Listen to your life!

Those of you who know me best know just how hard this use to be for me . . . you know what I’m talking about, the being quiet part. The listening part. But I am happy to say that I have been practicing. And it’s getting easier. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God”.

Today social media is far from quiet. In fact, it is SCREAMING! Screaming with fear, hatred, rage, protest, panic, joy, excitement, love, it’s about time’s, and absolute stupidity on both sides of the issue. I had to stop myself . . . truth be told, a few different times, from weighing in on the political arena. God told me to stop and “Listen to my Life”. What is MY life saying?

I hope it is saying this: I love you, no matter your color, your size, your income level, or your religion. I have been called by my Creator to love you. Sometimes, that is downright difficult–almost impossible. Some of you spew hatred. Without Jesus in my life, it would be beyond impossible. But with Him, all things are possible.

I hope my life says this: We all make mistakes. We all say things we wish we hadn’t. We all do things we wish we hadn’t. We all need forgiveness, mercy, grace, and second chances. If you’re like me, you may need 3rd, 4th, or 5th chances. But eventually, you get it right! You become brave enough to use your mistakes to help others climb their mountains, skip over some of the hazards, and make it to glory quicker–with less bleeding and more joy!

I hope my life says this: I am willing to listen before jumping to judgment. We all have a story. What is yours? Where do you come from? What is your perspective? I may not agree with you. In fact, I may completely disagree with you. But I will not hate you. We can agree to disagree.

I hope my life says this: I know that white privilege still exists in some places and I am not proud of that. But I will stand beside my brothers and sisters of different ethnicities and fight for freedom and fairness for you. It belongs to you. It should be yours. It’s that simple. You can count on me.

I hope my life says this: Although I didn’t vote for the President who took office today, I pray he does well . . .VERY well. Because I am intelligent enough to know that if he does well, our country does well. We are all in this TOGETHER. I want people to succeed. I want our country to be strong. I want men, women, and children to be healthy, strong, happy, and whole.

I hope my life says this: Although I may completely disagree with you politically, I can still respect you as a human being. Although I wasn’t excited about either of the top two Presidential candidates for office, I am not out looting or causing anyone harm. I am not bashing my “friends” on Facebook. I am not purposely trying to hurt others’ feelings.

I hope my life says this: In the grand scheme of things, I have no control over this. I voted. I did my job. I DO have control over myself and MY actions. I can do random acts of kindness every single day . . . and this does make a difference.

Listen to YOUR life. What does it say?

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under Heaven . . .

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under Heaven . . . Ecclesiastes 3:18

For me, 2017 is a time for ushering in a season of transparency. For a long time, I spent a great deal of energy wondering if people liked me; trying to please “them”; hoping not to rock the boat; wanting to be somebody’s first choice, somebody’s favorite person; desiring to be liked by most; worried if I said or did something that accidentally offended someone else; spending a great deal of time and energy trying to please people. I am loud by nature and a bit “over the top”. Some people find it to be too much and that used to hurt my feelings. My husband now refers to me as “Holy Spirit Popcorn”. He sees the beauty in my loud, “over the top” exuberance for life. Thank you, Jesus!

A few years ago, I finally entered a REAL season in my life. I have spent more time alone over the past two years–studying, repenting, living, loving, enjoying,breathing. I live more intentionally for God and not for the world. Most of our world is made up of people pleasers. The majority of people are not sure of who they truly are. People are running around playing the same game I was playing–afraid to truly be themselves for fear of “not being accepted by the majority”. It’s fueled by the fear of being alone. The fear of “not being invited”. The fear of “being talked about” by others. The fear of “not being included”. The fear of “being different”. What would people say if they knew the REAL me? Would they accept me? What would happen if I didn’t fit in any longer?

The simple truth is this: If you are not brave enough to live your authentic life, you are robbing yourself. You can do it for awhile. But eventually it will show up. It will show up emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It will begin to break you down bit by bit. It will eat at you. You will be so busy changing yourself to please others and “fit in” that you probably won’t notice all the little monthly, yearly changes. The small changes and wrong decisions add up over time. Then one day you will look in the mirror and no longer recognize the image staring back at you. This scary moment will rock you at your very core! Then that question stares your tear-stained eyes in the face, “How the heck did I get here and how do I get back?”

We don’t have to let fear control us. Fear kills our God-given destiny. We can choose to live and walk forward in faith. We don’t have to let anxiety have the reins of our lives. We can live in hope. We don’t have to try to please everyone. We can live to please one–our Creator. His love is unconditional and His mercy and grace are never-ending.

It has been said that I have turned into a “Jesus Freak”. This sort of makes me giggle and I take it as a compliment. I am finally beginning to understand the authority and power I have been given through Christ. God has allowed me to witness many miracles over the past four years. I have also cried many tears and watched wonderful people say their final goodbyes here on earth. I don’t have all the spiritual answers, but I do know The One who does. One day when I meet God in Heaven, I will have many questions for Him. Until then, I will continue to do His work here on earth.

2017 . . . may it be the year you stop worrying about what “they” think about you and start believing in what HE thinks about you! He loves and adores you! Do not be afraid to live your authentic life! Do not be afraid to be the REAL you! Step into your God-given destiny. It probably won’t line up with the world’s view of you. That’s ok! It’s not supposed to. You were not created to please the world. You were created to please God! And in pleasing God, you will change the world for the better. . . one person at a time!

How do you do this?

As most of you know, I am a prayer minister. I work out of my office in Rochester and I counsel women and children who find themselves in need– whether emotionally, physically, or spiritually. I work with these individuals to better their lives and help them understand their unique relationships with Christ. We pray together in my office and I often pray for each of these clients throughout the week, as well.

This week, I was asked by a few of my clients “how” I do this without going crazy. How do I listen to each woman’s story? How do I continue to have faith in a world that’s gone crazy? How do I continue to hold onto hope when it looks like all hope has been lost? How do I sleep at night, knowing the intimate details of so many personal atrocities? How can I block out the terrors of the world when they are all too real for many of my clients?  How do I remain joyful when I literally see joy being sucked out of women and children on a daily basis? My answer?? I don’t.

I don’t do anything remarkable without my God. I don’t remain joyful unless I read His promises. I don’t hold onto hope unless I stay close to my creator. I don’t sleep at night unless God blankets me in peace. I don’t do anything spectacular. HE does!

If I rely upon myself, all is lost. I am nothing without His love, His grace, His mercy, His strength, and His protection. He does the hard work. I just show up. I am obedient to His call. He is the one doing all the hard work. I make myself available to Him and He does the miraculous.

We, as humans, make life much more difficult than it needs to be. God simplifies things. He highlights what is truly important.

Give your life to God. Give Him the little things, the big things, and everything in between.

How do I do it? I don’t. God does. I simply have the faith that if I show up, HE will do the hard part. And He does!