Peace > Clarity

A wise man once said, “It’s hard to get your gift from God when both your hands [are] full.” – Tobe Nwigwe

Recently, not only my hands but my mind have been full, overflowing really. In this season of unemployment, I have been plagued with worry. To be honest, when I first entered this season, I was fine. I still had faith that I was exactly where God wanted me to be. But it’s funny how the testing of your faith can reveal the truth.

This is not to say that I don’t have faith in God, but this season has shown me that I need my faith to be stronger. It’s not as strong as I thought it was and just like when you grow your muscles through lifting, you are in pain and quite sore, the growing of my faith has left me just the same, sore and in pain.

I think I entered this season with a vague timeline of when I would exit. It wasn’t like I said, “On September 15th, I will have a job,” but as days continue to pass and I still don’t have one, and there isn’t much progress being made, anxiety has set in.

So, what do you do when God is late? What do you do when you underestimated your season? Well, I recently watched a sermon by Transformation Church (TC) out of Tulsa, Oklahoma called “Planted and I Underestimated.” TC is in a series called Planted Not Buried (it’s incredible, and you should watch all of it when you get a chance) where they have explained that both planting and burying is the same processes, but the outcomes are different. If you’re not careful, you could be having a funeral when you should be celebrating growth.

But in this particular sermon, one of the points made was, you need to embrace the delay when you’re waiting for God or you feel like He is late. I know when I heard that the first time I was like, “Really? You want me to be happy while waiting? You know I’m a millennial right?” But honestly, that statement couldn’t be more accurate.

It’s no surprise I haven’t been great at embracing delay, but as I have been forced to wait, it’s been amazing to see how God has revealed parts of His plan and his goodness to me.

For example, I recently went on a mission trip to Haiti. The timing of the trip couldn’t have been better because I really needed a break from my normal life. I was losing my mind… I’m not kidding. But it’s funny, how this trip popped up at the right time. Only God!

I needed to serve, I needed to live with less, I needed to lead a simpler life, and more importantly, I needed to be disconnected from the things that were causing me stress. (There will be more on my trip to Haiti in upcoming blog posts, so if your interested subscribe.) But with all that aside, I needed Haiti because I needed clarity. My current situation was draining me and I was drowning in my own sorrows.

I didn’t have high expectations for the trip because I knew it could go a number of ways. Truthfully, I was hoping God would give me an aha moment. That I would be there and realize my purpose, or get a word from God, or something and to be honest none of that happened. At least not in the groundbreaking, earth-shaking, mind-blowing way I expected. But instead, it happened subtly.

I didn’t gain the clarity I was seeking, but I did gain peace.

On the flight back to the States, I reflected on this exact topic and realized that God didn’t tell me my purpose then or give me clarity on anything, but by allowing me to live a simpler life and understand what is important, He gave me the peace to know that everything will be just fine. So, for now, I am free from worry, free from anxiety, and choosing not to dwell on uncertainty.

The funny thing is, while I am fine now, these are demons I will have to fight again, and again, and that’s okay.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:19

Worry, anxiety, and discontentment were, and still are my temptation. But Haiti was the escape God provided for me, and that trip allowed me to rediscovered God’s goodness, how unworthy I am of His love, and how He loves me dearly anyway. For that I am thankful.

Until next time, get up, get moving and be salt & light!

The Erryday: Grace

Grace. Often, I find it so hard to wrap my head around this word.

By (Christian) definition, grace is “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”

To put it plainly, grace is not earned. It is the gift freely given by God… period.

Again, like I said, I find it hard to wrap my brain around this.

So you mean to tell me that there is nothing I did to earn this? That there is nothing, I can do to earn this? That the way I live my life will not help me “gain greater grace”?

If you’re puzzled too or are just realizing the magnitude of what grace is, then I’m right there with you. Often, in my walk with God, I have to revisit the idea of grace through faith, not by works.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s like every once in a while, I forget that I didn’t earn God’s grace or favor. He gave it to me (and you) because He loves me, and that’s it.

As someone, who is a type A personality and likes to control many things, my salvation, righteousness, and ultimately His grace are all things that are truly out of my hands because my Heavenly Father did it for me.

There are no works I can do to gain greater grace. There is no law I can follow either. The grace we experience from God is indeed a gift that we do not deserve, and as I remind myself of that, each time, I realize just how great and how gracious, the God I serve is.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and be salt and light!

