It’s no secret that my life did a total 180 degree turn when I was laid off from a company that I had been employed with for 7 years. When I first got laid off, I was full of “this is God’s will” or “the plans that God has for me are great” and “God has something better”…. well these words began to drift slowly away from my vocabulary as I continued to be laid off. It became increasingly difficult to chant them with confidence, especially when the one year mark came up and I still have not found a job in my field. I can remember the confidence I had in my education, work experience and well written resume, but these things have not been instrumental in helping me to become employed in my desired field with a salary that is more than just minimum wage.
A friend and I were talking about a situation recently, one that is stretching me to grow in an area I thought I was already fully grown. After stating my “claim”, this trusted sage said, “Oh, and here I thought you were a Christian.” Huh? What?!?!?! I blinked my eyes and said with southern sarcasm, “I am!” The response…”Well, you’re not acting like it. Where is your faith? You talk all that talk and now that this is happening, and you’ve been waiting on it to happen you’re acting like a little chicken. This is nothing new to the God you say you believe in. Gone way from here with that!” And just like that I got “read” like a Housewives reunion on repeat.
So I pose this question to you all. What makes faith? I think it’s the situations we face which cause us to stretch and grow, especially when we thought we were already fully grown, think we can’t go another inch, think we’ve already made it through, push us out of comfort, knock the wind out of us which make our faith. It’s the times we (rightfully) believe we deserve a break, have just come out of battle and face another way, have had success in that area already and thought that “class” was over, can’t figure out the solution to save our life, have to daily battle fear within our flesh and HAVE TO HAVE absolute, total reliance on God as the only One to see us through which make faith and make the best testimonies of God’s great, great power.
Newsflash…it didn’t kill you, stop you, destroy you, stunt your growth, mess up your destiny, halt your progress or interrupt God’s plans.
You lived through it. Woohoo! Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. Do a little cabbage patch. Skip to my lou, my darling. Kick a “Kid and Play”. Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care, cause you did that!!!! You lived through it whether you knew you could, or thought you would.
That thing, those things, that person, that situation, that ending, or that disappointment might have caught you off guard, knocked the wind out of you, shook you up a bit, or pulled the proverbial rug from under you, but that’s all it did. You lived through it so now you might as well LIVE, for real and use it to move forward and make a difference for someone else who doesn’t know yet what you now know and that’s that it won’t kill you, stop you, destroy you, stunt your growth, mess up your destiny, halt your progress or interrupt God’s plans.
Thrice recently I’ve experienced being in the presence of people who have felt that all hope was gone. One even uttered that faith had been lost. To hear that and see another human being at that point because of the trials of life is heartbreaking. I know it’s easy often to think people should just “get over it”, “move on”, “pray about it”, “deal with it” or “simply smile”, but sometimes some people can’t. And many times that’s why God allows them and their hurt, pain or issues to cross our paths so they can partake in a big dose of our encouragement. They don’t need judgment, tons of questions or questioning, just genuine care, channels for conversation, ample prayers, sincere support, plenty of testimonies and a couple of opened ears and an available heart to hear them.
So, if that’s you dear, hold on for dear life. Don’t quit. Don’t lose faith. Don’t believe the lie that joy, peace and hope aren’t your option. Don’t feel like you are all alone. Don’t believe that hope serves no purpose. Don’t think that you are the only one dealing with what you’re dealing with. Don’t think you’ve done anything to deserve the temporary transition you’re in. Don’t believe that one dream denied cancels all others. Don’t think you are not loved, needed and necessary. Don’t think your life is no longer of use. Don’t believe one person in (or out of your life) determines the quality of your life. And whatever you do, don’t believe anything your head tells you that doesn’t line up with the notion that BETTER is yours.
Hold on for dear life, dear. Hold on.
