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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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Christianity

Sunday Special: Processing

Happy Sunday, Family!

I hope you had the weekend you needed!

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but I’ll be honest with you (because we keep it authentic around here), I was unsure how it would go this year. There was a nervousness attached to it because this has been a season of processing a pendulum swing of intensities.

I gained wisdom.
I lost 8 loved ones due to death.
I acquired insight.
I lost a dream.
I gained stronger relationships.
I lost ties I thought I had.
I developed a deeper love for myself.

Sweet and bitter. That was the mix I couldn’t bypass. I tried, but it didn’t work. I screamed in both victory and in anguish this year and frankly, the velocity of the pendulum swing was nauseating. As we speak, I cried tears of appreciation and grief in less than 5 minutes. So, I paused, prayed, made some hot tea, and returned to writing this post. A post for processing smiles and frowns and to let you know you are not alone.

It’s OK to be excited about a new home, new family member, or new career venture, and yet be nervous your stewardship of it. I’m crazy enough to believe that God can handle that dichotomy of emotions.

Processing on a work day…
…and on a rest day.

You may not be finished processing everything, and that’s OK too. It truly is. Don’t let anyone stamp an expiration date on your journey; only God knows when and how. The Holy Spirit can walk you through a season until it is digested and He’ll even give you certain hands to hold along the way.

I also want to stand with you and say “You made it.” You made it through one of the most intimate holidays of the year! Keep breathing through the rough patches and celebrating the good parts. That’s what Christianity truly is. It’s giving God our broken pieces instead of hiding them and it’s appreciating His divine communion as we take one step at a time.

Process it, Family. Everything doesn’t bounce off you and everything shouldn’t stick to you either. Digest as you need it so you won’t be imprisoned by it. That’s what I’m doing… and it’s working.

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

Written in honor of Alana, Kevin, Courtney, George, Mrs. Packer, Brian, Aunt Janice, Mr. Larry, Deacon Welch, Daddy Wade. I am so grateful to have experienced this life with you. You will forever be missed.

Wednesday Wind Down: What’s the Plan?

Hi, Family!

I have one question for you tonight – how are you healing?

If you’ve been around for a while, you know I am a work-in-progress when it comes to the physical healing patience. I can deliver dishes of grace and empathy to family, friends, and strangers yet when it comes to myself, the plate is usually empty.

Until now.

Part of refining your spirit is God teaching you about your design and I’ve been listening a lot about mine this year. Self-care begins to expand into understanding what you need versus what you think you need. It is asking God for the blueprint of your awesomeness so you can learn how to maintain it.

If you’re like me, this isn’t an easy ask. It feels weird. Healing is an enigma only the superhuman and uber-holy obtain… at least that what I’ve always told myself. It was unreachable. Prayer of all kinds still rendered surgeries, medicine, and bills.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Was I “less saved” than my sister or brother on the same church row? Did I not believe enough? Did I even have time to heal with all the work I had to do? How long could I be evasive before a progress report on how “better” I felt was due?

It took my aunt passing away and disheartening medical news colliding within 24 hours to humble my inner superwoman this year. I had a break between clients and a broken heart. Right then, I asked myself the following question:

What do I need right now?

My answers were warmth and comfort. The manifestation was a muffled sob wrapped in a serape blanket and silent ringtone topped with a nap. I needed that moment to make it through the rest of the day. It didn’t cure anything, but it was a balm on my open wounds.

It also led to me creating a healing plan for my surgery recuperation so depressive thoughts wouldn’t drown my hope. I needed to uproot those old questions that curated anxiety and plant seeds of self-care… proactive self-care. So, I added two questions to my aerated heart in preparation for the healing journey ahead.

What brings me comfort?

Who makes me feel loved?

The first question forces you acknowledge your present need and dull the noise around you. The second question ushers comfort into your hurting space. The third question allows Love to walk with you during the process, helps you to eliminate the fake stuff, and stretches your ability to receive.

