Waiting For You..

waitingI haven’t been able to shake a particular song all week. In fact, the song has encapsulated me.  Has that ever happened to you? A song is so strong that it just stays with you? This particular song was ringing in my ear, almost like a whisper, as I slept throughout the night. I woke up this morning and could still hear it. I went for my morning run, and yes, there it was again. When I returned home, I reminded myself to find that song on YouTube. I did and saved it, so when I got into my car, I could blast it.  Well, when I got into my car, that’s exactly what I did.

I arrived at my office, played the song on my iPhone as I walked from the parking lot to my building. Once I got in the office, I played it again.  The song just got to me; I kept lifting my hands to heaven, worshipping God.  I had to get up and close the door to my office because I became so overwhelmed with emotion just listening to the words and focused on praising God.

lifted handsYou probably want the name of that song, don’t you?  Well, okay, the song is titled “Waiting Here For You.” The words say the same, “Waiting here for you with our hands lifted high in praise. And it’s you, we adore, singing alleluia.”  I guess when you read this line, you may have said the words are no big deal. Well, maybe not, but they were for me today.

Why is this song getting so much of my attention today? Why am I getting so emotional when I sing the words?  When I watch the singers sing? My God, what’s going on?

I tell you what I think. I believe the song activated my “Stop & Reflect” button. It brought me to a sacred place mentally, and I was able to be refreshed.

I don’t know about you, but I get busy, real busy.  I am consumed with getting ready for school to start, travel schedules and speaking engagements. I am writing a prayer to say at Convocation this week also. As I began thinking of that prayer, my heart became full.  Yeah, I know this is weird to some of you, but that’s okay. If you are my friend, you know that I can get this way when it comes to God. If you are not my friend, but you took the time to read this, thank you for reading it.  I know that many do not believe in God.  I know many of my friends are professional people and many of you are too “intellectual” to believe.  I don’t care how intelligent you or I become, how many degrees we earn, or how many positions of influence we hold, I will always, always, give honor to God and make no excuses for my deep love for Him.

It is easy to rely on our own devices, our wit and cunning. It is easy to look to others to help us get the next contract, the next promotion, or whatever next thing there is to get. When we stop that and start believing that all things come from the Father; When we trust Him and show Him our love through our actions, that’s when our lives will change. The reason so many are downtrodden, pessimistic and negative, is because they haven’t learned how to look at God.  When we learn to lift our hands in praise, physically or metaphorically, our minds will be transformed and so will our actions. We won’t take part in silly arguments or fights. We won’t belittle or defame others just because we disagree with them. I think we will change because He will change us.

I will happily wait for Him because I have noticed when I do, I gain a sense of calm. My worries and stressors become small in His presence. Lifting my hands seem to break the chains of stress and worry.  He gives me peace that surpasses my intellect.  He can do the same for you too. I will close this with a scripture for 1 Samuel. I hope you will think about how stressed David was, but also consider how David responded.

Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

 

Encourager or Discourager?

EncourageI love being the person who makes another person feel good about themselves. I like speaking words of encouragement to them and then watching them come alive.  I know, probably more than most, just how powerful words can be.

The good thing about a person who likes to encourage is that they do it whether the other person needs it or not. They know how important it is to be sensitive to those with whom they interact.

I am sure I have mentioned before that I people watch. By people watching, I can tell immediately who the Encouragers are and who the Discouragers are.  I want you to think about this. You know just as I do, the value that Encouragers bring. We know the traits they demonstrate; generally, they are happy, optimistic and positive people. We also know the Discouragers; they are just the opposite.  Although they can be negative, pessimistic and unhappy, many times they display more subtle traits than that.  In fact, you may not be able to really point to anything specific; you just feel it.

Discouragers may not ever say one discouraging or disparaging word, but what they can do is not acknowledge any good thing about you.  They may be ones who withhold praise or stay quiet when someone else has something good to say about you. They don’t do or say anything to support you, although they claim to be your friend.

Encourage-1thessaloniansWhich are you? Are you an Encourager or a Discourager?  You may not be comfortable with giving compliments, but you can still encourage others.

I believe one form of encouragement is seen in actions.  We can “love” the way Jesus told us to do when He said to “love one another.” Life is hard and people are facing challenges every day.  People we meet or those we interact with each day are facing things that we know nothing about.  People are facing loss, whether in the form of a divorce or a loss through death. Others are going through the loss of a job, while others may be dealing with grave illnesses, addictions, family problems, work problems, foreclosures, or jail.  These are real life issues and some will share while others will not. You may be the difference in whether they keep going or give up, in whether they succeed or fail.  You don’t have to show sympathy–that’s not encouragement. What you should do is inspire another person with the courage they need to keep on going. No, you may not be comfortable speaking words of affirmation to others, but you can do other things to encourage those around you.

Be careful and watch the words you use with your children and grandchildren no matter how frustrated you might get with them.  If you are upset, always tell them that you love them and then tell them why you may be disappointed.  If you are frustrated with your spouse, do the same.  If you have an obnoxious friend that might drive you nuts, pray for yourself and be intentional in praying for them.  If you have a friend who seems to always achieve & get what they want, to include compliments, don’t begrudge them, encourage them to keep on achieving and thank God for their achievements and blessings.  All of the good that you do in speaking well of and to others, will come back to you.  In the end, God commands us to encourage one another. You want to obey Him, don’t you?

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

 

 

 

Stretch Out Your Hands!

stretching forth your handsI am an animated worshipper of Christ. Sometimes I can be in my car and feel the Spirit of God move on me and I raise my hands in praise. I have to be so careful when I am driving,though.  Some days I can be sitting in my office listening to a praise song and can be overcome with joy!  I feel the Spirit of God so strong at times that my emotions take over and I have to remind myself that I am at work. My eyes fill with tears for nothing more than I am in the presence of God.

