It’s so important to realize that the moment you decide to accomplish something, especially if its for God, that the enemy will try to do everything he can to distract you, so that he can steer you off course. It’s even more important to realize that these distractions are not always blatant or obvious, but are often rather subtle. Distractions can come in the form of person, a thing, a place, a circumstance, thoughts, or temptations.
The moment you decide to go back to school, a good friend you haven’t hung out with in awhile suddenly becomes available to hang out several times a week, distracting you from your studies. Having gotten drunk 3-4 times a week for the past few months, you get your first semester grades which show you’re failing half of your classes.
The moment you decide to quit your job so you can start your own business, you get a job offer from a company offering you $10K more a year than what you were making, distracting you from the fact that your goal is to work for yourself and eventually earn six figures. Six months down the line, you’re making more money, but you’re physically burnt out, never see your kids, hate your job, and haven’t thought about your own business at all.
The moment you decide to write a book with the vision that God gave you, negative thoughts rush into your mind with every reason why you shouldn’t do it. Now its a year later, and you haven’t picked up a pen to write anything since then.
The moment you decide to relocate your family to another state for everyone’s benefit, a gorgeous new home becomes available in the next county over, distracting you from why God told you to relocate in the first place. Three years later, you’re behind in your mortgage, neighborhood violence has impacted your teenager who now sells drugs, and you just got a notice that your job will be laying you off in three weeks.
The moment you decide to get out of a bad relationship and spend time focusing on your independence and growing in God, a new guy/girl comes along that makes you think its love at first site. Three months down the line, you find out they are married and have been lying to you the entire time.
The moment you decide to focus on growing your blog community, every technical issue imaginable begins to arise, discouraging you immensely to the point that you give up. Nine months later, a friend shows you a free online marketing course that you finish in two days that solves all your technical issues.
You see distractions can end up costing us time, happiness, peace, joy, money, and success. After all, John 10:10 tells us that “the thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy”. The good news is that its never too late to get back on track and redirect our focus to our goals. Even after we let our distractions steer us off course, ruin relationships, set us back months or years with our goals, or costs us money, our jobs, or our peace – God is still there for us, to give us the strength we need to try again and move forward. As we move forward, let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let us not allow the devil to distract us. Remember, even the most subtle distraction could cost us! And its definitely not worth it.
This morning I had one of my true “mirror moments”. You know one of those days where the reality of life just hits you all at once. You get a rush of negative thoughts that flood your brain and all of a sudden you feel like you’re alone, not in control, and that the worse is about to happen.
I was out Ubering and had to literally pull over to the side of the road and just burst into tears. Nothing bad or major had happened. It was just a whirlwind of things that I had been suppressing in my subconscious from the previous week: my son starting to grow up and dealing with all the new challenges that comes with that; my new real estate venture that I’m praying will come to fruition quickly; my blog and newly published online course that I was literally having to beg family and friends to support; my divorce process that hit a snag in the road; my paycheck that was delayed by a week.
Suddenly I just felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and that I was all alone and no one cared. Thankfully I keep my pocket bible in my vehicle and immediately opened it up. The first verse I saw was:
Psalm 42:11 (CEV)
“Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.”
It was just enough of a reminder to get me to stop crying, wipe my tears and smile. Too often we have meltdown moments like these and too often we get “stuck” in those moments. Which turns moments into hours, days, weeks, or maybe even months.
I’m learning that I’m NEVER alone. Even on the toughest of days – when you feel like you have no support, friends won’t text or call you back, family goes M.I.A., you’re handling your problems and everyone else’s, work literally sucks, your children give you hell, or every thing in the world that could go wrong does go wrong – God is still there.
I’ll be the first to admit that being a single mom is by far the most challenging thing I‘ve ever had to do. But I’m grateful that when these moments of emotional breakdown, frustration, sadness, and even anger arise, that I quickly turn them into “mirror moments” by reflecting on the mirror of God’s Word. For it is then, and ONLY then, that God reminds me that I’m not in this by myself. In fact, he knew I was going to have the meltdown. He knew what was going to trigger the meltdown. But, most importantly He knew He would be with me through the meltdown and He sees my testimony coming down the road after I push through several meltdowns.
