Building the courage…

I’ve been fighting this urge in my spirit to write. Maybe it’s due to my thoughts of not being able to write anything of substance. Or maybe it’s because I am afraid of failure. Whatever the case may be, I stopped but here I am today.

This season of Lent opened my eyes to a whole ‘notha level of God and His works. I decided to fast, from 7am-7pm, every Wednesday during the 40 days of Lent. The first Wednesday was so hard because I got into an argument with my mother about driving me to a dentist appointment (I had been in an accident a few days before and she wanted to help me out). The argument was stupid and not worth mentioning but I allowed that 5min incident to completely derail my attitude for the day. That day of fasting was probably the hardest. I felt every hour that I went without food. I did not seek God like I was supposed to. I truly felt like I had failed that day. But as 7pm approached, I had found a prayer to recite at the conclusion of a fast and it gave me hope and strength to continue the rest of Lent.

For the next two Wednesdays, I spent the day at home, still recovering from the accident. Those days were a bit uneasy but that was simply because I was in the house surrounded by food that I could not eat. I had begun each of those Wednesdays in prayer and seeking God’s strength to make it through the day. I even took time in the middle of the day to pray and read scripture. Those two Wednesdays were definitely checks in the “success” column.

The fourth Wednesday was supposed to be my first Wednesday at work, but due to pain, I ended up being home that day. I felt sad and dejected all day- not because of the fast- but because of everything else. Despite me being home and trying to recover, life was still revolving around me. Bills were still due and there was still no money to pay those bills. I felt like such a failure in every aspect of my life because I ended up having to turn to my mom for help with everything. And then my car started acting up. It literally seemed like everything that could go wrong, went wrong…and all at the same time.

For the fifth Wednesday, I was back at work. I truly thought the day would be hard but it went smoothly. I was so busy and active that I didn’t think about food or hunger. I began my days with prayer and started seeking God more for everything. Maybe it was when JG and I broke up but at some point I realized that God wanted me to learn patience during this season. I realized that everything that had happened was the result of a lack of patience. I was in a rush to be with JG and that’s why I went to Suffolk. I was in a rush to begin a relationship that God had not ordained. I was in a rush to leave my life for a new life in Suffolk. I was in a rush to do everything and it all failed. Breaking up with GD was the eye opener that I needed to regain my life but I was in such a rush to be loved that I allowed myself to rush into another relationship (which ended horribly and with no real closure for me).

My impatience was and is the cause for the bulk majority of my life’s issues.

But God.

Today is the last Wednesday in the Lenten season (this is Holy Week 2017). For this Holy Week, I decided to modify my fast. For this week (Monday- Resurrection Sunday), I am fasting from television and food before noon.

Fasting from food for those six Wednesdays helped me realize the very unhealthy relationship that I have with food. I lived to eat. Even with the weight loss, I constantly thought about the next meal. That is not how God wanted me to live. He did not want me to spend so much time consumed by what foods I consume. He designed food as a source of fuel and nourishment- but I had abused that relationship. Fasting from food forced me to address the biggest underlying mental issue that I have- that food is/was my only friend and I find/found comfort in it. Last Friday I literally went through withdrawals from food. I wasn’t fasting but I was sad because I could not eat what I loved. Someone once said that where your money goes is where your heart goes. All of my money ends up at grocery stores and restaurants. Going Vegan did not change my eating habits, it simply changed what I ate. That was a crushing blow to my heart to learn that I was (and still am) obsessed with food. I am by no means saying that starvation is the solution to overeating. Overeating is a psychological problem. Psychological problems are solved through therapy and/or deep self-realization. In my case, my fasting is helping. Through the fasting, I am learning to make Jesus my friend. I used to eat when I felt sad. I used to eat when I felt happy. I used to eat when I was bored. I used to eat when I was busy. Now, I seek Jesus during those times. In my opinion, Jesus spent the bulk of His earthly ministry trying to make friends. In John 15, we read that he is a friend to those who follow His commands. We also read that “greater love hath no man than this, that he would lay down his life for a friend. (John 5:14)” What power in found in that scripture! Jesus died on the cross for my sins because He calls me a friend! So if He is my friend, then why can’t I be His? I do not know what I expected to learn during fasting. However, fasting taught me to seek my closest and best friend in my times of need. That friend is Jesus.

Fasting from tv was a bit different. This was actually a suggestion from my Good, Godly Girlfriend (GGG), Amy. When I was pondering what to do for Holy Week, she just randomly blurted it out. At first I was like “nah…I fall asleep to tv nightly!” But then I realized that it was a wonderful sacrifice. See, now that I know that Jesus is the friend that I need to constantly seek, I must seek Him where He dwells. Like any good relationship, I must do my “homework” on my friend. I have to know his likes and dislikes, his background history, and his plans for the future. All of that is in one place for Jesus- the Bible! Fasting from tv allows me to do my “homework” and learn about this wonderful Friend of mine. It was truly foolish of me to think that I could have any type of lasting relationship with someone that I did not know. So during the time that I would watch tv, I am reading about God or praying to Him.

