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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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Short Stops

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: 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!

Wednesday Wind Down: A Secret Addiction

Good Morning, Family!

I’m glad you’re here. Thanks for stopping by. Let’s dive into this short stop for your week (it’s less than 500 words).

I woke up this morning and asked God about a particular situation where I believe the art of listening wasn’t valued. This phrase breathed into my spirit – addiction to defiance.

The ceiling above my head looked like a blank canvas as I replayed the situation. Immediately, I saw evidence of what I heard. Immediately, I changed the original idea of this post.

Family, I believe some people are high on defiance. It deafens their ears and their hearts. If you tell them not to touch the mailbox because it’s freshly painted, they’ll go outside and lick it. OK, maybe not, but they’ll definitely leave a fingerprint. Getting into conversations with those with such an addiction can be mind-numbing. Fruitless and frustrating. So, it’s not worth it.

You heard me – save your breath.

Photo by Kelvin Valerio on Pexels.com

In some instances, defiance is a viable force for such cases as human rights. In other scenarios, it is a way to charge an internal battery. Perhaps that battery turns over by fear or anger. Residue from being abused by authority. An indoctrination of defiance being the only way to assert one’s self. Fear of extracted freedom. Lack of verbal resources to comprehensively express one’s opinion. Whatever it is, it can materialize into an addiction that harms budding and long-term relationships.

When I was a teenager, my dad would test my strength and will via foot races and wrestling. One time, my mother asked my dad to let me go during a mini-match in the living room. She was being a mom, what can I say? 🙂 My dad, on the other hand, was definitely being a dad because he asked if I was OK while in a pin. I said yes. Then he asked “You give?” I said no with gritted teeth. I tried to wiggle out of his pin, but it didn’t work. “Do you give?” he asked again. “No!” I yelled, still twisting myself toward freedom. There was something about the defiance that strengthened me. I used it as fuel. Somehow, I found an out and my dad congratulated me. I later heard from my mom that he said “Whew! She almost got me that time!”

That will to break out of the pin was helpful then, but my prayer is to never be saturated with it. I never want to be numb to the humanity of those around me. So gritty to defend that I refuse decipher. My prayer is that you do the same. Listen to the heartbeat of those around you, even if you don’t agree. Stay pliable enough to see the fingerprint of God on each creation, even if you have to grit your teeth.

I love you all and stay well out there. Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Movie Night

Hi, Family!

You made it to another week and I’m glad you’re here!

So, I made a goal to catch up on Marvel and DC movies starting this month. I’ve missed quite a few over the years (don’t throw me away, Squad), but I’m determined to see them all.

So far, I have seen Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and WW84. I’ve been a feminist since before I knew the word (just ask my mother), so I decided to begin with these titles. Let me tell you – I saw divine lessons all up in those movies. There were too many gems to cram into one post, but I’m excited to share three of them from Captain Marvel with you tonight (Spoiler alerts below if you haven’t seen it). Being still in geeky mode, I’m only going to use character names, OK? Great!

Captain Marvel

Lesson: When you know who you are, nothing can stop you.

I felt empowered watching Carol Danvers (known as Vers for half the movie) discover the strength in her true identity. She literally lit up. The more fire flew threw her veins, the more I nodded in affirmation. My spirit rose to the surface of my skin when she said, “I’ve been fighting with one arm tied behind my back, but what happens when I’m finally set free?” I’ve asked myself that question more than a time or two.

Family, when we know who we are in God – when we know who we were created to be – no evil force can overcome us. Period. C’mon… did you see her break through that stronghold? Did you see her flex on those bad guys after she removed that device from her neck? Then she said, “I have nothing to prove to you” when taunted by Yon-Rogg to engage in fist-to-fist combat, right before dragging him (literally) by his arm to his flying vessel. Perfect.

Photo Courtesy of IMDb

Lesson: The power is your mind not your hands.

Vers was used to fighting with her fists. She believed they housed her power. The force of her potential was realized when her mind was free. How cool is that for us to remember in times like these? So often, we are shadowboxing through life… transferring anger to anyone within earshot. Once we are free in our mind, we do not need to prove anything with our might.

Lesson: Everything isn’t as it seems. Pay attention to the Truth.

I wasn’t expecting the aliens to be the good guys based upon how the movie began. What a perfect twist and a great reminder for us all. We’re so used to absorbing stereotypes about people and ideas without seeking the Truth for ourselves. Once Carol slowed down to listen to the heart of the Skrulls, she was able form context around her experience with them. I thought of how often our story is the only one we bother reading. I thought about how comprehensive our understanding could truly be if we listened to each other. How often we block beautiful possibilities due to the earplugs of pride. Like I told my students, know who you’re mad it and be sure you’re mad at the right thing. There’s nothing worse than misdirected anger. Perhaps we can adopt her sentiment – “I’m not going to fight your war. I’m going to end it.”