At what point are we as Christians going to start living our lives “with” God, rather than simply keeping Him on the sidelines and only “using” Him when we think we need Him or when it benefits us?
God isn’t someone we should call on only in times of trouble, need, or desperation. Rather, He should be a part of our daily lives. In fact He should be just as “integrated” into our lives as our family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors that we see everyday. Sooooo, are we just “using” Him or are we building a relationship with Him by spending time in His Word?
This past week was my first week of getting back into the gym regularly, and Friday was the day I would meet my goal of working out for 5 days. However, Friday morning I woke up an hour earlier than usual around 5 a.m. with a slight headache and couldn’t get back to sleep. Because it wasn’t time to get up yet, I decided to login into my banking mobile app from my phone and check my direct deposit since it was payday for me. To my utmost surprise – no direct deposit! Then I nearly fell off the bed trying to get up and stubbed my toe. With mixed emotions – tiredness from lack of sleep, anger from the missing money and pain from the headache and toe – my mind automatically started going with random thoughts: “I’m not going to the gym this morning”, “I’m not going to work”, “why can’t things just go right”, “OMG, my rent is due, where is my money”, “life sucks”, “I just want to go back to bed”.
Those few things that happened all within minutes of each other had already started impacting my entire day and it was only 5:15 in the morning! It’s so easy to get angry, frustrated, discouraged, depressed and lose motivation when things start to spiral downhill in our lives. It may start with something minor, then it may turn into something major that you may or may not have control over.
Either way, God’s Word tells us how to handle those situations, and no part of the resolution involves giving up, running away, or crawling back into bed for the day. All those reactions are exactly the way the devil wants us to handle all bad things that come are way – by retreating, quitting and getting frustrated. God created us with a ball of emotions, but He also equipped us with His Word and access to Him personally to talk to in moments just like these. We can find encouragement to push through in Scripture and we can talk to Him about anything at anytime.
So today I ask, what stops your progress on a daily or weekly basis? Is it your circumstances? Something someone says? A situation going on at work? A personal relationship or lack thereof? A negative friend? Financial struggles? Your health? Whatever the case is, remember that everyday life is going to happen to all of us. As Christians, God did not promise we wouldn’t have any troubles. However, He promised that we would be equipped with the tools to handle our troubles. We have everything we need in Him to face any of life’s challenges. The problem is, our most valuable resources are often under utilized.
In fact, the moment you start to set goals or set your mind to accomplish something, there will be several things that come your way that will try to distract you, kill your motivation, or hinder you from progress. If we prepare our minds for this by spending time in God’s Word and prayer, nothing should hinder our progress.
These past few weeks as I poured time into completing my first online course, I realized that one of the reasons it had taken me so long to finish it, was because I was trying to make it “perfect”. Then God spoke to me through various means – a friend, an episode of Shark Tank, a book I was reading, and then a confirmation through His Word: If we wait until things are “perfect” before we act, move or make a decision, we’ll never accomplish anything. Whether its writing a book, creating a course, starting a business, group or organization, launching a project, producing your first product, or simply taking a step out on faith about something God has called you to do…..we simply have to just go out and “do it”.
The first “version” of your work may not be perfect, but its a step in the right direction – a step that so many of us won’t take to begin with, because we are waiting on perfection. I honestly believe I could easily have delayed my online course for another year to perfect the audio, power point color, slide transition, grammar detail, font style and size, but God reminded me that it was the content – the message in the course itself – that He wanted me to get out to the masses. Rather than spending another minute working on the little, less important details, it was time to publish!
