24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:24-25, NOV
Sometimes I hear God the most when I buck convention. I want to be part of a good congregation so badly, but I also just want God to myself. I don’t think it’s suppose to work that way.
A friend once shared with me that we discuss the scriptures almost everything we are together, whether on the phone or in person. If God is part of almost every conversation, His word always discussed, have I forsaken the assembling together with other believers? I was raised incorporating church (building) attendance on the regular, but lately I haven’t been lead to attend any in my current town. No place is speaking to me. I’ve attended more services online for a churches a few hours or states away. I read my Bible daily and commune with God daily. I share God at work and when I go about my day. I even tried a local congregation for Wednesday night Bible study a few times.
Is that what it’s like when you love someone? You tell everyone about Him. My circle is small, but ever expanding. I believe the true church, the body of believers is that way too. Is there one building that can hold us all?Sharing Is Caring
I personally have never had an abortion (never been pregnant) or killed anyone (w/anything other than words), but I’ve been vocal about being both pro-life and pro-choice. I say both, because I believe life happens at conception, but I also recognize that we all must answer to God for the choices we make.
While I don’t condone abortions, I am not placed here to condemn those who do. I know people who’ve had them, stating from the most medical of necessities to the most selfish of reasons, but I’ve never protested at a clinic, because that isn’t the calling I’ve received from God. My calling is to educate and empower others to improve their lives, their families, communities and nation.
Do I feel that addressing the abortions of black children is important? Yes, there is a place for it somewhere in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. At this point in time, we’ve got to focus on keeping alive and improving the lives of those who are here RIGHT NOW. Then we can turn our focus to helping to birth the ones that are on their way. It is my belief that if you are protesting an abortion clinic in favor or lives, you’re supporting Black lives, because for All Lives to Matter, Black Lives must Matter too.
(Side note: #BlackLivesMatter isn’t just about reminding non-Blacks that we matter. It’s also about reminding ourselves.)Sharing Is Caring
If we are going to be our best selves, we must acknowledge our shortcomings and admit that a worst side of ourselves exists.
In a nation that celebrated its independence and united in the spirit of love recently, current events reveal that we aren’t really that free (from hate) after all. So how do we resolve this and get back to being a United States of America?
As a (spiritual) believer, I have one path that will work, but the world is not all believers (& even believers are… divided). Here’s my suggestion:
Step 1: Call out/expose the evil of racism for what it is.
Step 2: Acknowledge the system that has been in control for so long (a system that is seamlessly running on autopilot).
Step 3: Dismantle the system and build a suitable replacement. Take into consideration the concerns of all sides; everyone’s hopes and fears matter.
Step 4: Be willing to see it through for as long as it takes. Make changes as needed.
Just like changing our health, finances and relationships is an ongoing process, the racial divide in America will not happen overnight, but it’s got to start NOW.
New beginnings don’t always happen the way we planned, even for those who are the best planners. Sometimes a new beginning catches us totally off guard in the form of a major loss, or even a major gain. Just as a stressor can be positive or negative (promotion or a job loss), a new beginning can stir up feelings of urgency, the immediate need for us to gain and maintain order in a particular area of our lives. We want a sense of normalcy and to be in control of what is happening within, towards and around ourselves. We want to have a say in what is happening, to choose just how and when to begin. So how do we do that?
Step 1: Decide WHAT you want to change. Whether it’s your marital status, geographic location, health, finances or spiritual development, the first step is deciding what needs to change in your life.
Step 2: Determine the desired outcome. For example, if you say you want to change your geographic location, then be specific in WHERE you want to go. “Out of my parents house” is not specific enough. If know what you want, so that you can work towards it.So…”out of my parents house and into my own apartment” is more likely to get you the desired results.
Step 3: Do your research/write out your steps. In the example above, you’d need to know the costs involved in relocation (moving truck, temporary storage, mileage and gas costs). If you are changing zip codes, you’ll need to know the cost of living in the new location and how far your current money will take you. You may also need a new job. Don’t live your life off of assumptions (a whole other post is coming on this), get some facts so that you can feel empowered in your pursuit. For example, If you’re looking at a college town, know that apartments are in high demand, but most move-in specials occur at semester’s end when students are graduating or moving away. If you know it might cost $165-300 for a moving truck, $150 to connect your utilities and another $1350 – $2000 for your 1st month and/or last month’s rent and deposit, you know to start saving towards the overall move. If the costs are too high, revisit step 2. Your desired outcome may need revamping.
Step 4: Talk to someone who has done it before, even if they’ve been unsuccessful at it. It’s better to learn from the mistakes of others than to have to make your own. Sometimes the best plans hit a hiccup.
True Story: In my last move, I reserved a moving truck online a few weeks in advance, only to arrive at the location and be told “Ma’am, we never have that size truck. I don’t know why headquarters told you that. You can drive to the coast (90 miles away) and we can let you have one there.” Mind you, I had journeyed from Georgia to Mississippi the night before (after a full day at work) and was preparing to clear out my storage that very morning. Fortunately, I remained composed and a close family member and I put our heads together and found another truck company about 30 miles away. I had to choose to begin again mid-new beginning, but it worked out.
Step 5. Give yourself a deadline. Having an end date holds you accountable. Knowing your cell phone bill is due on the 27th of each month and that service will be interrupted on the 15th of the next gives you a sense of urgency and accountability. If your goal is to have a means of communication, you’ll be sure to meet that deadline each month. The same goes for your other goals.
Utilizing Steps 1-5, your plan may look something like this:
Move to Texas (Deadline to complete this goal: 6 months; xx/xx/2016)
- Find a job (based on city/field of study)
- Find a place to live* (application fees, lease terms, utility set-up costs, initial startup costs).
- *If you are starting out with family or friends, have a solid agreement up front about the length of your stay and any financial contributions you are to make to their household, if any. If you are saving up to get your own place, stick to your deadline and contribute in other non-monetary ways (cleanup after yourself, cook meals sometimes, do your own laundry, no guests (this isn’t your home), etc.)
- Make the move (storage costs/moving sale/how much are you taking with you?, moving truck, any help loading and unloading)
- Set new goals for life in a new place. Crush those goals!
Your steps in what you are beginning will be composed based on the urgency of your move. Even if you’re flying by the seat of your pants in choosing to begin again, you’ve still got to think at least one step ahead.
BONUS Step 6. Don’t get distracted by perfection and don’t overthink your plan. Demanding perfection will impede your progress. Over-analyzing things will cause you become frozen in a state of analysis paralysis. .
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