Lately, these three questions have created a divine blanket around me physically and spiritually. I rest without guilt. I let the Holy Spirit guide my day. I practice expressing what I need. I bare my weakness before God and He comforts me. Burying my frailty in my faith did not serve me well, so I offer my brokenness with trembling hands if necessary. I pray with a certain rawness that only my heavenly Father can understand. And this is all part of my healing plan.

Before I head to bed, I’ll give you (us) another note of encouragement that I recently heard in my spirit. Christians love to quote 2 Corinthians 12:9 but they don’t like being weak (me included… I’m working on it). The only way to receive the miraculous power mentioned in this verse (see Greek interpretation) is to be in a state of humble acceptance. To be empowered and infused is to be open enough to let Love in. Pride blocks healing. Pride blocks the infusion. Pride says “I don’t need help… I don’t need to heal because I’m not hurt.” Pride essentially says “I don’t need Love.” All of which leads us to walking wounded in phantom armor we’ve built to protect our pain.

When we are intentional with our healing, as I am learning to be, we admit that we need the power of God to be whole. So, I ask you again – how are you healing?

Stay well out there and pray about your plan. Peace & Thanks for listening!

#blogbetter: Use Your Tools

Happy Sunday, Family!

I hope you’re doing well and that you were able to rest a bit this weekend.

When it comes to my faith, I apply the adage “You are what you eat.” A bible verse a day is a good way to digest small bites, but sometimes I like to go deep into a passage or person that I read about. That’s what I love about God’s Word; there’s always something to discover.

I’m often asked about how I study the Bible, so I’m sharing some basic tools in my toolbox. Being a pastor’s daughter/former music minister/bible book store associate, you see firsthand what it takes to deliver God’s message and you also collect a lot of resources over time, so I’ll spare you and just share five things from the vault. 🙂 NOTE: These are not sponsorships or advertisements. I’m just letting you know of a few resources I like to use.

YouVersion – The Bible App
One of my favorite quick tools on any device. You can read devotionals, highlight verses, create images, and even submit prayer requests. When I’m studying, I like to use my Bible app to note verses that grab my attention.

Thank you, YouVersion.

Jewish Virtual Library
I love using this resource for Judaic context, especially when I want insight on ancient Jewish history.

BibleHub
This online parallel Bible also has commentaries, dictionaries, and more. I’ve inserted links from their site on previous posts to reference Bible verses. My favorite feature is the breakdown of a scripture by Hebrew definition (scroll down after clicking the link). Soooooo dope.

The New Inductive Study Bible (NASB) by Harvest House Publishers
I have different kinds of bibles and this is one of my favorites. There are different versions of NISB’s, but the majority of them encourage the inductive marking approach to understand a passage and there are plenty of spaces for you to jot down your thoughts and maps to reference historical details.

Where to Find It in the Bible by the late Ken Anderson
When I need to look up a topic quickly and I don’t want to use the Internet, this book is a great resource. From earthquake to real estate, it is most likely listed with some reference verses underneath. There’s a lot of things in the Bible that you don’t think are there!

REMINDER:
Remember, it’s not about the quantity of chapters or length of time that you study God’s Word. Unless you’re in seminary or academia, God hasn’t bestowed on you the weight of teaching what you’ve read. The goal for the rest of us is to become the version of ourselves that God had in mind when He created us… to apply principles that go against what we feel sometimes… to allow the Love of Jesus to flow out of us and into the world around us. So, as with any subject, be patient with yourself as you learn. Sometimes I read one verse, sometimes I read 3 chapters, and sometimes I read 3 chapters in 3 different books of the Bible. I let my learning flow when it needs too. If that means, I spend 30 minutes studying geography or an hour reading about one person, I go with it. God’s Word fascinates me that much (and being nerdy doesn’t hurt).

If you get overwhelmed, take a deep breath, pray, and open your heart to listen to what God has to say for your life. That’s the beauty of His Word; it is applicable to every person on any level. Start with a word, emotion, or person if you need to. Let the Holy Spirit guide and you can’t go wrong. 🙂

Peace & Happy Discovering! Thanks for listening!

