“Doing Too Much”

I came up with this great idea to give all my nieces and nephews, and some of my friends’ children, a Back to School Pool Party.  I am a planner in every right; once an idea is conceived, I take it and I run with it. I work tirelessly making sure no detail is overlooked, taking care of all the logistics, and making sure every kink has been worked out. Any event with my name attached to it will scream, “Excellence!”

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NLT

This is a familiar passage of scripture, and every now and then I have to refer back to it. Maybe it’s because the things I once took for granted, I now cherish, like family and friends. In the scripture, Mary made the wise choice to sit at the feet of Jesus. Until recently, I have been guilty of assuming the role of Martha. There have even been times where I became so upset over the details that I made my guests feel extremely uncomfortable, instead of providing a warm and inviting atmosphere for them. Doing Too Much.

We all know someone (maybe it’s you) who spends days/weeks leading up to a major holiday, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, cooking, cleaning, decorating, etc. When the day finally arrives, they are either too tired to enjoy the festivities, or anxious and frustrated because they don’t want anyone to mess up their home or their beautiful decorations/displays. THAT’S WHY IT’S THERE, SO PEOPLE CAN ENJOY IT! Isn’t it? Or is it there to make you feel good about yourself, so people will compliment you on the great job you’ve done, and tell you how everything is so lovely? I’ll let you ponder that…

I have taken a step back from planning as many family events as I have in the past. I grew tired of missing out on spending time actually engaging with family and friends; all because I was busy making sure everything was “Just right.” I was Doing Too Much. Let’s not forget what is most important: Our loved ones, those we care about, precious time spent creating memories, and taking a trip back down memory lane (Every family does it). Most people will not remember the decor or the menu, but they will remember how they felt.

So, That Settles It. Let’s stop being so concerned with the details. Plan, decorate, and make everything nice, but don’t let it consume you. Instead, focus on what matters most. This weekend will be different from times past. I believe my family will be pleasantly surprised. I have a simple menu, I am not cooking anything (everything is being catered), no extravagant decorations; just good food, good times, and sweet fellowship. I am not worried about how amazing things look (none of that matters). I am looking forward to laughing, singing, telling stories, swimming, eating, and enjoying the company of everyone in attendance. My primary focus is my family and friends; not trying to make everything “Perfect.” I will not be found guilty of Doing Too Much. I suggest you do the same. Cherish what matters most. Your family is your first Ministry. Don’t ever lose sight of that.

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“Give’em Something to Talk About”

Someone from my childhood made a comment about me, saying something along the lines of “She is Miss Holier Than Thou;” and while the person to whom she said it was offended, I took it as a compliment. See, I know the things I’ve done in my past; perhaps that’s why this person made that comment, because she knows some of those things as well. My response: “If the worst thing she can say is Miss Holier Than Thou, then that says to me she sees growth and progress in my life, so Thank You for noticing.”

Why do we fall into the trap of thinking/hoping everyone will celebrate us/our accomplishments? Not everyone was excited about the Mighty Works Jesus did. People were so angry that He was effecting change, that they killed Him (But, He got up). The same is true for us. People may try to minimize our efforts, but it won’t kill us, we can rise above the opinions of mere men. Give’em Something to Talk About.

We don’t really have a choice, people will either like us or dislike us; they will either say nice things or evil things about us and that’s really none of our business. Our goal is to make it difficult for them to ignore us. We are here to make a difference in the world, to make an impact, and leave a legacy for those who are coming behind us.

I wholeheartedly believe if we are busy making a difference in the world, then we won’t have time to worry about what others have to say about us; nor will we have time to belittle or degrade anyone else. Oftentimes, those who only have negative things to say about you, are those who either were too afraid to try, or they failed and/or quit. They hate the fact that even if at first you don’t succeed, you refuse to quit, you keep trying. They may laugh at you and talk about you, but that’s okay, whether good or bad, they can’t keep their minds off you, so Give’em Something to Talk About.

