refreshing balm of love. This is beautiful – transformative.

I included my notes from this wedding just as a backdrop to a larger truth – if we set out with our hearts open to what God has for us, we too can experience the beautiful and transformative love of our Creator. It may not be in the form of a wedding, a new relationship but it will always be miraculous.

In this life, we see so much… but the two constants are the unchanging love of God and the fact that everything else around us is changing. So with everything around us changing at the speed of technology, social media and the general craziness this world brings to us everyday, I believe that having a firm foundation in love of God, whom is unchanging, is essential.

With so many hurting people in this world that are in dire need of love and positive change in their lives, along with a positive self-image, that is not drive by social media or the trends of the day, I am modifying the name of this blog to – #YOUR LIFE MATTERS – The Transformation Project. My goal is to change the world, one story, one life, one heart at a time.

But I will let you in on a little secret – I can’t do it by myself. Will you help? Will you share the stories, commit to helping one person have a better life this year and encourage others to do the same? If so, together, we can create a movement that truly does change the world.

With much love,

Dr. Cliff Robertson, Jr.

The Difference You Make, Makes a Difference!

You maybe saying… that sounds obvious but really think about it. How many times do you wonder… does my life really matter?

The truth is that everything we do matters. There was a study that discussed how a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world impacted the weather in another part of the world. It’s call the Butterfly Effect.

The real point is that when you make a small individual effort to help or serve or do a better job or be considerate or… it has a bigger impact than you realize. The difference can be transformative… it matters.

Keep It Simple and Get Good at Saying No

As I sit here today, I am challenged with a desire to do more of what I am called to do, but it seems like every time I turn around, there is one more thing to do that drags me away from the mission. It is frustrating but I believe that it is also something called – life. Unless we are monks in a monastery all by ourselves, in perfect conditions and total focus, all which is impossible (the perfect conditions and total focus are the impossible parts – the monk thing, I might look good in my Monk of the Month Robe… js). Anyway, as I sit here, a bit frustrated, I see that some of these tasks that pull us away are simply unavoidable and necessary parts of being human and helping others. I am also ashamed to say that my frustration is probably a little selfish and ultimately, isn’t helping others part of everyone’s mission in life? – YES!

BUT…

I was watching a video of Ben and Erin Napier of the HGTV show, Hometown, Hometown Takover and Ben’s Workshop, talk about the deluge of things that come their way and how they have had to get really good at saying no, to a lot of things. They went on to say that they have to say no to preserve their family and to keep focused on the few things that are important in life. My wife and I were recently in Laurel, MS and got to see their shops, some of the homes they have renovated, the murals that Erin has designed and we even got a sneak peek at the outside of their home – beautiful but not outrageous. I have to say that the things that they are saying yes too, are the right things, at least from the outside looking in.

One of the challenges that I have faced is dealing with the word – NO. I have not been very good at it in the past and I have to say that I became completely overwhelmed and my life became a chaotic mess. I was managing but it wasn’t pretty and I was always exhausted. My health suffered, by gaining weight, and the mission before me at that time, building and growing a church suffered as well.

For my own protection, I had to learn to say no. But what is interesting about it today, 6 years later, I am able to do more important work than ever before. I have empowered others to do what needs to be done, but does not need to be done by me. It is great – but so are my responsibilities, great that is. I have to keep my eyes on a few important things and manage them very well. This gives me the time to plan, write and be a little strategic in my mission.

Part of my process for keeping things simple is to start my day early. I read the book, The 5AM Club, Robin Sharma, and he hit the need to get up early and get focused, right out the ballpark. (Honestly, I think I have now listened to every book he has written on Audible.) I’m a true believer in my morning routine of exercise, meditation/devotional, journaling, planning and professional development. I feel like this helps me in every way and keeps the most important things in my life where they need to be – AT THE TOP OF THE LIST! It helps me to keep things simple. I like simple.

If we can keep things simple and say no to the wrong things… even though some may be really good things, it will become transformative in our life. We will be more productive in the best things and we will feel good about our lives – because we know that we have made a difference.

