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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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motivation

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Make It Match

Hi, Family!

I’m glad you’re here.

Let’s dig in.

Have you ever fell victim to the missing sock fiasco? You put two socks in the laundry load (at least you think you did) and when you extract the load from the dryer, you only see one.

Now, two things may have happened – either the sock was left out of the wash or it was hidden within another clothing item. It’s an annoying conundrum that can inconvenience any busy morning.

What if instead of socks you were seeking to match, it were Christians to their behavior? When was the last time you checked to be sure your faith matched your deeds?

I witnessed a person wearing a faith-professing shirt say something so heartless. I instantly thought – “If I were not a Christian, I definitely wouldn’t want to be one after hearing that.”

Please note that I am not saying we should be flawless beings; however, I believe we often forget that we are to be the extension of God on Earth. That means that while we are in this restrictive body, we have a job to do and it will not be easy doing it. It means that we must be mindful of the Name we wear.

Family, this is where I am – If you’re not willing to allow the Gospel of Christ to circulate your veins and elevate your heart,  don’t wear the Cross around your neck or on your shirt. When people see that symbol of our Savior, they expect compassion instead of hypocrisy. They expect encouragement not judgment.

We are not the judges. Let me repeat that for someone who was falling asleep… We are not the judges. We are the extenders of God’s Love on Earth. That’s our one of two jobs – to love our neighbors as ourselves. I will forever admonish us to allow the Light to illuminate every room in our hearts so we can represent responsibly.

Let’s go back to those socks. You’re standing there, sock in hand, wondering where the other could be. Perhaps it didn’t make the wash. This represents the Word of God we do not care to read or hear. We grasp just enough inspirational quotes to snack on and move about life. We rush to “do the laundry” without fully doing it.

And what if the sock is hidden within the clean laundry? It’s still clean, right? Sure, but it may not be dry or may be difficult to find when you need it. This represents the disconnect between our faith and our actions. There are principles we fail to put into practice. We hear the sermon, listen to the audiobooks, and attend the conferences, but when it’s time to use them in adversity, we fall flat. Sincerity and discipline beyond a Sunday service are the cures for that. Both would yield subsequent changes in our lives as faith walkers.  

The theme of this blog is that Christianity is a process, not a destination. It contains hills and valleys, whispers of wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way. So ask yourself this question – are you willing to walk the journey or just wear the t-shirt?

Photo by Orione Conceiu00e7u00e3o on Pexels.com

I am determined to live a life open to the guidance of God’s Love. I’m committed to the excavation of dead things that should have been buried. I’m committed to re-discovering myself through God’s eyes. I’m committed to being uncomfortable in order to be fruitful. I hope you are too.

That’s the journey. That’s the endgame. That’s what I signed up for. Peace and 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!

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