Walking in Obedience

Too often times we make excuses as to why we can’t or won’t do something but prayer is something that shouldn’t be our last resort and it doesn’t belong in our “to-dos” or “if I get to it” pile. It’s simple obedience to our Father. Pastor put it perfectly this morning, “All you have at the end of the day to give to Jesus is your obedience.” That’s it.

We literally only have to be obedient…our flesh wants us to turn our back to God so we find every excuse in the book why we don’t daily commune with God. We’re too busy, is our main excuse but prayer is powerful. Prayer is putting our hope and trust back into our God.

When I get down and depressed and I look back at my habits, I always see I let God become second and let my wants and needs become first, I see my prayer life seizing to exist, I see earthly things becoming more important than heavenly things. I see my purpose go out the window… but when I am communing with God regularly I see VICTORY more so I PRAISE Him more. I see more and more opportunities to be a light in a fallen and dark world.

We will never know our true calling and purpose in this life if we don’t allow ourselves to humble ourselves before the our Father. We will constantly yearn for and long for the very thing we put aside years ago as “not important”.

God is there in middle of the joy, in the mundane, and in our deepest sorrows. He will never leave you nor forsake you, but you will never live up to your calling or your purpose if you are not communing with Him. Every day is a battle between flesh and spirit, ever day we have to make the decision to walk in obedience.

Die to Self

I had a really weird dream last night about death being a person “after me” or rather I thought he was so I ran from him, but he wasn’t after me. He literally said I have come so you can now have life. There was more complexity in it but it brought me to prayer.

I realized how self centered I had been. I had been focusing on me and not the mission of Christ. I was focusing on my development and my advancement but not the advancement of the Gospel.

I don’t know if you’re like me or not. But there’s a lot of us who let their flesh dictate more than we want to give it credit. We allow out flesh to run our lives without even realizing it. It’s found in our daily decisions, our moment to moment reactions and ultimately our life altering decisions.

How do we not realize it? It’s called the enemy is cunning, he’s disguises himself as what we want to see not what God wants us to see. The enemy’s best friend is bitterness, jealousy, pride, and self righteousness. We filter our next move through whatever we let rule, either our flesh or spirit.

Lately, I’ve had some tough discussions with people. I was angry at some and frustrated at others for no work of their own. I did let my reflection of self dictate their reactions and decisions and ultimately misjudged everything because I let filtered it through the flesh and not the spirit without even taken a note that it was even possible.

I had been hoping for a miracle for so long to cure me of my depression and my anxiety that I didn’t realize I was the one holding the shovel digging myself further and further into it. I allowed myself to dictate that my value comes from man, that my worth is identified in wealth and that I must do this or that to better this or that job. I didn’t see how much I wasn’t dying to self and how much I was so self focused.

I was blinded, blind sided by the enemy when I thought I was doing what was right for me, I didn’t think of what I was doing as what was right for Christ. It stems from people reaching over me saying, “you need to take care of yourself”, “your not valued enough”, and my own voices of unworthiness. I let others dictate my reactions causing my flesh to take over. Now do I need take care of myself mentally and physically, absolutely, but I internalized it as watching out for Tanya and not allowing other take advantage of of which they never actually were.

What I’ve learned is so elementary but so raw and true. That my job isn’t to make my life as best as it can be my job is to die to self everyday. It’s putting God back in control of my life. It’s giving up my reigns that I’ve held onto that I thought I let go of. It’s allowing him to use me again. I will never be free from any of it but through Jesus I am set free.

I can bash myself for everything and point fingers at myself for not seeing it. I can bury myself further and further down but it’s by God’s grace I have be set free and I am forever being sanctified.

Today, I die to self. Tomorrow I pray I will to. I want to be used to advance the Gospel and I want to be able serve God’s people and church. I must have Jesus to be at center of who I am. I just have to stop trying and letting him rule again in my life.

My life is not mine to live it’s His and His alone to use me for his glory. I can’t do anything by my accord. My decisions, reactions, must be filtered through the Spirit that dwells within me not the flesh that is so easy to let rule.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

Fear to Fight

Tonight, I read my first blog post on here. It was actually reflective of my anonymous blog I wrote called “Crooked Self”. Now this was a short lived blog for about 6 months during my weight loss journey back in 2011. I kept it anonymous because I feared judgement and ridicule from my family and friends. So it allowed me to freely write without worry.

What’s great about it though is that I titled one my posts “Reality Check”. This post was about living in a “fantasy world”. Back then I was so untouched with reality and those around me, I lost touch with who I was and who God made me to be. I was secluded in this world because I was afraid of this world.

