Why Did God Trust YOU with This Horrible Experience?

Image As a child, I remember watching” Alive” with my family. This movie is based on a 70’s plane crash survivor story known as “Miracle in the Andes”. Being so young, the only things that stuck out to me were the mountains, the cold temperatures, the plane crash, and the cannibalism the survivors had to do to survive for weeks without food. But there was so much more to the story.

I just finished watching the movie some days ago as a 27 year old, spirit-filled adult. And the movie was so much richer than I’m sure even the director intended. God blessed me to open my eyes to the wonderful insights and rich revelations one could glean from that movie.

The movie starts out with a man sucking on a cigarette saying that he was given a glimpse to another aspect of God. For the longest, he was introduced to the God that lets wonderful things happen to us and our loved ones. The God who protects us from harm and danger. The God who shields us from frightening experiences and events. But he said that for those 71 days they were stranded on that glacier in the Andes, he saw God in a new way. He saw the God that we must all become acquainted with in one way or the other. The God who is more concerned with our character than our comfort.

Let me give you the backdrop. This plane was coming from South Africa headed to a game in Chile with a rugby team and some other passengers. There were forty-three persons on board. The co-pilot warned the chief pilot not to fly in the storm. They were above the storm clouds at first and were just 20 minutes from landing, but the pilot did not listen. Warning comes before destruction. He went below the clouds, and the rest is history.

This rugby team was portrayed as fun-loving, playful young men who were naïve and girl-hungry like most young men today. They were running around tossing things to each other while smiling. They were totally unsuspecting of the horrors they would face in just minutes and for days. Next thing they knew, the right wing of the plane ran into a mountain and was broken off. This resulted also in the tail of the plan coming off taking passengers along with it. A few other passengers on the first half of the plane were sucked off and plunged to their death while seat-belted to their seats by the force and gravity as they were thousands of feet above ground. The passengers who were still on board just waited for the inevitable crash. Fortunately, the first half of the plane did not nose-dive, but rather it slid down a snowy slope that eventually landed on a sturdy glacier. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of their horrors.

The injuries sustained from the crash killed some people immediately and left others in agony longing for death to alleviate their pains. Others died from hypothermia, frost-bite, gangrene, starvation, and despair. And just when they thought it could get no worse, they had to unwillingly resolve to eating the frozen flesh of their friends’ carcasses to survive. But when it rains it pours. An avalanche was unleashed and headed their way. And because the opening of their plane was facing the avalanches direction, they lost more people who suffocated in the snow. One man lost his mind and a few came close to it because of the utter despair of the situation. To make matters worse, they saw two planes fly overhead without seeing them. To make matters worse, they had to cope with the news that the search parties had been called off. Everyone had given up hope for them. All hope seemed to be lost.

But God.

Remember the God the man in the beginning of the movie said he met in the Andes? That’s the same God you and I will be forced to meet some day if we haven’t already. This God will be the God who seems to let negative circumstances snowball on you when you LEAST need it. First, the snowstorm. Then the plane crash. Then the loss of friends and family. Then the freezing temperatures. Then the first plane misses you. Then more loss of friends. Then the starvation. Then the more loss of friends. Then the second plane misses you. Then the hopelessness and despair. Then you hear the search party is called off. Then you have to eat the friends you just lost. Then the avalanche hits. Can it get any worse? Why God?

But just know that God is sovereign. You don’t think God knew they were 20 minutes from landing? You don’t think God didn’t know they didn’t have enough food on the plane? You don’t think God didn’t know they were not adequately clothed to endure the freezing temperatures? You don’t think God didn’t know that the avalanche was coming? God was sovereign over every event. He could have prevented any one of the factors of the Andes plane crash had He seen fit. But He allowed it. He allowed 29 people to do horrible deaths. And He allowed 16 people to live. Why just those 16?

Sounds like survival of the fittest to me.

Those 16 people lived to tell the story. They lived to tell people about the God they met in the Andes. They lived to tell people that it was possible to live 71 torturous days in freezing temperatures without food or hope. And who knows how much longer they could have lived out there.

