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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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encouragement

Wednesday Wind Down: The Pain Principle

Hi, Family!

What a week. What a month. Before I begin, just give yourself some room to appreciate that you made it to today. And if no one has told you lately, allow me to say I’m proud of you.

This post is wrapped around a simple Word from the Father that truly nourished my soul.

You don’t have to prove your pain.

Y’all.

I stopped in my tracks.

I paused everything and let it seep into my pores.

Why was this Word so profound to me? Because probably like some of you, I am accustomed to hiding pain. From health challenges to grieving loved ones, I learned to override my senses and clock into the next item on the agenda. I found that zone when I was in elementary school and I knew how to access it when it was needed. Fighting health battles that people couldn’t easily detect grew easier over time and I learned to just not talk about it. Besides, I’m uncomfortable in the spotlight. Always have been. But, growth tends to throw you into that thing anyway.

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Hiding pain a great trait to develop, but it can also be physically exhausting and emotionally castrating, yet we do it anyway. Why? Because in many cultures, it is celebrated. The less you express, the louder the applause. You must admit the prestige is to be coveted when you hear things like “You would never know he was in pain” and “She was so strong through it all.” I mean, who wouldn’t want those accolades!

So, as I got out of my car with my temporary disability placard hanging from the rearview mirror, I thought People aren’t going to believe me. Just get across the parking lot. No, try to walk straight. Let’s get rid of this limp… but then, someone’s going to judge me for parking in that limited mobility spot. Ugh. I hate this.

Placing one foot in front of the other, I attempted to smooth out my gait, then I felt my body slip into the familiar limp that resided in my legs for over a year. My hip moved to an imbalance posture and subconsciously, I let the pattern follow through. I didn’t feel like facing judging eyes as I tried to walk out my healing process. It was easier to just fall back into my abnormal rhythm and just get to the door of the grocery store.

That’s when I heard that Word and it arrested and empowered me at the same time.

I slowly straightened my posture to the best of my ability (yes, in the middle of the mini-roadway between the parking lot and the Publix doors). I attempted the heel-toe rolling action and in my mind, I resembled my old school marching band 8-to-5 stride. I probably didn’t, but I didn’t care. Honestly, it hurt like hell and it was scary, but I did it anyway because my God said that I didn’t need anyone to approve my process. It didn’t matter if I appeared in pain or not.

Likewise, I shared this freedom with a massage client recently when I listened to him share a similar sentiment. When he completed his thoughts, I said “You don’t have to prove your pain… to me or to anyone else.” I watched relief rain down his face. His eyes softened, then he nodded. I mirrored his affirmation and resumed his massage.

How many of us could actually heal if we gave each other the grace to do so? Seriously. Think of how much healing could truly take place?

I recall countless times when my face and voice didn’t match someone’s definition of pain. I have a high pain tolerance (elementary school, remember?), so once I say it hurts – I’m there. Until I get to that point, my exterior doesn’t change. This makes it difficult for people who don’t know me to gauge and thus, judge. I get it; we’re all looking for barometers to help us understand each other in this crazy world. Unfortunately, that desire can place a yolk on someone who is already cringing from the process itself, especially if it’s a visible one. It isn’t fair to place our cloak of definitions on anyone’s anything.

I share my newfound freedom with you as well, Family. I don’t care if you are experiencing mental anguish, emotional upheaval, spiritual renovation, or physical immobility – God knows your pain. He hears your cries and sees your attempts. He can pick up your crumbles one by one until you’re healed and whole. No one deserves proof of that process… not a supervisor, family member, or a stranger. Your word is enough – just like our Father’s. Just try to walk again. Try to walk with your heads up, even if it’s a slow stroll from the parking lot to the door.

I love you all and I wish you the absolutely best of days ahead. Here’s to your healing and, as always, Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Real Prayer Time

Hey, Family.

Tonight, it’s real prayer time and I’m going to share some real talk I had with God this week after reviewing the details and footage of 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario’s case and a few other atrocities.