Fear ate me alive. I was afraid of failing, afraid of trying out for things, afraid of not making that part, afraid of judgement, afraid of dying, afraid someone or something was going to happen if I failed. I was even afraid to sleep when I was little because I was afraid of what might happen.

Being that fearful handicaps you. It drives you away from things and drives you away from reality. In 2001, I became majorly depressed and suicidal for the first time. I wanted to end my life because of some “boy” on the internet, mind you I had been a depressed state for a few years due to other reasons, but this “boy” set me over the edge. My life according to my definition was not worthy of living.

However, I wrote about it before I did it. I used to write poetry back in the day, so I wrote a poem called “My last Poem” or “My last Song”, I don’t remember exactly. Anyway, it was a poem about suicide and a poem about how life was not worth living. I was too fearful to talk to others so I let my words do the talking.

Fear strikes you down and holds you back. Fear is the reason, most of us don’t accomplish much. I let fear dictate who I was and my dreams. I ultimately let the enemy steal me away from God’s hope. He put blinders on me and pulled me away from where I could’ve been.

But my could’ve been wasn’t where God wanted me. My could’ve been was where God had me. You see I can sit back and wonder what might have been, but that’s not my story. My story is broken, full of fear, and darkness but my story also has forgiveness, grace, hope, and redemption. I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be still peeling back the layers of my insecurities and knocking down the walls of my fears and doubts.

God created a beautiful story in me. A story I get to share to everyone around me. A story I get use to help some of the teenagers around me and help those who are fighting what I faced. And there are people out there who have stories that will help me get through the next challenge I’m up against.

We all face a past but your past can either dictate your future by constantly reliving it or you can move on from it and let God use it to help those around you.

Fear doesn’t define my everyday life anymore. The only fear I really have in my life is a healthy fear of God. I am still learning life little by little and I’m still learning a lot about myself even at my age. I might be different. I might be a little weird, but what’s most important is that I am me. I am striving to become the woman God called me to be. I have a calling on my life to live for God and to serve Jesus.

No matter where you are in life, I pray that you let down the fears that holds you back. I pray you walk the walk God has for you. I pray that you overcome whatever past you might have. I pray that life brings you joy, peace, and happiness. I pray blessings over you. God has amazing things in store for everyone of us if we just surrender to his will, we just have to give up trying to fight our past to give ourselves a future.


 

Digging Out the Hurt

So often times we go through life and we beat ourselves down putting “standards”, burdens, our past, our failure all on top of us and we bury the very person God designed us to be.

All of these things we are not suppose to even carry let alone have it bury us so down that we we lose all sight of hope. We begin to believe our shortfalls our what defines us, our failures are the only thing people see, and that life is pointless because no one sees you, hears you, understands you, or even loves you. So we turn to outside sources to fill the void, to make us feel something or even make us feel nothing. It can be anything, that gives us that feeling. We find it somewhere. It allows us not to feel invincible or hurt for a small window of time.

These are only temporary solutions that will not last. They will only bury us further and further down and it starts a cycle of needing that “high” because it feels that void. Some will lose their life fighting a battle against things they never were meant to battle let alone battle alone. This void we feel is found in God. , people often refer to it as “The God size hole in your heart” and how we fill it determine how we go through our life, day by day, step by step.

Hope, grace, and freedom can be found regardless how bad the situation or past may be.

Hope is found in God. Hope is the last thing we hold on to and the first twinkle we see in our road to healing. Hope is found everywhere. Hope can be found in a smile of a little kids face, or a cry of a baby. It can be a friend reaching out to you, or a mentor to tell you to hold on, it can be just someone finally getting you to see that hope isn’t lost, hope is just buried inside.

Grace is found when we surrender it ALL. It’s confessing every sin and every time you hear and feel the voice of God in conviction and you turn the other cheek. It allowing God into the areas of our life that we keep private in a dark closet in the basement, it’s allowing God in to everything he already knows but confessing it with our lips and on our knees in repentance.

Freedom is found after laying everything down at the foot of the cross. After putting EVERYTHING and surrendering EVERYTHING to God. It’s letting go of the control we think we have in our lives and giving the keys to God. It’s putting Gods hand back on your shoulder and allowing God to lead you. It’s the feeling of a heavy weight coming off your chest. It’s the first breathe of air after feeling trapped for so long.

Life isn’t about the temporary. It’s about the eternal. We either live a life trying to figure out which way to go or we live a life surrendered to God, prayerfully connected, confessing when we need to confess and staying in tuned to the frequency of God.

We all are buried to some extent. It just depends on how we try to unbury ourselves that determines the future God has in store.

