No Lost Cause

My cousin, Bricesen, posted a status on Facebook and one sentence, in particular, caught my attention. He said, “There is NO such thing as a lost cause.”

So many times we hear, or may have even said out of our own mouths, that a particular person is a “lost cause.” Maybe we think that because the situation has multiple components or the circumstances seem too complex. We deem it hopeless or helpless. While it may be true that a particular situation could be cumbersome, we have to know that absolutely NOTHING – and by nothing, I do mean NO-THING – scares God away from us.

Paul deemed himself the “Chief of Sinners.” This means that he was the leader, the master, or the ruler of sinners….but Paul also stated that He (Jesus) still came to save those that may find themselves in this category. Even in acknowledging his sinful nature, Paul uses himself to exemplify the power of being found by grace!

He meets us where we are! The beauty of it all is this, when we think we’re lost, He comes to find us and He makes the “lost place” our starting point! I heard a preacher say, “We can not say that we know God to be a lily in the valley, unless we have experienced Him in the valley.” This means that while we may have been in one of our lowest places, He met us there. And when He meets us there, He doesn’t leave us there. HE LEADS US OUT!!!!

I remember God telling me that He isn’t hiding from me; I’m just not seeking Him. He remains out in the open waiting for us to come to Him. However, we complicate things by thinking our situation or circumstances are too complex for Him and we stay away. But guess what He does?! He pursues you! Imagine that. The all powerful, almighty God…pursing me?! On my best day, I am still filthy. But He still chooses to pursue me.

Even if you’ve dedicated yourself to the “lost place,” He still wakes you up and gives you breath in the morning. He still enables you to function in HIS world, all while providing your EVERY need. In the midst of pursuing you, He still desires to care for you! 

Basically, I’m saying when we count ourselves as a lost cause, He sees us differently. My cousin was right. There is NO such thing as a lost cause, especially in Christ Jesus. You’re not a lost cause. Hope is still for you and your Savior is still pursuing you! YOU ARE NOT BEYOND RECOVERY! 

Your “lost place” is not the end! At the end of it all, we can all have the same testimony, I once was lost but now I’m found!

S-U-N vs S-O-N

I was on a road trip with my best friend a while ago and we were driving in the direction of the sun. My best friend loves taking pictures. So as you can guess, she was attempting to take a selfie on Snapchat while I was driving. Quite naturally, being that the sun is the best natural filter, she held out her iPhone and positioned it perfectly in front of her face. As the sun offered her the perfect amount of light, I heard her phone click multiple times in a row. She captured one photo after another, deleting each one directly after capturing it. I asked her, “sooo how many are you going to take?” She laughed and said, “The sun is showing every imperfection that I have! You know I have to get a good angle.” She went on to say, “Its different trying to take pictures in the sun because the sun exposes certain spots that you can’t see in the bathroom mirror; mainly because the lighting is dimmer inside the house. The lighting from the sun makes beautiful pictures but it also exposes blemishes.”

How does this apply to our life?

We know that light exposes everything it comes in contact with. However, instead of thinking about the S-U-N, consider the S-O-N. If Jesus is the Light and He is our point of direction, doesn’t this mean that our blemishes are uncovered, if we are drawing closer to Him? The S-O-N drives out darkness and brings light to those dark hidden places where unhealthy things like to fester. We’ve been programmed to think this is a bad thing. However, this is actually what saves us! The light that He gives, shows us the areas that may not be as “clean” as we think they are and this heightens our awareness to certain areas that need our attention. Not for us to conceal them but to actually fix them. We find ways to hide our imperfections by using filters, masks, make-up, and even dark atmospheres but true light reveals it all. No MAC or Fenty (make-up) can conceal a filthy life.

The Light makes us “See-Through.” We talk a lot about transparency and being “real” but in all honesty, the thought of our “flaws” being exposed, scares us. So we tend to pretend that either they don’t exist, or we cover them up. When we draw closer to the S-O-N, He makes us transparent. His righteousness shows us our mess and gives us the true realness. Being honest and dealing with YOURSELF may be a tough task but it’s necessary. Our walk with Christ should cause us to constantly evolve internally; mainly because as we follow Him we also draw closer to Him. And as we draw closer to Him, we become more like Him and less like ourselves. And just like metamorphosis, stages of transformation must take place. Once we allow His light to transform us, we will not find ourselves hiding from the light but rather walking in it!

Note To Self

When people say “note to self,” they’re usually referring to making a reminder to do something important. This is their way of relaying a message, to their future self, that important actions need to be taken. Regardless if it’s an appointment that can not be missed, a meeting that needs to be rescheduled, a message that needs to be conveyed, a job that needs to be completed, or just a thought that needs to be remembered, the “note to self” is an indication that ‘IT’ is of great importance.

