Here’s a shortstop (a 500-words-or-less-post) for your week.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved stickers. They were expressive and comforting. They represented my voice when I didn’t want to talk. They ranged from Lisa Frank to historical landmarks.
The problem came when my mother wanted a clean surface or I wanted to change the look of my binder. Those stickers could be so difficult to remove. This same difficulty occurred with people placed labels on me growing up.
You’re too quiet. You act like you’re better than us. You think you’re smart. You talk White. You’re too dark. You’re too tomboyish. You’re so prissy. You’re not aggressive enough. Your panties must be dipped in holy water. You stay to yourself too much. You don’t smile enough. You’re too sensitive. You’re too nice.
Stickers. Labels. The ones you just read were stuck all over me from elementary school onward and I desperately tried to change every last one of them… trying to conform to the shape of the sticker just to please the person that put it on my body. It was exhausting to migrate between two polarized ends trying to find the center like the bubble on a level tool. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it right. I was always too something. It took two decades to absorb God’s Truth about my existence and allow His Love to wash that residue off my spirit. I realized and accepted the fact — Labels do not dictate me. They describe one’s perception, but they do not determine my craftsmanship and my footsteps.
Over time, as I let the warmth of the Father’s Light shine on my soul, I embraced my “too” somethings. My sensitivity was my superpower to empathize with others and see pain past the smiles. My sweetness was my weapon to confuse instigators and diffuse volatile situations. My desire not to have casual sex brought me peace of mind when my cycle was late. My quietness enhanced my listening prowess and critical thinking skills. None of these things meant I was superior to anyone; I just knew at an early age the state in which my Peace liked to live.
I learned that the way God made me was not incorrect. I was not defective. My introversion was not a bad thing. Every attribute and every trait was carefully placed with His purpose in mind and I still walk in that Truth today.
Sweetheart, walk in the Craftsmanship in which you were made (Ephesians 2:10). You were created by a Master Builder. Don’t let the stickers overstay their welcome. You are way too extraordinary for that.
Peace, Thanks for listening, and stay well out there.
Well, Sweethearts, I have one for you that may sting a bit. It’s got some length, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I would share it with you at an appointed time. Now is that time.
“Let the fools pass you.”
Heard 2/9/20 @ 7:16 PM
I was driving on the night I heard this. A car was riding my tail. I don’t have road rage, so I waited until I could safely change lanes to get out of the way. The driver sped up but did not pass me. It was a weird moment because I had been subject to road rage before.
A few years ago, a White male targeted me while driving one day and antagonized me for a couple of interstate exits. I had not cut anyone off or was going too slow, so I was confused when the taunting began. I got over; he got over. When I sped up, he sped up. When I braked, he did the same. He almost sideswiped me numerous times and tried to run me off the road. He yelled choice words and had an evil grin. I truly believe he was possessed. The end of that story includes me doing some defensive driving and swerving off the exit he tried to block me from accessing. My hands were shaking, but I quickly circled back to head in the opposite direction and took some alternative ways to my destination.
So, you can understand why I was a little leery of this present-day situation. It was night time, not during the day like the previous experience. My senses were heightened and I was prepared to defensively drive again. I sped up; so did the driver. I braked; the driver did the same. I sped up and the driver revved the engine. I was annoyed, but calm. I accelerated with the intentions of leaving the opposing car behind my tail lights. Then, I heard the Holy Spirit say loud and clear – “Let the fools pass you.” I let off the gas and the car kept going into the distance.
For a moment, I was morphing into someone from the Fast & Furious movies. I was prepared to take my ride to the 100 mark and beyond if it meant proving my point to that driver. I didn’t sense danger; I detected that s/he was baiting me. And I almost took it. Almost.
Sweetheart, the evil forces in this world want nothing more than you bait you into being reckless. To be so autonomous that you sincerely disregard everything you know to be the truth and cling to a thwarted view of community. You know that Jesus is the answer and you also know that the pandemic is still here. You know that God is Jehovah Jireh and you also know what’s in your bank account. You know that faith is imperative, but you also know God made science. It’s inevitable to be shaky about some things, but it is not acceptable to be dismissive, callous, and hasty.
Fools will be fools until they want to know better. Jesus knew that better than anyone. Here is He was… the Son of God wrapped in skin and filled with blood, organs, and sensitivity and yet, even He couldn’t convince everyone that He was the One they prayed for and that His Word was true. Instead, the law keepers and church officers cherry picked the Word and made it fit to their liking. It happens now. The parable of the virgins is a good example of how some people take a fragments of information and miss the essential component for it to be effective (Matthew 25).