Have you seen this movie too? If so, what did you see in it besides Stan Lee’s regular guest appearance? 🙂

I love you all and I believe in your purpose. Stay well and stay encouraged.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: The Invisibles

Hi, Family!

I hope you had a good day. If not, it just got better. I prayed for you this week and here’s the shortstop Word I was given to share.

One of my consistent prayers is to see the heart of people. To peer past the surface and listen to the heartbeat God placed within these bodies. Let me warn you – this is one of those real prayers. It’s not an easy feat to penetrate a heavy armor of hatred and seek the root of a person. Honestly, it takes practice (but doesn’t all of this thing call faith take practice?).

After praying that request some years ago, my natural empathy boosted 10 times over. It felt like an overload some days. I walked by a woman one day and realized her retail therapy was an attempt to hush her grief-stricken heart. I spoke to her and she cried. Moments like that began to multiply and I found myself praying the following: “Lord, how many of us are there? How many of us are walking with invisible scars, aches, and pains? How many of us do we not see?” The answer I heard – “Everywhere.”

Every day, the Invisibles are among us. They work with us, shop with us, and even live with us. Some are strangers we love and some are family we despise. Some hold stark opinions that can make your blood boil. Newsflash: Our faith calls us to Love them too.

Now, I’m not telling you to act like a licensed professional and diagnose everyone you meet. I am challenging you to see beyond. Since we do not know what a person is experiencing, it would behoove us to act like Jesus and show compassion to all. Since some battles are invisible, it would be wise not to pass judgment to anyone. Since we do not live in each other’s skin, we should watch our mouths. Our words alone could repel someone from seeing the essence of our beliefs. So, since we don’t know, we should be quiet. Be still. Check in with the Holy Spirit and check our circles of influence. Be for real and ask God to illuminate and eliminate our blind spots . We should show that overwhelming Love that was shown to us.

It doesn’t take much. It just takes kindness. An extra tip to your server. An open door for a person who is carrying a load. An encouraging text to someone you admire. A listening ear to someone who feels unheard. A sincere compliment. It takes an extension of yourself past that prayer.

So let’s make grace contagious. Let’s move past the familiar and into the invisible. Let’s see the fingerprint of God in people and Love them as we are commanded to do.

Stay well out there and, in case you haven’t heard it recently, I love you and I’m proud of you. You’re still here and you made it this far.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Thursday Love: Don’t Curse Your Current

Good Afternoon, Family!

As I prepared for bed last night, this short-stop message floated in my spirit just for you.

Say this phrase with me –

I will not curse my current.

Say it again if you have to –

I will not curse my current.

That’s what I’ve had to say aloud a few times this year. I’ve had to remind myself that my current situation is the very thing that will carry me into the next breakthrough. The current is a current and cursing it doesn’t help. Let me explain.

You can swim or ride a boat in the right direction, but if you don’t understand the currents, you can still drown. The water doesn’t just flow straightly; it has unexpected curves and riptides. The current is always changing and you have the choice whether to move with it. I guarantee if take Jesus into your current, you will always have an anchor. A safe place in your boat. A reference point. A compass. It won’t matter if the current feels like it’s taking you under or it’s sweeping you off your feet like a gust of wind. Even if you don’t know why you are where you are, you can be assured that you are on your way to a purposeful destination and that your current has a purpose as well.

Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

So, what do you do in the meantime, especially when it seems like water keeps getting into your boat? You refrain from cursing where you are and be thankful for the current. It’s the very place that will grow you into the person you were designed to be… the person needed to handle the destination. Be mindful that when you curse your current phase, you block your opportunity to develop into a better version of yourself. I’m an avid believer that every difficult situation is designed to teach me something and to make me better. I may feel completely clueless at the time, but when I look back at every riptide, I can see how it strengthened my spirit for the next chapter. I’m also reminded that it eventually dissipated; currents do not last forever.

Family, no matter how tempting it is, do not curse your current. Seek God for direction and understanding, but don’t curse it. You’re unknowingly cursing your gift of the future.

So, let that current develop your discipline. Let it stretch the boundary of your skill set. Let the experience trim profanity from your daily dialogue. I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for us!

Stay well out there and love you much!

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: For Lovers and Liars

Hi, Family!

Here’s a shortstop for your week. It applies to life partnerships and friendships alike, but it’s a dose of tough love. Ready? Let’s get it.

Have you heard men and women ask where the “good” ones are? Me too. *Insert eye roll here*

Here’s the first punch – the “good ones” are everywhere. Either you aren’t in a space to receive or commit to that type of love or you may be blind to the “good ones” around you.

Frankly, I can’t stand seeing thirsty posts. You know the ones that scream “I’m on the prowl” and “Somebody pick me.” I’ve never been a fan of waiting on a life partner to live anyway. If you’ve been around my blog for a bit, you know this truth about me.

