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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

Author

thewritewade

Educator, Creative Soul, Faith Walker - All posts by C. J. Wade are property of The Write Wade Publishing Company, LLC (thewritewade) and posts by guest bloggers are shared jointly with thewritewade and their respective owners. -

Thursday Love: Serve It Up

Hi, Family!

Yesterday was full, so I’m checking in with you today. I’m getting better at this Girl-go-to-bed thing. That’s what I tell myself when I’m trying to complete something in a half-sleepy stupor. Progress is happening, Folks. lol

Now to this short stop (under 500 words) –

Imagine yourself planning a delicious dinner for someone. As you stroll through the grocery store aisles to create their favorite meal, sheer excitement kicks in. The recipe is at the apex of your mind. You can’t wait to see the person’s face as they explore and experience the fruit of your labor. When you arrive at home, you immediately prepare the ingredients. A dash of spice here. A pinch of pepper there. Stir, stir, stir. It’s a creation to behold with both the eyes and the nose. The smell arrests your attention as you set the table and plate the food without flaw. Those TV chefs have nothing on you. The doorbell rings and you greet your guest with a smile. Pure endorphins rush through you with anticipation; then, your guest says “I don’t want it.”

The gall!

I don’t know about you, but that would deflate my smile in less than a second. I’d pack it up and eat it myself later, but the sting of my guest not wanting their favorite meal after I’ve put forth such effort would last a bit longer than a minute.

That’s how some of us feel when we show Love and they block it like a basketball pro. It hurts when your heart extends its hands and the person retracts in response. Let’s be real – it makes you not want to try anymore.

Today, I encourage you to serve the Love of Jesus anyway. Like those ingredients created a favorite meal, Loving certain people in certain situations takes planning, patience, and sincere effort. That’s the only way the person can experience the supernatural sweetness His Love can bring.

Courtesy of my Bible app. Thanks, YouVersion.

The “taste and see” part of Psalm 34:8 always gets me. You can’t taste anything until it is produced. Notice I didn’t say until it is cooked. Food is a production… a derivative of a process. Once we allow Love to germinate in our hearts, it has to be shared. The fruit of the Spirit produces more fruit. One of my favorite quotes carries this point further –

“If you always love one another, if you always uphold one another,
you will be capable of working wonders!”

-St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

Wonders. That’s the power of the Love beating in your chest. It has the potency to create miracles. It is capable of reproducing goodness and wonder in others.

Taste and see… revelation comes after Love is expressed. As much as you want to withhold it from those deemed unworthy, you can’t. How else will they see?

Don’t keep Love to yourself. Let it produce. Even if they don’t want it, they’ll know that Love was behind it.

Wednesday Wind Down: Pick One

Hi, Family!

I hope your day went or is going well (shout out to our international family members).

I heard a Word in my Spirit over the weekend and I am so excited to share it with you!

Let’s look at half of one of my favorite passages – Psalm 1.

Psalm 1:1-3 (New American Standard Bible)

(1) Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (3) He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. And in whatever he does, he prospers.

OK, so I want to highlight the “sit in the seat of the scoffers” part. What is a scoffer? According to dictionary.com, it is a person who speaks derisively; ridicules; mocks; jeers. Isn’t that happening right now over various topics? Sure it is! The phrasing indicates that the man doesn’t sit in their seat. He doesn’t get comfortable in barbaric conversations where love and listening are not welcome. He doesn’t delight in mocking others. That’s not where he lives; it’s not where he thrives. He does not breathe there.

This passage came to mind after I heard the following in my spirit over the holiday: They want a religion that will not change them.

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

Whoa.

I paused what I was doing and let the gravitas float in the air. The Holy Spirit was spot on (per usual) and I shook my head in disappointment.

Although Sunday is deemed a sacred day in many communities, I believe it became more ritualistic than life-changing. This was never the intent. Never in the Plan. I truly believe the upside of the pandemic is that this comfy church blanket was ripped from our hands and more importantly from our internal dictionaries. When we couldn’t go to an edifice, we had to create space in our homes for Christ to inhabit. We had to sit with ourselves or with our families, pause some duties, and cultivate intimacy in our belief systems. More importantly, we had to create space in our hearts.

