“If you want to survive and thrive- if you want to come back and live your best life- impacting and strengthening those around you, you cannot live in survival mode.” -Wendy M. Reynolds
Overall my life has been a pretty great. I am blessed with the most amazing parents who have been present in my life all of my life. I’ve met awesome people, attended a great university (Go Green!!), developed life long friendships, helped nurture the lives of children- I’ve had the opportunity to stand and encourage people. I’ve sat and listened to the hearts of people- hearts that have been joyful, confused, hurt, misused and often broken. I get to write words that will live on long after I am gone. I have been blessed by God and I’m grateful.
I’ve dealt with a few storms, hard times- you know, we all have- but nothing that really knocked me hard off of my feet- not until the new millennium rolled in. Whew Jesus! It felt like some where around 2004, the enemy started using my face as a punching bag. I can laugh about it now, but I was ducking and dodging. None of my Mohammed Ali moves were working. I don’t care how many times I’ve watched Rocky, I was still getting hit and knocked flat on my butt. I’d get up and WHAM, I’m knocked back down again. I was constantly grieving the sudden loss of family and friends, dealing with crazy people who had even crazier circumstances, my body was out of wack, my money was funny and well… need I go on? I went through a period that while I somewhat understand it, I’ll never be able to fully explain. Normally one would try to explain because you want folks to know that there’s a reason for all of this, but you know… I grew tired of trying to explain so I stopped trying. I spent 20+ years helping others- counseling them through their stuff. Now, I just had to get through my own. I knew that once I got through this… man, I was going to be like the six million dollar man- stronger, faster, better,…
A lesson that I learned in the midst of all of these times was: If you want to survive and thrive- if you want to come back and live your best life- impacting and strengthening those around you, you cannot live in survival mode. Life and the enemy of our faith can hit us so hard that at times we never truly think we can recover. Yeah, we find ways to get up and we stand juggling and balancing all of our life’s issues, finally reaching a point where we are juggling things without dropping them. Oh, but listen, this can be a most deceptive point. This is where fear often takes greater root. In this spot, you are afraid that if one more thing is tossed at you or if you take one more step, you’ll lose control over what you have finally learned how to juggle or maintain. You stand there juggling your issues- your money, your unsatisfying relationship, your unfulfilling job, your crooked boss, the death of your loved one- never really moving forward- afraid that if you do move, you’ll die or drop everything you have worked so hard to maintain. So, you don’t move. You don’t venture out to explore your life or your passions. This is a mere state of surviving and the truth of the matter is, the survival state will kill you. It’ll suffocate and cut you off and you don’t even know it. It’s deceptive because while you are seemingly maintaining, it is shutting you down- your passion, your faith, your voice- preventing you from walking in destiny- from unleashing your amazing awesomeness. Don’t let life’s circumstances force you into a survival mode when you are a conqueror… more than a conqueror. Take that step that is going to move you forward. Take the risk. What’s your step?
As you step forward, you will be met with opposition, often from the last place you expected to get it, but you have to keep moving forward. Force yourself to stay in the Word of God! Arm yourself with it. If there are times when you can’t pick the book up, play it (as well as uplifting music) on your CD player, iPod, iPad, computer… Remind yourself of who you are and what God promised. In addition, close your ears to negativity, write down your goals and don’t hang around people that belittle you, your goals, or your faith. Find a team of like minded people to keep you encouraged and accountable. Lastly, please guard your heart.watch out for offenses and other things that can trap you. Just like most vicious animals are known to attack the most vulnerable places of its victim, the enemy goes straight for the heart. He knows that if he can jack your heart up, it’s on! You’ll be swimming around in anger, confusion, bitterness, hurt, depression, sickness… things that are paralyzing and will place you in a state worse than you were before.
Listen, we are overcomers. Overcomers must be seen overcoming something. That makes sense. I get through each day by understanding who I am, to Whom I belong, by learning from my mistakes, by working hard, by putting one foot in front of the other and by realizing that victory- however I define it, is not something I have to search for. Yeah, let that sink in. I had to relearn to live my life from a stance of victory instead of in search of it. That one shift in thinking alone was a life saver.
Well, until next time, that’s all. Stay encouraged!