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!!

The Wounded Warrior and Her Friends

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To all of my friends who refused to let me die in the struggle, I thank you! Transparency has always been key to me. So in order to share todays blog, allow me to paint a picture for you!

Just like a wounded soldier, I was shot on the battlefield, as many of us has been. The wound didn’t kill me but it disabled me. It kept me from functioning as a healthy soldier. I was still able to report to battle but because I was partially disabled, I wasn’t as effective as I once were. The smart thing for me to do would have been to take a leave in order to recover and then continue my battle.

I didn’t realize that I was holding up the progress of my fellow soldiers because instead of focusing on the battle itself, they were busy attending to me; one who should’ve been helping in the fight. But being me, I kept trying to fight. By now, my breastplate is hanging off and my armor isn’t properly secured because my injuries are preventing me from suiting up as I should. So instead of taking a leave, I’m still showing up crippled and half-functional. However, since I was still showing up to battle unarmed and unprepared, I suffered harder blows that only crippled me worse!

Finally, I decided to take a leave, I had taken all I could take and my health was beginning to fail. I accepted the fact that I needed to rest up if I ever wanted to fight again. I needed to be healed and regain my strength. While I was resting, I had friends who not only continued the battle but they fought on my behalf as well! The enemy saw that I was weak so he attacked even harder, but my friends held up the shield and blocked the fiery darts for me. They prayed and sent encouragement constantly! Even though I wasn’t able to help them fight, they still pushed me to recover because they knew I would be back! They refused to let me die on the field. They carried me off to safety when my enemies were overpowering me. They nurtured the call. They pushed my purpose and they kept me covered. Now, that’s what friends are for!

Truth be told, there are plenty of wounded soldiers out there. Some have been left to die on the battlefield. And some were saved by friends and fellow soldiers. I am blessed enough to have people around me who genuinely care and they came to my aid! They didn’t let me die in the battle. They cared for me during the struggle.

What about your friends? Do you have any fellow soldiers that will refuse to let you die in your struggle? Are they willing to carry you to safety? Or will they stand by and watch you bleed to death?

Off-Season: Part 3- Knowledge VS Endurance

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One thing I’ve learned about the off-season is that emotions change constantly. One day training may make you feel like you’re ready to tackle the battle. Another day, the training may be so intense until you cringe at the thought of facing the real challenge. However, on a good day of training or a bad one, you can not deny the fact that training makes you better. And if nothing else, training reveals! How? I’m glad you asked! Often times, we are caught unprepared because we simply rely on our knowledge. This is not enough. My God-Sister plays professional basketball. She has great knowledge of the game. She will probably be one of the greatest coaches of all times but her knowledge of the game isn’t enough without the strength to endure. Even though she knows how to win the game, she also knows that she has to complete the game to earn the title as a winner. One thing I’ve learned from her is endurance is developed year around. When she’s not on the court, she’s still training and she’s still active. Why? Because we don’t win by just knowing, we win by being able to finish!
There’s an article on ‪stack.com‬ that says “In order to effectively perform at your peak during the season, you can’t slack off once regular practices and games end. Keep game ready all year long!” This is so true. We must be ready at all times. Not just to pick up the microphone or to be in the spotlight. We must be ready for the tough times. We must be ready for the unexpected. Now we know that being ready for the unexpected means conditioning, planning, and preparing at all times.
Think about taking a test. When we were preparing to take the ACT, we went through several rounds of training. There were days when we were made to study only science and there were days when we were made to work tons of math problems over and over. It was tiresome and boring! It was tedious and exhausting. Some days I wanted to take a nap. Some days I felt like I was being forced to re-learn something I already knew but the instructor still made me sit there the entire time and say awake. She knew my potential but she also knew that I could be lazy. I was always a bright student and I’ve always been pretty intelligent. In many areas, I was above the average student my age and I knew it. So I was lazy and sometimes self-reliant. I was easily distracted and I hated to read or study for long periods of time. My instructor could tell the moments when I got distracted and she would make me refocus. She knew when I got sleepy, I would just select any answer just to finish and lay my head down. So she would push me harder. She fussed constantly and if I finished early, she would give me another test to take.  I didn’t understand why until the actual test day. While I was taking the ACT, I noticed that while I was in the middle of answering questions, I got terribly sleepy. I knew the score I needed to make in order to be accepted into the college I had chosen so I did all I could to stay awake and alert. My body was saying “just lay your head down for a minute and then get back up and finish it before the time runs out” but my brain was saying, “You knew this was coming and this is what we’ve been preparing for. REFOCUS!” My instructor was not only teaching me the knowledge I needed to pass the test, she was also training and conditioning my brain to stay awake and alert in order to complete the test.
Don’t be like me. I thought that because I was a little smart, I would be okay. Turns out, the ACT was a little smarter than me. We think that just because we know the right answers to some things, we’re able to master all things. This is not true. We don’t know it all and the time will come when you will have to show what you know. And when this time comes, it won’t be a question of knowledge only but it’ll also be a display of your endurance based on your off-season training. Once again, don’t be caught off guard. Be prepared to play year around!