It’s not your job to convince a fool of her/his wrongdoings. It’s your job as a faith walker to set the example to light the way to right standing with God. Period. So, the more you yell on social media, the more you speak out of season, the more you choose to be blind to the truth, the less empathy you exhibit, the less Love you spread, and the less Jesus they see.
I am convinced that some people just like to rebel. They love to stir the ant mound. They feed off of drama, frenzy, and sensationalism instead of being patient enough to research the facts and listen comprehensively. Critically thinking is simply not in their repertoire. If they don’t like it, they starkly stonewall it.
As frustrating as that may be, your freedom comes in knowing that you are not responsible for their actions. Yes, in times like these, we can be negative benefactors of their decisions, but ultimately, we are not responsible for others. We are responsible to each other not for each other.
So, if someone wants to rebel against handwashing and sanitation because they believe it weakens their immune system to fight off COVID-19, let them have it. You just make sure you wash and sanitize you and your area. If your sister keeps squandering her money, let it go. Let the fools pass you. Yes, I said it. Let… the fools… pass you. You gain nothing trying to convince someone who has made it their ultimate goal to be rebellious against anything that appears to threaten her/him. You could showcase a petri dish full of bacteria and a person with a rebellious spirit will tell you it’s not real. You can read him the law and his reality will say those rights are being taken away. She will say “thank you, essential workers,” then say that the elimination of EMT Breonna Taylor‘s life was justified. The same person will wear steel toe boots, a hard hat, gloves, or a mask to work, but not follow the rules in a grocery store, school, or barber shop. Sweetheart, let them pass you. It’s not worth your peace to be angry at their mindset. Frustrated? Sure. Annoyed? Understandable. Just like I was with those drivers, I ultimately had to veer off or slow down to save myself.
Here’s a couple of verses as a reminder when your foot is on the emotional gas and you’re on the edge of fighting the whirlwind –
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” – Proverbs 18:2
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” – Matthew 15:14
Lastly, I’m reminded of a time in school when I saw some students cheating on a test. It made me angry because I had studied hard for it and they were getting away with a great grade. Then came the semester exam and those students were struggling. One of them left out of anger a few minutes into the exam. I didn’t feel sorry for them. I did not help them. I kept going. They didn’t fool the teacher; they fooled themselves.
Whether it’s personal or professional, I pray that you let the fools pass you. It just seems like what you’re doing isn’t worth it, but your sanity, your wellbeing, your health is worth the work. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.
I’ve been sleeping pretty well and not at all — and it’s been great. Let me explain.
You already know that I’m a night owl. That’s when my creative juices come out and play. Sometimes their stride can generate a supernatural momentum, so much so that the sun and I say hello the next day. When that happens, I don’t just get a lot done; I am infused with energy to execute the plan laid out before me. If there are obstacles in my way like a bunch of linebackers, I feel inoculated against them and empowered to run them right over. Lately, this is how those sleepless nights have been.
Then, there’s the flip. Aside from a few not-so-great health days, my sleep has been sound. Ridiculously sound. It doesn’t hurt that my work commutes have stopped under quarantine, so that created a lot of room for naps as needed. For someone who usually spends 4-5 hours a day in a car, those naps have been golden.
I remember a season when this wasn’t the case. I used to have repetitive nightmares of various kinds. They would feel so real that I would delay going to bed. I would tire myself out in hopes that I wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night. I felt tormented instead of settled at sundown. Then, this verse changed the game.
I realized had control over my rejuvenation. The tumultuous overnights were actually an evil scheme against my productivity and my Peace. So, I took my sleep back. I quoted that verse every night before I went to bed. More than once if necessary (which was often).
My encouragement to you is that you re-possess your rest. When you sleep well, your body rebuilds. Your mental prowess increases. You power up to be a better version of yourself. Now, you can see why it was such a perfect plan… to steal something that would enhance your God-given awesomeness. Don’t let it happen especially in this season. You deserve to be your best self, so do what it takes. Speak with Word over your rest.
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart. Here’s to those sweet dreams too.
#8 – I actually rested on an inclement weather day.
See that lioness? Well, she is me and when I got the chance to rest on an Alabama snow day, I took it. Guilt-free. Yes, the semester had just begun, but that didn’t matter. I was determined to do absolutely nothing with a pinch of homework. Just a pinch… nothing more. Usually, I fill surprise off days with as much work as they can hold. Why? Because there’s always something to do! Well, not this time. Nature called for no traffic, no hustle-and-bustle, no excessive noise… just a day of rest and whatever I wanted to do. *smh* It was great.