Let’s go back to Psalm 1:1-3. The only way for that man to be like a tree is to have a consistent supply of nutrients. He meditates day and night on what will foster growth. The tree is planted by water and the last time I checked, trees have all sorts of things crawling and growing around them, but they keep being a tree. They keep rising, sometimes growing against seemingly impossible odds. They grow. They bear fruit. They release leaves. They do what they were created to do.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

Are we the man in the passage or are we stuck in the ritualism of our faith with no intention of growing – attending church events with no appetite for the Word to purify our lives?

Even David mentions a similar frustration in Psalm 4:2“O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach? How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?”

Now check out Proverbs 15:12“A scoffer doesn’t love to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.”

As believers, we can’t want the highlights of our faith without the grittiness of growth. What the world ends up seeing is a group of hypocrites scorning them, which is actually closer to the origin of the Hebrew word for “scoffer” used in Psalm 1.

Not Love.
Not Wisdom.
Not Correction.

Scorn.

So, the latest additions to my prayer life have been the following:

“Lord, I don’t want to be in the way of someone seeing You.”
“Growth is a continuous expectation. Let me be at peace with the process.”
“I have an appetite for Your Word to live in me.”

Some years back, I picked one. I picked life. I picked growth. I picked the streams of water that channel the Love of Christ into my spirit over getting into petty debates about mask wearing and vaccines (Family, remember what I always say – it’s not worth the neurons. I picked the opportunity to not be a living thing that does not grow.

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!

Wednesday Wind Down: Keep It Up

Good Morning, Family! Happy September!

I hope that you’re doing well out there. I’m glad you made it to another week.

There’s a lot going on and I’m not oblivious to it, but whew… it can be a struggle to keep your spirits up. One thing I remember my late father saying is “If you look down, you go down. If you look up, you go up.” I used to think “Man, that sounds so easy, Pop. It sounds good, but it’s not that easy.”

But to him, it was. It truly was.

Photo by jonas mohamadi on Pexels.com

Between racial injustice, church scrutiny, and near-death experiences, he endured more than his fair share of adversity. He lived through so much turmoil that I guess he had no other choice but to look up. Looking down in despair would have surely taken him out of this world sooner than appointed. When I am surrounded by dark clouds, I find myself grasping for Pop’s determination to look up… to look up past the hovering gloom. I know it wasn’t easy, but somehow he kept his spiritual chin up. Being a deacon-turned-pastor would probably cultivate that strength within any person. The grounds of his heart had to be rich with fertilizer to grow such wisdom and unbothered-ness.

Photo by Lara Jameson on Pexels.com

So, how do you keep your spiritual chin up when your head and heart feel heavy? I’m glad you asked. Here’s three practical things that help me save myself –

  1. I religiously use my Google Chromecast. Whether it is instrumental jazz for four hours or a feel-good movie, I take news breaks so I am not overwhelmed via heart and mind. Seeing division and unrest rips my heart to shreds. Social and political misrepresentation squeezes my analytical educator brain. Hypocrisy makes me sick. Modern-day Pharisees give me hives. The perpetual dismissal of the obvious can make my chest heat up. So… I utilize my Chromecast to the fullest before I get full. On many days, I feel more like the God in Amos 6:8-14 than the Peter in 1 Peter 2:12. Streaming a mental palate cleanser works like a charm.
  2. I remember I am just a piece of the puzzle. Say it with me, Family – “I can not fix all of this.” Say it again if you have to – “I can not fix all of this.” Replacing “everything” with “all of this” makes my typical mantra plop down on the doorstep of my heart, right there with the rest of the world’s problems. I cannot look at pain and not be moved. I cannot see an opportunity to help and not flinch like a track athlete ready to run at the gun’s fire. I’m not built that way… yet, while I believe my puzzle piece has purpose, I am still just one piece. I don’t have the capacity to eradicate racism or provide a limitless supply of homes for the unhoused. I certainly can’t fix everything I see. I just have to make sure to do what I can. In other words, think micro when you’re overwhelmed with macro. Ask yourself, “What’s my piece of the puzzle?”
  3. I save my voice. Listen, I’m going say this with a sharper sentence – don’t lose your voice screaming at people who aren’t listening. Period. In a time where all sides are shouting, someone has to have Peace at the center of the conversation. Someone has to let Love rule the table… even if it’s piercing. As my Pop would say, “Somebody gotta have some sense.” I watched my dad stay silent in the most heated debates. When he was done talking, he was done talking. It’s like a switch flipped and he knew it would be a waste of time to speak further. Like the Holy Spirit gave him a baseball coach’s signal and he knew to stay on base. I admired that about him so much. Over the years, I’ve acquired it, but even past the grave, his mastery is well above my level. One thing that doesn’t happen anymore is me being physically or spiritually hoarse. By saving my voice, I save myself.
Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