#blogbetter: How to Mistreat Yourself

Hi, Family!

During my teaching career, I showed a presentation called “How to Fail Ms. Wade’s Class.” It was my way of warning students of expecting positive outcomes after engaging in negative academic habits.

It’s a simple mirage that dupes so many – my bad habits will produce positive results. Well, since last fall, I’ve been rearranging some emotional furniture and excavating unnecessary items. One of them being mistreating myself. Overall, my self-care is sufficient but I didn’t allow it to evolve. I didn’t allow the strategies to stretch so they could breathe into my current stage of womanhood. So, from my personal vault, here are three ways to mistreat yourself in hopes that you sincerely stop the madness. None of these behaviors will yield the best you, so here we go –

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
  1. Tell yourself you have infinite strength. Say it every time you’re tired. Every time you don’t get enough sleep. Every time you know you don’t ask for help. Tell yourself that you don’t need to power up. Tell yourself that you’re weak or lazy when you need rest and rejuvenation. After all, if you don’t show up for everything at all the times, you’re a terrible person, right?
  2. Morph yourself to fit into the mold of others. Squeeze all of your awesomeness into every size of person that comes into your life. Like a shoe that is too small or a suit that is too large, your shape shifting will be uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to it. In most cases, it will serve you well because you’ll be well liked. In other situations, it will blowback as you miss the mark, but you’ll readjust and figure out what works to mask your true self.
  3. Lastly, break promises to yourself… often. Big or small, a promise to yourself is the closest thing you have to making laws. Think of your body, soul, and spirit as your personal Congress where your resolutions are scarce. Who cares about having peace with your decisions and camaraderie among the three branches of you? Who cares about prioritizing what God speaks over your life? Tell yourself everything and honor nothing. It will sharpen your self-deprecation skills and reinforce #1 and #2 – that’s a win-win.
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

See how ridiculous these sound? How can we expect a beautiful version of ourselves if we engage in habits that tear us down? Did one, two, or all of these apply to you? If this list was a mirror, negative results are coming. A discouraged and unhappy you is coming soon or is already in the seat of your heart. I pray the Love of God washes over you like a refreshing shower. And it’s OK if you to allow Love to cleanse you more than once. That’s how Christianity works. We are renewed daily by dying daily to decaying actions. There’s no shame in messy progress.

Peace & Blessings to your day. Much Love to your journey. As always, thanks for listening. Treat yourself like you would treat someone you love… because you should Love yourself like God loves you.

#blogbetter: Lessons Learned

Hi, Family!

Thanks for joining me for the first entry of the See Jane Write #blogbetter challenge (formerly #bloglikecrazy)! That Friday surprise didn’t work out, but it’s coming! Until then, here I am with a Tuesday post instead of a Wednesday, so let’s chat a minute!

One of the hardest things to do is to accept the truth after lying to yourself. Your cozy chrysalis breaks open and you’re exposed to the air. Truthful, piercing air. The kind of experience that creates a huge breath of freedom. That’s how the following lessons arrived in my life and I’m so glad they did.

📝LESSON #1 – Stop expecting others to act like you.

Have you found yourself caring about someone and not experiencing reciprocity? Same here. Sweet gestures simply weren’t enough to crack the code to their heart space. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is platonic or romantic, it hurts. I pray those moments do not happen often for you, but when they do, remind yourself of Lesson #1 – Stop expecting others to act like you.

You may extend yourself in ways that others do not. It doesn’t mean that your heartstrings are defective. It doesn’t mean you are too nice, too helpful, too considerate… too anything. I’ve heard it all and worn all the stickers.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

You are you for a divine purpose on this Earth. They are them; you are you. Separate what God tells you to do from who they are and how they may receive it. Once you get that Truth serum in your spirit, the heartbreak of caring for others will start to melt. When you do something for someone and you only hear from them when they need something (you know how that goes), it will hurt less over time. You’ll remember the reason for your extension of Love is just that… Love. Every time I have extended Jesus’ hands to someone, God has always returned that Love to me somehow. The law of the harvest is not a lie. The pain from not receiving the Love you give can cause your heart to rot; it’s not worth it. God made that heart to hug others, so let it flow… unapologetically.

