When You’re In The Wilderness

When you’re traveling through the wilderness, and it feels like life is hitting you with everything it’s got, it’s amazing to finally look up and see the growth that has occurred. Like many of you, I’ve been going through a storm in my life and truthfully, it’s been extremely hard to navigate. I think the main lesson here is that I shouldn’t be navigating… period. But that’s for another blog post.

This season of my life has put me in some pretty low places and has had me asking extremely important yet vague questions. I’ve been so low that anxiety attacks and breakdowns often occur, and I’ve been so confused and full of questions like, “What’s the point,” “What am I even doing here on this Earth,” “What’s my purpose,” “If I’m supposed to go the heaven, and that’s the goal, what is the point of this lifetime,” the list goes on.

But with all of that said, just recently, I got a chance to look up and realized just how far God has taken me through this season. So here is a little bit of what I’ve learned so far traveling through the wilderness.


God Is Still With You In The Wilderness

I must say, I never thought God left me during this season; He’s been with me all the time, but He’s been quiet. It’s weird to move from a season where God is chatty, and I’m talkative, and we’re really “vibing,” and I can feel Him and see Him moving, to a season when I’ll pray, and I start to wonder if He’s heard, or if He cares, or if He’s a little too busy for me. But if I’ve learned anything from Bible stories, it’s that God is still there. He’s always there, even when you’re in the wilderness. That was true of the Israelites when they were traveling from Egypt to The Promise Land, and it was also true of Jesus when spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness. God was there, the whole time.


Perspective

If you take nothing else from this blog post, please understand the power of perspective. It truly can change your life, and it’s something I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. After weeks of breakdowns, crying, and then finally realizing that things aren’t going to change, I need to, I adopted a new perspective. Often times, it’s just that, understand that things won’t get better, but you can. More often than not, it’s counting your blessings a little more than you have in the past, or seeing a situation from some else’s point of view. Whatever it is, I promise a change in perspective will do wonders for you and your ability to get through this tough season. Keep in mind, much of the time, the season you’re in has a lot to do with how you wait. I’m sure the Israelites who ended up wandering for 40 years when they should have reached The Promise Land in 11 days could tell you better than I can.


Trials Produce Growth

I’ve heard it many times before that you can only grow when you’re going through something, and I am here to say that is true. It’s true for when you’re building physical muscles, and it’s true for when you’re building spiritual muscles.

You don’t build muscle by just hanging out and being comfortable. You build muscle by lifting, working, running, etc. That’s how you grow your muscle tissue. So that’s the same for your spiritual muscles. You can’t grow when you’re comfortable and what’s more uncomfortable and growth producing than a good ‘ole fashion test, trial, or walk through the wilderness?


Stronger

I don’t know what the Lord is preparing me for, but I do know He has taken me through the wilderness to prepare me, and because of that, I am stronger. One place, in particular, I have found myself to be stronger is in my mind. This wasn’t an easy one. I am a thinker guy, and because of that, I can think myself into great moods, bad moods, sad moods, whatever emotion, I can think myself into it. But because I’m only human, I often think myself into the lowest, most unhappy thoughts. This season has caused me to work on my mental. God exposed my weakness, humbled me to the ground about it, and then showed me that through Him alone I can overcome my thoughts.

He also changed my thoughts towards work. I find this so ironic that He changed my perspective on work during a season I’m not really working (full-time). Like LOL, God is funny! Despite not having a full-time job, He has shown me the importance of being grateful, being humble, stewarding small beginnings, and hustling. I always thought of myself as a hard worker, but this season and being an adult in general, has really taught me what hard work is, and how to stay consistent when you feel overlooked, uninspired, unappreciated, and bored.

To say the least, the Lord is working on me, in the wilderness, and for that, I am thankful.


I’ll end with this… recently, I heard a pastor say, something along the lines of, “Sometimes you’re not moving out of this season because you haven’t thanked or praised God yet.” That wasn’t the exact quote, but my take away from it was, you need to thank God for what He’s giving you, but you also need to thank Him for what He’s about to bring you into.

Praise Him for what you’re believing for as if you already have it and see what happens. Thank Him for what you’re believing for and see what He does. I find myself getting into a habit of always asking God for things, but rarely praising Him, or thanking Him for what I do have, and for the things He is doing but I can’t see. I’ve been making an effort to change this, and I hope you do too.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and be salt & 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.

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