#BetterThanYesterday, Christianity, Education, Life, Moving Forward

But God!

Growing up my identity was all about basketball. It was my world and at many times education came second. I never thought I would ever pursue a Master’s degree.

In my earlier years of life (elementary & middle school) I was all about academics. In fact, in middle school, I once had a 4.0 gpa and an overall 3.5 gpa. As I entered into high school, my life began to shift. My priorities, my decisions, and my mentality was slowly walking away from being a great student.

Continue reading “But God!”

Life, Moving Forward

Don’t Settle In Your Set Back

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I know you thought your dream would happen easy. You’ve been pushing hard to take your dreams to the next level. You have been making connections, being consistent, staying committed but some how life is not giving you back the same energy. 

I’ve been there. I have been in the place where it felt like I was doing everything I needed to be doing to be successful, but yet and still nothing was happening.I have even been to the point where I exhausted all of my resources and I was left with exhausted energy. 

Have you ever been there? Are you there now? My friend, what do you do when you are doing what you believe needs to be done, but nothing is changing? Do you give up? Do you say forget it? Continue reading “Don’t Settle In Your Set Back”

Life, Moving Forward

Life.

“Out of your pain births a purpose. Out of your misery births a ministry. Don’t be so quick to run from the struggle.” – J. Scott Samarco

The struggle is real. We must confront reality. Not in a sense to make ourselves feel inadequate or unworthy but more so to understand that there is a battle and this battle is real.

We have to continue to push, fight, and battle to overcome adversity. Adversity is interesting. So often, adversity is viewed as being negative. To me, adversity is a tool to help us grow in character and in stature. Being able to take on adversity allows for the human mind to be stretched and challenged. This stretching, these challenges, help us gain a perspective that not everything in life is easy. I’ve heard many people say, “if it was easy, everyone would be doing.” Right!?

Life has a special meaning toward those individuals who understand their purpose. Cliche, true, whatever, I like it. For those who do not understand their purpose, life tends to constantly be challenging. More so mentally than anything. When one does not know or understand why they are here on this earth, they begin to question their value and what they can bring to the table. This questioning, usually leads to self esteem dropping, lack of self worth and a lack of confidence.

There are no quick fixes or points that say, if you do it this way everything will work itself out. I believe the main focus behind my thought process here is understanding we are all in a process. This process that we are in, is guiding us and helping us discover just what it is we should be doing. A constant message I share with myself, is to continue to embrace the process, to not let up, to work through the frustrations and to not beat myself up over my shortcomings.

I cannot be perfect. I can however, strive for perfection. Even with my striving I have to understand that I will fall short. With falling short, I know there are many lessons to be learned. These lessons help me stay in reality, all while pushing to be better daily.

I’m thankful for my journey in life and I know every pain I’ve ever felt, every misery I’ve battled through, it is all being used to shape and sharpen my calling in life. Whether we figure this out in our twenties or late fifties, we each have a role to play in this world.

God wants to use us for a purpose. Believing this is a great starting point. Happy 6 months!

Life

This One Is For You

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As I lay awake, nocturnal as you would say,
I sit here and listen to your thoughts.

You were free spirited, exploring life with your words.

You meant well,
But well, life didn’t mean the same.

You understood how to balance the unbalanced.
To continue to move forward at all cost.
You knew that if for one second, if you gave up,
Hope would do the same.

As the heart aches, the heartbreaks,
And yours broke and bled.
You were not afraid to be you.
You could care less how others judged you.

So much pain you endured.
So much weight you carried.

Darkness crept in, and your light kept shining.


You are a beast.
Creative.
Inspirational and wicked with the words.

Your words were motion on a canvas,
Moving to its beat.
You expressed your art as apart of your soul.
You let us in.

Now it is time for you to fly my baby.

Your beauty has now grown its wings.
You fly high, and you soar.
You love from above.
Your radiance glows,
And as the wind blows,
We are reminded you are among us.

You taught us how to love.
You taught us how to smile bright.
You showed us that energy is your light.
You let us know we are to fight.
So now it is only right,
That you my friend, hold on to what is right.