Make “Grace” Your Anytime Resolution

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having or have had a great January depending on when you are reading this. As you may be able to tell, I have had quite a slow start to this year, having only uploaded one blog post thus far. While in years past a slow start would have gotten me down, this year, it’s been exactly what I’ve needed to start 2018 off on the right foot.

Just last year, I was the person who loved all things New Years related. Goals, resolutions, action plans, etc., but this year has been a little different. It’s not that I wasn’t excited for the New Year and the change/ clean slate that it brings, it was just that the New Year, was simply that, a New Year.

I wasn’t big into resolutions, I didn’t have a major game plan leading into the year. Instead, I just let myself be, and it was such a blessing. The reason for this is because I actually started what would have been my New Years resolutions in October of 2017.

The idea that you can change your life at any minute hit me around my birthday, October 2nd, and I made what I felt to be major changes in my daily habits then. I started tracking my new goals then, and have been doing so to this day, but that kind of explains why January has been a slow month for me. I simply didn’t feel the need or the sense of urgency to start from scratch or to start altogether.

In many cases, I feel like a lot of people wait for the New Year to start whatever they decide and run head first towards it as soon as the clock stricks 12am January 1st. Often, people will literally put things that they could start on any day, off until January 1st because the idea of a clean slate in the New Year is more appealing.

But, in my opinion, when people do that it adds a certain level of pressure to whatever goals or habits they are trying to achieve. Because they’ve put so much emphasis on accomplishing their goals or actions in the New Year, rather than taking small steps towards them every day, if they forget, or take a false step, have an off day or anything in between, it becomes really easy to simply give up.

Instead of doing that this year, I’ve realized that whatever I’m working towards is a journey, not a destination and I have to leave room for mistakes, mis-steps and for life to happen in between where I am and where I want to be.

By implementing my dreams, goals, and habits as I’ve thought them up, instead of soley in the New Year, it has left me more room for balance and grace. In turn, that has also led me to have a very slow and relaxed January full of self-care, joy, thanfulness, gratitude and much more.

I’ve been able to stay present, or at least more present, in my daily activities, and have definitely been easier on my self this January than ever before. That’s saying a lot because, like many, I am my worst critic and sometimes my worst enemy. This leads me to talk about grace.

Grace

Though it’s a simple word, I’ve always had a hard time wrapping my head around the word “grace.” On the one hand, it can mean elegance, and on the other hand, it can mean the favor shown to us by God. Now, I’m a Christain, and I do believe strongly in the second definition, but even if you’re not, I think my revelation of what the word “grace” means for me and how I have applied it thus far in 2018 can be helpful and eye-opening for everyone.

Last year, 2017, was a big year for me when it came to understanding just how undeserving I am of the grace God gives me. Every day I make mistakes, fall short of His will, and so much more. But every day He continues to choose me despite my shortcomings. Understanding the grace He shows me despite my imperfection has helped me to realize that I can stand to show myself a little grace from time-to-time as well, and I think that’s a lesson we can all share.

Ultimately, we’re not perfect. We can plan-and-plan but still fail. We will set goals and not reach them. We will fall short many times, and that’s okay. This January, I’ve learned to be much more gentle with myself. It’s not that enduring shortcomings becomes “fun” or significantly easier, but by giving myself more room for my imperfection to show, and I have in turn taken a load off of myself.

Think about it, how much stress do you put on yourself to “perform” and/or reach your goals? How much pressure do you put on yourself about things you can’t even control?

For me, it was a lot, but by giving myself grace and the leeway to mess up, I realized that it’s not the end of the world. I have not only enjoyed the beginning of 2018 more than any other year, I honestly like the person I’ve become so much more because of it.

Within the lesson of grace, I have ultimately learned to strive for my goals while living my life, not in spite of living my life.

I think we’ve all done this before, but have you ever been so focused on a goal that it negatively affects how you live your life? Maybe you’re trying to eat clean, so you purposefully avoid outings with your friends because you know junk food will be there. Or maybe you are so invested in your job and climbing your company ladder that you neglect friends and family.

I will say it again. Move towards your goals WHILE living life, not IN SPITE OF living life.

Balance is key to sustainability, and for me, what is key to understanding balance is grace.

Make grace your everyday resolution this year, and hopefully, this learned lesson will bring you just as much peace and joy as it has brought me.

As always, if you enjoyed this blog post, please be sure to share it on social media and subscribe so that you never miss a post.

Until next time, get up, get moving and live your best life!