Archive | May 2017

Relationships Matter

It is my prayer that this long weekend be the start of us (me included) going the extra mile to spend time with loved ones and those that are less fortunate. It has been my experience that the busyness of life coupled with low tolerance of others causes us to isolate inside of our own bubbles. The more people that I converse with the more I am finding that only spending quality time with our immediate family is the new normal. The immediate family generally includes those that we live in the same house with. This is not the plan of God. I can honestly confess that time just gets away from me. I intend to reach out or to go and check on family but I fail miserable. A lot of my failed attempts can be attributed to my preconceived notion of the visit or call.  Guilty.  This past week the Holy Spirit dealt with me personally on this topic so I am sharing.

How can we ever expect to truly understand one another if we don’t put in the time? Ministries can truly be effective when the members take the time out to develop real relationships with one another. Families can heal sooner if we set aside our intolerable differences and accept people for who they are. We have to remain humble and come to grips with the fact that we too have habits and quirks that are less attractive than we think. Patience with one another in any group setting is possible through the act of love.

The bottom line is that we have to stretch ourselves with the instruction of the Holy Spirit to show love to God and to others through our efforts to develop relationships. The world would be a better place.

I encourage you to make the phone call today. Drive over to see your Aunt or Uncle. Face time your best friend from high school. Call a member of your ministry for no reason at all but to say hello. Go the extra mile and expect a difference in your life and in the life of others. To God be the Glory!

Noeffortitis (NO-EFFORT-ITIS)

You were not created to be a professional spectator. Don’t allow life to pass you by while you watch others live out their dreams. Let your passion be your fire. Your purpose is waiting.

Are you feeling ho-hum? Are you losing your zeal for life? Is work dragging you down? Do you have a feeling of emptiness that you can’t shake? Are you all of sudden finding it harder to drag yourself out of the bed or out of the house? I get it, I’ve been there recently. Do you find yourself caught up in a reality TV rut or a mindless funk that you can’t bind?

These are all symptoms of what I call Noeffortitis – NO-EFFORT-ITIS! (this is a fictional term). I can talk about the symptoms of Noeffortitis because I’ve experienced them. It’s a disease of the mind. It can be a result of arrogance, entitlement, just old fashioned laziness or a myriad of other things that occur in our mind, heart and emotions. It’s like being infected with a faith-without-works bug. What happens is that our purpose or what some of us call dreams become stale and no longer become a priority. Getting caught up in the euphoria of a recent victory or accomplishment can be one cause. We become relaxed as if the battlefield and the enemy has disappeared and we won’t have anymore battles to prepare for. Another cause can be the subtle choice of idolatry; something or someone becomes more important that the one that gave us the purpose in the first place. We don’t mean for it to happen but it or they become such a good thing to us that we loose our edge and trade it for self-gratification. I believe the more common cause of Noeffortitis is arrogance. We become so used to winning that we forget that winning is a result of fighting. Winning becomes expected rather than sought after. Before we know it, these attitudes and behaviors can become so predominant in our lives that our faith, fire and focus diminishes. This decline can have a domino effect in every aspect of our lives and can leave us feeling stuck! We become unable to even articulate what we’re feeling. We become too frustrated to pray. Stubbornness settles in and we begin to feel deflated. It’s a perpetual dark hole. Meanwhile everyone around us seems as if they’re floating right past us. How can we shake this off?

The only cure for Noeffortitis is a repetitive concoction of confession, repentance, prayer and the word of God that becomes a way of living. Having a joyous life requires a conscious effort to pursue the purpose that we’re pregnant with. No matter the reason, when we put no effort towards our divine appointments, we delay the promises and frankly stifle our personal spiritual growth. There is a high price to pay for losing our passion and focus, it’s called stagnation.

I encourage you to recognize the symptoms of Noeffortitis, seek out the cure, shake it off and get back to where you belong. As children of God we belong in a persistent place of peace and prosperity. When we experience anything opposite of those characteristics, we have to check ourselves and reclaim our faith, fire and focus!

 

 

The Audacity to have Expectations!

I so love this time of the year when we get to share with family and friends all of the joys of moving forward as we ourselves or our children, grandchildren, spouses, siblings and/or friends graduate. I thoroughly enjoy scrolling through social media and taking in all of the memorable photos and videos. I can always feel the corner of my mouth turning upwards; smiling from the inside out. What a fantastic feeling of celebration that comes over us as the completion of a goal has come to pass! I remember receiving my graduate degree in 2013 and all of the emotions that consumed me on that day. I was full of excitement and great anticipation of what the future would hold. All of those long hours of studying and writing, meeting with project team members and grueling exams gave me the right to expect something in return. I expected to have more confidence and greater self-esteem. I expected my daughter to have another reason to look up to me and to know that she could accomplish this as well. I now expected to get a better job. I now expected a greater salary. I expected a return on my investment. The commitment, dedication and completion gave me the audacity to have expectations. Imagine that! I yielded some of these expectations right away and others I still had to work hard at achieving. Today, I am still striving at some of them. When I achieve one goal, I’m on to the next.

What I’ve concluded is that as children of the most high, we should never become satisfied with the mundane, low level, grasshopper accomplishments that even non-believers can achieve. Life as a co-heir with Jesus Christ gives me the bold audacity to always want more and to believe in dreams that I haven’t dreamed yet! I am a recipient of the investment that Jesus made on the cross. I have access to super natural achievements and miraculous success. The challenge in all of this is staying focused on the assignments and not to be overwhelmed by the processes. It’s going to take a lot of work at remaining to be a vessel that can be used. God does the work but we are the vessels that he uses to do the work. So just as academic matriculation requires studying, working on teams, being tested, learning, making mistakes etc. so does being a student of the gospel of Jesus Christ! There never has to be a stopping point and the results are much greater. The price has been paid, there won’t be any student loan debt and the final reward is eternal. To God be the glory! I have the audacity to have expectations!

#tbt gone too far

While it is critical for us to never forget where we have come from and all that we’ve been able to overcome, dwelling on the past is a dangerous focus. Have you ever spoken with someone that always brings up your past? Or how about catching up with someone that is still having the same conversation that they were having when you seen them 12 months ago? It’s great to reminisce on good times that bring you laughter and/or recognize how much you’ve matured since the summer of 2002 but there is something psychologically inept of a person who refuses to acknowledge who you are today and now. When you encounter those individuals that take #tbt way too far by thinking that they can ignore your now purpose by always bringing up your past. Dismiss the rhetoric immediately. It’s not you, it’s them. Shift the direction of the dialogue quickly. Don’t allow it. Never be ashamed of patting yourself on the back and never be afraid of offending someone that can’t respect, honor or identify with the evolution of your personal growth and maturity. It may be time to bid them farewell or to love and pray for them from a distance.