I feel like we all shout this at the beginning of every new year, but truly. 2018 paved the way for my life to be entirely different than how it was lived before. 2018 dug deep, and held hands with my core. 2018 broke my backbone of the feeble things that were holding it up, but now I see it had to be broke so that God could put his hand up behind it. As it was originally suppose to be.
Life is comical. Looking back, you know? I think back to when I was fifteen and I swore to the sun and moon that I was in love with the real deal. I knewwww in my fifteen year old mind that I had it settled and that there would never be another one. Then sixteen came and hit me in the gut when my heart was shattered in a million pieces. Leaving me there trying to find all of those pieces in other broken people, other escapes, and other cop outs. Fast forward to dropping out of school at sixteen, starting ministry school at the brink of seventeen, having a radical encounter with the Father at seventeen, almost getting kicked out of ministry school at eighteen, tripping a few more times back into old habits, moving back to Georgia for another ministry school at the brink of 19, not having relations with any family member because I was blindly chasing this man named Jesus, working three jobs and living out of my car, getting hired on to help direct a ministry school at twenty, moving seven times in three years, getting engaged at twenty, breaking off the engagement at twenty, moving one more time, tapping into new passions, and here I am. twenty one with wide eyes and a soft heart.
I see wisdom on my hands and truth in my spine. I see His thumbprint on every yes and every no. My praise has never been louder for the things that did not happen over the things He did let happen. I believe in inherent honesty. I hope that I never give off the idea that I do not have human emotions, too. I hope that I never let my ego drown out my faults. I hope that I never use writing as a cover up for fancied up authenticity. I hope we can be as real as it gets with each other. We cannot shut off our humanity, and that’s why I stand tall behind embracing it. Let’s share our not so spotlight moments, so that we can learn from them together.
This past year, it shifted something. This past year instilled deep rooted standards in my soul. It widened my eyes. 2018 breathed grace and it breathed fire. These five things changed the whole game.
- Why entertain something God is not in?
Okaaaay. I’m sorry if I stepped on your toes with this one. Kind of, but not really though. Because I wish someone with honest eyes told me this one earlier on. For me, before knowing the Lord, I spent the time that I was in relationships with boys who later on in life ended up in jail. Not because they were bad people by any means, but because they had no vision for their lives at the time. I don’t believe in ‘bad people’. I believe in lost people. Because I was one, too. So after being out of committed relationships for four years into ministry school, when I met someone who actually had their life really in order it was like, “Oh wow, hey there.” And I know this is so your typical Christian response, but hear me. Just because it is good does not mean it is God. I promise that the still small voice we hear in our heart holds more power than we give it credit. If you know that the Lord is not giving you the go ahead to pursue something, LISTEN to that. And put action towards it, too. Do not try and convince yourself that you can handle it. Because here’s the thing. God cares about us so much that when it’s all said and done, He will absolutely have the final say. Graciously, yet adamantly. Our human hands can only hold onto something we are not meant to hold for so long. Do yourself the favor and put it down now. We can’t have the mindset, “Eventually I will.” Whatever we say can happen eventually, needs to happen immediately. You are never too far in to take a step back. Regardless of who’s watching or what your position is, I promise you I know on this one. If He’s not in it — I don’t want it.
2) You are meant to compliment somebody, not change somebody
I want to make this one plain and simple. It’s not our job to instill our morals into somebody else. It is not our place to drill our values into somebody else. It is not even in our ability to create a lasting change in somebody. Because I’ve seen firsthand that they’ll go right back to what you had them turn away from once we’re out of the picture. It’s not our job to mold someone into the person we want so that they can be compatible with us. We spend too much time searching for someone who is teachable rather than searching for God and waiting for Him to give us someone who He has already completed. It’s our job to seek the Lord. It’s our place to focus on ourselves to be the best that we can be. It’s our job to let the Lord in to create a lasting change in us. It’s our job to strive for Him and wait for someone who is striving for Him, too. Not wait on someone to play catch up to us. Just slow down. He’s got you. And if you knew what He was preparing for you, you wouldn’t mind waiting.
3)When God asks you to let go of something the question is not “What am I going to miss out on if I let this go?” — the question is “What am I going to miss out on if I don’t let this go?”
This one hits home because the Lord so tenderly laid this on my heart one night. This had nothing to do with a relationship, but I feel it can be so fitting. I think so often when the Lord is tugging on us to release something, our first human response is “But God.. What if I miss ___?” But man oh man. God is so incredibly wise to know what we do not. If we switch the perspective on this and take it off of ourselves, the question becomes, “Oh God..What am I going to miss if I don’t let this go?” The Lord never takes if He doesn’t intend to exchange.
4) We are a product of our decisions not our circumstance
Our circumstances don’t break us. Our decisions do. We choose what we do with what is given us. We can doom in what it is, or we can celebrate it for what it is. I choose to celebrate. Because I have really, really learned that whatever the case may be — it’s good. In some way, shape, or form it is going to be good. Because He is good.
5) Sometimes God’s healing looks a lot like hurting
This. How quietly clever is God that he would use ache to be our gain. What a holy irony that is. It’s been the seasons that I clenched on for dear life that I will never stop hanging on the walls of my house. The seasons of discomfort, and reconstructing. The seasons of pulling back out everything we once shoved in. The seasons of clearing the stage to where it was just us, and God. Those seasons. Those are the ones that serve as a welcome mat to the people we meet. Love those seasons. Embrace those seasons. Heal from those seasons, and turn around to use those seasons.