Having the privilege to live alone and spend time by myself has given me an insight I don’t think I had or knew I had before when I was busied with the affairs of others. Part of that privilege also extends to being able to wake when I want to, and sometimes when I’m not ready to, to ponder silently or aloud thoughts going through my mind. Case in point, this morning at 1:30am. Why on earth I woke out of a good sleep that early is a mystery to me. I’m glad I was able to go back to sleep and only had to put a little bit of concealer on my already puffy eyes, but in the moments I was up at “0 dark 30” I was inspired with this post. Perhaps it’s for you. I know it’s for me.
- What you’re going through might have shocked you, but it won’t stop you.
- What you’re going through is not going to define you, but will catapult you to greatness that defies definition.
- What you’re going through will be shaped by your own attitude and actions, not those of others. (Check yourself, boo.)
- What you’re going through is not meant or sent to shame or embarrass you, but to attract an audience front and center to witness the awesomeness that comes out of where you are.
- What you’re going through may not be easy, but most lasting victories aren’t. (You’re in good company.)
- What you’re going through is not a step backwards, but a pause/yield/halt/put on the brakes to launch you forward.
- What you’re going through is not punishment, payback, “a mother” (as in payback is a ‘mother’), Karma, a boomerang effect or what you get for what you’ve done.
- What you’re going through is not meant to isolate (cut off) you, but insulate (cover) you. (Let that marinate.)
- What you’re going through is adding to your arsenal of ammunition against fear and doubt, even as it may be trying to make you fearful and doubtful. (No fear. No doubt.)
- What you’re going through will be rectified in such a way that you’ll one day have to convince others that you’ve actually gone through what you’ve gone through because no negative residue will remain. (Only good.)
- What you’re going through can’t dim your shine or discount your story. (Don’t let it.)
- What you’re going through may frustratingly feel like what you’d ALREADY come out of, but that’s because you can be trusted to come out. (Believe that.)
- What you’re going through is NOTHING new to God and NOTHING too hard for God.
- What you’re going through is not about you, but all about God getting the glory out of what He’s allowing for your gain and the good of others.
I love the thought of a bucket list. I think there’s nothing more rewarding than comprising lists of things that I want to do, see, experience and gain on God’s great earth before I leave it. However, I don’t plan on leaving here anytime soon, so I think I’ll change the name from a “bucket list” to my “blessings list”.
I certainly have come to realize that life is too short to squander and too long not to be lived. That makes building my “blessings list” even more important. Different than how it possibly would have been in my 30’s and definitely different from it would have been in my 20’s, I’m starting to pay closer attention to who and what should go on my “blessings list”. My list has grown from, and grown into more than things about big houses, fancy cars, some money and a man. My list has morphed into something so much more meaningful knowing that I’m backed with a little wisdom that only age can give, a little knowledge that only Godly growth can give, a lot of experience watered by tears and hard work, and a bit of common sense from the School of Life and compliments of my Daddy and Mama.
I don’t just want to get and go, I want to give! Now don’t get me wrong, I do have some “must do” things on there like several exciting trips, freedom from debt, meeting a few famous people (and becoming one), having a talk show and best-selling books, having a wonderfully fulfilling new career with professional, personal and financial benefits out the wazoo, a dream wedding and an even more dreamy (and lasting) marriage, a new neighborhood filled with people who become life-long friends, and the likes.
As good as what I want for myself is, what I want for others matters and must come to. I want to start a movement/cause/organization to help divorced men/women and their children. I want to do more work in the urban schools. I want to consistently be positioned to help young girls and grown women with self-esteem. I want to give money to buy water pumps in Africa. I want to walk around with loads of gift cards ready to give out to people in need. I want to become like the people who go into Wal-Mart and secretly pay off a Christmas lay-away debt every year. I want to do something MEGA for my parents and the family and friends who have been there for me. I want. I want. I want.
The older I get the more mature my “blessings list” gets. I like how it’s shaping up and can’t wait to actually see it for myself! So I’m moving ahead with putting my dreams on paper praying that they go from my heart and flow out of God’s hands. What about you? What’s on your list?