This month, I’m challenging myself to a “make-over”. A make-over in the sense of breaking a few “bad habits”. I realized that there are some bad habits in my life that I really need to change if I’m going to be successful in certain areas. So often we complain, get angry, frustrated, and even depressed about our situations and circumstances. And yet, so often those same situations and circumstances are created by bad choices we’ve made, actions we took, things we said, behaviors we displayed, or bad habits that we refuse to get rid of.
From personal, social, financial, educational, mental, physical or spiritual bad habits – we all have them in one shape or form. Just to name a few:
- being late often
- never saving any money
- smoking or drinking to deal with stress
- eating fast food everyday
- not exercising
- not getting enough sleep
- not being able to set aside electronic devices
- not being able to detach from social media for a day
- being a perfectionist
- watching too much TV
- never taking a break from work
- using credit cards for everything
- not sticking to your budget
- not paying attention during conversations
- not returning what you borrow
- not paying people back
- not finishing projects
- worrying but never taking action
- using excessive foul language
- telling secrets
- always complaining
- being negative around others
- never listening to others’ advice
- giving up too easily
So this past week, was not my best – at all.
I fell off my diet. I didn’t work out as much as I should have. I didn’t post on my blog. I missed one of my real estate conference calls. I didn’t meet my supplemental income goal with my Uber/Lyft driving – in fact I didn’t drive at all! I was supposed to be getting up early for morning devotions and I pretty much slept in at least 5 out of the 7 days this past week. I’m pretty sure I yelled at my kid several times for no reason. There were at least 2 days where I slacked off on my reports at work. I didn’t complete half my errands because I simply didn’t want to go out in the rain. And overall I just had a negative, unmotivated, lazy attitude. Every evening I felt mentally exhausted and drained, and the lack of accomplishment just made it all worse. By Thursday I was even more “over” everything and developed a nagging headache that just wouldn’t go away. Even when the weekend finally hit, I realized how many things I had to do, because of what I didn’t do during the week, so I couldn’t really relax. It was just a really “blah” week.
Saturday evening I had a bowling event with some family and youth from the church. I had a great time and my spirits were up for the first time in a week. Later that night I was able to have some quiet time to think, pray and hear from God. The first verse I opened up to was:
It was such a comfort to me as it reminded me that not only am I going to have “blah” days or weeks, but that God was going to be with me through each and every one of them, holding my hand, and giving me the strength to get back on track again.
So often we as Christians try to give the impression that we have it all together; that we’re doing everything so “flawlessly”; that life is just awesome everyday, all the time; that we don’t struggle, get discouraged, lonely, frustrated, worried, fed up or even depressed sometimes. But the truth remains that in our humanity we will all have our highs and lows – whether its physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, relational, financial or circumstantial. Life is hard – that’s a fact. Its ONLY because of our relationship with God that we can truly live with a purpose and enjoy life amidst the chaos that surrounds us.
I don’t know about you, but I know, in fact, I willingly admit, that I don’t have it all together. I’ve got a lot to learn, a lot to overcome, and a lot of molding left for God to do in my life. But thankfully, I have a God who loves me, never leaves me, holds my hands through my not-so-good days, and forgives me for my sins. And according to the mirror of His Word, that is what will get me through any “blah” day!
Started from the bottom
Now I’m here
Ain’t nothing I did
Just the God that I fear
Saved me when I was twelve
Embraced me with open arms
Changed my entire household
Silencing my spiritual alarms
Like a flood, pouring in His love
Bringing our spiritual pain to an end
Didn’t erase all my problems
But took them on for me – my best friend
Just in time for my teenage years
I was a quiet, short, nerd
Picked on, laughed at,
But my tears every night He heard
Committed to saving myself for marriage
Was the dumbest thing to my peers back then
But thanks to His strength
I remained dedicated – my best friend
Senior year finally came
Couldn’t wait to change scenes
Graduated valedictorian, yet went to a Bible college
To fulfill my own personal dreams
Another big mistake – or so they said
“you could be a doctor, lawyer, anything in life,
Why in the world would you get a biblical degree,
Graduate, and go on to become a preacher’s wife?”
