Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I've come to the astonishing conclusion that time means nothing to God, but timing means absolutely everything to Him. The problem is....we always like to "help" God out. We get so caught up in what we want and how we want it that we start making our own things happen. We don't take into consideration that NOW might not be the right time....or if it's even for you to have at all.
We want something so badly that we find ourselves telling God what we want rather then waiting on Him to give us what's best. The real issue is what we have planned out for our lives NEVER aligns exactly with God's plans for us. We hear this and we automatically get turned off. "You mean I can't make my own plans for my life!?" Hmph. lol
I know when I was in high school me and all my girls use to always map out this timeline for how our lives were going to turn out. Of course we were going to get into our first choice college, meet a guy, fall in love, graduate, get our dream job (fresh out of college mind you) marry our college sweetheart, have four kids, and live in a big behind house on the hill. Yes, I was specific....and don't act like your list isn't longer. Lol Needless to say, my life hasn't exactly turned out quite like that. The bible says "A man can plan his ways, but it's God who orders His steps."(Proverbs 16:9) So this basically means that we're allowed to "dream" but we can't get too attached to them. It's important to realize that EVERYTHING in life is subject to change. Especially if we're allowing God to be the head of our lives. His ways our not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts so that means what we think we really want, may not be whats absolutely best. You want what's absolutely best, right?
"Sometimes God answers our prayers by denying our requests."
It's also important to remember that God ALWAYS answers prayer. It's just that some times we don't like to hear His answer. Sometimes God answers our prayers by denying our requests. He doesn't give us everything we ask for because He knows that He's got something better. I don't know about you, but I want the better! Sometimes God says no, sometimes God says yes, but a lot of times He says wait. There's that awful word again.....wait. I mean lets be honest....when we've made up our minds on something....the last thing we're willing to do is wait on it. But again, God is a God of timing and it has everything to do with the great blessings He has in store for our lives.
A lot happens in the "waiting" period. God is moving things around, removing people, replacing people, closing doors, opening better ones all to clear the path for us to walk right into our blessing. The waiting period is also used to prepare us for what He has for us. What good is receiving a grand piano if you haven't the first clue on how to play it? We often ask God for things that we're not really ready to receive. But instead of God giving it to us in our time, He puts it on a shelf, while He equips us with what we'll need in order to fully enjoy what it is He has stored for us. Man, that's love.
Lastly, stop treating God like your personal genie service. You can't always get what you want and when you want it. Trust His timing. He wants to give you His absolute best....and it may not happen when you want it to happen or even when you think it should happen. God doesn't operate in our time....but once you fully understand this you won't want Him to.
*For more on God's timing and waiting check out these scriptures:
Friday, May 25, 2012
So things didn't exactly end the way you expected them to. One day y'all were talking about meeting each others parents...the next day "He just thought y'all were real good friends." Like what!? lol Trust me, I know exactly how this feels. It's frustrating and confusing as heck, but do NOT mistake what you're feeling as a need for "closure." You think because a certain situation ended abruptly you just have to find answers on as to "why" it didn't work out. You say things like, "I just need to know what happened so I can move on with my life," or my absolute favorite, "I just need to know what I did wrong so I won't carry it into my next relationship." Now if you genuinely feel the need to ask them those questions because you won't be able to function in life without those answers, then by all means....ask. But for the rest of us who might be brave enough to admit that maybe..... closures not really what we're looking for. Maybe, we just want to hear that person say "I was dumb for letting you go, so let's try 'us' again."
"Sometimes, what's understood doesn't need to be explained."
Here's the #1 mistake that we all make...we take matters into our own hands. We send out those insignificant text messages, hoping that a "hey, how have you been?" will turn into a 10-page response on how they were foolish to let you go and asking for another chance. However, 9/10 it won't. It will leave you just as stuck as it did before. Truthfully, sometimes it just comes down to, "what's understood doesn't need to be explained." If the end result is you two are not going to be together, then that's pretty much your answer. Now if you're dating someone and they have the courtesy of being honest with you on how they really view the relationship (or lack thereof) please respect them for that. It's not always easy letting someone go, especially if they knew in their heart they didn't see it working out.
It's perfectly normal to want to know "why" but make sure you ask yourself that question before you ask that person. If you really were to be honest with yourself it's not so much as to "why" it didn't work, but rather you still wanting them to want you. Oh, and stop letting your friends tell you "girl, you just really need to talk to him, make him give you the answers to all of your questions!" You're going to get your feelings hurt listening to everyone tell you what you should do. Because here's the truth......say you finally get the big closure you've been waiting on, and he/she says, "To be honest, I just didn't think we were compatible." Welp. There's the answer you've been waiting so long on. Now what?
