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…On Curveballs and New Life Directions

Life is a maze.

While it’s true a plans are made, there are detours to our plans all the time.  If we’re not able to handle the detours, our plans aren’t worth a damb.  This was proven again to me over the last two weeks.

To make a short story long, I recently applied for a job that was in a different kind of field than I presently work in.  The position would require me to spend a few hours a week with a foster child.  I’d be part of a team that includes a social worker and a therapist, assigned to the child.  I’d also spend more time with the kid than either the social worker, or therapist.  To say that I’m (in my opinion) unqualified for the position is about as on point I could get.  Even applying for the job, I was thinking to myself, “why am I doing this?”  But, I went ahead and sent my résumé anyway.

While sitting at home the week after applying for the job, (and here’s the curve ball) the director of the program calls me and she asks me would I be interested in coming in for an interview.  Since I was off the next day as well, I accepted the interview.  When I arrived for my interview, I had to wait on her to get back to the office because she forgot she scheduled me.  I kinda took that as I sign that maybe I should leave, but after speaking with the receptionist, I decided to wait.  Now we all know how interviews tend to go.  The interviewer asks a serious of perfunctory questions, then gets to the particulars of the position that’s been applied for.  Questions about money, usually asked by the interviewee, bring an end of the session.  Except this interview went NOTHING like that.

When the director started talking, she gave me the details of what the job was going to entail, then *she* brought up the pay,  I should’ve known something was…off…with it when she said, “this is the deal breaker for most people”.  The funny thing?  The lack of (appreciable) money wasn’t a big factor in my decision to pursue the job.  Sure, I wish it paid more, but after hearing what the job entailed, and the impact I could have on some kids, I was in.

This is new territory for me.  I’ve been so focused on getting a job in my present field, while applying for jobs in different fields, that I was only minimally concerned with my God-given purpose.  The desire need for money is the main driver for why I never looked at ways to truly fulfill the purpose.  I think I speak for many men, when I say that we get the “purpose/provision equation” mixed up.

Instead of seeking our purpose, and trusting God to provide for our needs (and wants), we seek means that will provide for us to actively pursue our purpose.  Somewhere along the way, the means of provision becomes our focus, and fulfilling our purpose is something that we do “when we have time.” However, we never have time because we’re steadily chasing provision.  See the cycle?

Anyway, I’m not sure what working this gig will do.  I do know that for reasons only He knows, God orchestrated it.  I suspect that I’ll find out as much about myself as I do about the children I’ll be working with.  Perhaps I’ll get an answer to the question that plagues many people, but so few seem to ever get answered.  And that question is…

“What am I here for?”

Have you found yourself questioning what your purpose is?  Do you think your purpose is different that what your current career path is?  Have you taken any steps to find out?  

 

 
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Posted by on 04/04/2013 in On..., Uncategorized

 

…On Being Glad Obama Made It Through

I normally try to keep my specific personal musings out of these posts.  But this one I had to share.  As I was keeping up with the happenings of Inauguration Day and MLK Day, one thought kept creeping up in my head. 

“I hope he makes it through the day.” 

I don’t know why I was thinking it, but I was.  Something about seeing President Obama walking amongst people, in an open space was unsettling to me.  Four years after his first inaugural stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue, I was more apprehensive this time than last.  The climate of the country definitely aided in the feelings.  There are just too many wackos out who’d love to take him out.

The feeling made me do something I never found myself doing much, and that was praying for his and his family’s safety.  I know the Bible says to pray for your authorities, but I was kinda meh about it.  I mean if i remembered to do so, cool.  But it wasn’t something that I actively set out to do.  That is, until today.

This led to deeper thoughts and I realized, I must pray for the man.  For his wisdom. For his guidance. For his decision making prowess.  For his soul. 

As I was reading something earlier, I learned I wasn’t alone in my feelings about President Obama’s safety.  One person succinctly stated, “the simple fact I am even worried about him being shot let’s me know ‘post-racial’ is bull.”  That sentiment sums up all the emotions concerning this topic perfectly.  However, I’ll still pray for my president.  Perhaps it’s the prayers of those who pray that keep him safe.

 
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Posted by on 01/22/2013 in On...

 

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…On Fear

2012 taught me that fear has had a hold on me for years. And not just a hold, but a grip tighter than a pair of Lil’ Wayne nuthuggers (nh). I have no idea when it started, but as far back as I can remember, courage has friendzoned me. So, I’m left with hanging out with fear. Or better yet, I WAS left hanging out with fear.

Before this last new year started, I began doing a self-assessment. Not only did I question myself, and analyze my decisions, but I sincerely asked God to show me things I otherwise wouldn’t see. He merely shed light on some parts of my past, as well as my present. But He also said to me: “fear”. I had no idea what it meant, or why *that* word, but it stayed with me. A few days went by and I began to view what He showed me through the prism of fear. That’s when things started clearing up.