Regardless of what is going on in your life, down the street, in Washington D.C., overseas or anywhere in the world:
GOD IS AWESOME!
I resigned from my full-time job about 3 months ago in mid-October. A great company I had been with for almost 5 years had allowed another company to take over my particular site. It had only been about 5 weeks since the takeover and my life had taken a 180 degree turn. I wanted out for various reasons, but mostly because I realized that this new company didn’t have any room for growth nor did they value their employees at all.
After much prayer and confirmation from God that is was the right decision to make, I turned in my notice. I didn’t have a new job lined up. In fact I was a single mom, with a son who had just started middle school and had all the usual bills to pay. I made a decent salary, but my Uber/Lyft hours were not going to replace that. I was confident in my savings that I would be okay for about six months or so, but the rest I just entrusted to God. I was burnt out, stressed, suffering from migraines, insomnia, spending less and less time with my son and hating my job more and more each day. Despite the fact that I wasn’t wealthy or didn’t have a substantial emergency savings set aside, my body, soul and spirit were all telling me that I needed a change. But like every major decision I make in life, I committed my situation to God to see in which direction my upcoming breakthrough was going to come from – staying the course a little longer or taking a leap of faith and giving it all up and leaving it with Him. You see, God being God, could have worked things out regardless of the path I was going to take. But it’s when we involve Him directly in our decision-making process that things tend to work out a bit easier and quicker than if we go it alone.
Although I had every reason to quit my job, I’ve learned from past mistakes never to make decisions (especially major decisions) based on my emotions. I wouldn’t put in my notice unless I had direct confirmation from God. The week prior to me submitting my resignation, something new happened everyday – whether it was an incident at work, a text from a friend, a show I watched on TV or something I read during my devotions – everyday God spoke to confirm that it was time for me to depart and start a new path. It’s funny how when you ask for His guidance, He answers – sometimes in several ways just in case we don’t get the message the first time!
My first two weeks off were bliss – a much-needed staycation! I hadn’t slept so good in months if I was being honest. No migraines; in fact not even little headaches. I was stress free, enjoying time with my kid and remembering how to laugh, relax and have fun. Amidst applying for jobs, I poured hours into hobbies and personal projects that I had started but that went undone for almost a year. I published my first online course, finally attended the real estate workshop I had been wanting to go to, completed writing half a book, and learned and cooked more new recipes than I had all year! Then I started to increase my Uber/Lyft hours to get some income flowing, which turned out to be great for meeting new people and having interesting conversations. Rejection emails were starting to come in for some of the jobs I was applying for and I honestly didn’t think I would get a new job before the new year set in. However, Christmas was coming and I needed to make sure my son didn’t miss a beat.
It had been about a month when a random phone call came from a contact at my previous company (the one before we were taken over) about a remote opportunity that would pay me my old salary and allow me to work hours that were convenient for me – and they wanted me to start the next week if I was up for it! Of course I accepted the position and my first few weeks through the end of the year were the most laid back weeks of training that I had ever had! I even got an opportunity to fly down to the main site in Dallas, TX for a week – 70 degree weather in December! Great company, co-workers, capability to work in my pjs, stress free, own schedule, nights and weekends free, time with my kid, and no decrease in my salary! Just in time for the holidays! God is amazing!
I’ve been at my new job for a little over 2 months now and its been about 90 days from the day I resigned from the old place. Earlier today, I started getting phone calls and text messages from old co-workers telling me they were just laid off. I found out that the company that took over had laid off 90% of their employees and were relocating to a significantly smaller work space. Then came the voice of God again in my ear – “I always know what is best for you”. Although at this point, I had already come to the realization that God had it all in control from the beginning, He was showing me an even broader piece of the picture. A reminder that everything happens for a reason and even if we don’t understand our circumstances, or are confused or frustrated by them at the time, that God knows what’s best because He sees the big picture of our lives.
It’s so vital that we incorporate Him into our plans, our decisions, our lives! And even more important that we actually listen to Him when He speaks to us. There is so much headache, pain, wasted time, effort and energy that we can all avoid by simply inviting God into the core of our lives and actually listening to His Voice. Sure I could have stayed at that job until the very end and been laid off with the rest. And God being my father certainly would have opened a door for another opportunity. But look at how much I would have lost in just those 3 months had I not listened to His voice and followed His direction from the beginning. I praise Him for the time off, the much needed rest, my personal accomplishments, the incredible time spent with my son, and my new work from home position which allows me so much freedom in a stress-free environment. Not to mention the fact that I would have missed out on that specific opportunity had I not been unemployed at the time!