I hope one or some of these tips help you this week and beyond. After all, it’s the second day of September and there is much opportunity for goodness to happen to you, through you, and around you. I know it’s difficult to be in the midst of turmoil, but remember that you are a vessel of Peace. You may not can stop everything bad that is happening, but you can stop letting it control your heart. Take charge of your eyes and ears and take care of your spirit. You are worth the Love.

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there and I love you!

Sunday Special: My Birthday Gift

Hi, Family!

I hope you had some goodness last week. I didn’t post last week, but I prayed for you. If things didn’t go well, just know that you were not forgotten and it just got better. 🙂

Let’s jump right in. My birthday was Friday and I had a simple plan to just be in it. Be present in my mind, body, and spirit and feel the essence of being in that space of time. I was reflective as usual. You know that about me by now. 🙂 One of the things that kept resurfacing during my meditation this weekend was the best birthday gift I could have ever asked for – knowing who I am and walking tall in it.

One of the things I planned for my birthday was to stroll through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The bamboo forest was beautiful. I had to snap a photo along the way.

I vividly remember when it wasn’t this way. So uncomfortable in my own skin. If the DeLorean had been available, I would have been a frequent flyer to skip all awkwardly frustrating moments. The conversations that my words never seemed to fit in. The weird encounters where I wanted to say something but was too afraid. The situations where I sincerely wanted to shoot my shot, but backed out because I thought I wasn’t good enough. The repetition of accepting less than what I was worth. Just beam me out of there!

Today, I had one of my intentional solo dining experiences. The kind where you pick a restaurant that is designed for two and utilize the space for you and you. *lol* I reflect on then and now and see how each moment made me pine for this one – the season of confidence that I unapologetically walk in. No, I didn’t get everything I wanted and some things haven’t come true, but the greatest gift on this birthday is that those weird moments are no longer normal.

Confusion and anger are not my bedmates.
I speak up when I need to and keep them guessing when necessary.
I love everyone and I understand where certain people fit in my life.
I am in the career lanes that I prayed for.
I love my chocolate skin and what it represents.
I appreciate my body and I listen to her.
My spirit is attuned to God’s Spirit and I pay attention when they speak.
I got Vibes.
I walk into a room and Peace walks with me.
I love intimately, sweetly, and consistently.
I leave when I need to without FOMO tugging at my shirt.
I don’t feel like I’m scratching my way through life trying to reach a pinnacle.
I don’t feel like I am merely surviving until the next day.

It’s beautiful here. It’s not perfect, but it is exquisitely warm. To be able to sit in this space and time and not feel compelled to satiate the appetite of others is a blessing. A blessing this former people-pleaser asked for decades ago.

So, this tree bark and my hair were twinning.