I spent much of my childhood afraid of trying new things, or pushing myself. I never wanted to play sports or anything physical. Not because I couldn’t handle it physically, but mentally. Even with respect to pursuing girls and young women as I got older, I told myself I was staying in my lane. Really, I didn’t want to endure the rejection that comes with being turned down. Mind you, none of these things could “hurt” me per se, but I let the thought of them doing so keep me from pushing my own boundaries. And that wasn’t fair to me, or to my God who says “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Even though fear will and has always been around it’s no need to bow down to it. In her last blog post, Rae even alluded to this. When I made my choice to not kowtow to it, my outlook on life began to change. I know it’s not going to be an instantaneous change. I have told myself not to look at what is stopping me, but what isn’t. Opportunities are awaiting me, and I choose to go after them.

The greatest take away from the lessons I’ve learned about fear is that while it’s consistently present, letting it stop me is a choice. I’m not saying go out and do idiotic or dangerous things. There is a line between fear and cautiousness. Being cautious will keep us safe, but being fearful can kill us emotionally and spiritually.

Going after what I want is what I’ve set my heart to do. I have an appointment with death at some point; we all do. My soul and spirit will not arrive before my body does.

 
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Posted by on 01/15/2013 in On..., Uncategorized

 

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…On New Beginnings In 2013

I’m a lil’ bit behind in my plans for 2013; being under the weather will do that.  That being said, I’m no different than anybody else in having new plans, aspirations, and hopes for this year.

My main hope for this year is to grow.  I want to grow mentally, emotionally, financially, and most of all spiritually.  I’ve spent a good amount of my life the last years focusing more on external things than I have internally.  While I’d like to say I still have seen some growth inwardly, it’s not nearly as much as I’d like.  God’s been pricking my heart on quite a few things and I need to get cracking on them.  Many of them have been on my heart for a while, but this is the year to make them happen.

In this new year, I want to be a better writer.  I want to continue to hone my skills and become more consistent in how I write.  I’ve learned over the last year that I’m only as good as the amount of time I dedicate to this.  I’m reluctant to call writing my craft because I don’t feel like I do it justice.  At the same time, it is my craft because it’s in my heart, and on mind.  I’m no professional, but I feel if I give it the nurturing it needs, I can become one.

2013 will see me being less of a observer and more of a participant.  I’ve lived over 30 years as a person who didn’t make waves.  I’ve always tried to maintain a level of anonymity in my life.  This has been both good and bad.  But I’m purposing this year to live purposefully.  I will be actively engaged in life itself.

Finally, this year I want to be a better man.  Not for anybody, though my family will benefit, but because I need to be.  Too many men are sliding through life, taking it as it comes.  We wonder when “real” men are going to stand up.  Well, I deign to be one of those real men that is sought after.

These are my goals for the already started new year, what are yours?

 
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Posted by on 01/08/2013 in On...

 

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Aside

Have you ever felt like you’re in the midst of a whirlwind, and don’t know where you can possibly anchor yourself to ride out the storm? I’ve been feeling like that lately, but I got an answer to my question.

I was at my small group fellowship last week and felt like I had a few brothas who could empathize with what I’ve been feeling. What’s a “small group” you ask? It’s a group of people from a church, based on a certain demographic (men, women, married, single, parents, etc.), that get together and “do life together”. It fosters a feeling of community amongst all the members. At least that is the purpose. Even though I’ve been in this particular group for over two years, I still felt slightly of place sometimes.  Nevertheless, these folks could understand that I felt…directionless.

There was one cat in particular who seemed to be living the exact same situation as I.  Things around him have been swirling to the point he is not sure which way he’s going in relation to his career, relationship, or relationship with God. However, he’s trusting God for it all. I’ve been pretty much dealing with the same feelings.  To say it’s frustrating is an understatement.  It feels like there is no direction, or reason why stuff is so chaotic.  Something (I assume God) spoke to me as I listened to him recount his trials and triumphs. What I realized was that I wasn’t alone.

I went from feeling out of place, to understanding that I actually wasn’t. The knowledge was right before me, but God had to open my eyes to see it. As long as I’ve been a part of the group, it was only recently that I understood why being in the group was so important. To paraphrase a Luther Vandross song; “we’re not meant to live alone…” It’s the same reason why Jesus said, “when two or three are gathered in my name, there will I also be.” Does this mean Jesus won’t show up in our individual lives? Surely not. But there is validity to the phrase “strength in numbers”, and this holds true for our spiritual walk.

Each believer is part of the Church aka the Body of Christ. It takes each individual doing their part to ensure the strength of the body. When one is weak, other members (body parts) should be there to strengthen it. However, the weakened part of the body also has to, in a sense, “know that it is weak”. If we’re dealing with negative feelings, then we have to acknowledge them. Being truthful with ourselves is the first step. In acknowledging this weakness, Jesus will show His strength. Then, God can orchestrate His will on our behalf; many times using others to effect the change He desires.

