What The Past 2 Years Has Taught Me
Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV)
Graduating with my Master’s degree over the weekend spurred me to pause and reflect on a 2 year long journey that held so much more than working on graduate studies. The past 2 years have been arguably the toughest years of my life. On the outside people can see that I went from employee to entrepreneur, dreaming about my purpose to walking in it, sitting on the sidelines in ministry to radio appearances, book tables, speaking engagements and so much more. The accomplishments sound great, but was it easy? Absolutely NOT.
I’m a firm believer that life is a continual process of maturation and it’s important to stop sometimes to see that growth. So I decided to write a post about a couple of the lessons I’ve learned these last 2 years, hoping that my personal reflection on what the Lord has taught me can bless someone else.
1. God’s ways aren’t my ways – Although I’ve been blessed to achieve some of my greatest accomplishments in the last 2 years, I also faced a lot of disappointments. Some of my plans fell flat and some things I was really hoping for just didn’t happen the way I wanted them to. But looking back, I see now that the test of not getting what I wanted birthed something invaluable within me. If I never had to wait on God, I wouldn’t have been able to write the book that launched me into ministry and fulfilling my destiny. The struggle produced my purpose and if what I have to go through can help just 1 other person then it’s worth it. We can’t put God in a box, expecting Him to do what we want, when we want without ever considering His greater plans. I am naturally a planner so I like to know what’s happening and when at all times but not always knowing and trusting anyways is the new norm. More than ever I am open to what the Lord wants to do in my life and however He chooses to do it because I know it serves a purpose greater than myself. I trust His infinite wisdom and I’ve learned to flow with His plans rather than limiting Him with my own. Sometimes not getting what you want is the best gift you could ever get.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
2. Life is all about choices – We’re all on a journey that will have it’s share of ups and downs but I can say now that my outlook is purely shaped by my choices and not by my circumstances. One personal struggle for me is worry. I’ve been caught up worrying to the point of completely losing my appetite but, contrary to popular belief, worry is a choice. Worry is choosing to consider the worst and while we’re asking God for peace, we’re canceling it ourselves by making that simple choice. The most life-changing lesson I ever learned came from Joyce Meyer. I was reading her book “Battlefield of the Mind” and she said something so simple but so profound….we are in control of our minds. It sounds so crazy but a lot of people don’t realize that, I know I didn’t. Just think of all the times we say, “I can’t stop thinking about ___”. We let our minds run rampant, dictating how we feel, what we say, and what we do. But just like I can choose to allow myself to worry or think negatively, the Bible says I can choose to make every thought obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). So I’ve had to make some decisions the last 2 years, and I choose to be in control. I have made the conscious decision that no matter what it looks like or what’s going on around me, I will choose to trust God.
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord – Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
3. Stop putting God in a box – A major lesson God has taught me over this journey is that He operates in our lives according to our level of faith. There are many people who will never live life to the fullest because they strive to stay within their comfort zone and the realm of human possibility. They just want a spouse, some kids, a stable job and enough money to live on and they’re good. But real faith is activated when you believe God for what no human can do. Sometimes God calls us to make huge steps of faith just so He can bless us. It may be to leave a job, move to a different city, or do things we aren’t qualified to do and the blessing is on the other side of our obedience but we’re scared of not having the money, what people will say, etc. Some things the Lord pressed on my heart to do recently just outright didn’t seem possible within myself but stepping outside of my comfort zone pushed me to a place where I was able to find my purpose. We think so small when it comes to God, but our God is big and our dreams should be too. I’m determined to live a life bigger than myself, accomplish things beyond my own perceived limitations. That’s REAL faith and that’s what I want to live by.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
4. Be faithful over the little things – Starting in 2011, I began to do personal bible studies at home. I knew that I needed to spend time with God, so I would get by myself and look up scriptures about different subjects. When I began writing my book at the end of 2014, God gave me a lot of those subjects as chapters. I wasn’t trying to write a book when I started doing those studies, I was just spending time with God. 3 years after dedicating myself to spend personal time with God, a book was birthed that is blessing people beyond what I even know. So lastly, I want to encourage everyone with the lesson to not forsake what you think are the small things. It seems like you’re just reading your Bible, just praying, just going to church but all those things are seeds. And just like a real seed, it may take some time to even see the beginnings of a leaf after you plant it, but the Bible says in due season we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9). Whatever you’re doing, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, it’s not in vain. The Lord sees it and He will bless it.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)
As a thank you for reading, use code W22HCUJN for 20% off your order of a paperback copy of my book “While You Wait…” when you order from my estore at https://www.createspace.com/5300684