Stillness is a precious gift, and what a gift it was to be still for a day. Definitely introvert approved. More importantly, I realized that I could do so much by doing “nothing.” My “nothing” was actually “everything” I needed to do “something” the next day. I needed to regroup and gear up for the journey ahead. My mind, body, and spirit thanked me for it, too. Stillness doesn’t have to carry guilty baggage. It can simply sit with you as you binge watch episodes of the favorite primetime TV show that you always miss. It can also lull you into a nap while the sun is still shining. Stillness can even accompany you as you read a magazine, not online, but in your hands.
I pray that you find your Peace, Be Still Day before the end of the year. If not, plan it for January and stick to it. Doing nothing can be your everything.
Have you ever felt full, like you were about to pop? Well, me, my Converse sneakers, and my school uniform made a break for it this week.
It was Monday and I was full of everything – grief, fatigue, anticipation, excitement, concern, questions, tension, gratefulness… I was just full. After all, it was my birthday and that came with a cacophony of spiritual noise. I had been fighting to stay afloat in the midst of recent rip tides and I was doing a pretty good job, but when you wake up on your birthday and wish you could just sleep in, that’s when you know the jig is up. I couldn’t do most of what I wanted due to surgery recuperation and two financial surprises, so I had to make some adjustments to keep my annual self-care ritual.
Each week in August, I do something that fills me with joy, then I continue the celebration once per month until the end of the year. It’s like my body and spirit know it’s August as soon as July ends. Well, with a few modifications, I still managed to uphold my law.
Week 1:Weekend road trip with Mommy. Music, laughs, and priceless convo. Week 2:Ate pancakes the night before surgery. Binge-watched Blue Bloods and The Resident from the beginning. Man, I love those shows. Week 3:Sister Time with sisterfriends. Ate half of a Ribeye from the Hickory Chip. Week 4:Drove to Noccalula Falls (Gadsden, Alabama)
Now, about this drive… it was a serious mission. I almost didn’t make it in time due to my car repair, but I’m so glad I kept going. When I arrived, I had 25 minutes to make my birthday wish come true, then when I got there, I didn’t follow the map correctly and got set back 6 minutes. Noccalula Falls is special to me because it is one of two places in the world (so far) where I can breathe without respiratory rudeness. Something about that Gorge Trail makes me giddy like a school girl waiting on a glance from a crush. I don’t have to scale or climb, but a fall can easily be in anyone’s future along those jagged rocks. It had been years since I stood beneath the falls, but I never forgot the way I felt taking that deep breath in without clearing my throat for the first time. (A picture of it is on my About Me page.)
I know God is everywhere, but it seems like that is our sweet spot. I just have to push beyond the tough part. On the way to the cave beneath the fall’s cliff, it was difficult to breathe and believe me, there were plenty of opportunities to give up and turn around having had surgery 10 days prior. The impending thunderstorm, the 5-minute grace before getting a ticket, the throbbing headache and sore muscles, my ill-prepared attire… I could have easily said forget it. Not to mention that I kept hearing a loop of negativity in my head along the way. But with every step, I felt the reverberation of my soul making a judgment call to not accept no as an answer to my prayer request. Needless to say, I hustled in all of my sweaty glory to reach the cave by 5:00 PM and made it on the dot. When I finally reached the spot, I took that deep breath and teared up. Everything that filled me up finally had a place to go and I could empty it out before His perfect blend of peace and power. There I was, looking up at God’s natural wonder, and once again His Word met me there. Here’s what I heard. I hope it helps you too.
Pride, like a tumor, must be removed – not ignored.
Like a tumor, pride metastasizes and blocks your divine purpose.
You can’t ask God for miracles and control how they arrive.
You have to go low to be lifted high. You can’t start at the top.
God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. If you never admit your weakness, there is no room for His strength to take over.
Water smooths the rough edges. So do life’s challenges shape you.
No, there was no surprise party waiting for me when I got home and just 10 years ago, I was celebrating my birthday with my fiancé. I had plenty to swirl in as I recalled my battle scars, but standing there made everything feel small and made me feel safe enough to receive His strength. The exchange was available, just like air, and all I had to do was let it happen.
You know that exhale you do after ripping and running all day or removing an overcoat after a long day outside? That’s where I was. Pure relief.
