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!
So I’m a compulsive planner – literally. I write my grocery lists out in order of how they are located in the store (and will even adjust based on the layout of which Walmart I’m going to). I re-write my to-do lists in the order of how they should be done that day. I iron clothes for myself and my son a week prior based on events, weather, etc. I plan out my budget down to the bag of Laffy Taffy’s that I purchase every other Friday from the Dollar Store. I plan out every moment of my vacations, including tentative naps and lounge time. I plan out my Children’s Sunday School lessons, down to the amount of time I’ll allow for prayer. Yea, I know, it’s a little much lol. And God forbid, “my plan” for the day gets thwarted in any way, shape, or fashion – I’m thrown off completely! I get anxious, stressed and frustrated!
However, lately I have been learning to be more spontaneous and most of all to allow room for God’s “planning” in my life. It was in the midst of devotions one morning recently, that God spoke to me and said “you can’t plan everything, you have to leave room for me to work in your life”. Now we all know that having a plan or making plans is never a bad thing. However, what we often fail to do is to include God in our plans.
I’m planning to move to a new apartment within the next 3-6 months and that planning process has turned into me planning the next decade of my life! I didn’t just map out furniture and décor, I’ve started trying to plan where my son will play basketball or ride his bike. How much will I have free in my budget each month to save towards my next overseas vacation or cruise? What online courses should I start taking to get a better paying job to be able to move into a house 5 years from now? What part-time work can I do now for some extra cash? Should I start a fund for my future grandchildren (mind you, my only son is currently just 10 years old)? Do I want to go sky-diving for my 40th birthday (3+ years away)? Where do I want to move to once my son goes off to college? Do I still want to get that personal trainer certification?
This was all on my “things needed for the move” list! LOL
Ever since I was kid, my mind has always gone a mile a minute and I often think of what feels like thousands of things at once! I think, and think, and think and think, and then I get anxious, overwhelmed, and eventually a headache of frustration. I’m just now learning at 36 years old, that I need to do less thinking and planning and more praying and trusting in God. I keep a pocket bible and devotional handy at work, in my car, in my purse and at home so that no matter where I am, if I ever start to get an onslaught of compulsive anxious thoughts, I go straight to His Word to shift my focus and then once my mind calms down, I immediately start praying. Sometimes I’ll just keep reading a verse out loud over and over until it sinks in and resonates with my soul.
Through this, God has been teaching me, slowly but surely, to continue planning while surrendering my plans to Him for approval, change or denial based on His Will for my life. The thing is, God’s plan is always the best plan for me, even though I don’t always realize it at first. After all, God already knows our future and has already mapped out the “ultimate plan” for our lives. We just need to sit back sometimes and let that plan unfold.
“Why do we let things like our nationality, political views, civil liberties, social status, and careers have more weight in defining who we are than our Christianity?”
Yes, I am black. Yes, I am a woman. In fact, I’m a well-educated successful young single mother! I am grateful for who I am and who God created me to be. I am also grateful for the many liberties He has blessed me to enjoy in this lifetime. But most of all, I am grateful that I belong to Him. My sex, race, background, education, or political standing should ALWAYS be secondary to who I am in Christ.
When we start promoting Jesus the way we should – in our words, thoughts and deeds – then all the other things will start to matter less and less. As the Bible teaches, the world we live in will never be perfect – free from racism, hatred, bitterness, segregation, or hypocrisy. In fact it will continue to get worse. However, God has called us to represent Him in the midst of an imperfect world. When we stop doing that and start putting more emphasis on representing and promoting our race, sex, political party of choice or other civil liberties, then we slowly start to lose our focus on our true purpose.