Samarco blood.

We bleed for you.
We cry for you.
We feel all your pain, and we cry.

We cry even more.
And we allow our tears to be filled with your memories.
Each drip is for you.
And these buckets that are filled,
We wash away the bad.

May His angels carry you through,
And bring you through the gates,
Turning you away from this dark and dying world.

Enjoy the journey to your new life.
While we are here,
We will keep on painting what you left for us.

Our canvas is our life,
And our brush are our actions.

We paint, we move, we sing, and we dance.

Because this one,
This one is for you.

Love you, Aunt Frances!

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Life, Moving Forward

When It Felt Like Everything Fell Apart

When it felt like everything fell apart

The battle.

It was the year 2011. My life was slowly beginning to fall apart. I had lost some close friends I trusted, was lied to by multiple people, lost a job, lost one of my best friends to a tragic death, and I had moved back home with my mom and was sleeping on the couch and in a bed on the floor in the basement.

Everything seemed dark to me. I wasn’t questioning God and wondering why I was going through this valley. I understood life is not perfect, and everyone at some point has to go through something tough, I was just wondering how long the dark season would last.

I don’t know about you, but when I am in darkness, my heart, my thoughts and my emotions seem to be off. My heart is usually heavy, my thoughts are distorted, and my emotions aren’t as controlled as I would like them to be.

So what did I do?

I got away…

The summer of 2011, I spent in another state with one of my closest friends. I had saved up some money before I lost my job. I just needed to get away from home, gather my thoughts, think a lot and begin to work on what my next steps would be.

We can only be in the valley for so long. At some point, we have to come back up.

Feeling lost, out of place, not significant and wondering when a change was coming, I decided I would not complain and mope around. Instead, I would fight back. Yes, the universe and my world were dark, but there is a greater power in me that is capable of shining light.

I needed God to begin shining His light!

My friend that I was staying with in 2011 summer, I remember attending a church service with him. I don’t remember what the minister was saying; I just know I got extremely emotional and began to cry. I remember my friend looking at me in disbelief and shock as if he’d never seen a “grown man” cry.

At this moment, he didn’t judge, or tell me to suck it up. Instead he asked was I okay and just put his arm around me (I guess he gave me a bro hug).

I just needed support. I was grieving and mourning for months. The weight of the world and all of my thoughts got too heavy for me to carry alone. So I just cried. I let it out and released everything. I’ve learned that crying is good for the soul and as ET the Hip Hop Preacher once said: “Don’t cry to quit. Cry to keep going.” That’s what I was doing.

The darkness began to fade away, and I knew one day God would allow the light to get brighter.

All felt lost and apart but having friends and a God that cares, I knew there was hope. 2011 was one of the worst years of my life. Tough as that year was, I needed to go through it. My valley experience in 2011 allowed me to see and feel what it is like to do life alone. I’ll end with this: Life is not meant to be experienced alone.

From the bottom of my heart. I love you. I thank you for reading this. God is good even when it feels like everything has fell apart.

Summer 2011 in Memphis, TN
My best friend’s brother and Unc at the funeral.

 

Christianity, Life, Moving Forward

Leap of Fear?

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No, no my friend it is not a leap of fear but it is a leap of faith that is being required of you. More than three times God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. When God begins to elevate you for an assignment, He will be sure to affirm you with the words that will carry you through. Joshua carried the words, “be strong and courageous” from His Father into his next challenging assignment.

Hear me when I say this: What’s next for you will require you to depend on God and not your emotions. What’s next for you will require you to call out your fears. I mean to write them down, to figure out why these fears are there and once these fears have been identified, God is going to ask you to do something with them. Are you ready? I am!

Fear, I have learned is nothing more than a fabricated emotion that becomes easy to believe.

Is fear real? Yes.

Can fear be conquered? Yes.

Our fears should push us and lead us to become more confident. Each time fear has entered my life and attempted to take control of my mind, I have allowed myself to get away with God and analyze why fear is there and where the fear is coming from.