Speaking of truth, here’s the second punch – stop saying you want a “good man/woman” when you are a terrible friend.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

What do you think you will be to your partner for the rest of your life? What do you think the “good one” will desire? Another “good” person! The same awesomeness you keep screaming that you want. Another caring human being that will throw her/his heart into this enigma called life and create something beautiful out of it. Another person that will say “I choose you everyday.” I would bet that your life partner wouldn’t want to only hear from you when you want something or endure your horrible listening skills.

So, start there. Start with your friendships after you’ve learned to love yourself. Get that part right first. Maybe then, God will give you the desire of your heart because He knows the other human will be in good hands.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Spring Into What?

Hi, Family!

I have another shortstop for your week – actually, it’s for your whole season.

Right now, there’s a whiff of grind culture in the pollen-filled spring air that can lead you into a bowl of trickery. If you’re not careful, you’ll get swept in the undercurrent and end up dazed and confused before Thanksgiving.

So, that’s where I come in with the following no-fluff statement:

Don’t buy into the hype of jumping into something you’re not willing to work for.

Tis the season for starting new ventures, moving to new places, and dressing up in new clothes. Easter usually marks the tangible change from winter although the solstice is in March, yet as soon as the warmth of sunlight brushes over our shoulders, we get drunk off goals. The buzz of new beginnings hum around us and we start to make plans without consulting the Divine Compass.

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on Pexels.com

Add dashes of “I’m going to do this!” and “I’m going to do that!” and the next thing we know, our to-do list is full of 30 things we vow to accomplish in one season. It sounds sexy and doable, but that’s where that trickery comes in.

Everything in your life wasn’t designed to be obtained in this way. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment on your list is learning how to listen to your children. Maybe it’s to draw a boundary between you and your work. Maybe it includes the creation of a solid self-care routine. Whatever it is, God wants quality over quantity. So, if you only accomplish that one thing, I promise Your Father will be just as proud of you.

This doesn’t deface the big bang items you want to accomplish. I am encouraging you to not get swept up in the spring air over overdoing it. Your life is worth more than long list. Your worth is more than your building blocks and you are not in competition with anyone. Be free in the Truth that you have nothing to prove to the world. So, scrub that to-do list and don’t make empty promises to yourself. Pray about your next steps, write down what you know, write down what you want, then go for it.

Photo by Andrew on Pexels.com

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

My prayer is that anxiety doesn’t overwhelm you and that you allow God’s Spirit to guide you and your to-do list. I’m doing the same because that undercurrent is a monster and I refuse to be on its menu.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Now Trending

Hi, Family!

How’s your week so far? Terrible? Great? Both?

I feel you and you are allowed to feel all of those. Yesterday, I celebrated one year of co-hosting QueensBeLike Podcast, but on Monday, I had a mini-meltdown, so hey… no judgment here. We’re in this thing together. *fist bump*

Tonight’s wind down is a tough love post. It’s also a short stop. 🙂

Here we go.

As we close March, we mark one year since the world acknowledged the dangers of COVID-19. I believe it was spreading before we took it seriously, and just like other times in history, we missed the warning signs. It was a conspiracy theory or no different than the flu until there were body bags. Until workers were fatigued. Until healthy patients died next to chronically sick ones. We missed it. That’s all there is to it.

Photo by Rodrigo Santos on Pexels.com

Other warning signs we’ve missed this decade (yes, I said decade) are too blatant to ignore.

One sweep of severe weather and possessions are ruined.
One month of unemployment and salaries feel like peanuts (or they always were).
One minute of wildfire and homes are lost.
One second of a decision and a lost life is a hashtag.
One virus and confusion germinates.

All it takes is one anything and our lives can be disheveled and we are eye-level with our transient brothers and sisters. There are no stables for our high horses and the reminders keep coming.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How many reminders do we need? How many times does God have to knock down our philosophical towers of babble formed with bricks of insatiable egos?

COVID-19 still permeates between geographical boundaries leaving trails of anguish behind. Political unrest and social injustice are yet seething underneath tectonic plates of arrogance. We are deafened to the cries of innocent immigrant children while justifying the economical rape of those we sabotage.

The more we bury our heads in warm jackets of jaded comfort, the more I believe God sighs for us to catch the hints… to notice the following trends:

  1. All it takes is one thing to change everything.
  2. We can’t say we love God and not love each other.

When “Get a better job” is the response raising minimum wage, we’ve missed it.
When we enjoy art and education from professionals then refuse to pay them fairly, we’ve missed it.
When we arrest a congresswoman for knocking on a door, but allow rioters to attack other humans, we’ve missed it.

Once again, Jesus looks at our hearts and wonders where He fits. There is little room for His Love to multiply and the world is watching.

Family, we need to listen to the loudness and move in the stillness of Truth. We need to synchronize in empathy. We need to be the Body we were created to be.

Pray this prayer and pray that you mean it – “Lord, show me my blindspots.” Let that trend.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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