Most importantly, fasting taught me to seek God- in the good and the bad times.

 

This season of Lent also opened some wonderful doors for me. I received an opportunity to speak to women about sexual abuse. Words cannot even describe how this makes me feel! One day during Lent (can’t remember which), I woke up talking to God about my “perfect day.” I confessed that my perfect day began with me waking up, giving thanks to Him, and then providing counseling to youth about sexual abuse. Out of all the fields where I have worked, my perfect day included me speaking to the youth. I would LOVE to travel to different schools and speak to the teens about making safe life choices. It is because I am flawed, yet saved by grace, that makes me the perfect person to talk to them.

Unrelated, yet related, I started this new devotion on the Bible App entitled “Finding Your Meaningful Pursuit.” This is the realest devotion I have ever read! Every day it asks a question that causes me to look deeply within myself for the answer. I did not think it would be this difficult to answer but it is! I’m on day three and here are the questions: 1. “What currently leads to most of your happiness and fulfillment?” 2. “What concern or problem do you feel most compelled to solve?” And 3. “What would you spend your day doing; what would you spend your time thinking about if you knew you could not fail?” The way my mind figuratively started sweating when I read these! Oh. My. Goodness. What?!? So after I calmed down and really thought about it (and by that I mean, it took HOURS to really formulate an answer…specifically for #2), these are the answers that I reached:

  1. Helping others. I sincerely believe that I was made to help/serve others. Like Immediate Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre) used to say, I have a servant’s heart. Sidebar, she used to sign all of her correspondence with “With a servant’s heart” and it just made my heart melt every time I read it! As any good leader knows, in order to lead, one must first and always follow. Or think about it this way, Jesus was God made flesh yet when He came to earth, He served others. Serve in order to lead.
  2. Domestic abuse. This was the hard one for me. I have so much experience working with people with disabilities and the senior population. I love both fields very much. I also love working with specific causes like Alzheimer’s Disease, Mental Illnesses, Depression, etc. But if I had to be truly honest with myself, domestic abuse and sexual abuse are truly my life. What happened to me was sexual abuse and a form of domestic abuse. I am who I am today because of that experience. Which, to me, means that that is what I am most compelled to solve.
  3. Speaking to youth about making positive choices. Many rapes/assaults go unreported because people are afraid or, worse yet, they don’t understand that what happened to them was wrong. I wholeheartedly want to help the voiceless speak. It is time to come out of the darkness of what happened to us. It is time to make our voices heard. It is time to stop being victims and become SURVIVORS. With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

 

So that all leads me to where I am right now. I am literally sitting at work writing this. I came in this morning and just realized that I needed to write. Oddly enough, I also realized that it is time to write my letter of resignation. Back in November, God showed me a beautiful rainbow to remind me of His promise to me. It is because of that rainbow, that vibrant reminder, that I know God has something grand in store for me. Daily, I am reminded of Jeremiah 19:11 and how God knows the plans He has in store for me. Read the verse several times and truly dissect the words. You will read that God had a plan, designed it intently for us individually, and it was designed for us to prosper. (Thank you, Rev. Henry for that word). I say all of that to say this: it is time to close this chapter of my life. I consider each job a chapter in my book of life (not the same as God’s Book of Life) and the departure from said job as the ending of the chapter. This chapter of my life is at its end; it is time for me to grow beyond here. While there were many other factors that led me here, the biggest thing was knowing that God has called me for greater. He has called me out of my place of comfort and complacency. In order for me to do what He needs me to do, I have to completely shatter my old way of living and thinking. I created a vision board for 2017 and am now asking God to completely have His way in my life. If it means ending relationships, moving to another part of the world, etc., I will do it. This is my season of Surrender. I surrender all to Christ. I only want to do what He intends. I only want to go where He plans. May His will be done. As I have gotten older (turning 30 changed my life), I realized that I cannot continue to live as I did previously. I cannot continue to think that I can get through my life without God. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again while expecting different results. What I was doing was literally insane. Since I want different results, it’s time to do things differently.

This letter of resignation that I’m about to write will be the most honest letter/exit interview that I have ever written. For many reasons, my current employer needs to know the truth. When I leave, I will be the fifth person to have left in one year. May not seem like a lot but the office is small and only has 10 people working here (at a max) at any given time. Each of us has our own reason but the facts are still the facts. My employers need to know why I am leaving and how their actions and inactions drove me to this point. But most importantly (yet conversely), they need to know that there was/is nothing they can do about my impending departure.

Trusting God is not easy. It is hard to fully believe in a plan that you did not create and cannot edit. But that’s where faith comes in. Faith is literally the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). So while we cannot see the plan, faith is the evidence that it does exist…and exists for our good. Taking a leap of faith simply means that you are choosing to Fully Rely On God. It’s not easy, but it is necessary in our walk with Christ.


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