Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Perspective: The Choice is Yours

Years ago after finishing grad school I received a position with Kellogg. I remember how excited I was as I thought it to be a great opportunity with a great company. I had interviewed with a particular manager who upon my first day told me he was retiring. I was still excited and was ready to meet my new manager. Everything changed when they paired me with a young man to shadow. He had been at the company for a little over a year. He was very vocal about how he hated the company and the position. He would often say “I didn’t go to school to be stocking shelves”. His negative attitude about the job and his doom and gloom view on things quickly rubbed off on me. I then began to not like the job, the position and the tasks that I had to complete. Once that negative attitude set in, when the new manager came, I didn’t like him either! My how quickly things changed when my perspective took a shift for the worse! Needless to say, I resigned from that position only to find out after that when I was hired, I was at the onset hired in on the VP track. I sometimes wonder if that guy knew that and intentionally baited me into hating the place like he did. Well, lesson learned as they say! 

Girrrl, what things do you struggle with due to your perception of it? 

Let’s take for example two single ladies who live in the same apartment building. 

Single Lady #1: 
I hate coming home to this empty apartment every night. There’s no one here to talk to, no one to keep company with. I’m tired of doing everything on my own, I have to take the trash out, fix things that are broken, and even change light bulbs for crying out loud. I’m sick of being single, when is this going to end?

Whew! Single Lady #1 is making me sad listening to her right!

Single Lady #2:
Lord, I thank you for the peace and quiet I have in my apartment when I get home. I praise you for it! I thank you that I can rest when I get in, if I want to cook, I do. If I don’t want to cook, I don’t have to! If I want to forgo cleaning for a few days, I can! Thank you Jesus for the tranquility I have. I’ll welcome a husband when You send him to me but for now, I love the stillness in the atmosphere!! 

Same apartment building, same apartments essentially but two different perspectives. Your perspective on a situation can make it a pleasant one or an unbearable one. 

The single season is indeed a gift from God (I hear some of you in the spirit asking - Lord can I exchange this gift for a better one - LOL!). He gives us this time to develop ourselves fully and bring our best selves to the table! Ask any of your married friends, they’ll tell you that they wish they had more quiet time and the ability to just be alone in their thoughts. Here’s the thing: 
Your life is great now! 

As God progresses you through various seasons of your life, He only enhances what is already great! 

It’s all in your perspective tho: the choice is yours. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Girrrl FaithIt Til You Make It!

Life is full of ups and downs, triumphs and challenges and wins and setbacks. Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive when things don’t look like what God has shown you. It’s one thing to go through a challenging time but it’s another thing to go through that challenging time after God has given you a vision of something that looks like the complete opposite of your reality. You’re like, “God I know you showed me A but X,Y,Z keeps appearing!” The times when things don’t look like the vision is probably one of the most difficult times to trust God, however this is the most crucial time to trust God! 

I’m reminded of the story of Abraham and Sarah. God told Abraham at the tender age of 75 that he would be the ‘father of many nations’. What an exciting promise! Generations will derive from you, full cultures will come from you, and you will be the origin of multitudes!!! I’m sure Abraham was excited to get this promise and I’m sure he showed his wife his excitement daily (Gospel according to Reebs)! However, as time went on, that excitement waned a bit because he and his wife were up in age. Actually she was now past child-bearing age and it seemed then that the promise they were given by God was well, empty. I’m sure they thought to themselves as we do sometimes: ‘maybe I misunderstood the promise/vision, maybe God wasn’t literal with what he told me, maybe God changed His mind’. As the story goes, Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands (just like we do) and have her husband lay with one of her maidens, Hagar and Hagar did get pregnant; Abraham was about 86 or so when this took place. Now look at this: 

  1. God gave a promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations at age 75
  2. Years went by and no child
  3. Discouragement set in
  4. Sarah decides to help God out
  5. Hagar gets pregnant
  6. Now Sarah is mad that Hagar got pregnant and she didn't 
  7. Bitterness set in
  8. Hagar delivers the child whom she called Ishmael but he is not the promised child - Abraham is about 86 or so when he is born
  9. God then comes back to Abraham when he’s like 99 years old and tells him he’s ready to fulfill the covenant/promise that he gave to him
  10. Sarah gets pregnant and gives birth to Isaac - the promised child

Look at the years that went by from the time the promise was given until the time it actually came to fruition! 

Ladies let’s take a look at four tips on how to navigate when reality looks different from the vision. 