My prayers also include you… that your spirits will be malleable enough to empathize and fortified enough to carry out the duties of the days ahead. It’s been a difficult week so far for some of us, but we are a family in the eyes of God, and families stick together, so let’s approach the Throne of Grace… together.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Father God, in the name of Jesus –

America the Beautiful is not America the Perfect and sometimes those imperfections are hard to see, hard to digest, and hard to admit.

We’ve come a long way, but we have a ways to go… but let some folks tell it, we’re just fine. Nothing’s wrong. Everything is as it should be. I couldn’t disagree more.

I’ve seen tears and anguish once again and it seems there is no end in sight. Every hail of accomplishment seems to carry with it another blow, another dismissal of human dignity.

I’m coming to you in a state of gratitude right now. Grateful there’s proof of what we need to fix. Grateful that for the countless others who were never filmed, there is a dossier of visible scars that never healed. At some point, the disjunction has to be undeniable and our shades must be removed so we can see the full picture. We need Your grace to helps us with that because we suck at it right now.

Sometimes our teeth grit and we square our shoulders ready to combat anyone that can take the brunt of our pain. Unwarranted words filled with bile fly back and forth between us. I can’t believe we’re in 2021 sometimes with the things I see and hear.

We are sick in need of a Cure, yet You’ve given us the anecdote to eradicate the invisible virus that is truly keeping us apart. I know utopia is not an option. I’m not oblivious to the fact that things will worsen as You prepare to return; however, I pray that the saturation of discord and rhetoric decreases, in the name of Jesus. Cut off the pipelines of hate on every side. I know it will never leave, but at least it doesn’t have to thrive. Not like this.

Help us to see each other as part of the same whole… that helping or listening to our brother doesn’t discount us in any way. That we are spirits in human form.

Keep correcting us, O God. It hurts, but it’s necessary. Again, you remind us that we can’t say we are your children yet we treat each other otherwise. 1 John 4:19-21 states that we can’t love You and not love each other.

We say “Fill me up,” “I want to be like You,” and “Show me Your face,” but…

You keep showing us our hearts instead. We can’t even get the fundamentals right… the love You with all of our heart and to love our neighbors and ourselves… those… right there, those keep tripping us up from the Kingdom. You gave us the greatest commandment and I can only imagine Your face as we beg for more to follow.

Keep exposing.


Keep irrigating the wound so it can heal correctly somewhere… anywhere… everywhere…


Keep bringing us closer to where we should be instead of our cozy places. Only You can change the heart, but You also give us the free will to let You.

Keep my readers safe from all harm seen and unseen. Keep their minds clear and their hearts open to receive the Love you have so readily available to us all. Keep their ears open to hear Your voice and willing hands ready to serve.

In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Be safe out there, Family. Peace & Thanks for listening. I love y’all. Have a great week! 💙

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: Deep Dive

Hey, Family!

How’s your week so far? I pray it’s been amazing!

If you’re new to my site, this is my virtual living room and you’re welcome to sit for a minute. We get personal around here as I merge faith and humanity, so I’m glad you’re here. Let’s go!

Currently, I am healing from the outside in and it is painstakingly uncomfortable. Having surgery last year opened up a Pandora’s box of emotional remnants that I didn’t know were there.

A major key I reaffirmed is that I’m acrobatic in giving grace to others.

When you’re a Psychology-turned-Communication Arts major, you are ingrained to look at every situation with a prism instead of judgmental binoculars. You quickly learn that everything isn’t as it seems and you dishonor the truth when you leave out a perspective.

For example, your spouse comes homes and the door slams behind her, what are your thoughts?

Photo by Dobromir Hristov on Pexels.com

At first glance, you may jump to a “What’s wrong with you?” type of response. A communication skill called perception checking would take you through a few steps to allow ethical interpretation of that behavior. Maybe she misjudged how close the door was to the frame or the wind forced it. Maybe, she was annoyed with something that happened during the commute and regrets letting it slam. After you provide the possibilities, you ask your spouse to verify or correct those options. This diffuses defensiveness and allows your spouse to tell you the truth instead of you being upset by your assumption. Even if she doesn’t say so, she can’t say you jumped to a conclusion and reacted rashly.

See what I mean?