That’s my birthday wish for you, Family. If you’re not already there, I pray you receive and experience this level of Peace too. I pray that you walk in your divine purpose on this Earth so your loving spirit can multiply in others after you’re gone. I pray you are exceptionally well in your mind, body, and spirit and that you take nothing less for that alignment to occur in your everyday life. I pray that wherever your feet tread that you send seismic warning shots to any dark forces that may be lurking nearby. I pray your smile lights up your life first. I pray you exceed your own expectations. I pray you look in the mirror and nod in agreement to the Masterpiece looking at you.

I love you all and there’s nothing you can do about it. We’re family. We’re connected. I’m rooting for you.

Peace & Thanks for listening! *throws birthday confetti*

P.S. – I’ll post a few photos from my birthday-month fun on social media later this week. Here are my links –

Wednesday Wind Down: Receive

Hi, Family!

I hope your week is going well so far; if not, it just got better. 🙂

I have a confession – I’m not a good receiver. In the words of Shonda Rhimes in Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person , I should say thank you, shut up, and smile. That’s it. The end. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way. I’m working on it, but there’s no oak tree just yet though progress has been made. My immediate response is to reciprocate out of fear of being misunderstood as a taker. I also loathe being indebted to someone. Those that know me personally know I have a giving heart; nevertheless, the reaction is instinctive. How? Negative repetitive experiences. They rewire us – it’s science. In the case of receiving beautiful gifts from people I cherish or from strangers with big hearts, this science works against me. So, what you may see when you give me something is an attempt to recircuit myself. A small smile. A slight lowering of my head. A significant exhale. Whatever it takes, I’m working on it.

Well, here I am minding my ongoing personal growth business when a beautiful moment happened this week.

The place: in the shower. I was listening to a meditation of bible verses and it was nourishing. When it ended, I heard a voice in my spirit say “Do you receive it?” I took a deep breath, like someone had just snatched the check after a meal and placed their credit card on top of it. I immediately knew the rewiring process didn’t just apply along horizontal lines. I was being challenged to accept God’s opportunities and promises as well… and that was difficult for me. The truth is my relationship with God has holes in it. He’s ever faithful and His Spirit has guided me to places I could have never imagined, yet, I still feel like He’s going to let me down sometimes. That the prayer won’t be answered. That I won’t get the opportunity. That I won’t hear from that certain person. That the bottom will fall from beneath my feet. Call what you will, but I say it’s doubt based on a history of unfortunate events. Just enough for me to take a deep breath before saying my prayers sometimes.

Photo by Dom J on Pexels.com

But when I heard that Voice, it was sweet. It was loving. It was empathetic and understanding. It carried a tone that said “I know you’ve been hurt, Daughter, but will you trust me again?” I felt the sincerity deep in my bones. And I opened up. I felt like the sun was radiating through my skin.

So, I opened my hands and received the water from the showerhead. Overflowing with a oasis of clarity, I lifted my palms and splashed the water over my face. Over and over again. With every wave, I said “I receive it.”

*splash*
“I receive it.”
*splash*
“I receive it.”

Every time I said it, my smile on the outside matched the revelation on the inside. I smiled so big that a laugh escaped. Why couldn’t I receive God’s Love as easily as I received this water? Here it is, pouring freely, and all I have to do is stand under it (and pay for it, but you get the drift).

*splash*
“I receive it.”
*deep breath*
“I receive it!”

I feel like I had more than a shower. I had a growth spurt. My prayers sprouted green leaves of trust this week and it feels amazing. I pray that you experience the same and it’s OK if you feel like you need baby steps to walk along that journey. I have plenty of baby steps on my own.

As you allow your spiritual relationship to heal, I also pray that you recall when things went well. When it did work out. When you did get the call. When you did laugh with that person. Those moments were promises kept and I have to believe that if I don’t have it, I didn’t need it. I believe that I am worthy of receiving goodness in my life just as I am. I am worthy of being a receiver. I am a sincere and insatiable giver, so why wouldn’t Father want me to receive Love in the same spirit from which I pour?

Just something to think about. Something to stand on. Something to clutch close to your heart. I know I am.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I’m rooting for you, Family. 🙂

Wednesday Wind Down: Witnesses

Hi, Family!