Question: When was the last time you made a note to your future-self? Or have you ever even considered your future-self? As simple as it may sound, it makes a bold statement. When you make a “note to self,” you’re stating this:

“Future me, (INSERT YOUR NAME), in 12 daysyou have a meeting with Mr. Johnson concerning your next endeavor.”

Now, this may seem elementary but when you consider perspective, it changes from just an appointment to preparation. Meaning, I have 12 days to prepare and equip myself for my upcoming meeting. I have 12 days to plan and execute. This note to myself prepares me today to be the best version of me in the future. 

Sometimes, the best notes aren’t the ones we make to ourselves, but the ones that are addressed to us from others. Biblically, Jeremiah 29:11 is a note to your future-self from your Father. This note is laced with hope and promises for your “unseen.” Center your plans and notes around His note written to you. His note guarantees to give you a future!

Lastly, consider your goals and make a note to yourself for the next 30 days. Speak to your future-self about the important things that are to take place on that particular day and prepare your current self for what’s to come in the future. When you speak to and evaluate the future, you give yourself time to prepare. When you’re prepared, the best version of you always shows up!

Bloom Where You Are!

In life, we find ourselves in seasons or places that we never imagined being. As children, we plan our life. We strategize, create images, and develop a sense of hope that our exact plans will become life within the next 15-25 years. However, as we grow up into adulthood, we realize that those plans may not have been as realistic as we thought they were. Our imaginations were so vivid until it seemed as if our plans didn’t have a choice but to manifest. Now, as time passes on, we find ourselves looking backwards and asking, “what if I had… Some of us may even find ourselves living in regrets. Yes, we all could have made better decisions and yes, we all wish we could change some things. But since we can’t go back and redo, how about just starting now? There is no time like the present to create something beautiful! There is still time because you’re still breathing. There’s still opportunity because you’re still alive. Don’t focus on what you don’t have or what you didn’t do or even where you may be. Just bloom wherever you are!!!

Think about flowers. They don’t ask for permission to bloom. They don’t even worry about what was previously planted at that particular spot of ground. They just bloom. Without permission, without validation, just the right environment! They don’t compare their beauty to other flowers around them; they just use what they have to enhance their surroundings. Flowers are planted in a specific area because the planter decided that, that particular area needs enhancement. Strategically, flowers are planted by plan. 

Your plan may not be working the way you thought it would. Your vision board may not be as realistic as you thought it was. Your financial situation may not be in abundance to fund your imaginations. But you can not allow those things to stop you. There is still time, there is still breath, and there is still a race to run. No matter where you find yourself, just decide to bloom wherever you are. The Planter hasn’t made a mistake with your location. Maybe it’s not your plan of choice but His plan is always good! So just bloom where you are! Maybe you’re not in a particular place because you’re a rose. Not a sunflower. Each flower has different stipulations for growth. And the Planter knows what environment is conducive for your growth. Don’t be distracted by the particulars. The Planter will remove the weeds, give water, provide a place for adequate sunlight, and chop the soil. Your job is to just bloom. Right where you are!

The Other Side of Fear

Have you ever wondered what could possibly be on the other side of fear? Think about it. What could be on the other side of the thing that has you paralyzed?

When we allow ourselves to be gripped by fear, we limit our opportunities. Our decision making process becomes cloudy and our determining factor becomes “comfort.” When we operate in fear, we tend to choose whatever makes us comfortable. Instead of overcoming the fear and seizing the opportunity, we settle for whatever feels safe. It’s time to do it; even if you have to do it afraid. You can not afford to keep missing opportunities because of fear. And what’s really bad is the fact that there is nothing identifiable to be afraid of. So it becomes the fear of the unknown.

There are doors set before you and there are rooms waiting to be occupied by your presence….but where are you? You’re somewhere in a safe zone; avoiding the unknown. There could be a room of endless opportunities waiting for you but because you’re afraid to face the other side of the door, you never get the chance to experience any of it. Ask yourself this question. What do I actually have to be afraid of? Is it failure? Is failure really the worse thing you can think of? Let’s say it is. You try and you fail. Guess what? You have just discovered a way that won’t work. So what’s the solution to that? Try another way.

Your ideas are actually great but the great idea never has a chance to come alive because of an unseen feeling, called fear. That great idea could be a game changer for the world….but on the other hand; your fear could, too.

So ask yourself…Is the world lacking something because you refuse to conquer fear and push forward?