Prism. Not binoculars.

So, passing out grace? No worries there. I give situations a 360-view before I draw the line.

Serving that plate to myself? Epic fail. More like “Harpo, who dis?”

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

Sometimes I even beat myself up because I’m not trudging through every muddy puddle with a smile, waving my usual positivity flag, and onboarding everyone around me on the sunshine train. Why? Let’s admit it, Family… who doesn’t want that badge of honor and who hasn’t glorified that trait in others?

“She never complained.”

“He always put his kids before himself.”

“She always had a smile on her face.

“He always had a kind word to say.”

It’s an addictive perfection drug that can take you out if you’re not careful. I admit – I want the badge. I want the perfection. I want those words said at my funeral… but when I really need to breathe between the punches, I end up landing a fist of guilt on myself as I give a plate full of grace to someone else.

All I can say is thank God for therapy.

So far, I’ve had some serious revelations. One of them is the following: I know how to survive in a box; I struggle breathing outside of it. Thank you, Therapist.

Let me explain. Who knows? Maybe you and I are related.

Remember that scene in Harlem Nights (1989) when Eddie Murphy tells Danny Aiello to take very short breaths while he’s in the vault? That’s me. Little breaths. All day. All month. All year if I have to. Whatever it takes to get me over the hump and keep moving. Don’t get me wrong – I know how to self-care just not between traumatic milestones. In the words of my therapist, I know how to survive on little breaths. It’s like coming up for air after a deep ocean dive, but only taking a short breath before returning to the depths.

That is not sustainable and I hereby declare that I am no longer able to sustain myself on those small puffs of air. See what I did there? OK, I’ll stop rhyming. Lol

I’ve accomplished a lot in the midst of about 14 years of unfortunate events. I felt great about each milestone, took vacations, enjoyed time with friends and family, smashed some goals, and yet – *gasp* Little breath. Why? Because that’s how I learned to survive the shockwaves. That’s how I said to my mind, body, and spirit “Hey, get ready. There’s another one coming.” Over time, a week-long vacation or a mini-road trip transformed into a mere puff of air or a big exhale from holding my breath underwater so long.

Who can survive like that?

None of us.

So, I’m on a quest to learn how to live outside of the ocean I’ve learned to survive in and to kick the boxes that read “This is the way to heal” and “Christians suffer quietly with permanent smiles on their faces.”  I’m asking God to rewire my spirit so I can sweetly pass that warm plate of grace to myself and to accept it easily from my Savior, knife and fork in hand.

I also pray that by sharing this moment, you are encouraged to begin or continue your own journey to a healthier you. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to only show the highlight reel and be shamed as you heal and learn. Our faith allows for growth and grace to flow to us and through us. It calls for us to break at the feet of Jesus and within the sanctuary of   each other’s understanding because His Love should flow from heart to heart to create that circle of safety.

Let’s agree to deep dive into the waters of our soul if we need to and to learn to deeply breathe outside of the boxes we discover – the one that happened to us and the one we taped up ourselves.

I love y’all and I’m praying for you. As always, Peace and Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Replenish

Happy Thursday, Family!

I hate I missed you last night. The sandman knocked me down and I went with it, but you know I couldn’t leave you hanging until next week. So, here’s what I’ve been chewing on lately (and it’s a short stop).

This passage comes after God lets the children of Israel have it. In modern terms, this is also called “giving the business” or “reading” someone. *lol* Whatever you want to call it, God let them know He was not happy with their fasting foolishness.

Then comes this passage which has been a breath of fresh air to this season. Every time I read it, I think about the water cycle. Remember that from elementary school? It’s a beautiful reminder that God’s strength is never-ending and that He has plenty for us. I love that the water never runs out during the water cycle. You can read more about how water reminds me of God’s awesomeness here.