Quick Sidebar: The crazy thing about this lesson is that it applies to petty people too. You may dish out gossip, but that doesn’t mean the other party will do the same. Let that prick your petty heart the next time you mistreat someone.

📝LESSON #2 – Your words will outlive you.

When someone dies, the first warmth I feel is from their words. Whatever they said, I grasp on and hold tightly, pulling that blanket up to my chin then over my head to bathe in their presence. I remember moments, not things. Even if I hold an item of theirs, their words and the moments flood me. If words are so potent, it is imperative that we leave as many good ones behind as possible. Those are the kind of seeds I want to be remembered by.

📝LESSON #3 – Progress isn’t pretty.

Perfection is cute. It has a nice little bow and a sweet fragrance. It beams beneath the limelight of filtered social media posts. Perfection is what we aspire to obtain, but what you really need is progress. She is treated like the ugly stepsister when she’s really the star. 

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Progress isn’t pretty but she’s necessary. When you see an artist’s work or an athlete’s performance, you may not see Progress. She usually brings a cocktail of sweat, tears, financial stress, doubt, with a splash of dreaming on the rocks. All of that stuff in that glass may taste terrible, but just like medicine (not the cocktail up there), it will make you better. Progress improves us on the way to excellence. So, drink up!

📝 LESSON #4 – There are people in the Bible just like me.

One of the best lessons I learned is that every feeling I have felt has been felt by someone in the Bible. If I’m frustrated, I can read about David or Job. If leadership is feeling a little heavy, I can read about Moses and Joshua. When I feel like a mountain is in front of me, I can read about Jesus.

The Bible is not an archaic book of fiction to me. It hosts examples for my everyday life, examples of people that were fragile just like me… examples of imperfection, love, and miracles wrapped up in one place. Reading about their experiences helps me see myself when times are difficult.

Peace & Blessings, Family! As always, thank you for listening!

Were any of these lessons helpful to you? Let me know in the comments and on social media (when I post it there later today). Stay well out there and I love you!

Thursday Love: Either Way

Good Morning, Family!

I hope you slept well last night. Sammy and I were knocked out. I prayed for you before I went to bed and this sentiment floated to the surface of my spirit from earlier in the day –

Either way, I win.

Let that roll around your current status for a minute and say it to yourself if you have to.

Either way, I win.

So, I am having surgery in a couple of weeks and an evil thought crept up recently. “What if you die on the table? You could lose a lot of blood.” Just as rudely as it walked up to my pretty bubble of peace, I snapped back. “Either way, I win,” I said aloud without flinching. I said it so fast that while my spirit was resolved, my mind was like “Wait… what did you just say?” This conviction was coming from a woman that used to be afraid to go to sleep because I was afraid of dying. I would clean the house because I was scared that if I died, someone would gossip about my tidiness. Have you ever had those thoughts? Weird, I know, but we keep it real around here, right? Right!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

That response, that level of confidence is a new but comfortable space for me in this season and it doesn’t just apply to this physical body. When someone says something off color to me or treats me negatively, I’m developing this same attitude in those spaces like a thick layer of smooth leather over cool steel. On the outside, it may look like the word or deed damaged me to the core but it didn’t. I’m covered. I have layers now.