I hope you’re having a good week. If not, it just got better. *fist bump* Here’s a short stop for your week.

If you’ve been hanging with me for a while, you know that I love the Olympics. I’m all in when that time rolls around. The camaraderie. The sportsmanship. The celebration of culture and collectivity. I could swim in a pool of it forever.

What I also love about the Olympics is the opportunity to see the human form do supernatural things. I mean, c’mon… the length of that long jump. The strength of that wrestler. The speed of the BMX rider. It’s something to behold – something to marvel.

We can’t help it. When we witness someone excelling in their God-breathed purpose, we pause. We admire. We stand in awe. We scream. We cry. I believe what we are experiencing is a glimpse of Majesty. A peek into God’s infinite power in human form. After all, we were made a little lower than the angels. When I watch the athletes compete, I believe God shows us proof of spiritual potential. The training they endure, the mental agility they curate, then the perfect mix of energy and control spills out of their pores. We see heights, distances, and strengths that we note for future generations to honor. We witness greatness and if we let it, it can generate greatness in us.

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

As the Olympic Games close in a few days, I reflect on these beautiful moments we have witnessed. The courage of mental health advocacy and the power of unity. The reward of physical conditioning and the fragility of time. Now that we have witnessed such things, such superlative things, we are accountable to it. How can you see someone be the best at what she does and not do your best at work and at home? How can you listen to their stories of sacrifice and not be moved to elevate your daily efforts?

Over the course of these games, we became witnesses of greatness in real time. We saw potential realized. We saw divine purpose in every runner’s stride and every plunge of the jouster’s lance. And when they reached the pinnacle of their performances, God confirmed that there was more in them than may have realized. Medal or not.

Photo by Jewel Tolentino on Pexels.com

My prayer is that we absorb what we see and germinate what we know – that our spirits have the power to spread greatness and goodness to one another. That when we see glimpses of God manifested in each other, that we pause and awe. We acknowledge and congratulate. That we cheer and encourage. That we support. Even if our religious and political preferences are different, we can be connected… if we want to be. We have the potential to be witnesses and replicators of Christ’s Love. The Olympic Games are our proof.

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!

Thursday Love: At Capacity

Good Morning, Family!

This morning, my spirit was full… of crap.

I felt the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders. People arguing about masks, vaccinations, federal vs. state rights, and other issues can sometimes seep into my pores and steam under my skin. Add being empathic into that mix and it can generate a whirlwind in my chest that is difficult to dissipate. Hearing and seeing the discord can make me Godly angry, then exhausted.

This morning, I noticed my internal engines revving. No, it wasn’t because of a news story or something I read. It was residue from a conversation about current events that I witnessed.

Wow… you’re really drinking your own Kool-Aid, I said to myself as words flew between the people involved. Then I thought again, as I have many times this year, if I wasn’t a Christian, I wouldn’t want to be one now. Where’s the compassion? Disappointment and grief fused my lips together as I tried my best not to hear the conversation. Bible verses that distinctly tell us how to handle disagreements and how to love one another beyond our comfort zones swirled in my head like bullets ready to be fired from my mouth. I drove home shaking my head and apparently fertilizing my heart because that thing had germinated in my spirit enough that it was sprouting leaves into today and that made me angrier. Robbing me of my brand new day was unacceptable and it felt like a cactus that wouldn’t stop growing inside my belly.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

So, what do you do when you’re at capacity with current events? When you feel like you can’t hear or see another thing before exploding? When you’re trying to see how God fits in all this mess? Great question. I’ve had to figure out a few tactics myself to keep me from spiraling. As I learn, I share, so maybe these will help you too!

First

On the way to work this morning, I vented to God about it. No filter. If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you know real prayers are a huge part of my faith walk. What good is it to serve someone you can’t be honest with? *shrugs* So, that’s what I did. I shared my disgust, my anger, my frustration with the One who holds my heart. Feel free to do the same; He can take it.

Second

I said the following personal mantras aloud:

I can not control everything.

People will do what they want to do.