That “continually” part is everything to me. The Lord’s guidance will never run out on you. Your strength will be replenished well enough for you to be well-watered in a dry place. I don’t know about you, but I could use some water right now. Like clockwork, when I feel like I have nothing left to give — like an empty garden — God always give me more… more oxygen, more strength, more peace, more of something to go a little further. I may be emotionally drained, then someone calls and asks for prayer. I may be hurting and I will feel a supernatural boost to help someone in need. He never fails and, like that ever-flowing spring, our Source is everlasting. Since He is everlasting, we do not have to be. What a blessing that is! How relieving it is that we do not have to water ourselves! You and I both know that we try to reach that aerial bar with much failure at our feet, so I pray that you bask in that truth today and every day.

What I also love is that as He replenishes us, we will be infused with enough to be rebuilders and restorers. We can go from being a desolate place to building life around us. How cool is that?

I love you all and I’m praying for you. Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!

Wednesday Wind Down: Unpack the Bag

Hey, Family!

Here’s a short shop for your week!

You know how society stresses the importance of securing the bag? If you’ve never heard of this colloquialism, it means to take advantage of a financial opportunity, obtain the funds, snatch the coins… you get the drift.

Well, for some of us, I say it’s time to unpack the bag. *raising my hand too*

I’ve been undergoing this uncomfortable adventure with my therapist recently. As faith-filled as we may be, there’s a bag of stuff that we keep tucked away or in my case, that we never knew existed.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

So, how does a Christian begin the process of unpacking an emotional suitcase? First, you need two guides – The Holy Spirit and a professional counselor/therapist. If you’re new here, welcome to my blend. I’m an avid advocate for mental health and I believe God gifted persons with the ability to help us navigate difficult waters. If you need a starting point, let me know. I have a list of exceptional professionals that can either help you directly or refer you to someone who can.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

As you find a match for your wellness needs and prepare for the journey, here are three things to remember –

  1. Remember you serve a God who cares.
    • WORD: Psalm 147:3 NLT – “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”
    • NOTE: Whatever the weight, He can handle it. Start unloading.
  2. Remember you are an exceptional creation.
    • WORD: Psalm 139: 13-14 NLT – “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.”
    • NOTE: Your baggage doesn’t change who you are.
  3. Remember freedom is yours.
    • WORD: Psalm 34:14 NLT – “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”
    • NOTE: You do not have to live in your baggage. The suitcase is not your home. You can be freed.

Family, don’t forget you are not alone and you have everything it takes to begin the journey. I pray you have the courage to take the first steps necessary toward a healthier you. I know I am.

Peace & Thanks for listening to my under-500-word Tiny Desk Ted Talk! *lol*

Wednesday Wind Down: No Shade

Hi, Family!

I hope you’re doing well out there. If not, I hope this short stop helps.

Have you ever had someone judge your plate? You know the type. They throw side-eye shade about your chicken alfredo between their green smoothie sips. They may even comment about the calories and how you should try their diet of the month. How rude.

When I sit down to enjoy a fun meal, I have no regrets. Why? I remember all the vegetables I ate and the carbs I declined. I smile at the fruit I ate instead of chocolate and the extra cardio I enjoyed (dance is my favorite cardio by the way). I let that shade stay on their side of the street. Why again? Because I know the truth. I know my plate is my reward.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

This week, I encourage you to stick close to the Truth and throw off that shade. No one knows your internal struggles but you and God. You’re the only one that lives in your skin. Pray that you are infused with divine strength to withstand the shade of judgment. Nothing but toxicity grows there, so stay on the side of Truth. Here’s three quick vitamins to help with that –

  1. Say to whom you belong, e.g. “I am yours; you are mine.”
  2. Tell yourself one truth about your plate, e.g. “I’m going to enjoy this moment, then continue my journey.”
  3. Remind yourself that judgment doesn’t stick to you, e.g. “I don’t have to own what you give.”

I love y’all and I’m praying for you as you navigate those shade trees. While you’re at it, read Ephesians 6:10-17 and do right by your body so you can have that alfredo. *lol*

Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there!

Wednesday Wind Down: Hero

Hi, Family!

Get ready for your short stop.

I saturated myself in the Inauguration yesterday. I always do. Why? Because I’m a nerd, an educator, and a communication specialist. I’m a nerdy educational communicator. That’s a serious trifecta.

It means that I analyze communication like a scientist studies petri dishes. I dissect verbal and nonverbal behavior like a mathematician breaks down equations. I love social sciences. It’s my jam.

