Beyoncé

Seat of Honor

Today I finish a project that I have been working on for a while now, but I’ll start at the beginning of this journey.  Last fall I signed up for a volunteer position in a program that helps reduce recidivism in juvenile offenders.  I came on as a mentor, and things were going great until I was called into a meeting a few months ago to hear that they made a mistake in pairing me with my mentee and no longer had a position for me as a mentor. They opened an opportunity for me to stay on the staff just to keep up with the youth, and attend the meetings.  I accepted.  I left the meeting a little discouraged, but since I was still able to have a relationship with staff and the ability to see the program succeed I was ok.  The next day I got an email from the directors that said that a “light bulb went off” when I left and they immediately had another position that they wanted to know if I would be interested in.  I met with them the next day and they asked me to write a portion of the training manual for the program.  They said that they recognized that I was knowledgable in criminal justice and that they wanted to use it for the portion of why Juveniles commit the crimes that they do.

The other day while I was driving and thinking about all of the big projects that I have completed since January I realized that I have been writing from a place of influence.  I’ve written a major part of a training manual, I’ve written recommendations for a police department, and recommendations for corrections.  I was blown away by the opportunities to do all of these things.  Then I heard “I’m placing you in a seat of honor and influence, your words are powerful.”    I recognized it as scripture so I went to look it up when I got home, and I found this passage:

Luke 14:8-35 New King James Version (NKJV)

“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Things I learned…

1.  Do not despise low beginnings.  Walk in humility.

I knew that I had a lot of knowledge on the theories of why people commit crimes.  However, I went into my program just as a mentor with no ulterior motives to change positions or move up.  When I was told I was no longer needed as a mentor, I could have turned down their offer to still come to staff meetings, but that may not have provided me the opportunity to write for the program.  With an attitude of humility I received more than I expected, and was invited to share the knowledge that I had.

2.  So often we limit our gifts to doing ONE thing, but God is so much bigger than what we THINK our gifts are for.

I’m a spoken word artist, and blogger.  While I knew that my words have power outside of these tools that I use to reach people, I believed that my words only had “real” power in these two arenas.  However, it is a great mistake to only think of yourself as a minister when a platform is provided to you in church.  Our daily lives should minister, I believe that is what God was showing me with these opportunities to write and propose solutions.  God is not limited to the gifts that you use in your local church, but he wants to use you in decision making on your jobs and in your field as well.

That’s all for now.  For more on humility see my post “Small or Low” Here: https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/small-or-low/

Sidenote: I haven’t been posting due to me being busy with the above…but I’m back! 🙂

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Dress Rehearsal,

I posted this quote on my facebook page yesterday: “You perfect what you rehearse, be careful of what you are habitually practicing.”

I was in church while I posted it.  I had finished singing during praise and worship, I sat down and i scrolled down instagram for an update lol.  I seen a picture of my dad on my cousin’s page.  (I had taken note that his birthday was coming up a few days prior, but yesterday as I woke up, got dressed, went to church, and worshipped the date didn’t even cross my mind.)  So I looked at the caption and thought “Oh! That’s right, today IS the 17th.”

I started to make a Happy Birthday post, because that is what i’ve been doing every year since he passed away and before.  Along with the day he passed away, and Fathers Day, but then that is when I thought “You perfect what you rehearse, be careful of what you are habitually practicing.”  So I came to the conclusion that it is perfectly ok to miss my father, and to specifically miss him on holidays.  HOWEVER, to consciously and purposely make a point to remember and feel sad on that day would be to rehearse grief, and I am not interested in performing that in my everyday life.  I would rather be so consumed in good things that I stumble across it, than to purpose in my heart and mind to be sad.  I am NOT saying that making note of a missed loved one is unacceptable, this is just my personal example.

If you practice grief, you will perform grief.  If you rehearse fear, you will perform fear.  if you practice joy, you will perform joy.  If you rehearse love, you will perform love.

So, what are you practicing that will show up in your daily performance?

He Understands

I was sitting on my bed, I didn’t really have words to say for prayer so I said just that; “I don’t really know how to put this into words.”  All of a sudden I was reminded of the scripture:  Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  I broke down crying.  This was not because I was overwhelmed or extremely sad, I honestly cannot think of an emotion to accurately describe why I was in full blown tears lol.  I guess you could say that I was blown away.  Jesus made himself so real to me in this moment.  God who wrapped himself in flesh to come down, live as man, and die for my sins was made so real to me tonight.  I have had these realization moments before, but tonight was different.  I began to think about the moment of that scripture when Jesus cried out “Why have you forsaken me?”  and what came to mind was that Jesus has LITERALLY felt every feeling that we have felt.

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I am extremely transparent, and today is no different.  I know very well that the bible says that God will never leave or forsake me, but I also know that suffering will cause you to cry out “WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?!” I can relate to Jesus in this matter, (no I do not equate my very small issues to calvary and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ) I thank God that I serve a God that i can relate to by going to his word and seeing in scripture that Jesus is relatable.  There’s no feeling that I am feeling that he hasn’t experienced, there’s no situation that he cannot understand, there’s nothing that I can go through in my life that I can’t find the answer to in his life, and because of this there is absolutely NOTHING that I cannot talk to him about.  So many times we hear “God is tired of hearing you pray about the same thing.”  First of all, God does NOT get tired and secondly, If I have to come to him everyday until something is off of my heart I believe that it is worth it (sorry for that little rant, but I can’t stand unbiblical church talk lol).  If you feel abandoned, worried, tired, whatever the case…you’re not alone, and if no one else understands please know and understand that there is a Savior that wants to have a relationship with you where you can give him everything and rest in him. That is soooooo comforting to me!

This last thing is what has a HUGE grin on my face:

Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the [a]veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…”

When Jesus gave up his spirit (died), because he was the living sacrifice for our sins there was no longer a separation between God and man! The veil of the temple was what separated man from the holy place of the temple.  The veil being torn represented that that separation wasn’t there anymore, which means that we have access to God.  When we die to ourselves, and allow Christ to live in us we have access to a personal relationship with God.

So, whatever you are going though…set that aside, yield to the spirit and talk to the one who understands.  He’s there with open arms.