This is just a season and seasons do change. (You can thank my mom for that one.)

I don’t have to let it in.

Third

I cleansed my spiritual palate with a musical reminder that I am finite and can not hold the world’s problems inside of me. I am not designed to be the host of high stress. Soothing sounds were needed to help me throttle down, so I played How Deeply I Need You by Shekinah Glory… more than once. It’s one of my go-to songs when I don’t know what to do.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Lastly…

I made a mental list of people that show their love by respecting me. When I closed my eyes, I could see them one-by-one. I imagined them hugging me as I took deep breaths into a further state of calm. With that list, I was reminding my spirit that those high-strung people – although God loves them still – are not in my circle. They do not hold power or influence over my life. I have an excellent tribe that I value and those individuals that I saw were a temporary stop along my life’s journey. They do not get to change the molecular structure of my day or my spirit. I am loved. I am cherished. I am respected. I do not have to be loved, cherished, or respected by them. It does not elevate my value.

After a couple of hours, I was back to baseline. I could feel my skin again instead of wanting to jump out of it. I could breathe easier.

I encourage you to gather your own “emergency response” ritual in case you need it and before it sneaks up on you at the grocery store or around your family. Chop down the bad growth before the cactus within gets out of control. It’s not worth it… because after you’re dead, the foolishness will continue without missing a beat. So, don’t miss your life because it. *reminding myself too*

Peace & Thanks for listening! I love y’all and stay well!

Thursday Love: Purple People Pleaser

Hi, Family!

First things first – guess what? I intentionally went to bed before midnight last night. *gasp* I know! I’m surprised too! Usually I stay up to write you, but I was led to turn in early… then my dog decided he wanted to frolic up and down the street without returning home for about an hour.

When you know you messed up… #SammysWorld

I growled, retrieved him, and still managed to throttle down before midnight. I say that’s a win. Thanks for celebrating with me. lol

Before I went to sleep, I knew the contents of this post and I’m so excited to encourage you today. It’s a little meaty, but there’s good stuff and pictures, so let’s get into it!

I want to talk about Aaron, Moses’ right-hand man and priest to the Israelites. He’s one of my favorite Bible profiles to study because he had such an interesting life. Here’s some facts you may not know.

  • He was older than Moses by three years (Exodus 7:7).
  • He was commissioned to be Moses’ eloquent mouthpiece as he confronted Pharaoh (Exodus 3:14).
  • His staff turned into a serpent in front of Pharaoh and ate the other magician’s staff-serpents (Exodus 7:8-12).
  • He made the infamous golden calf that caused Moses to flip his lid and break the Ten Commandments (Exodus 32).

Yes, you read that right. Aaron made the golden calf. From the Israelites’ earrings. Ear-rings. Let that sink in.

Photo by Rafael Barros on Pexels.com

To put this in a present-day perspective, imagine you and your older brother (emphasis on older) built a company from the ground up and he sells it to the lowest bidder without telling you. So, you come to work one day, and the employees are having a fully blown party. Cake. Balloons. Alcohol. Dancing on desks. Everything. Then your brother says he didn’t know how the sale took place, that he just gave the people what they wanted. That would make you angry, yes? I know I would be furious.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well, that’s a small equivalent of what happened between Moses and Aaron. Moses trusted Aaron to be his go-to. They confronted Pharaoh together. Traveled the wilderness together. Beheld the intricate assembly of the Tabernacle (their mobile place of worship) together. Saw God rain manna (small pancake-like food) from heaven together. While the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites, Aaron and Hur upheld Moses’ arms so they wouldn’t lose (Exodus 17:8-13). He was bestowed the responsibility of priesthood to lead alongside Moses. He was even outfitted with custom threads made to God’s specifications to represent his leadership calling (Exodus 28). So, you can imagine the disgust Moses wore on his face after he comes down from Mount Sinai with God’s Words in his arms, still beaming with glory from meeting the The Most High to find out that his older brother was the culprit of the calf and leader of the party. Then, to make matters worse, Aaron gives a lame excuse and says the calf just came out of the fire (Exodus 32:24). Really, dude? <— my real life response. See what I wrote next to the verse.