I was recently sitting and working, and I kept hearing the words of a song that said “Spirit Move. Come and do what only you can do.” As I mentioned, I was quietly working away but all of a sudden, I felt my hands stretch out towards heaven. I heard my voice say “thank You for Your presence.”  For the longest time, I could do nothing but sit and contemplate.

As I sit here now, I think about all that has happened in my life recently. One was that of loss. The loss of my sister-cousin hit home. She was one year younger than me, and we were raised as sisters by our grandparents.  We both grew up in that Pentecostal home of our grandparents. We were both Believers who ended up still Pentecostals even after we were long gone from that environment. We both went to college and got advanced degrees, both married military men, although her husband of 35+ years was her high school sweetheart. We both had only one child, and both loved God with all of our hearts.

It is hard to swallow that she was taken away too soon. In the middle of my sadness. stretching forth your handThere is one thing I know for certain, she would be the first to stretch out her hands to worship God no matter her circumstances. That is something I can rejoice about and so can her beautiful daughter and granddaughters. Their mom was a warrior, a fighter, and a bold Born-again Believer.  In their sadness, that’s what I want them to remember. I want to think about how passionately she praised. I want them to think about how much she would want them to do the same. She would want us all to miss her, and we do, but she would want us to know that she is with Jesus and she is shouting and praising her way through heaven.

Look, I know there are those who don’t believe in heaven or hell. I do. I even know that there are those who don’t believe in Jesus. That’s ok, that does not stop me from believing in Him. I know some even think that once we are gone, that’s it. Hey, I don’t. I look forward to a day that my cousin and I will see each other again. I look forward to joining her in the presence of God and Jesus with outstretched hands praising Him.   In the meantime, I will stretch out my hands towards heaven in praise. I will stretch out my arms to my niece and my grand nieces and love them like their mother did. I will assure them that they are loved and adored. I will remind them to stretch out their hands too and worship because strength comes through worship. Finally, I will remind them to be “strong and courageous” for the Lord our God will be with them where ever they go. And where they go, their mother, my cousin, will be there with them.

Father, I pray that you will pour out your Spirit on us now. You said you would, and I lift my hands as a means of saying I receive Your Spirit.

Let “Status Quo” Be Uncomfortable

Expand-yourself-Get-out-of-comfort-zoneAre you afraid to be uncomfortable? Good. I find that when I am uncomfortable living a regular, everyday life, I do something about it.  I can’t sit still. I become restless and I have to do something. Anything! How about you?

There is a negative connotation associated with being restless.   I don’t see it as negative. In fact, I think restlessness can be a good thing.  For some, it is negative but for others, restlessness pushes us to action.  I say, restlessness can be stressful, but it can also be liberating.

In my book, It’s Your Life; Own It. No blame, No Excuses, one of the things I talk about is the importance of going after the life you really want.  I talk about how important it is to decide on what it is you want and then to plot a course to achieving that goal. I talk about how some people will talk, talk and talk about what they want and they never do anything about getting what they want. They make excuse after excuse about why it is that they can’t do something. The make every excuse as to why something can’t be done and they blame everything that they can think of as the reasons why that don’t move towards the goal.  When the real reasons may be as simple as being uncomfortable; taking a risk; doing something; anything.

Don’t you know of people who set goals and never achieve them? Me too. I have heard people say that they wanted to write a book or that they wanted to start a non-profit or that they wanted to start their own business, yet year after year, you see them and they are still saying the same things they said 3 years prior. You ask them what have they done to get closer to that goal and the answer is “nothing really.”   Have you helped someone lay out a plan to do something only to see them months, sometimes years later, and they have not done a thing? Of course you have. I certainty have.  Listen, they are happy being comfortable with the status quo; it’s that simple.

Are You A Goal-Setter or Goal-Achiever?

There is a big difference between a person who is a goal-setter and one who is a goal-achiever.  There is a big difference between dreamers and achievers and there is a real big difference between those who always talk about what they want to accomplish and those who get out there and actually accomplish the thing they want. Do you know what the difference is?  Comfort and Discomfort.

where-magic-happensMany are comfortable living just as they are day after day. They claim that they want to do more and to achieve a stated goal, but it’s just talk.  Then there are those who embrace discomfort; they are the risk-takers. They can’t imagine living day after day just dreaming their lives away.  They would rather take a chance; they understand that failure can happen, but that does not scare them. God bless those who are happy with comfort. It’s okay if that’s what they want to do; if that’s how they choose to live. I just would prefer that they would recognize what they are doing and that they would stop talking about achieving a thing that they never intend to achieve.  I wish they would recognize that they are living a fantasy and that’s okay too because it is their lives. I just don’t want them acting like the victim.  It’s okay but it’s not what I want for my life and that’s okay too.  I prefer to embrace being uncomfortable.  I prefer taking risks. Because by doing so, I have stretched beyond my wildest dreams. I have accomplished things I never thought possible.

The challenge here is to decide what you want out of life.  Recognize that most who are successful, take risks. They have learned to embrace the unknown and the uncomfortable.  Remember, we all like the familiar; we all want to live in comfort, but what’s frightening about that is that I will end up living a status quo life. I am terrified that each day will become mundane and that I will wake up one day and would have not experienced so much that God placed inside of me.  I would encourage you to think about what’s holding you back.  Is it that you are happy nursing what you are comfortable with or are you willing to take a risk and do something that you have always wanted to do?  Guess what? It’s up to you.

It’s Your Life; Own It…