So, That Settles It. We are given ONE life, make it count. Let your life be the reason someone didn’t give up. Let your life be the reason someone believed. Let your life be the reason someone didn’t commit suicide. Let your life be the reason souls are saved and lives transformed. We were called to be set apart. Remember, our Purpose is to be effective not popular. Give’em Something to Talk About.

If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. John 15:18-21 NLT

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“I Don’t Fit In, So I’m Going to Stand Out”

Have you ever looked around and noticed that you Don’t Fit In? Every since I was a child, I have not Fit In. I was “Different,” and I didn’t like it. I would try so hard, but I failed miserably. Now that I have grown into a true knowledge of self, I have come to the realization that no matter how hard I try, I Don’t Fit In, So I’m Going to Stand Out.

I Don’t Fit In with very religious people because I don’t see the benefit in Believers only wanting to associate with other Believers; never reaching out to the lost souls. I’m the person who wants to spend some time with the non-believers and allow them to see the light of the Lord, and show them the love of God. I am sure from the outside looking in, a judgmental religious person will probably assume that I’m “straddling the fence,” but I don’t care. Jesus ate and spent time with sinners, and He is the One I am mirroring my life after. On the other hand, there are some non-believers (and some Believers) who don’t really want to be around me because there are certain things that I will not bend or compromise on. I don’t condone sin and I don’t condemn people, but I try, whenever the opportunity presents itself, to speak the truth in love; and a lot of times, for a person who wants to continue in sin (Saved or Unsaved), it’s not received well.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT

What most Believers may not tell you, is that this life is not easy. There are times that my family doesn’t want me around when they’re doing certain activities, because they know I don’t agree with it and I won’t participate. I don’t feel slighted; I’m grateful that they respect the lifestyle I have chosen. I must admit, the human side of me may want to get upset when I am intentionally excluded, but it doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I know that, I Don’t Fit In, So I’m Going to Stand Out.

What Stand Out Means to Me – Being bold and confident. Knowing my worth and not allowing anyone to change my mind about me. A radical witness for Christ. I will not conform to the traditions of men. I will look adversity in the eye and not back down. I will hold Christians and especially Christian Leaders to a higher level of accountability. I will challenge pious “religious” activities that only bring glory to man and not God. I will continue to submit my life to God, so that I will look, speak, live, and love like Christ. I will continue to labor to draw people to God, to see souls saved and lives transformed.

Does this sound like you? Or maybe you Don’t Fit In because you won’t compromise your morals and values. Perhaps you Don’t Fit In because you “look” different. Maybe you are left out because you refuse to settle for less than God’s Best for you. Maybe people don’t want to be around you because they believe “you think you are better than them.” Stand Out! You don’t think you are better than them, but you are better than you once were, and you owe no one an apology for that.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

So, That Settles It. Maybe you Don’t Fit In; I want to encourage you to Stand Out! Whatever you do, don’t conform to a life that doesn’t make you happy, simply for the sake of pleasing others. Live your life on Purpose and in Purpose. When you do this, you will leave this earth having no regrets. Repeat after me, “I Don’t Fit In, So I’m Going to Stand Out!

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“Build Your Ark”

A while ago, my boss asked me to create something and I questioned why. My argument was that we’ve never had a need for anything like this. Even though I did not fully understand it, I completed it; while some (myself included), laughed and questioned its purpose…

Fast forward to a week ago, when this very thing that I created proved instrumental during a very critical time, in an attempt to save someone’s life. Afterwards, I jokingly reminded the other people who laughed at it, “See, my creation proved to be helpful after all.” We all agreed it was true.

Later that day, during my time of reflection, it hit me all of a sudden. That’s what this is! “Build Your Ark.” It may sound crazy (even to you), it may look crazy, others may think you’re crazy, but Build Your Ark! That’s essentially what I had done with that special project, and now it was all beginning to make sense. Building Your Ark is stepping out in Faith and doing that thing God told you to do. The Ark represents something that has never been done or never been seen before. Of course it may look funny to some (and even to you), but that’s because it’s something new and innovative that the world hasn’t seen yet because we’ve been waiting for you to create it.