Here's my answer to all of this: pray about it and give it to God. I know, deep right? We have to get to the point where we trust God enough to know when He's not allowing something to work. Trust me I know it's not easy, but you would rather God deal with it, then you losing your mind over it. But the beauty in letting God handle it is He ends up revealing the "why" anyway. Your job is not to play detective on finding the missing pieces. Your job is to trust God with everything that concerns you.....including your unanswered questions. There's always a method to God's madness and whether you admit it or not you learned something from every failed relationship. So try this...instead of asking God why....just tell Him thank You. He's putting you one step closer to the one you are meant to be with.
"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me...." -Psalm 138:8
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
"It is better to cry than to laugh. For crying blotches the face but scours the heart."
I'm learning more and more that everyday can't always be sunny with clear blue skies. Sometimes, there are going to be gray clouds and a lot of rain, but we must learn to be grateful for those days too. It's because of those dark cloud days we anticipate the sunshine even more and make the most out of our good times.
One important thing we have to learn is to stop focusing in on our current situations..what it looks like now. We often zoom in on EVERY NEGATIVE THING POSSIBLE and forget all the many things God has already worked out in our lives. Instead of getting stuck on the problem itself, we need to start learning everything we need to know as to why God has us where we are. He didn't put you through this storm on accident.....it wasn't because He didn't check the weather.....it's because He knew that He had something for you to learn for whatever it is that is waiting for you in the next course of your life. He's preparing you.
Let me also be clear in saying crying is not an opportunity for you to be a spoiled brat and throw tantrums when you feel like God is moving too slow on your behalf. Crying can sometimes just be a mere understanding that it's not going to be comfortable for a little bit while God is going to work on your situation. It's perfectly human to shed some tears in our lowest moments, just as long as we know there's hope in God.
I really didn't understand the verse above until I looked up the word scour, which means to "get rid of imperfections" or to "purify." After doing some research, it makes sense now why it is better to go through than to not go through. Some translations of the verse even say "for by sadness of the countenance the heart is made better and gains gladness." It's basically like the old saying "there's no testimony without a test."
I feel like with each test I'm learning a new ability and developing another strength and most importantly building my stamina because my race is not over. So the next time God throws a hurdle at you, jump that thing with pride....knowing that it's okay to cry....because they that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
*For relating scriptures dealing with this post check out these verses:
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
We all have those things in life that keep us motivated...the people who keep us laughing until our sides are sore and we can't breathe, and the beautiful places that will stay in the depths of our hearts forever. Write them down! Make a list of what keeps you going. It's easy to lose our drive, or become stuck in the normal mundane routine of things. Use this list to remind you of why you keep smiling....why you get out of bed in the morning. So here are a FEW of my favorite things (in no particular order....well okay maybe the first few...hehe)
1. My relationship with God
I use this word "relationship" very seriously. I am devoted to Him and He has my heart. Giving up my own will for my life and giving Him full control was the wisest decision I've ever made. He saved my life. He's my first love and I can't get enough of Him. Without this relationship nothing else could ever keep me going.
2. My family
These people are my life-lines. My support system. The people that have absolutely no problem with telling me about myself. The people that changed my diapers, that attended every little performance I had in school, the ones who love me enough to tell me when I'm absolutely wrong. They keep me grounded and I will always love them for that.
3. My Friends
My friends are my air. They keep me running. You never truly notice how blessed you are until you step back and reflect on the great people that God has allowed to enter your life......and that stayed. I've met some great people over these past 23 years, but the ones that are still here give me life. Every random, funny text, every group outing, every phone call.....every high and low moment, they're there for me. They've seen me at my best and at my very worst.....and stayed. I'm grateful for each and every one of the people I can call friend.
4. Anything with Idris Elba ;-)
Okay, so I won't make this all about Idris...but I am a bit of a movie buff so a good film gets a lot of credit from me. I can't say I have an all time favorite movie, although Sister Act 2 is definitely in my top 10 lol. There's just something about a great plot mixed with a great cast that just really does it for me. Major kudos to all of the great actors and actresses that devote themselves to roles that are undeniably believable to us the viewers. We appreciate you! lol
5. My "me" Time
I recommend this to each and every individual. Time to just be by yourself is imperative for your individual growth. How can you really know who you are if you don't spend time with yourself? I've come to find out that people who always need to be in a relationship or need to be around a group of people are searching for some type of validation. Some form of approval. It's perfectly fine if you're just naturally a people person....but never lose your identity in the crowd. So instead of hitting the town with your girls/guys one night choose to stay in. Get some takeout, rent a movie and just chill with you.