His Word tells us that when we acknowledge Him in ALL our ways – bring Him into every aspect of our lives – He will direct our paths! It’s a GUARANTEE!……according to the mirror of His Word! It’s up to us to listen and obey when He speaks.
Happy Friday everybody!
Funny how we sometimes like to plan out every little detail of life. How we’re going to spend our day, our weekend. What we’re going to wear, and where we’re going to go and with whom. Or even if we’re staying in, we plan the shows we’re going to watch, and what desserts we’re going to indulge in. All our plans start to shape up and then it hits……a cold, an infection, a stomach virus, a migraine, or worse yet, the flu or pneumonia. Some sickness that sweeps us off our feet for a day, or two, maybe even a week or more. All plans come to a halt, as our bodies just don’t want to cooperate with our plans. For someone like myself, who likes to go a mile a minute and doesn’t like to waste time at all, a “sick day” can seem devastating! I don’t get to accomplish what I want. I fall behind in a project. I miss work (although for some this is not a bad thing). I have to postpone a fun activity. I get off track with my workout schedule. I don’t make it to church to teach my little ones. And just like that, what was supposed to be a 3 day weekend is wasted – see devastating!
This past week I have been mostly laid up in bed with a really bad cold/allergy turned sinus-infection. I honestly can’t remember my last “cold” – it had to have been at least 3-4 years ago. Apart from the occasional headache, stomach bug or half day allergy spell, I just haven’t been sick. So when this whole thing hit, it really knocked me down. All I could think of everyday was how much I wasn’t getting done or what I was missing. Then God spoke to me and reminded me, that it was okay and that He was still in control.
Me being sick for a week, wasn’t going to stop the world from running. In fact sometimes God sidelines us because He wants to get our attention. He wants to speak us when we’ve been too busy to listen. Sometimes our body just needs a break and being sick is the only way we’ll take one! Sometimes in our “planning” we get ahead of God, so he halts us temporarily to get us back on track with His plan. Whatever the case, being sick is not the end of the world. Now granted, it’s no fun either, but go through the process, medicate, rest, listen for His voice amidst it all and leave the everyday stuff to Him. Work and everything else will still be there once you’re better.
It’s been a challenging week, but I got more sleep than I have in a month, I’m 8 lbs. lighter, I am more enlightened spiritually, got an answer to a prayer, and the world around me is still here – parenting, my job, housework, bills and all! LOL
Remember: God is in everything – our good days, our great days, our bad days, and our sick days!
A pet peeve I absolutely can’t stand
Yet we all do it
Without even using our hands
Focusing on everybody else
Counting all their wrongs
Their flaws, mistakes, sins
Gossiping about it like songs
But I’ve been praying
for God to shift my mindset
to focus on growing in my walk with Him
Not on my surroundings or past things I regret
Ain’t got time to be stalking, or
Worrying about peeps on the Facebook
Don’t care what they eat, where they go
What they wear or how they look
Tired of following celebrities
Just to hear the latest news
Of adultery, scandal, abuse
Or some violence after a lit fuse
Cousin Rick cheated on his taxes
My neighbor Sarah bought a Benz
My friend LaQuisha got fired
And Jenny is pregnant….again
Its like we look for things to talk about
The good stuff so we can be jealous and mad
The bad stuff so we can put it on blast
To everyone we know; which is just sad
So often we harbor anger and resentment towards people that have hurt us. We even dwell on the fact that they never even said “I’m sorry”. But sometimes we need to take time to reflect on the people we have hurt and take time to apologize to them. And lets not forget those “subtle hurts” that we may have forgotten about or tried to pretend never happened – the ex we constantly lied to, the parent we never obeyed, the friend we stabbed in the back, the co-worker we constantly gossip about, the neighbor we never speak to, the degrading tone in which we constantly talk to our children, the relative we have simply ignored/cut off for something they did 10 years ago, the person we borrowed money from and never paid back.