Dr. Cliff

Transformation Project Daily Journal

I have been thinking a lot about this blog and site and I am thinking that I need a place to share my daily journey. I have written the book – Transformed, but what happens next? Is it over – no. Change still happens and there is still more transformation that needs to happen in my life. Maybe my stories of challenges, change and victories can be of value to you.

Have you ever found yourself challenged by life in ways that are simple but tough. Our plumbing decided to back up while we were out of town and we had someone coming over to check on the house while we were gone and they caught the sink that was overflowing. It was backing up from the drain.

Well, crisis averted but now what do you do. I decided to try and fix it myself. My first run at it was very unsuccessful… My second try was better. I thought I had it done and when I went to test the system, it started to back up again. That was very frustrating and I went to tell my wife about it. I told her, I am going to try one more time and if it doesn’t work, then I will call the plumber.

So I get everything apart, and I am running the “snake”, an auger, through it and I was able to go further than before and got a big black clump of something out of it. I wasn’t sure if what I had done worked or not, so I ran the snake down two more times. When I finally pulled the snake out and put the plumbing back together, I was like – “Ok, Lord – if it works, if it is up to you.” I ran the water and held my breath. The water was draining… so I ran it longer and it was still draining. So I let it sit for a little while and then came back and ran the water again and it was still draining.

The lesson learned here was to not give up. In the past, I would have given up. But today, I tried something I had little to no experience with and while it wasn’t easy, I was able to do it – successfully. It was a small victory but I will take the small victory and cheer about it!

You may be saying – well that is no big deal. By itself, I would agree, but what about the small victory from the day before and the one earlier today and then there was the one a couple of days ago… Slowly, over time these small victories are transforming the way I look at life, live my life and love my life. Sounds like the Transformation Project is making progress.

How about your life? What are you doing to get those small daily wins? One of the things I say often, “Progress, no matter how slight is still progress and needs to be celebrated!” So join me in my happy dance and share yours and I will join you in yours.

Cliff

#YourLifeMatters – Today

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So often, we look down on ourselves and devalue our worth. Many times that comes from outside sources. I will tell you that when an outside input makes us feel like we are less, then we need to be looking elsewhere for our input. Here are some thoughts that I just dumped on a page. I am writing a book about this topic and would love any ideas or stories. There is also a podcast attached this blog – https://www.buzzsprout.com/1624801/episodes/7360324
What does advertising say about us?

  • If we buy this or that we will be cool, attract the right people and get the girl or the guy or the job or the house or everything we want
  • It tells us that we are not enough without the product
  • It creates impossible standards of beauty
  • It’s a lot like pornography and the images it creates about sex
    What does bullying say about us?
  • IF you are the bully it says that you are not enough on your own and you need to tear others down in order to feel like you are important
  • It probably means that you were bullied as a child – most likely at home
  • The one being bullied it makes them feel like they are less and often humiliated
    What does atheism say about the person?
  • You are here today and …. Pushing up daisies tomorrow
    What does creation say about you?
  • That you are unique and special just the way you are
  • That you were created for a purpose that only you can fulfill
  • That there is no one else on the planet like you – you are a one of a kind and we are blessed and honored to know and love you.
    What does how your body was designed say about you and your value?
  • Some are born with diseases that adversely impact their capacity to do certain things. But does this diminish their value? No – I believe that God tells us that we all have a purpose and that purpose is seen in His strength at work through us – not our strength alone. I believe that this means that means that we need to look beyond our greatest challenges and see the gifts
    What do we say about ourselves?
  • That we are not enough
  • That we are stupid
  • That we are poor
  • That we are ugly/fat
  • Not enough education
  • Not enough money
  • Wrong job/no opportunities to improve – stuck
  • No one likes me
  • I’m a bad person
  • No one will ever love me
  • Everyone thinks I am a loser
    Why are these questions important?
    It tells a story about who we think we are. Until we deal with those thoughts that are negative, it makes it impossible to think any different. We create cognitive distortions in our mind that replay like a DVD from hell. It is telling us what the media is saying, what our past is saying, what we think others are saying and what our thoughts about ourselves tell us. We must learn a new way of processing those thoughts and systematically destroying them. The narrative we create in our head or that maybe our parents/peers/media create for us can destroy us or at the very least hold us back from experiencing a life that is beyond compare to anything we can begin to imagine.
    If we are going to make the bold statement – Your Life Matters, then we have to ask the question –
  • What matters about me?
  • What impact do I make?
    • In my own life? § I do things that make me happy § I experience joy by things I do § I provide safety and security § I grow intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually § I create a career – a path that I excel in – and this makes me feel good about me – In your home? § Your presence matters – listening § your intelligence and wisdom matters § your capacity to serve your home, even if it is just with ideas and creative input § your caring § your contribution lightens the load of others
      • In school?
        § You create a job for others by being there
        § Your interaction in class and with others makes a difference
      • At work?
        § The product you deliver matters
        § The income you create impacts others/yourself