Remember the story of Noah and the Ark? God told Noah to build an Ark and he obeyed. Noah had never seen an Ark (because none existed), but God gave him specific instructions on how to build it, even what materials to use, everything he needed to get the job done right, and Noah did it. Noah’s obedience actually saved his life and the lives of his family members and many animals (Genesis 6-9).

I have resolved that I am going to Build My Ark. It may take a while, it may prove difficult at times, I may not understand every detail, people may laugh at me and mock me, but I am going to build. And during those times that I feel like quitting, I will remember why I started:

  1. In Obedience to God
  2. To Make An Impact In the Earth
  3. To Save Lives

So, That Settles It. What is it that you are supposed to do, but you have been procrastinating? Either you don’t believe you can do it, or maybe because others have tried to convince you that you can’t do it. But, remember this: If God told you to build it, then He has given you Everything you need to get it done. Your job is to seek Him for His Divine Blueprint. Trust Him and He will give you step by step instructions. Now, go Build Your Ark!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 

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“That’s Not How Any of This Works!”

For the past week or so, I found myself getting very frustrated and I didn’t understand why. Initially, I thought it was because of my new eating plan (no carbs, no sugar, no good stuff), and I was just moody; but that wasn’t it. I just recognized the source. I am frustrated because it seems as if, while I am truly blessed, there are certain things that I have been praying for that are not coming to pass as quickly as I’d like. As I sat quietly thinking about it, I heard this: “That’s Not How Any of This Works!” 

Perhaps you can relate…

I have been praying and asking God to send more souls into the Kingdom of God, and to our church. For a while, it seemed like nothing was happening. Then all of a sudden, we were traveling to another city (hours away) every month to minister to people there. At first, it was exciting (the meetings are growing each month), but after while it became more like work to me, because I was trading my “lazy day” for ministry. I want people to be saved, healed, and delivered, but I never thought about what it takes to reach them. God reminded me, “This is what you have been praying for.”

Add to that, I’ve been praying for salvation for my family and for God’s Perfect will to be done in each of their lives. I’m praying continuously and what do I see? It “looks” like the total opposite! It looks like they are going crazy, like they have lost their minds, like they are going in the opposite direction. So, naturally I cry out to God saying, “Lord do something!” I was reminded, “That’s Not How Any of This Works!” To my natural eyes it doesn’t look the way I envisioned, and I get upset because I KNOW God hears my prayers.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Now, just think about your own life. In what areas of your life have you been waiting/expecting God to do the miraculous, and it seems like it’s getting worse? Now, think about all the times in the past when it looked like it wouldn’t work, but you can now look back and see how God’s hand was in it the entire time.

I know that God is not an evil magician who dangles His Promises in front of you like a carrot before a rabbit. I also know that most often, when we are believing God for something, and it seems like the exact opposite is being presented to us, it’s because God knows we need some character building before we can receive it. If our character is not intact, we risk losing or destroying the very thing we asked God to give us.

Example: Wanting to lose weight and believing you will think it, pray it, and wake up slimmer, only to find out it requires hard work! Some days seem like you are regressing instead of progressing. Temptations coming from the North, South, East, and West. You want to blame the enemy, but it’s not the enemy. It’s character building. If you don’t learn how to eat properly, exercise, and exhibit self-control, you will either struggle losing weight, or not be able to maintain the weight loss.

So, That Settles It. Maybe you’ve been asking God to send you a mate, a new job, a new home, etc., and it seems like it won’t happen. If you are looking for everything to just magically appear, let me save you some disappointment… “That’s Not How Any of This Works!” My advice to you this week is to pray and ask God for His Perfect Will for your life, do your part (faith without works is dead), be patient, and most importantly, remember things are not always what they seem. God is working even when it feels like nothing is working.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

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