As people hurt us (and they inevitably will), let us remember the pain we feel in those instances. Then let us pray that if/when we hurt others, that we remember our own pain, and then reach out to those we hurt, apologize and make it right.
I want to take a few moments today to just say “thank you” to all my wonderful followers and readers! Your support has been everything to me this past year. It’s not easy to promote love for and attention to the Word of God in the society we live in today – not even in the Christian arena. I am grateful to be a vessel for God, to be used to encourage and motivate others toward greater things in Him! I pray that each of you will continue to be blessed and inspired through this blog, and that His Word will bring changes that will draw you closer in your walk with Him.
To express my gratitude and appreciation to each of you, I would like to extend FREE lifetime access to my recently published online course “Learning the Bible 101: Benefits, Methods, and Hindrances”. If you have already signed up for the course, please share the link as a gift to any and everyone you know who could benefit from it:
May you enjoy the course and feel free to send me your comments, as I would love to hear from you. Most importantly, please continue to join me in this mission to promote the relevance, value, importance and divinity of the Word of God in a world that has strayed so far from its principles.
Stay focused on Him and saturate yourself with His Word always!
Love in Christ,
- is the very Word of God
- is a collection of 66 books (39 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament)
- was written over a period of 1600 years (from about 1500 BC to AD 100)
- was written by approximately 40 different authors (kings, prophets, leaders, followers of God)
- has 1,189 chapters
- has 31,101 verses
- has 783,137 to 788,280 words (depending on what version you’re reading)
- was first put into print in 1455 with Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press
- has approximately 1,260 promises
- has approximately 6,468 commands
- has been translated into approximately 3,300 languages
- is not only the best-selling book of all time, but the best-selling book of the year, every year!
- is sold, given away or distributed in the U.S. 168,000 times daily!
How does such a book become so irrelevant, undervalued, and underutilized among Christians today?
Happy New Year Everybody!
It’s 2019, and I’ve been asking myself what does that mean or look like for me? I personally love New Year’s, because for me it represents a new start, a fresh beginning. It’s also a time of reflection to look back at the ups and downs of the previous year. But most of all, it’s a time to reflect on the fact that God brought me through it all, and I’m still standing.
Statistically, it is said that 80% of the people who make “New Year’s resolutions” fail by February! Not only is that sad, but I believe it’s directly aligned with the society we live in today. Simply put, we are lazy, unmotivated, undetermined, distracted and confused people, who constantly procrastinate, have little to no goals, and a lack of clear vision for the future – and yes, this includes those of us that are Christians as well.
We too, so often fall into a trap of just “existing” on earth, when God has placed us here for a purpose. I’m not writing to convince or influence anyone to make a list of resolutions. I’m writing to motivate and encourage having a vision that is aligned with the Word of God. A vision of where we want to be or go; of what we want to become; of what we want to accomplish. After all, the bible dictates who God wants us to be as believers. Our entire Christian journey is supposed to be about getting there. The problem is that most of us don’t want to align ourselves with God’s plan for us, so we result to simply having no vision at all when it comes to our spiritual growth.
This lack of vision on the spiritual side, so often coincides with a lack of vision in all other aspects of our lives: physical, mental, social, educational, financial, relational, etc. Other believers may even find themselves at the other end of the spectrum, where their entire vision focuses on all the other aspects of life, while the spiritual side gets little to no attention. Either scenario is detrimental.
God has called us as believers to grow in our relationship with Him and to become more Christlike. How do we do that? Well, like all things spiritual, it all starts with spending more time in His Word. It always baffles me how Christians want and expect so much from God and yet we do so little to cultivate our relationship with Him. The more time we spend in His Word, the more His Word can convict and change our hearts, attitudes, words, thoughts, desires, actions, and our goals to align with Him. I promise, in fact I guarantee, that everything else in our lives will begin to fall into place from there.
Whether you want to work on having a better attitude, lose weight, save money for a new car, get your master’s degree, buy a home, learn a foreign language, travel overseas, get married, or start your own business – whatever the goal may be (short or long term) – aligning ourselves, our goals, our lives, our everything, with God and His plan for us, is the best way to ensure success! In fact when you align your vision with God’s Word, God begins to work in ALL aspects of your life, in ways you could have never imagined!