6. REAL Music
I'm a sucker for some good music. My heart is drawn to meaningful lyrics and a mean bass line line. lol There's nothing like jamming in your car to your ipod and never having to skip a song! Actually, the only thing better than hearing your favorite song is seeing your favorite artist perform it live! I think everyone should go see their favorite artists at least twice in their lifetime. lol It's just something about watching an artist right in front of you, as they leave their heart and soul all on the stage just to give us a good show. Music like this keeps the world in color and we'd all be miserable without it.
7. Random Weekend-Get-a-Ways
Even if you're just going 2 hours away to your friend's apartment to kick it for the weekend....get away! Life is too short to spend every second of every minute working. Take some time out of your busy life to just spend it with the people who really matter.
8. A Good Laugh
What would life be like if we didn't laugh? I don't know, but I'm not trying to find out. A day that you were able to laugh is a day well spent to me. I've gotten through some of my toughest days because someone or something made me laugh until tears came out. Find something in your day to make you laugh, it really will make you feel better....I promise.
9. My Ministry
As I begin to grow in God, my prayer started becoming "Lord, how can You use me." It's important as Christians to get involved in some type of ministry because it's how we give back to God and others. I honestly had no idea where to start, but as I begin to grow more and seek Him more the desire for a Young Adult Ministry at my church begin to grow stronger. I know this desire came from him because it honestly was the last thing I was thinking about. I love the young adults God has strategically placed in our ministry as well. I urge everyone to find people who think like you so you can encourage each other and keep one another accountable. Ministry is vital for Christian growth.
I've been blessed to have met some great guys over the years, and although none of those experiences worked out...I'm still hopeful in love. 1 Corinthians 13 is my guideline and I truly believe at the right place and most importantly at the right time, God will bless me with the RIGHT man! So to all my single ladies out there, keep hope alive! But...don't go looking for it, let God bring Him to you...in the meantime chill, He's working on it. :)
Detox: [verb] To undergo treatment to rid the body of poisonous substances.
I'm often asked the question, "so what happens next?" It's a common question that comes up with people who have recently made the decision to accept Christ...or to get serious in their walk with Christ. Although there's no one answer, in my personal experience I'd say the next step is a lot like going through Detox. So I'll call it the "Christian" Detox. It's when He must undergo a procedure on us to take out the things in us that are not like Him in order for us to grow.
Here are some steps that I've come up with that will hopefully shed more light on the Detox process:
Step 1: Admitting you need a change
If you don't admit to step one you'll never be able to move forward. You can't look for God to be your Saviour if you can't admit that you're in need to be saved. What does it exactly mean to be saved? First it's acknowledging that this life you've been living...isn't really "the life" at all. You're tired of doing things in your own strength and getting no results. It's you admitting you need change. It's you admitting you need Christ. (for more information on salvation click here)
Step 2: Make a decision
This step is crucial. It's not enough to admit that you need change. You have to actually make a decision to change. I can't count the number of times people have told me "I need a change, whatever it is I'm doing isn't working," and then that's it. They continue to go back to what they know, and never move further in their relationship with God. If you're honestly ready for change, you have to make up in your mind that you're ready for God to work on you.
Step 3: Be prepared to lose some things
Step 3 & 4 are probably the hardest steps of the Detox process. I know the #1 thing I feared in choosing to get closer to God was the things and people I would lose along the way. I mean let's be real....who really wants to give up the fun things that make us happy? Well, we think make us happy. Or even worse....how do we tell our best friend from elementary school that "we're just growing in two different directions." That was one of the major things I fought with God on. I dreaded having to have "that talk" with the people in my life that I thought wouldn't understand my new way of living. But here's what I discovered: you won't have to. The truth is, the people who will respect your decision will stick around.....and the others...well they won't. But it will just happen, and when it does......let them go.
Step 4: Be prepared to stand alone
This was personally the hardest part of the process for me. There will be a time in your walk with God where it will just have to be you and Him. You can't get around this step. You can't skip it....you just have to go through it. It's the loneliest step, but it's the most beneficial step. It's in this part of the Christian Detox process where God begins to pull out all the things in us that aren't like Him. We think "we got it goin' on"....until God shows us what we've really been looking like this whole time without Him....and we're not cute. Although this time hurts, it's also the best time for our individual growth. It's the phase where we go from incomplete to whole. It's the hardest step, but it's the most rewarding. There's nothing like becoming whole in Christ.
