Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Guest Post "In What Do You Believe In?" by Elvin Nesbitt

Hi Readers!
My name is Elvin Nesbitt - or as I prefer, Just Elvin. I’m horrible at describing myself, but you’ll learn a good bit about the person I am through reading this blog. I’ve known the lovely woman who hosts this blog for a number of years now, and I consider her to be a big sis. After a little hesitation, I decided to submit a little piece of what’s on my mind, and hopefully someone will find it interesting enough to take a few minutes to read.  I’m a pretty simple guy; I’m early thirties, have a lovely wife and three beautiful little girls who call me “daddy,” and work hard for a living. I’m passionate about achieving my destiny and reaching my full potential in this walk called life, and enjoy aligning myself with people headed in a similar direction. I’m also a musician, and enjoy nothing more than using my talents to uplift and inspire others. I don’t believe in chance, but I think everything happens on purpose. That said, hopefully something that was written in this piece will inspire you… 
In what do you believe?

We all go through moments where we question our faith; when we feel the temptation to wonder, Is God real? 
Like C.S. Lewis once said, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”

I’ve been under the impression – for the majority of my adult life – that what we believe in, makes us. It either makes us complete or it makes us search for more. The foundation that we are taught at an early age, and sometimes the things we experience (and are initiated into later) shape and mold who we are. And often times, those things assist us in our journey. Sometimes, those things mean the difference between life and death, health and sickness, and sanity or insanity. Your belief system (or faith system) can usually be summed up by one of three statements; it’s either something you take very seriously and live by, something you believe in but don’t actively practice, or something you could care less about. And for those who put very little to no stock in their belief system, please believe that you are declaring yourself to be in absolute control of your life; not relying on destiny, faith or luck. So let me clarify my position, so that you don’t think I’m referring to a “New Age” thought, or any type of higher-science consciousness. I’m talking specifically about my belief/faith in God. Your belief system may be different than mine, but I can only (obviously) speak from what I know and have experienced. And although I am *by categorization* a Christian, I’m more interested in my relationship with God, than a set of religious practices every weekend in a church.  People often challenge that the values, standards and guidelines outlined in Christianity are antiquated and almost impossible to abide by, but that is a conversation for another day. My belief and faith in God has made the difference in my life, when I needed it the most, and without it I’d be completely lost.

I firmly believe that it is vital for us to make deposits into the next generation; deposits that will stand the test of time, and that will help them overcome challenges greater than what we had to deal with in our day. It doesn’t take a Harvard MBA, or an Oxford Scholar to realize that we have a serious problem in the world today. You can look at the AIDS rate, the child (and adult) abuse rate, the murder rate, the suicide rate, the divorce rate, the abduction rate, the poverty rate, the terrorism rate, and every other rate; and see that the world is in need of help. How much more can we take, or rather – How much more will we allow, before there is a serious awakening? And I think the majority of these issues are tied to what we as people believe. It is closely linked to what we believe at the very core. What do we believe about ourselves? Are we convinced that we are the bad things we were called as a child? Are we destined for failure because our relatives never succeeded? Is sickness inevitable because we were born into a family where diseases abounded? Do we believe what we read or hear on TV? Do we think that these “Reality Shows” and fantasy-based movies can define us as people? Do we think that Oprah, Dr. Phil and every other talk show host can deposit life-affirming balance into us? Or maybe we think that we know it all, and don’t need any help. Maybe we are our own belief system, and in so become our own gods. If so, we are definitely in trouble. I say trouble because look what us being at the helm has produced so far… As for me, I believe in something greater than myself, and therein lies the true power of belief. Try standing in quick sand, and then try to pull yourself out of it. It’s virtually impossible. You need something outside of yourself to step in and help you when you’re drowning/falling/sinking. That is what we need to deposit into our children, and into this generation that we’re in.

My mother made that deposit in me, and I thank God she did. I started at an early age, being in church all the time, every day, every night, and so on. And although I spent so much physical time in that place, the place wasn’t spending time in my heart. So later on, like so many rebellious teens and young adults, I went out trying to find all the things I was “deprived of” in my strict environment. There I was… making a complete mess of my life, and it all seemed fine while in the situations; but isn’t that always the case. Needless to say, it was a mission NOT worth embarking on. I made mistake after mistake, error after error, was broken at the very core, and hurt some along the way in ways I can’t even stand to think about. But right there in middle of my despair and brokenness, I remembered my belief. I remembered who I was and what I was intended to become. I remembered a 2,000 year old story I heard about someone who loved me enough to give up his life, so that I could keep mine. I remembered a story about someone who wanted me to have a happy, abundant life; one where I could focus on the things and people that actually matter. I remembered that there was someone who – no matter how many lies I told, and how many times I had fallen – loved me and was waiting on me to come home. I remembered that I am loved, I am cherished, I am full of purpose, and best of all; I am forgiven. He had paid the price for all of my mistakes, so I could always start over again with a clean slate. I remembered Jesus, the Christ. This gave me the strength I needed to get up from where I was, and become what I am.