I believe that the God of the Andes lets us endure similar situations for the same reasons. He puts us through difficult circumstances because we are proof of survival of the fittest. We prove to others that it is possible to go through a sucky ordeal for a long time and yet still be a survivor. You might not have had been through something as traumatic, but you’ve been through your own private hell. You’ve gone to hell and back. Why didn’t God just leave you there? Because He needed your testimony. Rather, He knew of some people who needed it.

But He also wanted you to learn something about yourself. Doubtless, NONE of these 16 men thought they could survive a plane crash, let alone freezing, let alone starving, let alone an avalanche, let alone for 71 days! God knows what you can bear. He knows just how much you can bear. Who knows? These men might could have survived for 100 days in the plane wreckage. But 71 days sufficed. As for these 16 men, I bet there is NOTHING these men think they can’t do, endure, survive, or handle. They must feel invincible with God! I’m sure they are fearless men who have gone on to accomplish much. God will let you go through hell and back just to prove to you against your own doubts that you are stronger in God than you ever gave yourself credit for.

God knows you can handle more than you think you can’t handle. So just when you think God ought to stop with the trials, God knows how much further He can go. You wanted to stop at first grade, but God knows that what He put in you can take you all the way to a doctoral degree. He’s more concerned with your character than your comfort. He’s more concerned with you knowing that other side of God than you being content with knowing the Santa Claus version of God who fits into your cookie-cutter mold. You either have gone through, are currently going through, or will go through. But you are strong. You will survive. You can endure more than you think can for LONGER than you think you can. If God puts you to it, He must have known you could do it.

Advertisements

God Doesn’t USE the Man Until He PROVES the Man

take up your cross 002I’m not mad it happened. I’m just glad it’s over.

After suffering for about 20 years with a “crippling” anxiety disorder, I can finally see the breaking of day. And I thank God not because I had to go through it, but because it’s over. You see, some people get mad at God for allowing bad things to happen in their lives. They get bitter, resentful, negative, pessimistic, and other related things because their life did not go as they would have planned. But God’s spirit of wisdom has allowed me to understand that some of those most unpleasant, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and embarrassing situations are the ones that process us into who God not only WANTS, but NEEDS us to be in order to do mighty exploits.

If you’re like me, you’ve wondered why some of our favorite bible persons had to go through such inconveniences and struggles. We wonder why Noah had to be embarrassed and ridiculed all those years while he preached while building the ark when God knew the people would never believe him until it was too late. We wonder why Moses had to be stuck with those hardhearted and hardheaded millions of Israelites in the wilderness. We wonder why Joseph had to be born into a family of hating brothers, sold into Egyptian slavery, lied on, and imprisoned. We wonder why Abraham and Sarah had to wait for decades to have a child together only for God to ask Abraham to sacrifice the boy’s life. We wonder why David had to go through years of being hated and hunted by the king he loved and respected. We wonder why so many people had to go through to get to where they were going. We wonder why the space between A and B contained so many struggles and trials. We thought that if you were serving God and bringing about His will and purposes that everything just ought to flow right from A to Z. After all, it doesn’t make sense that someone who has given their life to Christ has to endure weeks of chemotherapy while preaching the gospel. It doesn’t add up that a missionary has a child addicted to crack cocaine. It just doesn’t seem fair that the first lady can’t have children. It doesn’t seem reasonable that while a man is burdened with trying to supply food for a soup kitchen that he struggles with moderate depression and severe anxiety. It just seems that God ought to make life easy for those He “employs” into the ministry.

But for some reason, life just doesn’t work out that way, does it? It seems to me that God doesn’t use a man unless He proves the man. It kind of reminds me of the emotionally disturbed children I used to work with. Some of them had issues with attaching to others because they had been hurt so many times by people in the past. So when you try to love them, they put you through many tests to see if you are worth them opening up to. If you give up too soon (or give up at all for that matter), that serves to them as proof that you weren’t trustworthy in the first place. So they remain shut off to you and see who else will try to get close to them. And they test EVERYONE. They feel as if they can’t afford to be hurt anymore. They feel that they cannot afford to put trust into another untrustworthy person.