Step 5: Growth
Growth is the end result of completing the whole process. We begin to grow in Christ when we allow Him to work on us. When we allow Him to pull out all those negative, selfish, unattractive traits in us that were nothing like Him. As we grow in Christ, we're inevitably allowing Him to change us for the better. You'll find the things that you once valued mean absolutely nothing now because they don't compare to the joy you've found in your relationship with God. It's irreplaceable.
The Christian Detox process isn't an easy one, but it's vital for growth. Building a strong relationship with God will cost you some things....but what you gain far exceeds anything you will ever lose.
Monday, May 14, 2012
"Worrying is like putting a down payment on a problem that you might not ever have." - Joyce Meyers
So then why do we all do it? We've actually started conditioning ourselves to believe that the longer we dwell on a problem and the harder we stress over it...the better we'll feel about it and the greater chance it will just suddenly go away. Silly huh? So again, why do we continue to do it?
So here's the unfortunate truth: Worrying is linked to a lack of faith. Yup, we worry because we don't fully trust God with our situation. We often pray "Lord, I'm just going to give this situation to You and let You handle it." Sounds really good....but how many of us actually do that? Well let me be honest... I definitely struggle with this from time to time. It's easy to give God the little stuff to take care of. The stuff that we know in the back of our minds that if need be we can find a back-up plan. But what about when you have absolutely no resolution in sight? Those dark moments when you've been in the tunnel of pitch blackness and seeing no type of relief or light at the end of the tunnel? Do we still "give the situation to God?" or do we start to worry about it?
The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it's impossible to please God. He is moved by our faith. We have to learn to take our eyes off the problem itself and put all our attention and focus on Jesus. The longer we look at our problem, the bigger it becomes, but the moment we put our focus on Christ, the BIGGER He becomes! Can I let you in on a secret? He already knows how the situation is going to play out. In fact, He's already made a way out for your situation. He just wants you to trust Him enough to hold His hand to get you through it.
So stop crying about situations that you have no control over and give it ALL to God. Especially the big stuff. There's a reason why He's God. Let Him show you just what He can do. It's amazing what happens when we fully trust God. He comes through every single time. So go ahead, stop crying and pulling your hair out and do something different. Give your job situation, your recent loss of your loved one, your bad break up all to God. Watch Him bless your mess.
*For more on worrying and faith check out the following scriptures:
1 Peter 5:6-11
Friday, May 11, 2012
So I'm pretty sure we've all experienced this in one way or another. Maybe you were the one that closed the door after you watched someone walk out, or maybe you were the one that opened it for them. Either way, for which ever reason, their cameo in your life had inevitably come to the last scene.
My freshman year in college I met a guy who showed me what a real gentlemen was...and in all honesty, he set the standard. He was nice, smart, hilarious and most importantly a man of God. He was only a year or two older than me, but for a male (no offense) he was very mature in that he already knew what he wanted. We were by no means involved in anything serious but a few times the word "marriage" and a future came up in our conversations and it honestly scared me to death! I was barely 19...just a freshman in college sheesh! Things seemed to be happening too fast and I panicked and did the only thing I could think to do. I went ghost. Luckily, we didn't attend the same college so the probability of running into him was pretty low. After a few months of me going off the map, he eventually took the hint and stopped contacting me. I have to admit....I felt really bad about it. He was such a good guy and i enjoyed his company...and i wondered how could i have let him get away?
Now almost 5 years later it still raises the question....did I really let him get away? Or was it just that it wasn't God's plan for us to be together. I think often we beat ourselves up over past situations. We start over analyzing if we should've done this differently or should've said this over and xyz...but I'm a firm believer that EVERYTHING happens in a specific place, at a specific time, for a specific reason. I could go back in time and wish my should've-could've-would've's all I want, but at the end of the day....the truth is WE WEREN'T MEANT TO BE. That's it. For whatever reason God didn't allow it to happen. Even if the guy or girl really was a great person. They just weren't apart of the plan and that's okay! Accept it, embrace it...and stop being dramatic calling them "the one that got away." God sent them away so He could clear the way for "the one who will stay around." Lol. Yea I know that was pretty corny. :)
"Don't lose your zeal, stay hungry." -Mali Music