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!
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.
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.
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!
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!