Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How Big Is Your Yes?

I used to live along the East Coast where fireflies danced around us all summer long. We would run around and catch them, put them in jars and marvel. There are  a few lesson  that the fireflies want to tell us and how to capture them is not one.

Balance: They hold their forewings called elytra out for balance.

Balance is so important in life. Too much of anything or not enough of something can make you sick either physically, spiritually or emotionally. Life does get out of balance. Its easy to do. We hear the voices of lies calling us to stay so busy. Too busy for our own good. Being out of balance ruins relationships, empties your spirit and leaves you exhausted wondering where you went astray.

Be a light: They produce their own heat without wasting heat energy. 

Being a light in a dark place is not easy. It will take a lot of grit. Sometimes, we will have to stand alone and not follow the popular crowd. Sometimes it means our light its there for someone else to follow. Even one little light will light up a dark night and so can we.

When you capture the firefly and put it in a container and it will soon stop lighting, it knows its trapped and this will lead to death. 

Trapped! I think we have all felt trapped. We are trapped in traps others made for us and we believed their lies. We are trapped in situations that feel like are sucking the life out of us. We feel trapped in a season that seems never to change. We trap ourselves by our fixed mindset. We trap ourselves because we do not tell ourselves the truth. 

Untrapping yourself is NOT easy, it is feels more like how I imagine a caterpillar feels as it is hanging upside down in the dark wondering what is going on as its insides are turning into mush. The journey from caterpillar to butterfly is filled with pain, but beauty will arise. 

I will admit, I have felt trapped. More than once. More than twice!!! Sometimes that season has felt like a lifetime. Now I am untrapping myself, again but in a different way.

At school, I have encouraged students to believe in themselves and I have used the You Matter Manifesto from Angela Maiers. I have spoken these words over the students aloud, in my hearts to them, and in posters. I have asked students to explore their own genius as Joy Kirr has encouraged me to do. 

Together these two core elements of my life as well as my faith have created a wonderful passion in my life to serve. It came from this GHO about a year ago when Joy, Angela, and I along with our friends from our PLN, Oliver Shinkten, Garnet Hillman, Mark Moran, and Justin Staub  met together. A firefly found the synchronicity it was looking for. There are a many lights lighting up the night together with #geniushour and #youmatter. 

My Own Geniushour and My Own You Matter: A place where genius and compassion come together to be the change.

I went back to school to get my M.Ed in K-12 education because I want to become an educational advocate. I believe that hope + compassion + education = change and I believe as my friend Jimmy Casas and my godfather Hal Roberts keep reminding me that we are called to be the change, and I am compelled. 

I want to be led to non profit organizations that work with women and children coming out of sex trafficking and out of domestic violence. I have a plan now, but I also know plans take time to evolve and I know just when you think you have a plan, God has another. 

But as I was chatting briefly with Rik Rowe and Salome Thomas-El, I was reminded that God just wants our YES. This fits in so well with my motto for 2014 which was to BE BRAVE. 

How big is YOUR yes because right now, mine is pretty big. My faith tells me that God can do amazing things when someone surrenders their plan for his. That in the end, is all I want. In the end, I know that my exploration of my own #geniushour, my own passion time, my own mix of passion and compassion is my process from not only untrapping myself, but to make a difference in this very big world. It really only takes one light. 

Here are some statistics about why from Women's Foundation of Minnesota:

  • The FBI has identified the Twin Cities as one of 13 U.S. cities with a high incidence rate of child prostitution. 
  • By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that each month in Minnesota at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the Internet and escort services. This number does not include hotel, street or gang activity. 
  • A November 2010 study found that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, 45 girls under age 18 are sold for sex through the internet classified websites and escort services. 
  • In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States. 
  • About 50% of adult women interviewed as part of a 2010 study focused on North Minneapolis stated that they first traded sex when they were under the age of 18, with the average age at 13. 
  • In just one 72-hour sting over the summer, an FBI-led operation rescued 105 children and netted 152 pimps in 76 cities nationwide, including four alleged pimps in the Twin Cities.


  • Be Brave
  • Say Yes
  • Create your very own journey because you do matter and you do have a gift to give to the world. The world needs YOU. 
Do Something!!! Matthew West