A New Year. There Was a Lesson in the Challenge…

When I hear someone try to tell me that a challenge I am facing will help me grow, I challengeswant to say hogwash! However, at my age, I can honestly say that many of my challenges have equipped me for greater things. I know, I know, you might say that I am only saying that because I haven’t faced what you are facing. That may be the case, but you never know what people go through. We don’t really share our deepest troubles on social media. At least I don’t.

Anyway, I would like to share a little about what I have endured over the last year and point out along the way that repeated challenges can get to any of us. Trust me, they have gotten to me. As for me, however, I choose to move beyond them. I learned long ago not to hold onto stuff. If you allow your challenges to get the best of you, you will most assuredly become beaten down, you may get despondent and decide to check out altogether. Counter your challenges. Find joy elsewhere, and I don’ mean in a bottle of drugs either. Find it in a walk, a run, with an animal, at a spa. Just find it.
I find joy in Christmas. The reason I love Christmas so much isn’t because of presents; it is in the people I get to share life with. The hustle and bustle of Christmas can be exhausting, but I always feel joy this time of year. This past year has been one of the most challenging I have experienced in a very long time. Things I thought I was done with years ago, visited me again but in grand design this year. I had not felt the sting of a person trying to demoralize and marginalize me in such a long time, that to experience it at this stage in life really shook me. I had to take stock of my life over and over again. I kept telling myself, “You must be crazy. You don’t need this. Why are you subjecting yourself to this?” I would ask God repeatedly if I was doing the right thing by remaining quiet, ignoring the actions of others, and staying the course. When I was about to throw in the towel, I would get an impression from God that I was supposed to stay the course. What I heard from God was this: “LaSharnda, don’t give up. I didn’t make you that way. Besides, trust me. I am teaching you a lesson. There is always a lesson in the challenge.” So I said, “Ok, Lord.”
At one point during the year, I felt that I was at my wit’s end. I was on my morning run, suddenly, a scripture began to play in my head over again. The scripture was Isaiah 43: 19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Well, of course, I felt God was about to break the cycle I had been experiencing. I waited and waited, and nothing happened. I got discouraged again. Too many things gave me hope throughout the year, only to get my expectations up and dashed back. To this day, I still do not know what God is doing in my life, but what I do know is that I am a different person today than I was a year ago. I know that I have learned some powerful lessons through my challenges.
Challenges can cause flight or fight, and even the strongest among us can get to the point of flight. Don’t feel bad when you finally throw your hands up and walk away, but before you do, I want you to ask yourself, “What lesson am I supposed to learn in this?” Take your time, pray, trust God, and trust yourself. Look at the challenge and determine what brought it on and decide what you can do about it. You always have a choice; you don’t have to put up with anything. However, you may learn to trust God more and rely on yourself less.
If you decide to stay the course, you may find that He is equipping you for something far more significant and even better than what you had before. The skills you develop during the challenges are skills you will take with you to the next level. You may also find that you are stronger, tougher, and brighter than you thought.

Learn from the past and look to the future.  God is about to do a new thing. Can’t you see it?

 

Passion & Purpose

passion and purposeI just released my 4th book. Yay! I never dreamed when I was a young girl that one day I would write books.  I am not claiming that my books are on the best seller’s list, that’s never been a dream, but I have always felt a need to minister, whether speaking to one person or to hundreds.

I want to encourage you to do the same.  Many times, people won’t do a thing for fear of being criticized that their work isn’t good enough or they don’t want to be the subject of scrutiny when others “like” something or someone else better. I say, So what? If you look at them, I wonder just how “successful” they are in their craft.

Look, dig deep inside of yourself. What are you passionate about?  Take that and dissect it and then tell me, does anything get your blood pumping? Okay, does it add value to others?  My new book, Passionate and Purposeful Work: A Biblical Perspective, was not written to move millions, but it was written out of a deep passion to see Believers do what God has called them to do where ever they are and especially at work.  My purpose? To continue to minister to others where they are. To help others by giving them tools they can start using right now. Today.

Can you do that with your passions? Of course, you can.  Maybe someone made you feel that you have absolutely nothing to contribute by sewing quilts, I say, yes you do.  Or you have little value cleaning offices, yes you do. Or you cannot be passionate about watching kids or spending time with the elderly. If anyone thinks that, they are dead wrong.  Whatever it is that you have a passion for, take it and use it for the glory of God.

God has a plan and purpose for you.  If you don’t know what it is, ask Him. He will reveal it to you. Don’t isolate yourself and listen to what the enemy tells you—which in most cases will be him reminding you that you do not have what it takes.  So, if you feel any of these…

Not pretty enough…
Not tall enough…
Not thin enough…
Not smart enough…
Not successful enough…
Not patient enough…
Not creative enough…
Not a good enough parent…
Not educated enough…
Not talented enough…
Not organized enough…

Remember, you don’t have to be more than God has called you to be, because God is more than enough and will work through you. Plus, Psalms 139:14 says…” we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” That’s good enough for me.