What about when I am not ok?
o To others

  • I am depressed and no one cares?
    o This is tough because a lot of times people will suffer with depression in silence and they believe that no one cares. The lie we tell ourselves is that no one cares but if we were to reach out and talk with someone about it we would find that there are people who care. There are people who have experienced exactly what we are going through and may be able to help us through it. We may find others who are going through it right now and the fact that you and them are not alone in this struggle any more can be each of your saving grace
  • I am anxious about my future and whether my life really matters and no one cares
    o Your future is full of a lot of unknowns. But what you can do is your best today. You can make a plan and walk it out a day at a time. Make a reasonable timeline based on how long things normally take, like degrees and certifications, and walk it out. Being anxious about the future is common but when we have a plan and a timeline we can reduce it. When we see progress, we feel good about ourselves, that is why a timeline is important. One note – an overly aggressive timeline can be more hurtful than helpful because you will inevitably get behind and this can be anxiety inducing.
    o Progress adds meaning to your life.
  • Why do my choices matter to anyone?
    o Every choice – good or bad – impacts others
  • Why do I matter at all?
    o Every life, no matter how long or short is a complete life and it serves a purpose – it matters
  • Does it matter if I help someone?
    o Think about this for just a moment – You help Joe with a project. It allows him to return home sooner, to spend time with his kids and wife. The happiness that you created by a simple act of assistance cannot be measured. What if it ends up being one of those moments that his wife or kids never forgets because it was something that memorable… What if the fact you helped him and he shares that story with his kids, so they in turn do the same for someone else and the impact becomes exponential. What if Joe in turns helps someone else and it saves their marriage?… The line of impact is beyond comprehension.
  • Does it really matter if I hurt someone?
    o Yes! The same is true but in the opposite direction if you hurt someone instead of helping.
  • What if I hurt myself?
    o Intentional self-harm is an epidemic in this country. When one person hurts themselves by ending their life, it is often followed by several others. When others see us survive a difficult time, it encourages others to persevere.
  • What if I cure cancer?
    o YAY! You are a hero but you don’t have to do something so heroic to matter – small things matter as well
    What if I do nothing?
    No one fails to make an impact. If we were to channel our own inner George Baily, from It’s a Wonderful Life, we would see the truth behind the difference we make. If you are on planet earth, you are doing something and it matters. Even the baby in NICU, who is struggling to be alive is impacting his or her world in ways that we cannot sit here and calculate. So if a struggling infant is making a difference, what does that say for an adult or young person who had a far greater capacity?
    It means that your life matters in ways that we are going to discover. Hang in there with me and let’s explore it. In this podcast/blog, we are going to be hearing stories – some personal and others from people you have heard of and some you haven’t. You are going to hear some statistics and some science, alongside some psychology. Some you agree with, others you won’t and that is ok too.
    But at the end of the day, I want you to know that your life is significant – YOU MATTER!
    God Bless You,
    Dr. Cliff Robertson, Jr.

This Site is about to radically change and so are a few other things!

The book is ready and there are two more on the way. I have started a podcast now that will go on 2-3 days a week and we shall see if we can put it up more often than that – up to 5 days a week. By summer I hope to be speaking in churches and other venues about topics near and dear to my heart – #YourLifeMatters, I’m A Warrior and The Transformation Project. In this we will talk about the elements of positive psychology and faith. Overcoming trauma and turning it into a triumph, while leading other to do the same.