In the Bible, there’s a parable about a prodigal son, who wanted to take his inheritance from his father, while the father was still alive. This was obviously problem number one. Anyways, after the father had obliged his young son’s request, he headed straight for the wild life. If it were in 2013, I could imagine him hopping on a plane to Vegas, with a suitcase full of condoms, cocaine and cocktail mix. The son lived as wildly as he could, for as long as he could, until he woke up one day and found himself in a pig pen; contemplating eating the nasty pods that the swine fed on. He then came to himself, and realized that he should go back home. He was content to be just hired help, only so that he could be in a better position than he had allowed himself to fall into. But the end blew me away. When the father saw him coming from afar off, he ran to him, put on the family crest, robe and welcomed him back with open arms.

“God made the world for the delight of human beings-- if we could see His goodness everywhere, His concern for us, and His awareness of our needs: the phone call we've waited for, the ride we are offered, the letter in the mail, just the little things He does for us throughout the day. As we remember and notice His love for us, we just begin to fall in love with Him because He is so busy with us -- you just can't resist Him. I believe there's no such thing as luck in life, it's God's love, it's His.”
― Mother Teresa

The greatest take-away I got from this prodigal son story is:

“No matter where we are and no matter how bad of a condition we are in; as long as we are still alive, there’s hope. As long as we have faith and believe in something bigger than ourselves, there’s always hope. And with that hope - the kind of hope that only God can give - we can be restored, healed and forgiven. And that’s a hope that can change a nation.”

So… In what do you believe?

Picture courtesy of


  1. Hey Elvin! Very nice piece. I find that I too am a Christian who is not define so much by Christian guidelines but by my faith and belief in God. Thru my life I have encountered several different religons because of my friendships. We are talking Judisum to Budist(sp). What I found is that all have valid practices and great beliefs, but most importantly is their faith in someone or something bigger than themselves. My children are both heavily invovled in our church, but more importantly they are learning that all things are possibly through christ!! I have seen a many a bad day and have felt like there was no way things were gonna work for me, the end was near. But in the end I always held on to my faith and God saw me thru. Wishing you all the best in you future endeavors. Stay blessed ;)

  2. Hey Autumn! Thank you for your very encouraging comment, and I'm glad to hear that you have your own story of overcoming dark/hard situations! The most prolific and awesome thinig you can do for your children is instill the love for God, and His principles. No matter what they do in life, they'll always know how to reach heaven, and inevitably get answers. Keep up the great work! :-)

  3. As a Christian myself, I have to say that faith is essential to Christianity. Christianity is a faith-based religion and as Christians, we are called to believe this message and live in light of it. Without demonstrating faith and trust in God, we have no place with Him. We believe in God’s existence by faith. Most people have a vague, disjointed notion of who God is but lack the reverence necessary for His exalted position in their lives. These people lack the true faith needed to have an eternal relationship with the God who loves them. Our faith can falter at times, but because it is the gift of God, given to His children, He provides times of trial and testing in order to prove that our faith is real and to sharpen and strengthen it. This is why James tells us to consider it “pure joy” when we fall into trials, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance and matures us, providing the evidence that our faith is real (James 1:2-4). For me, most importantly, I believe there is a God and that I am not alone.

    For the people who are not of that school of thought, I strongly think that they do believe…but they just believe in something else. It can just mean a belief in other things. These may include: a belief in others, the power of nature, a belief in themselves perhaps, or even a belief in something as profound as the power of love. For them, they just have to believe in something. Anything! It makes life worth living for them. I've known atheists in my life that I felt were good, decent people. They would tell me that they didn't believe in God, and that this life is all we have. They may not believe in God and they say they don't have faith, but they do believe in things. There are so many things to believe in. They may include: Love, reason, compassion, understanding, knowledge, social responsibility, or justice. Most of us believe that there is both good and evil in the world. We also believe in the difference between right and wrong. In my own life, my beliefs are a comfort to me. I've been told that faith is a belief in that which we can not see. Even an Atheist may still have some faith. He may not have faith in a God, but he does believe in things that he cannot see. You can't see love, but we all believe that there are people who love us. There is so much to believe in. Sometimes some of us just have to take a look around.

    Imagine waking up in the morning and not believing in anything. It would be a terrible feeling: wouldn't it? What would be the purpose of even getting out of bed. I'm sure that there are people out there who don't believe in a higher power, and don't believe in faith. I'm not here to preach or say that us Christians are right and everybody else is wrong. Far be it from me! I've said it before and I'll say it many more times. We all have our own paths to travel. Who knows; some of us may take completely different paths, but we may, after a long journey, end up in the same place. The important thing is to believe in something. If even that is a struggle, then start small. Reach out to someone. Something as simple as feeling the warmth of another person's hand is important. Take a walk and look around. Use all your senses to take in the beauty and wonder of the world. There is so much out there to believe in. Sometimes you just have to keep an open mind and look a little closer, and maybe a little harder. There is a tremendous quote from one of my favorite French writer that says: “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.”- Albert Camus


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