Let’s Be Free

Today, it seems like being offended is the new trend. Don’t get me wrong, we all feel and experience hurt but I’m referring to the voluntary action of remaining offended, just because you feel as if you have “right” to. It seems as if people are preparing themselves to be offended. Think about it this way….

How many times have you convinced yourself that you have a “right” live in offense? How many times have you made a decision based on your offense? Now think about how many minutes, hours, days, or even years you’ve spent living in offense…crazy, huh?! As “right” as you may think you are, the truth is, you’re only creating a 6×8 frame for someone to live in. And guess who the prisoner is? Its YOU!

Living in offense keeps you captivated. Your decision making is not as stable as it should be. Your moods and emotions shift with the wind. Your drive and stride is fueled by irrelevant matters, such as haters and revenge. You lose focus of your goals. And the things that should really matter begins to fade into the backgrounds of insignificant time wasters.

Life is too precious to not live free. It’s time to free yourself. Go on and forgive that person. Let go of the guilt. Accept the apology that you may never hear. Set up the meeting to talk it out. Reconcile. Do what ever you have to do. But what you CAN NOT afford to do is live another day in offense. It doesn’t matter what kind of “right” you feel entitled to, stop hurting yourself because you have a “right” to. Is it really worth holding up your own progress? Is it really worth wasting more minutes, hours, days, or even years?

Lets decide to be free!

Environmental Growth

cropped-mychandrak.jpgI remember having a conversation with someone and they explained to me why they chose to remain in the same environment that they were complaining about being “stuck” in. So my question was simple, “why are you still there?” Their response was, “Because I feel like I’d be running away from my problems if I leave.” While, I sort of understood what they may have meant, I still couldn’t quite understand how a person would subject themselves to “dry places” just to say, “at least I didn’t run away.” Then I thought about it, we do it all the time! We will remain in a toxic situation for months and sometimes years, holding on to hopes of something changing. But maybe the thing that needs to change is us! Have you ever thought that may be these things have happened in “this place” because it’s time for me to move to the “next place?” Maybe this season is complete but I’m forcing myself to remain in it just to satisfy my ego of not “running.” Which could, in turn, be foolishness! Especially if “this place” is no longer helping you to grow. How long are you willing to hold up your growth just for the sake of saying “I stayed?”

The fact still remains that you are responsible for your own growth…and if the environment isn’t conducive for what you are carrying, why wouldn’t you migrate to a more fertile ground? Even though flowers are designed to grow from the ground, they can still be stunted if the ground doesn’t produce the necessary nutrients. The flower doesn’t have the ability to dig itself up and pick a more fertile area. It has no choice but to die. Why? Because it lacked proper nutrients needed for growth. But you have a choice. You can change your surroundings. You can migrate to a more sustainable environment. Or…you can be a flower and remain planted in dry ground and eventually, just die.

Why is it that we as people feel bound to the opinions of others concerning our well-being, in regards to change? Don’t get me wrong. I am not referring to those who offer wise counsel. I’m referring to those who disagree with your want of change because of their familiarity of you being in the same place. Don’t let this be your hold back. Remember, it is you who is responsible for your growth. Yes, we have teachers, pastors, mentors, leaders and etc., but ultimately, you decide if you grow or remain stagnant.

Seasons change so that atmospheres can change. Certain things can’t grow in certain seasons. We know this from science. So just think, what if winter remained for 12 months? How many plants, trees, crops, and other things would never exist? Simply because winter is not their atmosphere! Spring brings those things. So the sunlight and the warm weather is necessary for their growth. Now say these plants, trees, and crops grew in the spring time and now it’s time for summer….but the summer remains for the next 12 months. Yes, they benefit from the sunlight and the warm weather but the constant summer heat may be too extreme to continue the cycle of growth needed. The seasons have to change because the atmosphere has to change. Our life works the same way. We have to continue to remain in the atmosphere that nourishes what we carry. And sometimes this involves finding the next well that provides the water that you need.

 

 

Surviving The Storm

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I think we could all agree that storms are uncomfortable. Not only are they uncomfortable, they are also an inconvenience, especially when you are trying to get somewhere. The torrential rain, the boisterous winds, and the loud thunder can sometimes be a deciding factor in if we choose to move or stand still. This can easily be related to life. When we experience the storms of life, we tend to let that particular storm be the deciding factor of if we will continue to move forward or not. This should not be.

God has equipped us with everything necessary to not only withstand but to also keep moving during a storm. Think about your car. Your car doesn’t have the option to say, “I only drive when its sunny.” The car was made to drive through any weather conditions. The body of the car can take the impact of rain and hail without falling apart. Not only can the car continue to move during these conditions, it also protects what’s on the inside. The riders or contents on the inside of the car is shielded from the storm that’s going on outside. This can also be related to life. We must protect the purpose and the contents that have been placed on the inside of us. Don’t allow the situations to drown out your gifts and ideas. Don’t allow the winds to blow away your passions.