And what was that overcoat? Pure Pride.
I hate asking for help to carry my bags during recuperation, accepting kindness in resources and deeds, or saying “OK” to a surprise provision that I prayed for…. how ridiculous is that? So, just like the benign tumor that was removed from my neck recently, it was imperative that God was still working on me and my foreign-body attachments.
Now, check out an excerpt of what I journaled in September 2016.
“My mantra in August was to unleash the beast.
Each birthday month, I vow to do something I enjoy and spread it out across each week. Sometimes, it’s small like a milkshake or a little bigger like a solo road trip. Well, this year I decided to embrace something that I don’t like…and it hurt like hell.”
Isn’t that crazy? Well, Sweetheart, that’s where Part II comes in. It’s great to celebrate and it’s beautiful to exhale, but we must deal with the Beast within us in order to be healthy.
Peace, see you next time on the blog, and thanks for making it to the end of this post. lol I love y’all. Let’s keep walking. If you have a birthday ritual, let me know. If you don’t, make a pact with yourself to start one. It will bless you more than you can imagine. XO
As I sit here gearing up for a late night homework/study stint before bed, I thought of something I said to myself yesterday and hope that it helps you too.
I was tempted to say something out of character and in a split second, the following words flew out of my mouth, traveled into my ears and pressed the kill switch on what could have been a negative interaction:
You’re better than that.
I had to remind myself of the Queen I am. Queens don’t bicker. They reign. They exert their authority and move on with their daily agenda. They don’t stoop; they glide. So that’s what I did. I floated right over that situation and kept my mouth shut. What could have been a moment of spiritual quicksand ended up being a day of personal peace. The trajectory of my life was better because of that reminder and the chain of events that could have ensued did not have a chance to weigh down my royal adornment.
So tonight, as you wind down, remember that you’re better that – whatever that is for you. Maybe it’s smoking, drinking, cutting yourself, bingeing on porn… my Love, you’re better than that. Stop stooping and starting reigning in the authority God gave you.
Peace, Thanks for listening, and wind down safely.
“You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to give your fathers,” Deuteronomy 6:18 NASB
I like to read the Bible before bed. It’s like a spiritual palate cleanser for me after a long day. After reading this verse two days ago (and later the chapter), I turned over in the bed and contemplated the directive and the promise. The instructions seemed so simple, yet intimidating. So, I jotted notes to digest. Hope it helps you too!
Step 1: Because God sees everything, do what is right. I know you may not get “credit” for it, but your character counts in the eyes of the Father. You don’t have to wonder if He’s keeping tabs or forgetting to write something down. He is omnipresent and omniscient.
(I truly try to live this out everyday. Challenges come, but this part doesn’t trip me up.)
Step 2: When you do what is right, your actions and the outcome will be well with you… you will be at peace with what was in your control and what was out of your control.
(I believe that peace makes a mighty fine pillow and I enjoy sleeping on it every night. Knowing that you did everything you could to be in right-standing makes you accept the serenity of not being in control of everything. So, this part doesn’t get me either… but let’s look to the last one…)
Step 3:Then, because you have Peace, you can go possess the land… the good land… the promise.
(OK, so this where we need to talk. Why do I have problems possessing the land, or in today’s case, the dreams and promises God gave me? If I’ve done the steps to get to this point, why am I apprehensive about #3? Is it a fear of not being able to live up to the dream? Am I afraid that the promises are ethereal and not obtainable? What causes me to pause when it’s time to take a step into new territory? Apparently, the land is not new to God because He promised it before I was born. So, why can’t I rest in His confidence in me? Honestly, I’m still chewing on this one. I want to get to the bottom of it. Yes, I know bible verses and songs that say otherwise, but there is still trepidation before I put my weight on the leg that extends into unknown territory.)
Is there anyone else out there that is shaky on the 3rd step? It’s OK to be human enough to answer YES!
So, I have to remind myself that the promises of God are secure and that even Jesus had to take a step back to get ready for the cross. It was His mission and He knew it was coming, but it didn’t make the step easier to take. So, He prayed… more than once (Matthew 26). I have to believe that His multiple prayers validate my questions and fears just as much as his humanity colliding with his Deity.
Follow the steps according to HIS plan, put your foot down, and walk across the bridge into the unknown. I’m stretching to do the same.
Caution: Let’s go swimming in our thoughts for a bit…. 622 words deep to be exact.