Will there be a need for some editing, revisions, and/or future upgrades? Absolutely! In fact there will be some corrections that I’ll end up doing that I wouldn’t have done otherwise if I hadn’t got the course published and released to the public so that I could get feedback and constructive criticism from my followers and supporters.
So for that project you’ve been working on for what seems like forever, or the goal that you wrote down but never even took the first step towards, that unfinished book you started writing and pushed to the side a year ago, that gym membership that you only used once, the women’s group you keep “talking” about starting, or that business that you dream about but haven’t even begun to start making a reality….just do it!
If you’re in the beginning phase – get started! Today!
If you’re in the middle – finish it! And don’t stop until you do!
If it’s pretty much a done deal and you’re simply scared to submit, publish or send it for approval because you don’t think its ready – DO IT!
This month of November 2018, I’m encouraging a “NOW” mentality. As the year is wrapping up and coming to an end, let’s end strong to go into the new year with momentum to tackle new things for ourselves, our families, and most of all for God! Let’s get it done!
Sometimes the hardest thing to accept is that God is NOT always going to answer our prayers in the exact way that we want Him to.
So often we submit our “microwaved prayers” to God, expecting our “microwaved blessings” as a result. Listing every detail of what we want or think we need. We want it ‘made to order’ and ready in the exact timing that we select.
We pray for a new relationship, asking for a specific type man/woman and then the person He brings us is the exact opposite of the image we crafted in our dreams.
We pray for a new job, and the job He blesses us with is something we never thought we would end up doing.
We pray for an opportunity to excel and He blesses us with an opportunity that is less than ideal but comes with a raise. Yet, we’re still mad because its not as big of a raise that we wanted.
We pray for a new car and someone literally blesses us with one – free of charge – but its not the exact make and model we hoped for.
We send our prayers up like microwaved suggestions to God, telling him how we want it, when we want it, and dictating the specifics of our blessing.
But He’s been teaching me that His blessings are sometimes going to come in ways I don’t expect, through people I least expect, and at times I’m not even expecting it. At the end of the day, a blessing is a blessing. How dare we be ungrateful, impatient and even complain when it comes. Remember God ALWAYS knows best! And sometimes He even has jokes lol.
Thanking God today because I’m alive, have an awesome relationship with God, and am at a place in my life where I can truly say I have found peace. The storms still rage on in everyday life all around me, but in the midst of it all, I am blessed to be able to enjoy the peace that only God can bring. There are so many things I can complain about, worry about, stress about, get frustrated about and even cry about…..but today I’m a peace. At peace because l know that I’m a part of God’s plan; that he destined me for a purpose; that He chose me before I was born; that He will never leave me; that He protects and watches over me; that He comforts me; that He guides me; that He listens and actually cares.
So yes, today I’m at peace, celebrating my birthday, because for 38 years my God has carried me through and loves me!
Why do we get mad at God?
Blaming Him for circumstances we created
For a relationship gone wrong
Because we chose a partner we should have never even dated
Because we can’t make ends meet
Living paycheck to paycheck and always broke
Forgetting the money we wasted, stole, or gambled away
Never had a budget, and now poor life ain’t no joke
Mad because we got addicted to drugs
Or because we drove drunk and crashed the car
Or having our third kid by a third baby daddy
Or because we wanted revenge and went too far
Showed up late to work constantly
No real excuse, just plain lazy and didn’t care
Then want to blame it on the boss being racist
The day we finally get fired, claiming life isn’t fair
Wondering why we can’t keep friends
And why people avoid us by choice
Forgetting all the lying, backstabbing
Pain, tears and hurt we caused with our own voice
Our kids don’t listen, obey or respect us at all
Scratching our head, wondering why
Forgetting we paid them little to no attention
Barely involved in their lives, didn’t even notice them cry
Social media has had several “challenges” this past year – the Mannequin challenge, the Get Out Challenge, the Running Man challenge and so forth.
Then we’ve got all sorts of “challenges” in the workplace – diet and workout challenges, and weight loss competitions.