Gotta love the National Park Service.

So, I watched the pomp and circumstance as I do every 4 years. I observed body language, vocal inflections, artifacts (objects people use to express themselves), and communicative congruency. I noticed hairstyles, tie colors, and this year — masks. The music. The military. The tradition. I love it all.

After weaving in and out of the little known facts yesterday, I heard the following in my spirit:

“No one is a Savior, but everyone can be an example.”

I paused and wrote it down as I do with these type of moments.

America easily idolizes leaders in various capacities —- especially when it comes to government and religion. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, our idea of leaders can creep into deity status. That’s the trap. That’s a diabolical rabbit hole we can’t afford to travel down every 4 years.

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

God has called us to be everyday examples of His Love. His compassion should flow through our hands and deposit into the others. Here’s the kicker — titles aren’t required to do what is right. Prestige is not important when Love cries out. Everyone has the same opportunity to be an example because everyone was made in the image of the Father. So, president or janitor, God has given us the same orders. There are giants to slay, hearts that need mending, and lives that need enriching. He armed us with His Love. My prayer is that we accept this precious call and carry out the greatest mission in the world.

One of my favorite songs is “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner. It grounds me and uplifts me at the same time. The lyrics are poignant and we could use the reminder as faith walkers.

Respect every office, family, just don’t forget your own cape. God has given you the power of Love and the sword of His Truth to be an example every day… to be a hero for someone in your family, at work, or at the coffee shop.

Stay well out there. Love y’all. Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: What A Day

Well, my original first-Wednesday-of-the-year message has been altered a bit.

I’ll keep one part of the initial plan — to change my affectionate name for you. I thought it befitting to call you Family. After all, we’ve shared a whole heap of life events together (5 years worth come January 26th actually). So Sweethearts is retired and Family are you. 🙂

On to the different message.

I’m watching. So should you.

My eyes and spirit are keen and I am not dismayed by what happened in Washington, DC.
I’m not surprised.
I’m not angry.

I’m watching… and I’m actually glad we saw the attempted coup of the U.S. Capitol.

Photo by Thiago Matos on Pexels.com

Why? Because proof can not be ignored. A mirror is still a mirror even when it’s broken.

More people were able to see behind the veil of privilege and democracy (and this is from a social science educator). For America to lift up her skirt and show her tail to the world was exactly what we needed to affirm how damaged we truly are. Hypocrisy spills from her lips every time she tilts her liberty-crowned head back and scoffs at other countries for their supposed lack of governmental and military prowess. The last 3 months show how much pride is around our borders and how much ache is in our souls.

On numerous occasions, I’ve written about my love for America (just search “America” on my blog) and that I don’t always likes what she does. So what do you do in a moment like this… when you don’t like what you see and you can’t un-see it? When you’re trying to digest your sentiments with friends and family and they refuse to respect your thought?

You watch.

You pay attention and take notes.

You don’t let anyone infiltrate your peace of mind.

Photo by Barik5ive on Pexels.com

You can be sad, upset, confused, frustrated, but don’t let it alter your personality. Don’t let it harden your heart. I hate that people attach the name of Jesus to the foolishness we saw, but I refuse to exhibit behavior that would cause even more people to turn away from His Love. And that storming of our democratic symbol was no where near it.

Another tip – Be ridiculously aware. Pray for wisdom and I guarantee the Holy Spirit will be your navigator in these uncharted waters. Hone in on who is saying what and why. Notice their actions. Seek for alignment between word and deed. Ugly or not, the Truth is always present. This one is just more personal (and uglier) than we thought.

Family, you can navigate through the smoke.

You can disagree without losing your wits.

You can be disgusted with the haps and shine at work. Being temperamental is what the darkness wants you to do. So, don’t give your heart away and while you’re taking notes, remember this one – Galatians 6:7-8 New Living Translation (pretty easy to remember the number sequence, right?)

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”

Courtesy of my YouVersion Bible App

It may get worse before it gets better, but keep watching. Keep paying attention to God’s move in and out of you. Keep sowing the good seeds.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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