One of the things that has really captured my mind and heart over this past year is the importance of YOU. Each of us is really important for a lot of reasons and a lot of times we get lost. Maybe we get lost in the hustle and bustle of corporate America. Maybe we get lost in social media. Or maybe we get lost because we feel we have no purpose, the mistakes we have made have robbed of a hope and future and… well, what is the point to living? The point is that #yourlifematters. And in the upcoming year, I am going to share with you story after story – some from my own life, and other stories from others – that will show you how important you really are and how much you really do matter.

But we are not going to stop there. We are then going to begin to walk you through a process of personal transformation. And then we are going to talk about the warrior in you – in I’m a Warrior.

There will also be segments coming soon on marriage and men. Followed up by how do we translate all of this into the business/non-profit world – asking the following question – How can I use these skills and this new mindset to be a better team member, manager, entreprenuer, director – both executive director and development director.

I will be available to speak with groups, churches and organizations beginning this summer.

Like I said – things are about to change! Hang on – its going to be great!

Dr. Cliff

Transformed – a Memoir

The world transforms all around us during different seasons of the year. Right now, there is snow and it makes such beauty. It will change again soon as it melts.

We can transform too… when God touches our lives. He can do radically move in your life that you will no longer recognize the old life.

He did it for me and He can do it for you.

My book is coming out soon! I will announce it here when it goes live on Amazon. Stay tuned

Cliff

It’s almost done…

The book, Transformed is about to come out… finally. I have to admit, that I am a bit nervous. The book tells my story in about as direct a way as possible. It is brutal at times, heart-wrenching in other moments and generally a punch in the gut… but there is hope. Stay tuned – the story turns out pretty good because God is good – all the time. Here is a copy of the cover

Here we go… trusting God and stepping into the breach

So stay tuned – the official launch is in the first week of January – 2021.

Cliff

When God speaks…

I was reading something from Billy Graham once where he said, “Prayer is a two-way conversation with God.” People tell me all the time, “I never hear from God… how do you do that?”

God speaks to us all through His word. Yet, I know that some say, where do you begin to hear exactly what He is saying to me today ?

I won’t pretend to have all the answers but let me share an experience with you… I was going through a tough time and I prayed and asked God about and for a lot of things. Then I went through my daily devotional and reading that morning and do you know what happened? Everything I had prayed about was answered in order and one thing I didn’t ask (I was thinking I had asked for too much), was answered too! Now, I didn’t go looking for the answers, this was my normal reading. How did that happen? God did that! He wanted to talk to me and He did!

I have started writing my prayers in a journal. When I write… I pause and listen. Sometimes I just get this knowing… it’s like the Holy Spirit is giving me a nudge. Then sometimes it’s a word… like Write, I will, and can be surprising… not what I would expect.

Then there are times when I am outside… often at the beach. Several years back, I began to have my devotional time near the water. The sunrises were often amazing. Then on some days, the weather would be dark and obscured the sunrise. I remember one day, it was one of those bad weather days. I began to leave and I sensed the Lord telling me to wait. So I said, “Really? Well, ok Lord…” So I sat back down and waited. Within 20 minutes the sky went from gloomy and dark to spectacular. Here are the pictures.

I could sense God telling me, “Hang on… I know things don’t look great today but the change is coming and it is going to be awesome!”

I have to tell you… there have been times since that moment that have been really hard. I wanted to give up… walk away but I’m sure glad I didn’t! God has turned the dismal into the amazing!

God spoke to me through His creation! He tells us in His word that He speaks to us in that way, if we are listening. So are you listening?

There’s more to this story but the common thread is consistently seeking Him in His word and prayer and living for Him. When we do… we hear… when we hear, it changes everything!!

Praise Him!

Cliff

2 Timothy 4:2,7

Wait for it… wait…

We want change to happen… NOW!

Like standing in front of a microwave and shouting,

“HURRY!”

Yet, if change happens quickly, does it ever last?

Nope!!!

If it takes time and hard work, the change is likely to stick and flourish. Sweet Cherry trees can take up to seven years to yield fruit. If you till the soil… pull the weeds… plant seeds … water the ground… then wait… and wait some more!

But it’s worth it! So will the change that’s coming in your life if you stay the course and don’t give up.

Great things are coming!

Goodnight y’all!

Cliff