We’ve also got all kinds of “stress relief” activities available – yoga, tai-chi, meditation therapy, etc.
So many things to help us cope with the pressures of life. So many alternatives for stress relief and relaxation.
We rush to this class and that. We have special groups and social gatherings. The gym rats like myself will get up as early as 5 a.m. to workout for an hour or so. But when was the last time we challenged ourselves to consistently set aside some meditation time to read the Bible?
I’m challenging myself this month to have 30 consecutive days of “meditation” sessions with God, reading His Word.
Why? Because apart from my hectic everyday life of work, gym, church, parenting, stress, bills, annoying people and challenging circumstances, I need a spiritual boost in the midst of it all to keep me sane lol.
In case you forgot (like I sometimes do) – there is no better stress relief than the Word of God. Plus it has much longer lasting effects than any hour long yoga session ever could!
Don’t let Satan trick you into thinking that God can’t use you because of your past sins. If and when God calls you to speak, encourage, advise, write, pray, teach, act or minister in accordance to His Word – do it! Remember the great heroes of the Bible that God used in spite of their past sins:
Abraham – the liar
Moses – the murderer
Jacob – the deceiver
Rahab – the prostitute
David – the adulterer
Peter – denied knowing Christ
Paul – the persecutor
Sounds to me like we all pass the eligibility test!
Why do we look down on people who struggle with things that we don’t? Do weaknesses have levels? Am I better if my issues are only in certain areas vs. others?
Galatians 6:1-5 (The Living Bible):
“Dear brothers, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command. If anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is fooling himself. He is really a nobody. Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare himself with someone else. Each of us must bear some faults and burdens of his own. For none of us is perfect!”
One of my many pet peeves is when people say they “can’t” do something. Not because they physically can’t or because something is truly preventing them from doing so, but because they simply won’t and refuse to try.
It bothers me even more so when Christians declare they can’t do something.
Now, most people who know me will tell you that I’m a very disciplined person and that if I set my mind to something or set a goal for myself that more often than not, I will get it done. However, I will tell you that none of that comes easily or even naturally for me. All my self-discipline and self-control comes from God. And the same Spirit that lives in me, lives in every person who professes to know God as Lord and Savior – His Word tells us so.
That being said, he declares that through His Spirit, we have and can exercise self-control/discipline in any aspect of our lives. So lets stop making excuses! Excuses for not following through on that diet, not going to the gym, not cutting back on drinking or smoking, not spending time with our kids, not saving money, not sticking to our budget, not going to church, etc.
Anything in your life that is physically within in your means to do it, that you want to work on, or get better at – lets set a goal to do so. Lets ask God to help us exercise more self control and discipline by the power of His Spirit – trust me, you won’t be able to do it alone, even if you tried!
Sometimes the consequence or punishment for our sin is simply delayed blessings.
In the Bible, it took the Israelites 40 years to make what is estimated to be an 11 day trip to the Promised Land. And only because God had cursed them to “wander in the wilderness” for 40 years because of their sin.
Don’t let sinful habits/situations/people keep you from the blessings that God is literally holding out for you to take hold of……the promotion, new place, new car, answered prayer, financial blessing, breakthrough, healing, etc. Sometimes its not God holding our blessings back or him trying to teach us patience. Sometimes its us holding ourselves back, because we are allowing sin to be a barrier that is keeping us from reaching our “promised land” and we end up wandering around in the wilderness. Days, weeks, months, even years go by, when all we had to do was obey.
God doesn’t disappoint us, people and circumstances do. Then we turn around and blame God. God is the one constant in this life. His Word tells us who He is and He never once fails to be exactly who His Word says He is. Unlike God, none of us have the capacity to be perfect unfailing creatures. I’m learning to digest and embrace this fact. In doing so, I am more understanding, patient and forgiving – towards others and myself. Don’t forget, that we too have, can and will disappoint others as well.
“Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God. Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”
– Mina’s Mother from the movie God’s Not Dead