Whether you speak life or speak ill of me, I win. That’s just a little fertilizer, I say to myself. Thank you, Sandpaper, I say quietly to an offensive person. Either way, I win because I grow in Love and wisdom. Either way, my armor is strengthened and I develop into a better version of myself. I don’t have to fear the pendulum’s sway from left to right. I win. If I die during surgery (I pray that I don’t, but still…), I leave this earth with Love on my mind and memories of the same through beautiful relationships. There is no one in my circle that doesn’t know how I feel about them. I have done my absolute best to allow the Love of Christ to transform, expand, then spill out of me. I will see my Creator and I believe I will see loved ones I’ve missed. If I wake up in post-op, I still win because the journey continues toward more enriching experiences. More opportunities to spread Love on this planet. I’m with Paul on this one when he talks in Philippians 1.

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.

Philippians 1:20 NLT

Either way, I win.

Either way, you can win too. It’s like what a member of the transient community said to me one day – “I’m blessed any way the wind blows.”

Say these phrases at work, at home, and anywhere else you need it. Once they stand tall in your soul, so will you.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: I Love Me Some You!

Hi, Family!

While I do “love me some you,” I wrote that phrase as an example of how you should talk to yourself. Here’s a short stop for your week.

When was the last time you spoke kind words to yourself?

If it’s been a while, try these truths.

  1. I am a masterpiece.
  2. I am a blessing.
  3. My breath has meaning.

Tonight’s post is a quick reminder that being kind to yourself is vital to your health. Like a relaxing shower, speaking love over yourself is what you need after defending your worth in various arenas. It’s the medicine you can’t depend on anyone else to give you except God.

Maybe you’re wondering why I said “some.”

The colloquialism “I love me some you” is expressed when you can’t get enough of someone and you love to swim in their presence. The truth is most folks need a little time to love all of themselves. All of the ugly parts. The unfinished places. The scrapes and bruises. The dark corners. It takes the unmatched Love of God to love all of that and multiply that Love among others. Until that time comes, I encourage you to look in the mirror and say positive things. Start with one sentence if you have to – one word even. Say sweet words your soul can eat. It doesn’t have to be cheesy, but it needs to be real. A real step in forming a healthy habit.

Look at yourself and speak the Truth to you. That you were made by an incredible Love this universe can not contain but left undeniable proof in the form of your awesomeness.

Here’s to you smiling at you. Sooner than later.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I love you and stay well out there. Inside and out. 🙂

What’s a truth that you can or would like to speak to yourself?

Wednesday Wind Down: Check Your Work

Hi, Family!

How’s your side of the planet? How was/is your day? I snatched a nap under a pretty tree that made me smile, so that’s a win. We made it to another week, so that’s a win too. 🙂

This week’s wind down may sting a bit, OK? Cool.

Remember when you finally completed a math problem only to hear “Check your work” from the teacher? Math wasn’t my strong subject, so I checked my work repeatedly to the point of obsession. As for the “check your work” mantra, it’s applicable in more than academic arenas. I believe God is encouraging us to do that very thing during this pandemic season.

What do I mean? I’m glad you asked. 🙂

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Sunday is a fellowship day for many Christians. We sing songs of praise, ask the love of Jesus to saturate our lives, and pray for expedited miracles. We exhort, cry, and pledge to be more like the One who saved us. We review teachings of Christ, catch up with fellow church members, and proceed into the week after a hearty Sunday dinner (which really happens at lunch time, but I digress). Unfortunately, the rest of that week brings a slew of words that do not exemplify the very thing we commemorated on Sunday. I’ve heard the following commentary while frolicking in the public on a Sunday afternoon or during a workday:

“That’s what’s wrong with America… they just let anybody in.”
“The Mexicans are taking over.”
“They need to go back to their own country.”
“They come here illegally and get away with it.”
“Well, I did it and so can they. We got to stop giving handouts.”

Sidebar: That’s one of my pet peeves when discussing social issues. Say who you mean instead of shooting “they’s” and “them’s” around folks like stray bullets.

Now, I could dissect those statements better than a frog in a high school biology class, but I won’t. My point is that we have ethereal (or ritual) experiences on Sunday and barrage a group of people with the same tongue that blessed God. We can’t possibly think that is OK.