Don’t be someone who thinks they can do it all by themselves. Simply put, we can’t. There are reasons why God created different ethnicities and languages. There are reasons why different spiritual gifts are meted out to different people. God is multi-faceted. Since we, all of humanity, are made in His image, that alludes to us being diverse in our makeup. But…we’re also part of the human body, which collectively is singular. In the same way God is triune, but still wholly God.

When we need other people, don’t be afraid, or too prideful to let them know. The very ones we may act like we don’t need, could be the ones that God has placed around us to strengthen us and reflect His love.

Holla.

…On Community In The Church

 
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Posted by on 12/20/2012 in On...

 

…On Church

Earlier today, I spent some time responding to and asking questions of a person who had a problem with “holy parrots”. Oh, holy parrots (hp) are the folks who go to church, hear something from the pastor, then start espousing this same “church speak” to others in their life. While this inherently isn’t a problem, issues arise when the HP isn’t confronting the same issues in their life.

The Son of God spoke about this in Matthew 7. The irony is, we all are hypocrites in some form or fashion. We all struggle with an issue another may not. The problem arises when people want to point out what “so and so” has done. “Nah bruh, mind your own issues before you even think about dealing with mine!” But I digress. Tangent over.

My second original thought while reading the discussion was, “it’s no need to get upset at that.” Perhaps something the pastor said resonated with that person. But then the original discussion shifted to the “see, that’s why I don’t go to church now and God can talk to me soliloquy. I kindly removed myself, though I realized later that was the wrong move.

People want to say they see God all around them. That’s cool. Still others say they don’t have to go to the physical structure of church to meet God. Eh, well, not so much.

Throughout the Bible, God’s people met at a central location. In the Old Testament the place of meeting was the Temple. Later in the New Testament, the meeting places were houses, and the precursors of the churches we have today. It’s not just traditional; it’s ordained by God. Furthermore, Jesus Himself even said “when two or three are gathered in My name, there shall I also be.” Where is the most likely place for two or three to be together? In a church.

Then there are the folks who say I don’t need a minister to hear God. They are right…to a point. They also miss a bigger part of the picture. The point they are right about is that God can speak to whomever He so pleases; He is God. He will use any means that He so chooses, including a pastor!

If the pastor is truly hearing from God, and seeking His truth, then God will deliver messages through him. Pastors are put in place by God to be spiritual authorities in houses of worship. More importantly however, is that they serve as God’s mouthpieces. The Lord could very well have given a pastor “a word” for someone, but if they’re not receptive to it, then it’ll be missed. It could’ve been a confirmation, a warning, or encouragement. It got missed because of them not looking past the one who delivered the message.

Don’t be like the people who don’t hear the Lord because they focus on the wrong things. Listen to what He has to say. Rest assured that what they’re trying to hear may have to come through the person they feel they don’t need, in the place they don’t want to come.

Through the pastor, in church.

 
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Posted by on 11/13/2012 in On...

 

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…On Faith

Lately, I’ve been having issues holding onto my faith.  Coming from a man who believes in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, this may sound like borderline heresy.  Breathe easy because it’s not.  Even Jesus had issues with His faith while in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I’m one of those pragmatic types, but I still believe, and know, that God can do whatever He so wills and desires in my life.   Despite everything that is transpiring, I hold fast to His promises.

Jesus told His disciples that those who maintain even faith as small as a mustard seed can move moutains just by their words.  It seems simple until we look at the mustard plant.  It grows as tall as a small tree.  Birds can roost on it.  So if my faith starts out that small, then ideally is should grow.  Well, what about if my faith is smaller than the seed?

Certain things I question God about; again this is something that Jesus did.  It’s not questions of His promises, but moreso about when I’ll see them manifest in my life.  It’s hard to maintain when life is hitting you in the face, constantly.  Then I read a passage in the Bible that gets me thinking, and answers at least a few of my questions.  Yet, it causes others.

Acts 14:8-15 is such a passage.

In the first few verses of this passage, we get the story of Paul healing the crippled dude.  He was listening intensely to what Paul was preaching, and Paul saw this.  Verses 9 & 10 are sssooo Kobe (that’s clutch, for you Laker haters).

The crippled guy’s faith was evident to Paul as he watched the man.  So evident that Paul called the man out and told him “STAND UP!!”  Now it all sounds simple, but it speaks volumes.  It makes me ask myself questions.

Does my faith show on the outside as much as I say I have it?

Do I truly believe, in my heart, that God can do anything, or do I just know it in my mind?

Has my faith been put to the test?

Do I have faith in God so much that a word from Him will cause me to move?

These questions may not occur to everyone else, but they do to  me.  Then I get reminded that no matter what is going on in my life, God controls it all.  It sounds like a cliche, and I feel kinda dumb saying it, but it’s the truth.  So, my original thinking resurfaces:  I hold on to the promises that Jesus gave.  They’ll come I tell myself, I just gotta be steadfast.  I can still hope and pray they come soon though.

 
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Posted by on 11/05/2012 in On..., Uncategorized

 
 
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