I don’t know how to swim (effectively), but I love the beach. I see a swimming pool and I want to jump in like an Olympic diver and scuba diving is on my LTD (life-to-do) List. With all of this enchantment over water, such a simple necessity, it would make sense as to why God would use it to get His points across.
THE LATSOL MOMENT
One morning while I was walking my dog Sammy, I noticed the dew on the grass. My dog loves to slurp it off the grass in order to prolong his morning ritual. It was nothing new, but the temperature had been consistently 90 degrees or more in Alabama for a week and even the evenings felt like a cough of heat from the daytime. On this particular morning, the dew arrested my attention. How was there dew on the grass in the midst of heat?I know the scientific answer, but that wasn’t satisfying at that moment. Then I heard God say gently…
“No matter how hot it gets, there’s always dew on the grass in the morning.
That alone should be proof that I will take care of you.”
Wow. That was my water proof. Finally. See a few years ago, I asked for God to help me understand him more… to make himself tangible to my curiosity and satisfy my itch to learn Him in a deeper way. So in order to understand my excitement about this “theorem,” you must hear my “proof.” (Hey, math teachers… two points?)
We need God. He created water as something that we must consume and depend on in which to live. We need Him.
We are made of God. God created each of us in His likeness.
God can affect, penetrate, or saturate anything over time. He is all-powerful.
God is underneath us, with us, and above us. He is omnipresent.
God has 3 forms and each has a specific purpose. The Holy Trinity consists of God the Father (the Protector and Judge), Jesus the Son (the Savior and Advocate), and The Holy Spirit (The Comforter and Guide).
God was made to move. He is omnipotent and can not be contained.
God can be customized. He manages to speak to anyone who desires a relationship with Him regardless of geographical location and demographics.
Proof: God is like water.
It is a representation of His deity and awesomeness and is not bound by circumstances.
Lastly and personally…
To say that water fascinates me would be an understatement. The shower is my thinking placeand a warm bath is a cozy envelope for my questions and feelings of frustration. I leave them there, in the envelope, to go down the drain forevermore. When I step out of the shower, I am new. I’m ready for the day or evening and mentally prepared for what’s ahead.
So, when I saw the blades of grass with dew and Sammy was enjoying the natural refreshment in spite of the heat, I felt like God gave my proof some recognition. More like I finally listened to what He had been saying all along. I am God. I will provide. I am not affected by your changes. I am always here.
I took a deep breath that morning and my soul agreed… and I felt amazing.
The White House. Diamonds. Museum artifacts. It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them. They are protected to prevent abuse and to preserve their value. Their boundaries reduce the risk of them being abused and destroyed.
The wooden heart pictured here is just as fragile as we are. We appear fortified and impenetrable on the outside, but the reality is all it takes is a little fire and water to warp our behavior toward a situation.
God’s Love protects us. We are His treasured beings. His Son’s blood was used to redeem us, and it is also designed to protect us. It shields us from all hurt, harm, and danger that we cannot see. Does that mean we will not hurt? No.
Even museum artifacts must be taken from their protective cases to be cleaned and preserved so they can last longer.
So it is with us. Our hedge of protection is made pliable for a moment to strengthen us through an experience. That seems unfair, but consider the following: God knows that if we are to truly learn, we must experience. If all it took was our Father to tell us everything, there would be less hardship and hardheadedness. We can’t be trusted to simply take heed because we usually don’t do so. The lasting impression needed for growth is experience. God knows that. Your parents and teachers knew that. Even your manager knows that; otherwise, why ask for a resume and references? Experience matters… and there’s no way around it.
Secondly, one could say that the heart is the most fragile thing. Why would we hide the Word there and not in our minds? Because we protect our hearts more than our minds. Just think of all the things you saw or heard that were impure today or this week. Our eyes and ears are inlets to the heart, but the heart is the inner sanctuary of the soul. It has its own guard… Peace.
Peace protects us from the contamination of life. It causes us to remain fortified when the world is crumbling.
Thirdly, there is peace in saying “yes” and “no.” There is peace in stillness and in a joyous moment with others. Peace is not easily broken, but it can be relieved of its duties if you give the orders. Where the mind rationalizes, the heart leads. If it doesn’t “feel” right in the heart, we move forward in the mind. Decisions are rescinded often because the heart doors not agree. God knows the heart is where it’s at! David screwed up so many times, but God cherished his repentance and praise because of his heart.
What does your heart treasure? What’s in it and why is it there?
Is it worth protecting? Is your Peace on duty?