Here’s how God sounds in my creative mind –

“So, you don’t like them, huh? You don’t want them to live next to you? They’re fine until they date your son or daughter? That’s right… you don’t see color and love everybody. Yeah, I heard that line last week. Prove it. Love them like you love yourself.”

You know I believe the Word of God applies to real life, so check out James 1:26.

“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”

James 1:26, The Holy Bible, New Living Translation

That’s straight from the brother and former mocker of Jesus. James, who saw his resurrected brother, says your claims of faith are worthless if you don’t control your tongue. Since the tongue expresses what it is in the heart, there lies the reason to “check your work.” To check the work of your hands and make sure it matches the beat of your heart… the heart that celebrates Christ on Sundays.

Photo by Shelagh Murphy on Pexels.com

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and I’ve been reflecting on the grit it takes to be Hispanic and Latinx in America. To be born here and assumed to be born elsewhere. To be bilingual or to speak broken English the best you can. To navigate homogeneous spaces where you may not be welcome. To be stereotyped as being less than a contributing member to society. To be mislabeled as a non-citizen when you have your credentials. To serve in this country’s military while waiting on citizenship approval. Remember that commentary up there? Does that sound like Sunday? Does that sound like the love of Jesus?

If you need a starting point, here are three quick items that may need a checked.

  1. Everyone that “looks Mexican” is not Mexican. Beware of this assumption.
  2. Everyone that “looks Mexican” is not beneath your social class.
  3. If you can appropriate it, you can learn about it and honor it properly (food, music, holidays, etc.).

When we say we want Jesus to be in our lives, that means all of it… especially our habits. I know they’re comfortable, but they aren’t traits of Who we worship.

Check your words. Check your work. Check your heart.

I love you and I’m praying for you.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Fruit

Hey, Family!

Can you believe it’s October? Y’all… we made it to October. I’m going to pause and celebrate that with you. *fist bump* Here’s a short stop (500 words or less) for your week.

I’ve been on a fruit kick lately… as in the study of how fruit multiplies itself.

Elementary school gave us the following basics, right?

seed -> sprout -> bush, tree, or vine -> flower, bud -> fruit

But we know the story doesn’t end there. Inside of that fruit is more seed to keep the process going. To perpetuate what began. I always found that part fascinating… how God placed that law in motion at the beginning of time and it continues to this day. Strawberries make more strawberries. Oranges make more oranges. Bananas produce more bananas and we are not surprised. We expect the fruit to multiply, but not just multiply more fruit… we expect it to multiply itself.

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

When you read and hear the Word of God, a seed of Life becomes available for the soil in your spirit. Maybe it’s a word of hope, faith, love, encouragement… whatever the type, it is a viable, living seed that is divinely designed with spiritually-genetic code. It was created to multiply just as God’s Word did during the Creation. It was destined to die in the soil and germinate in your heart so fruit can burst forth in your life. Seeds die so they can produce what is within. In that unsuspecting seed is a tree full of more than we can imagine and someone somewhere needs that fruit.

My thought for us is to remember the purpose of our seeds. Remember there is fruit in them. In every Bible verse you read, there is fruit waiting to happen. Goodness waiting to multiply. Love waiting to be shared. Hope waiting to be held. In each Word you hear, you have the opportunity to multiply it everywhere you go.

Everywhere.

Here’s the question – what are you planting around you? If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you may remember a #bloglikecrazy post or a Wednesday Wind Down about this topic. I’m passionate about it because it affects everything around us. The very air we breathe can carry remnants of positive or negative fruit from a previous conversation. So, I encourage you to multiply the fruit of God’s spirit as much as you can. It’s a struggle sometimes, I know… for real… but we can do it. We were built for growth, after all, we’re made from the Earth. *shrug*

So, sprinkle those seeds of temperance in the office. Place a seed of self-control in your home tomorrow. Throw a seed of kindness in the grocery store. It won’t go to waste… I promise. Seeds never die without purpose. At the very least, they can’t say they didn’t see a Seed in you.

I love you all and I’m praying for you. Stay well out there.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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