This post features Brian Gardner – Fellow Blogger. Jesus Follower. Lucky Husband. Proud Father. Starbucks Addict. Sarah McLachlan Fan. CPO & Partner at Copyblogger Media, LLC. Website: briangardner.com

A few weeks back a good friend of mine challenged his readers to identify a three word mantra to live by in 2014. For me, identifying what mine would be came naturally, as it’s something that I’ve been doing the better half of this past year.

Authentically inspire others.

We all have life stories, and mine goes pretty deep. Many years ago I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, and by the grace of God, I came out of that relatively unscathed. Luke 7:47 played a large role along the way:

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

Being a Christian isn’t just about being forgiven and it ends there. It’s not about accepting God’s gift, and running with it. It’s about extending it — to others.

Looking back, I realized that in my darkest days, I remained silent. I kept my feelings to myself, and those festered into paths that Satan took to keep me down.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20, but the biggest thing I took away from my healing process was my desire to transparently tell my story.

It’s a painful one, but I believe we all have pain in our lives which makes me no different from anyone else.

Leading by example is one of the best ways, in my opinion, to help others. I know in my journey, I’ve been fortunate to have leaders that have done that for me.

How many times have you asked yourself, “Does anyone else feel this way about life? Am I the only one who struggles with this?”

There’s a pretty good chance you’re not the only person in the world who struggles with appearance, or self-confidence or the only one with family issues.

When you ask yourself those questions, how much would it make you feel better if you heard someone respond with, “Yes, I do. I think the same things and have the same questions.”

It’s comforting to know we’re not alone. Just think of the story of Peter when he saw Jesus walk on water during the storm. He had his friends with him, which I’m guessing helped at least just a bit.

That’s what I want to be for people.

I realize I can’t hang out and go to movies with everyone who reads my blog, but what I can do is write about my experiences in a way that’s authentic; in a way that will make you feel like you’re not alone, and that we’re somehow going through life together.

If I can lead by example, and help a few people along the way, then I know my gifts are being used and that I’m doing the work that God has asked me to do.

It’s something that I embrace with open arms. I’ve been forgiven much, and I’d like to love much.

Brian lives in Chicago, Illinois, is married to Shelly, and dad to Zach. He enjoys travelling, listening to music, and carpe diem.

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Making Space

Carving Out Time For God In The Midst Of Your Busy Life

With a million things to do and not enough hours in the day to get it done, it's easy to zone out and slip into autopilot in order to survive. But perhaps life is not about adding more things to your already lengthy list, but rather, about pausing in the midst of it all to consider if what you're doing is really important.