My family and friends can attest to what God did for me in 2018 – far beyond what I envisioned, prayed for and set out to do via my list of goals! And now, I’m all the more motivated to continue to seek His face through His Word even more in 2019, because I know for a fact, that it will indeed be an even better year for me!……..and yours can be too!
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So often we try so hard to help others. Whether its by giving advice, writing a recommendation letter for a job, letting their kids carpool with yours to school, loaning them money in times of need, letting them sleep on your couch for a night or two, keeping them from literally beating the crap out of someone, taking them to AA meetings, making sure they have a ride to bible study, being an accountability partner to keep them out of trouble, or even bailing them out of jail – these are all great gestures and acts of love and kindness.
Sometimes these gestures are exactly what the recipient needs to keep them from making a bad choice, going off the deep end, ending up in prison or even committing suicide. But sadly, sometimes, these good gestures only yield temporary results that keep the recipient off the ledge for only a day or so. Then the next thing you know that same person does the exact opposite of what you advised them to do. They take your money, spend it on something completely different from what they said it was for and never pay you back. They start drinking again after 5 years of sobriety. They stop coming to bible study and church. They get fired after a week from the job you helped them get. They bash their neighbor’s head in and end up arrested.
Whatever the outcome may be, I am learning that in either scenario I am NOT God. My responsibility is to do what God has called me as a Christian to do – show love, in whatever way I can. So many years, especially in ministry, I used to try to “fix” so many people, solve their problems, answer their prayers, and patch up their lives. In short, I tried to be God. Although, He definitely uses us a vessels to accomplish His will and influence others’ lives, we have to remember that ultimately, He does the “fixing”, the “changing”, and the “problem-solving” in the world around us. We shouldn’t feel guilt, or pressure for that matter, to try and be God – not even for our family or closest friends.
I’ve even been guilty of changing my own personal goals and dreams just to allow myself to be a “savior” to others. God has recently taught me, that I should definitely help if and when I can, but that I should continue to walk in His plan for my own life in the process. The awesome thing about all this is that when we do “step aside” and allow God to work, time actually passes. Then you look back and see not only how God has worked in your own life but also in the life of the person you were originally trying to help. Its even more amazing when you realize that God works things out much better than anything you could have done.
As cliche, as it may sound – do what you can to help, pray, and then let go, and let God!
Don’t overcompensate by doing things for people, but balance it out by being there.
When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do!
A situation may be out of your control, or maybe you’ve exhausted your resources, pursued every possible avenue, sought help everywhere you could, and you have no clue what step to take next.
All you can do is what you know to do: wake up each day, get up, read your bible, pray, and leave the rest with God. Sometimes all you can do is keep moving, as if its a normal day, all while putting your trust in the Lord. Not only is that sometimes all you can do, but its the absolute BEST thing to do!
This past Sunday, I gave my kids at church 10 minutes to write down the things that they were thankful or grateful for. I also participated in the exercise. Afterwards, we all shared our answers with the class and it was refreshing to not only hear them express gratitude for things in their lives, but to take those few minutes to express my gratitude as well.
Of course there were some common items across the lists such as: God, family, home, food, health, transportation and clothes. There was also gratitude expressed for things that make us happy like: Starbucks coffee, Xbox games, cheer leading, music, our favorite TV shows and bubble baths. Then there were also the things that tend to get overlooked: the maintenance team for your apartment complex, best friends, education, the weather, God’s protection, intelligence, challenges that make us stronger, and opportunities to help others.
So often, around the holiday season each year, we all pause to give a “lil bit of thanks” to God for all the things we are grateful for. The bible teaches that gratitude is not only a powerful thing, but in fact it is something that is a part of God’s will for our lives as Christians. Let us not only “give thanks” during the holiday season but rather remember to give a “lil bit of thanks” everyday! After all, God’s love is evident all day, every day, in everything, all around us. We never have to look far to see the goodness of God in our lives. So often we simply allow the “not so good things” going on to overshadow His greatness in our lives. Lets make it a point to take time daily to give thanks and focus on the wonderful things He is doing in our lives – no matter how big or small.