Welcome back my friends, and Happy New Year to each and every one of you! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. I won’t spend too much time today looking back over 2016, as my goal this time around, is to focus more on the future. However, I will start off by saying, “That I am grateful for so many wonderful opportunities last year.” It was filled with both highs and lows, and everything else in between. I had a pretty eventful schedule that took me to 7, really 8 (technically St. Maarten and St. Martin are separate,) different countries, not including my US travels. It was quite a ride. I also worked on a wide range of domestic and international projects that enabled me to explore various cultures and cities. I met many great people along the journey, and experienced God in some new and incredible ways. Additionally, I learned a lot about the Lord, myself and others. As a result, I have compiled some useful information below that I’d like to share with all of you- as you move forward.
I’ve listed eight things that I will take with me on the journey this year, and prayerfully all others to come. My hope is that this list will also inspire you along your path. .
Staying in Step
- I will continue to let my faith trump my fears.
- I will continue to be open to however God wants to do things.
- I will continue to give the majority of my time and energy to activities and relationships that are purposeful and positive.
- I will continue to believe John 10:10, which states, “…..I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- I will continue to trust God’s leading, even when it doesn’t make sense to me- because I know that He sees what I am unable to see.
- I will continue to confess scripture over my problems, issues, setbacks and concerns, because they are far more powerful than my complaints.
- I will continue to pursue peace.
- I will continue to have a heart full of gratitude, because I understand that it is the seed to more. Psalm 22:3 says that God “inhabitest the praises…,” therefore our gratitude and worship invites God into our situations.
I pray that these 8 things have blessed and encouraged you!
I’ve also included a few pictures from my 2016 travels for you to enjoy. Behold the beauty of God’s creation all around, as you view them. God bless you and keep you this 2017 year. Remember- Forward movement for the win!
Nobel Peace Center- Oslo, Norway
What is wisdom? According to dictionary.com- wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise. Based upon this definition alone, answering the door when wisdom comes a knocking is well…uhm… wise. I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about life as well as my daily routine in general. I’ve also considered how my choices need to look moving forward, as well as which ones made in the past, led me to this point. I’ve endured 3 and a half years of pruning, stripping away, testing and intense faith building. Though not always the most pleasant of times, the spiritual outcome thus far, has been fruitful. I’ve developed a deeper intimacy in my relationship with God and a stronger faith overall. As a result, I now realize that this is a crucial part of the process, if I’m to truly connect my passion and purpose and be effective. Here are a few adjustments that I’ve made over these last few months.
- Protecting My Space
I’m doing a much better job of guarding my space. What I mean by this is that I’m balancing the negatives and the positives. I tend to be a sounding board for a number of people, and that can take a toll on anyone. I’m an introvert by nature, with some extrovert tendencies of course, so I naturally recharge away from people. With this being said, I’m setting new boundaries. I think this is part of the adjustments that God is calling me to make this season. Yes, I still plan to be here for people mentally, emotionally and most importantly spiritually, as much as I can, but with an understanding that there has to be some limitations in place. Otherwise, I can’t be “my” best. I was literally feeling drained by all the complaints, problems, issues and woes of everybody else, while trying to make sense of some of my own. It was energy sapping and was causing me to run the other way every time I heard my phone ring. I, myself, am in a place where I am faced with some challenges, so I’m clinging more towards words of encouragement, inspiration and messages that refuel. Right now, this is what “I” need, to successfully reach the next phase of my life. I’m learning that it’s okay to protect your space when you need to. There will be seasons where you are fully equipped to bare the weights of others, and then there will be times, where you yourself will require the weight baring. Embrace where you are in life, make the necessary adjustments and own it.Your energy and space are important!
- Seeking Peace
This whole message on peace first came up some months back in a book that I was reading. “Pathway to Purpose,” the book, became the catalyst in my own quest for a better understanding of peace. I discovered that I had to seek it, like Psalm 34:14 teaches us to- “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” The term kept popping up everywhere- online, in messages and even became the theme of my recent visit to Oslo, Norway. Thus, I knew there was something to it, so I took notice. Personal peace also ties into #1, regarding the protection of energy and space. Since Jesus is the Prince of Peace, when I keep my mind stayed on Him, I am in perfect peace. When I don’t…well, we know how that goes. We live in a chaotic world, with all sorts of things vying for our attention, so if we don’t get a grip on this, it can aid in the complete and utter breakdown of our peace. It’s okay to guard your heart and mind- and to protect your peace. Your sanity depends on it!
- Staying Alert
Keep your eyes and ears open. The Holy Spirit may speak to you differently in different seasons. Your senses may be more heightened at certain times, so be alert. For the past several months, I’ve personally experienced a keen sensitivity, spiritually. Truthfully, I started to notice a change a couple years ago, but as of late, it’s been on super high alert. It’s as if the Holy Spirit has been placing a sharp bulls eye on people and things. It’s caused me to closely observe motives, and to see clearly through smoke screens. I’ve been able to pick up on things that I otherwise might not have paid attention to previously. Thus, I have greater clarity, and the ear of my heart is wide open. I’ve gotten confirmation on messages released by way of scripture -which will be a constant throughout life, as well as through creation and nature, people, places and even through an elaborate tattoo on a man’s arm in Tampa. Never underestimate how God may choose to speak to you,so stay aware and alert at all times.
These 3 things have helped me to make wise adjustments in my current season. Since the theme of open and closed doors has also been a staple in recent times, when wisdom came knocking, I knew I just had to answer. Ask God what changes might be in order for you this season, then be ready to make them! Be blessed my friends. I bid you peace, love and happiness!
Two pieces of advice were given to me some years ago by different people. One was a person of great faith- a minister, and the other was a highly successful business man. The first thing I was told was, “If you’re not ready to be misunderstood, then you’re not ready to be used by God” and the other was, for me to “Be prepared to lose people and things.” So far, both have proved true in my life. I’ve been judged and have lost many things…and even some people. You may ask how one should feel about this and my response would be, “You should feel just fine if you’re fulfilling the mission and plan for your life.” It may seem harsh at first to seem okay with adversity and loss, but the truth is, it just comes with the territory. No great thing has ever been accomplished without battles. Instead of viewing this as a negative, let’s take a deeper look at the beauty in this. We grow through trials and we shed unnecessary people and things. Most things in life are seasonal anyway. Look at nature, who clearly presents this truth annually. At some point in the year, if you are located in a certain part of the world, the green leaves will turn colors and then will eventually fall off and disappear. Then months later, a new set of buds will surface. It’s part of life. Like Nehemiah, (chapter 4) who set out to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, was met with opposition, so will you. We can learn from him, in that he didn’t allow it to stop him from completing the mission. He had already made up in his mind that he was going to accomplish the task before he set out to. It’s also important to note that he connected himself to others who were faithful and willing to stand in the gap with him- to protect the vision. When we make a decision to do something before the project begins, then we’re fully invested in the success of the outcome. Likewise, when we link up to other great warriors in the faith, we have the covering and backing that is needed to win.
I’m not sure what path you’ve been called to walk today, but I’m here to strengthen and encourage you. No matter what you face, don’t let it distract you from the task at hand. No matter who objects, walks away or what you lose, purpose in your heart to stay the course and finish strong! Be encouraged and be blessed! You already WON.
Natural Bridge Remains, Aruba