Baltimore’s Hope

Baltimore, you hurt my soul. The one thing I have learned over these past few months is that it doesn’t cost a thing to make a difference in someone’s life. It doesn’t cost a thing to tell someone you are cheering for them. It doesn’t cost a thing to tell someone you believe in them. It doesn’t cost a thing to tell someone there is hope. It doesn’t cost a thing to tell someone about the love God has for them. It doesn’t cost a thing to pray for or with them. But we don’t.
 
We don’t go out in the inner city and tell those kids we are there for them. We don’t go out and tell those kids who had no choice in the situation they are in to tell them there is hope. We don’t go out and encourage them and show them the love God has for them. We don’t do it. Why?
 
We believe it’s someone else’s job. God appointed special people for it. But let me tell you, do you know how much Baltimore would be different if we put down our pride and took up our cross and followed him into where he cries out? If we laid down our lives to better those around us.
 
There are lost people everywhere, all around us. But my heart breaks for those kids in the city most of them are unaware what they are even going through. Their normal is our nightmare. Yet we expect their outcome to be the same as ours.
 
You have no idea what they go through. I haven’t even gotten past the surface and all I want to do is cry out to God and ask why. There is hope. We are the hope. We are the ones God called to love this city. Love cannot be poured out if it is not poured in. We can make a difference. You can make a difference.
 
I love my church because we have a ministry in East Baltimore. We have the light of Jesus shinning. But they can’t change the city by themselves. They can’t share the gospel with every kid in the city. But He doesn’t just call his church to his kids, he calls you and me to give hope and to show love to these kids. He calls all of us. If we all put the plow to the ground we can give hope and show love to these kids and start to show them a better a future just by taking time out of our schedule, embracing them and encouraging them. 

Untapped Power

Prayer is an untapped source of power to so many. Many of us unknowingly put it off as just another task to do or we just need to check that religious box, “I prayed today”. But it’s so powerful and we shouldn’t neglect it. Why do we open our lips before we get on our knees? Why do we think we have it all figured out, when in reality we know only a small amount of anything?

Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” We can do NOTHING of the spirit without him, yet we think we can rule this world and this flesh without him. We think that if we don’t pray, it all will work itself out but it’s a wrong way to think.

Prayer is so powerful we shouldn’t neglect it. We need to cry out for our city, our neighborhoods, the lost, our nation. We should cry out to God about the darkness in this world because it is not okay. We should cry to God to surrender all of us because we need to be filled with all of Him. We can’t change the world by ourselves but with God anything is possible.

This world needs Jesus. This city of Baltimore is in desperate need of Jesus. We can’t expect mountains to move if we never get our knees.

Picture of the Past

So tonight I can across a picture with my niece and me. I was watching her and then taking her to church the next day. However, behind the facade of my goofy face was a terribly hung over broken woman.

What my niece didn’t know is that the night before I went to celebrate my friends birthday. But I just kept drinking. I didn’t see a limit. I paid for it. I blacked out. People who “knew” me saw a side of me they hadn’t seen… but wait a few months prior they did. You see I did the same thing a few months earlier at a party. I was drinking and drinking and just not caring about me or anyone else. It was my escape from the darkness I was living in. It was my “high”.

The night with my niece hurt me. I could not offer the love, support, or even fun times. I couldn’t keep anything down. My insides and head were throbbing in pain. I was defeated.

The next day was church and my niece was so excited! I put on a happy face and we went. I never felt more like a lair or failure that day. Anytime someone would try to ask questions, I simply deflected them and just try to push through for my niece.

Later that night, after saying goodbye to my niece, I fell to my knees and I wept. I was still in pain, hungover, and broken. I remember screaming out to God in frustration because I was reliving my life before I got saved. I was moving backwards in faith of what felt like deliberately, because part of it was in my hands of control or at least I thought it was.

God changed my heart that night on those knees. He turned me around and covered me. He took those burdens, that shame from me and put it on himself. I surrendered that night to who I was and to be molded into who God designed me to be. That was three years ago today.

Alcohol was my drug of choice it was one of my secret sins that I didn’t want people to know about so it’s actually one of the hardest to talk about. Where I didn’t drink much, when I did it was ugly and nasty. I used to tell myself I drink because it makes me comfortable in my own skin or it allows me to be “me” because there is no filter. Let me tell you those are all lies the enemy tells you to convince you to have one more drink because the more we numb ourselves the more we focus on this world and our flesh. So I was never “me”, I was the ugly version of me because I was closer to the enemies mouth than my ear was to God’s voice.

Alcoholism is real. Drug addiction is real. Luckily there is help and hope. God states he will never abandon you nor forsake you. He has and will always love you. You are his Son or daughter. He cares for you. There is hope found in Jesus. He died so that you might live.