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!
Yesterday I realized that we needed toilet tissue, paper towels, bath soap, body lotion, dish washer pods and make-up remover all at the same time. I was ready to whine and complain about needing all of those things (which are luxuries) at the same time and then I quickly remembered the times when needing all of that would have sent me into a crying frenzy because I knew that I couldn’t afford it. Gratefulness began to flow from my heart and fall from my lips! We really only have seconds to re-evaluate our thinking about any thought that appears in our sick minds. We have to determine quickly if our thoughts are pleasing in God’s eyes and representative of a grateful son or daughter.
Today I was able to share a testimony with a single mother about my experiences as single mother and all that I’ve allowed the Lord to rescue me from. I recalled how I was delivered from unforgiveness in my heart for my daughter’s absent father. This allowed my heart to be fertile ground for God to do a new work in me. I was delivered from over-compensating as a parent. I thought that I could fill a void in my daughter’s life with stuff and dragging myself into the ground doing the job of two people without seeking the strength of the Lord or HIS wisdom to know better. As a single mom, I had to change my mind about my divine role as a parent. I had to make a decision that my thoughts were only tripping me up and frankly delaying the development of my daughter’s personal relationship with God.
The start of the work weeks are always challenging for me. My energy level is low and my motivation gets off to a slow start. My weeks only become better and successful when I begin to remind myself that Mondays also matter to God and that work is important to him and has been since Genesis chapter 1. Wherever the Lord has me, I have a purpose there and a difference to make and the wrong thinking will cause me to miss chances and opportunities to edify HIS kingdom.
The bottom line here is that we have to challenge our thinking. Let’s face it, our thoughts are not always Godly. There is no shortage of distractions surrounding us. Life is tough and Mondays come around every week…if we’re blessed to see them. Our minds need constant chastisement and correction. Challenging ourselves to have the right positive thinking is a job in itself but it’s a job with great rewards and benefits.
In ALL things give thanks. Challenge your mind to give thanks no matter what!
I personally despise working out. I don’t like the gym. Remaining disciplined is a real struggle for me. I love potato chips, popcorn and french fries and I can come up with a thousands reasons why I don’t have time to go to zumba tomorrow. After much self-evaluation over the years that I’ve attempted to create a healthy lifestyle, I’ve discovered that I dislike it so much because of my lack of consistency. I have not established enough strength to make the workouts seem less brutal. I have not established enough of a routine to make healthy eating a part of my lifestyle. Every workout is a beast to get through and my healthy eating is often interrupted by emotional eating. This revelation is also a great reminder that we also have to build up our spiritual strength so that every moment of adversity is not such a beast to get through. Our lack of consistency can cause us to be weak and give into the weight of our trials and tribulations. Our attempts at establishing a spiritual routine or lifestyle can easily be interrupted by our temporal emotions. We lose site of our eternal guarantee. I am encouraged today to remain spiritually strong at all cost. And even though the strongest of us still have our moments, we won’t stay there long because having a spiritual mind won’t allow us to. Having a mind stayed on Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us will put the focus and attention back where it belongs. Being spiritually fit will narrow our thinking about the weight of our trials and tribulation and broaden our view about who God is. Having a spiritual routine of prayer, fasting, worshiping and studying the word of God will push us to lean on the only one that guarantees that he can deliver us from all things. So as we enter this passion week, be strong and courageous. Develop your spiritual muscles and put the focus back where it belongs. Just as we fall off of the healthy wagon in the natural, we will slip up and fall short spiritually as well. Just don’t fall off totally. Get back to building your spiritual strength quickly, you’ll be better off for it!