Stayed on Jesus

I decided that I wanted to do nothing.

It was a Saturday off and after so many Saturdays “on”, I just wanted one that would be just for me. So I sat down in my bed and softly sang the words that were in my heart. “I woke up this mornin’ with my mind, stayed on Jesus.” I still chuckle to myself. Of all of the songs to have in my heart, that was it. Unbeknownst to me, that was the song that God had to place there so that I could sit with Him on this day off.

I woke up this mornin’….

It was a chilly Autumn morning. The sun was shining brightly in the sky and the crisp chill of the air was gently flowing through the open crack of my bedroom window. I’m a bit weird. I have to be cold in order to sleep so earlier in the week when the temperature took its final drop, I cracked my window so that I could feel nature. Open enough to feel it, but closed enough to not sneeze at it, of course. I felt the air and immediately knew that it was going to be a great day… however, it was a day that I would enjoy from the confines of my bedroom because it was my day off.

I scurried to the bathroom, grabbing my robe along the way. The slippers wouldn’t attach to my feet in time, so they got left in my hurry. Once in the bathroom, I smiled joyfully as I planned out my day.

First: Climb back in bed, remove the robe, and listen to The First 5 App’s daily devotional
Second: Roll over in the bed and watch Xfinity/Hulu/Netflix/Disney+.
Third: Grab food from the fridge.
Fourth: Repeat steps 2 and 3.

Such a busy day ahead! I did decide to switch things up a bit by pulling out my journal and writing a letter to God. After that, I grabbed my Chromebook and started working on my sermon for December’s Holy Communion service. But even in between keystrokes, I watched movies and smiled with peace as I enjoyed my day off.

I woke up this mornin’ with my mind…

Writing is my heart’s truest pleasure. My body loves food and sleep (a blog for another day) but my heart loves writing. I don’t know; it’s just something about jotting down the constant parade of thoughts that soothes me, well, beyond words. Earlier in the month my mind had been so hectic, filled with too many thoughts to process, causing me to stay up late at night. So my bestie, in her infinite wisdom, told me to find a way to brain-dump. She challenged me to write, listen to music, or do whatever I needed to do so that I could clear my mind every night. Of course, I chose to watch Christmas movies instead. It’s something about a Christmas movie that can just change your heart towards rest. As I watched my movies, my mind fell to peace and sleep welcomed me like an old friend.

Yet, as I write, the jumbling thoughts of my mind settle gently and I feel tranquility like none other. I never wanted to be a writer. English was not my subject in school and I am a horrible speller. No, writing was not my desired path. When I was younger, I did not realize that I was differently abled. I did not understand ADHD/ADD and I had never heard of Autism or any other disability- cognitive or otherwise. I’m sure people around me had those diagnoses, but I was not aware of them. Today, I accept my diagnoses and use them to contribute greatly to my God-given ministry. ADHD, GAD, Depression, IBS-C, GERD, and even these gallstones remind me of my humanity and connect me in a deeper way with God. I can’t explain it, and I’m sure it makes absolutely no sense, but as 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, my weaknesses allow God to be strong and in Him I can do all things… like step wholly outside of my comfort zone.

I woke up this mornin’ with my mind stayed on Jesus.

Again, of all of the Christian/gospel songs that I know and listen to, I find it so curious that I woke up with that song on my mind. Maverick City Music, Housefires, Cory Asbury, Cody Carnes, Janice Gaines, and the list goes on and on. Artists that I listen to every night as I am soothed to sleep by my Spotify station. In fact, hearing a song by Maverick City Music last night prompted the writing of my next sermon. So why was this particular gospel song on my heart? You see, I am Black and I grew up in a traditional Black, Baptist church where we listened to traditional gospel music. As I got older and found my own way in my faith, I started to diversify my music taste and found Christian Contemporary music. Most Black people don’t like this genre of music because they think it lacks the soul of gospel music. Truth is, the same God that we sing about in gospel songs is the same God that is referenced in Contemporary Christian music… just without all the rifts, runs, and modulations.

In Baltimore I never could have imagined that there was music aside from gospel music. We sang out of a hymnal but even with that, we only really sang the songs that had a soulful beat. I didn’t know then but music keeps me sane. With ADHD, music comforts me and allows me to concentrate on whatever task lies before me. Music- which is simply words put to a beat- speaks to me and it allows me to write effortlessly. But this song… it is literally a repetition of the same words… why did God need me to have this song? The only thing that I can conclude is that God wanted me to have Him on my mind all that day.

As I nap, have Him on my mind.
As I write, have Him on my mind.
As I eat, have Him on my mind.

Hmmm… doesn’t seem too terrible or impossible.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I understand that things are totally different. In the state of Maryland, home gatherings above 10 people are prohibited and even carry a fine. We are in another lock down and I don’t know when it will end. In the wake of everything that is happening around us, it can be so hard to focus on what really matters. The season of Advent is approaching and even with Covid, I don’t want us to lose focus of the true Reason for this season- Jesus. Beloved, just like God woke me up that morning with my mind stayed on Jesus, I encourage you to keep your mind and heart stayed on Him, too. It is a new day and it is time that we both cling tightly to our Abba and remain stayed on Jesus.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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