Joshua, when he was chosen to take over for Moses, who was no longer around, fear was soon to enter. Joshua, being called to step into a new role, has a normal human response; that is to wonder if he could be the person for the job.

Here is what I’ve leaned about Joshua’s transition: The transition came so fast that he didn’t have much time to live in fear and this is what I want to point out for you and I to understand…

What God is requiring of you in this season of life cannot be taken up by allowing yourself to remain in fear.

Fear is an enemy that wants to stop you from walking into your God given potential. Fear is simply: False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. What I’ve learned about fear is this: whatever perspective you have toward the fear in your life, is usually what you and I will believe. If I believe I cannot accomplish something because of fear, then I am going to make decisions based off of my belief system. You see what I’m saying?

Questions for you to wrestle with:

  • What lie(s) are you believing?
  • Can you name your fears?
  • Do you see why these fears are there?
  • When will you take your leap of faith to overcome your fears?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

P. S. What are some fears you had to overcome and how did you overcome these fears? Lets help each other out by sharing and encouraging one another!

P. S. S. Punch fear in the face! It has to go now!

 

 

 

Christianity, Life, Moving Forward, Uncategorized

In the Next and In the Now

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In the Next:

In the book of Joshua, found in the Bible, chapter 1 begins with Joshua having to step up quickly and lead a new generation of people into a land that God had promised to his fellow leader Moses. In verse 2, God says to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan into the land I am giving them.” Then God goes on to say in verse 3. “I promise you what I promised Moses: Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you.” What a promise!

Joshua immediately had to step up and lead. There wasn’t much time to be stuck in emotion, throw pity parties and wonder if he could do what God was commanding. Joshua, at this moment in time, is dealing with transition here and not all transition is easy. I am sure he was comfortable in the position He was in, as a counterpart to Moses, his right-hand man.

There comes a time in our lives where God calls us out of the comfortable zones we love to operate in. When God said, “Moses my servant is dead,” God is telling Joshua, there is no longer time for you to be comfortable.

The Land of the Unknown:

Obscurity, a word I have come to know throughout my life. Not knowing what is in the land to come but trusting that God is leading me there. This place of the unknown is an interesting place to be. A place where Joshua finds himself. In verse 5 and 6 God says, “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as long as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to posses all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” God continues to give His word, His affirmation and His promises to Joshua.

What timely words for Joshua to hear. With all of the new responsibility, his new role, people to lead and win over, God pauses Joshua in his tracks and lets Joshua know you are not in this alone. So often in The Land of the Unknown, we think we are alone as if God would abandon us the moment we step foot in an unknown land.

How foolish are we to think this way? Our thinking can be such human conditioned responses. We should know God will not set us up to fail and maybe for a moment Joshua thought this way. Then hearing the words of His Father let Joshua know, he didn’t have any business to think that His God would not be with Him in the next phase of his life.

In the Now:

This is my command: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Hallelujah! As Joshua moved forward, He walked with a sense of purpose and dignity knowing His God was in complete control. Joshua walked with an assurance that He would not fail because His creator with all power and might was on his side.

Joshua was now leading and taking people on a journey they had not been on before. With transition, new leadership and new territory there comes a birth of new excitement. Joshua knew he had to step in, affirm, speak words of encouragement and peace to the people he was now leading. He had to let the people know everything is going to work out, and they would walk into the promises of God.

Conclusion:

I have learned in my 28 years of life; there is a great peace that God gives. I’ve also learned, when it is time for God to take someone to their next level and destination there has to be a step of faith. As we take a step of faith, we have to walk in the same peace that was given by God. As Joshua did, he had to trust God through the process of transition and the process of the land of the unknown.

God is the God of the next and the now. Wherever you find yourself today, whatever is on your plate, trust the God of the next and the right now, for He is in both and He is leading the way.

P.S. – Here are a couple of action steps and some friendly reminders:

  • Trust Him.
  • Obey.
  • Do what He asks of you.
  • You are right where you need to be.
  • God has your back!