One area the enemy specializes in is blurred vision. He makes the path look cloudy and dark because he knows that instead of walking by faith as we should, we often times walk by sight. And if we can’t see, we become discouraged because our human senses are limited. When we become discouraged, we tend to stand still. Now think about the car again. What are windshield wipers? They clean the windshield from things that blur your vision. Your windshield wipers have the capability to perform faster or slower, depending on the level or storm you’re facing. You also have a defrost feature in your car. This function controls the humidity and the visibility on the inside of the car. Without this feature, the windows would be foggy and visibility would be limited. But when you pair the defrost and the windshield wipers, you’re able to continue driving through the storm without fear of crashing into the unseen or the unknown. This is how God is with us! When we acknowledge Him, He directs the pathway for us. Not only does He direct it, He also clears it. He shows us why our faith in Him is so much more important than our human sight. He is waiting to direct your path, even in the stormy conditions. But you have to acknowledge Him in all of your ways. Your 5 senses are not able to give you the navigation that you need. Let Him direct you.

God has given us every thing needed to survive the storm. Even if it looks scary and it seems unending, you have to know that storms must pass over. But while you’re in it, don’t fret. Don’t stop driving. Don’t stop moving. You’re protected. You’re covered. And your direction is clear. Sitting in the storm waiting for it to pass only prolongs the rain in your life. Make a decision to move out of the storm. Just like the car, you were built to withstand the conditions. True, it may bang up the shell a little but what’s on the inside of you will still remain protected and the manufacturer can repair any and every piece of damage.

Storms eventually die and you were not made to die in it. You were made to outlive it!!

Hello, December!

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December! The last month of the year! There are many great things to look forward to this month. Many are preparing to celebrate Christmas. People are preparing to give as well as receive for the holidays. Many are traveling to see loved ones that have been separated by distance all year. While, some are just looking forward to ending the year and bringing in a new one. Whatever the celebration is, no one can deny that the happiest month of the year is definitely December. In the month of December, love and joy is almost tangible!

We’ve watched the leaves transform to their fall colors and cover the grass that has now turned brown. We’ve watched the trees go from being fully dressed to now being partially covered, all in preparation for the new layer to develop. We now have to dress in boots and sweaters instead of sandals and shorts. Clouds are preparing to bring in snow and the heat from the sun seems to be diminishing. As I said in Hello November, when you understand how important it is for seasons to change, you’ll embrace transformation. So as nature prepares for the next season, we should follow suit and prepare too! Its time to embrace the end of one year and prepare for the next one to come in.

December is the month that represents the end but presents the opportunity to prepare for the next beginning. What better month to perform an evaluation than December?!December is the only month in the year where you can equally evaluate and visualize two years at the same time. Think about it. There are no more months to come in this particular year but there are 12 open months of opportunities lying ahead! So as you reflect back on the past 12 months, you should begin to write the vision for your next 12 months. As we embrace this last month of the year, I challenge you to use it as your month of planning. So often we jump in to the new year with superficial goals and sometimes this causes us to set ourselves up for 12 months of disappointments. Instead of first counting the cost and planning, we dive in head first as if we go through metamorphosis from December 31 to January 1.  We have to be realistic. Give your mind time to develop and embrace what is to come. Let the plan sink in so that the execution will be precise. Properly planning can sometimes prevent those frustrations that causes us to quit.

So as you celebrate giving and receiving, as you decorate your houses and trees, as you change your wardrobe, I encourage you to use the upcoming days to plan. A resolution is only as good and stable as the plan that holds it up.

 

Hello November!

Hello November!

The leaves 🍁 are transforming, the grass is dying, the winds are becoming cooler, and even the daylight is becoming shorter. This all signifies one thing…A NEW SEASON!

When you understand how important it is for seasons to change, you’ll embrace transformation, death, coldness, and even shortened time spans differently!

Without these things happening, the fresh roots won’t have the ability to sprout. There won’t be an opportunity for newness because the existing old would overcrowd it. The scorching heat would burn away the surfaces instead of providing it the opportunity to peacefully transition on its own….and the extended nights provides an extra hour of tranquility and rest.

As these things are taking place, I encourage you to embrace the same process in your life. Allow the seasons to change for your benefit. Allow some things to run their course and make way for new things to spring forth. God changes the weather pattern in our lives because He knows that sometimes, we get to comfortable in one season and we reject change. Embrace it! ☘️ 🍁 🍂

Happy Fall! Happy Change!