I write what I think as I read the Bible. Good ol’ reading comprehension skills happening over here.

Now, before we judge Aaron and his tomfoolery, let’s recall when we did something not-so-great under the pressure of others. Here he is, among the anger of thousands, wondering how much longer his brother was going to take in the mountains. “He’ll be back soon,” my imagination hears Aaron saying to himself. “Just be patient.” The grumbling grew to insurmountable degrees. The legal matters multiplied as he judged with his best intentions. Their piercing eyes alone would have made anyone nervous to come out of his tent. Then one day, he cracked and gave in to the people. This is where I wanted to bring you into the picture. The “you” that tends to say yes when you should say no. The “you” that accepts the invitation when you should respectfully decline. The “you” that foregoes your preferences for the comfort of others. That “you.” That’s who I want to bring to the table to meet Aaron. Meet the leader. Meet humanity. Sometimes we forget that as we read God’s Word that there were people in it. Blood, sweat, and tears. Skin. Fear. Love. Admiration. Ambition. People-pleasers. For a moment in time, Aaron set aside his divine directive to oversee the Israelites while Moses was gone and gave them what they wanted instead of what they needed. How often do we do the same? Setting aside our divine instructions for a temporary moment? Throwing up our hands instead of squaring our shoulders? The answer is probably more often than we think.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

My favorite part of the story is that God didn’t throw Aaron away. Not only was he outfitted in customized priestly garments, but so were his sons. In Exodus Chapter 39, we see the same attention to detail and craftmanship put into his attire as in Chapter 28… and this is after goldencalf-mageddon. He reminded Aaron of his identity. He reminded him of his purpose. It comes full circle when you research Aaron’s garments. Part of God’s instructions were to engrave the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on two onyx stones. Onyx has been known throughout the ages as representing protection and forward movement from the past. I believe Aaron the priest needed that prayer just as much as his people. His breastpiece included jewels that represented each of the 12 tribes and a linen pouch sown inside of it carrying the Urim and the Thummim, which were stone-like objects used for divine decision-making. He was to wear this breastpiece over his heart when he entered the Tabernacle as a reminder that he would carry judgment for all 12 tribes (Exodus 28:29-30). How befitting… that God would give him such responsibility before and after the decision to create the golden calf.

If you find yourself being a chronic people-pleaser, know that you’re not alone, that it is easy to fall down that wormhole, and that you can get out. My suggestive start is to say no to one thing a week that you usually say yes to and that you would probably feel guilty about later. Just one no once a week until you’re comfortable with that level. It doesn’t have to be a rude one and you don’t have to overexplain it. Just exhale it and let it breathe into the moment. Start there. Pray about where you should be so you don’t overbook and overwhelm your schedule. I do it all the time and it started years ago with a prayer and a stressed-out face looking at my calendar – “Lord, where do I need to be?” As a result, I haven’t been stressed about my schedule again.

Wherever you are on the spectrum of people-pleasing, I pray that you uproot insecurities and fear of rejection. I pray that Love wraps around you so warmly that you remember exactly who you were fashioned to be. People-pleasing is a dangerous trap that always leaves you as the victim. My prayer is that you remember that you are the survivor.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Post-Op

Hi, Family!

I hope you had an enriching day. If not, I hope these words give you some solace.

Let me start by saying that today was a hard one. As I claw my way out of depressive waters (thank you Jesus and Therapy) and realign my life, there are days like today that make me wander down a rabbit hole of “why’s” and “what if’s.” I know what you may be thinking… “Why would you wander down a road of why’s? What good does it do?” It’s not a place I wanted to be, but somehow I ended up there today and whew… talk about a headspin. Next thing I know, I was sitting in my car with a pen in my hand trying to write my way out of a dark hole of loneliness. While that’s not the cool thing to say in Christianity, we keep it real around here.

So, what happened next was a beautiful reminder in the form of a whisper. Pen still in hand with about a half-page of spillage, I heard “You’re in post-op.”