Tip #1 - Remember that God’s timing is not our timing
We serve a God that controls time and transcends time so His timing is not ours. When God gives you a vision for your life, you have to stand firm in the fact that he will bring it to pass. Be confident in that! Don’t get caught up in things not happening when you think they should, remember God is in total control and is the master orchestrator! The Bible says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” (Isa. 55:8) 

Tip #2 - Don’t get a case of the ‘helps’
God is sovereign and can do what He wants to, when He wants to, and how He wants to - He does not need your help! Don’t be like Sarah, impatient and attempting to manipulate situations because like Sarah, you’ll end up making a mess! God has given you the vision now what He wants you to do is: work. Work in your abilities and develop your talents, hone your gifts. You don’t have to try to make anything happen, just be your ‘bad’ self and let God orchestrate, and write your story! If you want to successfully navigate when your reality looks different from the vision - just keep doing good, keep being a blessing to people, keep letting God use you!! The Bible says, “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9)

Tip #3 - Tell yourself the vision, not what you see - FaithIt Til You Make It!
Watch what you say to yourself during this time, it can make or break you. This may not be the time to ‘keep it 100’ because you may have to tell yourself some things that are not actually happening - you gotta FaithIt Til You Make It! What do I mean? If the money is low, you have to speak to yourself and say ‘I’m blessed going in and blessed going out (Deut. 28:6). If times are hard, you have to speak to yourself and say, ‘Even in hard times I can remain joyful - for the joy of the Lord is my strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10). This is why the Bible tells us to walk by faith and not by sight because what we see is not representative of what God has in stored for us. 

Tip #4 - Stay in prayer
Prayer is essential during this time because it will add sanity to a chaotic situation. It’s okay to feel frustrated sometimes, talk to God about it and leave it there. Where we mess up is we talk to everybody but God. Stay in prayer and keep your mind stayed on God during times when reality looks different from the vision. The Bible says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3). Rejoice always and pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:16-18)!

These tips will help you navigate during times when reality looks different from the vision. The goal is to get you to the finish line of this assignment so that you can receive your next assignment! 

Be encouraged Girrrl Stop Nation knowing that the best is yet to come!!!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Girrrl Don't let people single-shame you - Single Lives Matter

Thanksgiving 2016 a childhood friend, Dee, passed away in her early thirties. Her sudden passing was a shock to her family and as you can imagine, emotions were in full bloom. In Baltimore, the custom is to visit with the family each night leading up to the funeral. We bring food, drinks and sometimes just the ministry of presence. During my family's visit we of course prepared a meal for the bereaved family and came to sit with them and serve as needed. When we arrived, Dee's sister was attempting to prepare the obituary. I asked if I could help her and take that one thing off her laundry list of things to do, she happily said yes. She admitted that she was struggling with writing the obit and at that moment, a married friend of the family jumped in the conversation and said, "Yeah this one is hard to write because she was so young, wasn't married, didn't have any kids, I mean there is nothing really to write".

One word to describe the feeling that came over me: furious.

Because of my furiousity (yeah I made that word up), I didn't respond to the insensitive comment but rather I pulled my Mac AirBook out of my bag and told Dee's sister that I would gladly take care of this for her. Less than an hour later I was able to craft a beautiful obit, one that captured her life, vibrant personality and sharp wit that made her the person we'd come to love.

The point of this story is this; Don't let people single-shame you! SOME married people would have you think that your life is insignificant and doesn't matter because you don't have a spouse and children. People will try to make you feel that your life is incomplete and unfulfilled as a single. Let me shatter the lies now: Your Single Life Matters!

Girrrl you are doing it! Living a full life that is! Your spiritual and prayer life is intact and your career is amazing! Your business is getting off the ground or already booming and you're impacting the lives of people young and old daily! You're traveling, planning to travel or just getting back from an amazing trip! Your dating life is great or maybe even nonexistent by choice but whatever your life looks like, God is shaping it exactly how He wants it to be and because of that fact: it's perfect.

Marriage is good, great even but know it's not a qualification or a prerequisite for a great life. Singleness is good, great even and requires strength and resilience to navigate in a world that thinks differently. I pray for marriages all the time because I believe they are indeed of God. The enemy comes against them so I pray for their success. I wish that married people would pray for Singles that way. Not for a spouse necessarily (because that may not be everyone's desire) but pray for strength, wisdom, financial stability, clarity, and whatever else based on their relationship with that single person.

Shout out to my married friends who hold me down, encourage me and never make me feel less than!

Girrrl! Single lives matter and don't let anyone tell you any different!

**Rest In Heaven Dee**

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