It made perfect sense… instantly. In 2019, I told a friend that I felt like I was in spiritual surgery – like God wanted to rearrange some things in my life and all He wanted was my yes. I remember saying “OK, let’s go. Whatever You want to do, I’m in.” I had just transitioned into full-time entrepreneurship and felt like I was already skywalking on faith anyway. So in 2020, when depressive waves crashed into my soul, I remember saying “OK, so isn’t it over? Is the surgery incomplete? Am I still going through it? This is rough.”

*insert radio silence here*

Me and my frustration cried and yelled feeling like a used discarded sweater. Meanwhile, my body felt limp and expended. What in the world was happening? Was this the second phase or something? Whatever it was, I wasn’t a fan and it was lasting too long.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

*insert timelapse here to present day*

I sat in my car, lamenting on paper, then I heard that whisper and I saw it clearly. Me + hospital gown + hospital bed + tubes + monitors + four sterile walls. I knew the scenary all too well. There I was, lying there, eyes closed. I took a deep breath and realized what the Holy Spirit was telling me.

Occasionally in the vision, a nurse came in to check on me. A doctor had already spoken to my family. Limited visitors, one or two persons. I slept mostly. Limited words left my lips because my throat was still sore from anesthesia and/or the surgery itself.

After surgery, I think I should be up and running like a car after a tune-up. I always think that even though I know better. Once a procedure is completed, there’s a place called post-op and there are post-op instructions. Even same-day surgery has a post-op period. Nevertheless, what do I do? A slight tip over too much. *SMH* Why? Because I think it’s over. It’s done. It’s time to move on.

Well, Family, that’s how depression hit me like a freight train last year. I had a series of “it’s time to move on” lies in my head that lasted over a decade. Each compounded over the other. I still had joy. I still had divine anointing over my life. I still used my gifts in church, and yes, I still inspired others. And I did it well. And I meant it. But when I gave God permission to rearrange and extract as needed, I tried to apply the same lie – “OK. It’s over. It’s done. It’s time to move on.” Meanwhile, in the batcaves of reality and against my desire, I’m in post-operation recovery. Some friends have been removed. Some boundaries have been implanted. Some desires were shifted underneath others. Some thought patterns have been rewired. Stitching of redefined faith is in place and my insides are learning to work with them. I don’t feel like talking much because it hurts as it heals. I’m relearning my voice and its abilities. I’m raw, fragile, and strong at the same time.

I’m healing.

I’m healing.

I am healing.

And I can’t rush the post-op. “Change my heart, God!” “I want to be like You!” “Make me over!” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, if you want it, this transition can not be skipped. There are instructions that must be followed so the healing can continue past the operating room.

Photo by Nguyu1ec5n Thanh Ngu1ecdc on Pexels.com

Tonight, I want to share some grace with you in the form of this reminder – make peace with the post-op period. It’s uncomfortable, I know because you want to jump into the swing of normal, but truthfully, your normal is different after you ask God to change it. After you want to level up inside. After you say yes. When I said “OK, let’s go,” that meant that some people, things, thoughts, and habits could not go with me… and I didn’t get to decipher which ones stayed. I won’t lie to you, Family. It’s been the rawest experience of my life to date but the best decision I’ve ever made. If you’ve been here for a while, you know attention is not my cozy place, but with this experience, I’ve had to speak up more and share my heart past the uncomfortable part of me. Every time I do, someone says “Me too.”

Hence the entire reason for this blog. I don’t want anyone to be afraid of the process of Jesus’ Love. I don’t anyone to be ashamed to say “I need a therapist.” I don’t want anyone to feel alone in their walk of faith. If no one has told you lately, you are not alone. You have value and you have purpose on this Earth. You also have a right to be the best version of yourself… the version God had in mind when He fashioned you with His hands.

My prayer is that you embrace the discomfort of recuperation knowing that healing is a process and wholeness is on the other side of it.

I love you. Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there and reach out if you need to.

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