And these emotionally disturbed children are somewhat right about something. If you can’t love them through their tests, you likely don’t have what it takes to be trustworthy for the duration of the relationship. Some of the kids I worked with would curse me out, fight me, bite me, stab me, etc., but I would still pray with them, take care of them, and love on them. I realize that trust is a thing that must be earned – especially from persons who have been let down so many times past.

And who has been let down more times than God? Who has given the world a chance only to see most of the world reject His love? While we all know that God is whole and not emotionally disturbed, we know that He has been betrayed and let down by so many people since the very beginning of time. He was let down by Adam, Eve, Cain, David, Samson, Saul, Peter, Judas Iscariot – the list goes on and on. So many Israelites, priests, and kings of Judah and Israel have let God down. So it makes sense that He puts people through hard tests just to see who will persevere in order to show that they really love Him. It’s fairly easy to praise and worship God when all is well. But what about when you’ve just lost a loved one, lost your job/car/home/marriage, have your body racked with pain, experience mental instability, etc.? God does not test our love, reliability, trustworthiness, etc. based on how we feel about Him when life is peachy. But rather, He feels and KNOWS He can trust us when we come into church after finding out our husband is leaving and yet we praise Him. He knows He can trust us when all our money is gone a week before payday and yet we worship Him. The way God sees it is, “Man! If this man is praising me at His lowest point in life, I know He’ll still see fit to praise me when I bless and elevate him!”

So how do you treat God when you’re “going through”? Do you complain like the Israelites in the wilderness? Or do you praise God like Job when he lost everything? God can’t use you until He proves you. God’s time is very limited. He really can’t afford to waste any more time on lost cause Christians. In other words, God can’t waste another dime on a man or woman who marry Him for the “money” and then leave as soon as times get hard. God will only know if you truly love Him when you express your love when combated with test after test after test. The same person who is willing to go through all those tests just to get to God, is the same person who deserves to experience all of the blessings of God!

I’ll be honest, if I had life to do over, I probably would have opted out of the anxiety disorder. But I realize that God used it to prove me so now I’m just waiting on Him to use me.

Why God’s One Church Is Better Than Our 33,000 Christian Denominations

Have you ever stopped to think of the power of ONE? After having one of my enlightening convos with God where He seems to download insights into me about random subjects, I began to have an appreciation of the power, significance, and benefits of the number 1.

Because zero has no value, 1 is the first number of value. There is always something special about being the first. The bible talks of how being the first born is a coveted position for a child to be in. Number 1 is also the simplest number. When you think of monogamy, which basically means a one woman marriage, you can already know that compared to a polygamous marriage, it will be much simpler. Also think of a couple with an only child vs. a couple with sextuplets. Life is much simpler with singles.

One also signifies wholeness. One is a whole number. It has no division, no dissension. But think of a fraction. 1/2, 3/4, and 5/6 are fractured numbers; they are no longer whole. You know that 1/2 is missing a half, 3/4 is missing a quarter, and 5/6 is missing a sixth of its worth. But one is missing nothing.

Throughout the New Testament of the Holy Bible, we see that God desires ONENESS in the church.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 – I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you AGREE, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that you BE UNITED in the SAME mind and the SAME judgment.

Philippians 1:27 – Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in ONE spirit, with ONE mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel

Ephesians 4:4 – There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call

Philippians 2:2 – …complete my joy by being of the SAME mind, having the SAME love, being in FULL ACCORD and of ONE mind.

Matthew 19:3-6 – The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

We can see from the above bible verses that God desires for Christians NOT to divide ourselves. And what is division but separating a whole thing? Think of divorce for example. The bible asays that what God puts/cleaves together (a husband and a wife in marriage), let no man put asunder. It says the TWO shall combine into being ONE flesh after marriage. It says that they are no more TWO SEPARATES, but are now ONE WHOLE UNIT. The word asunder means “torn apart” or “divided”. When a couple divorces, both parties will tell you that they feel fractured, they feel as if their lives have been torn apart. There were ONE, but are now not two wholes (until God restores them), but they are two HALVES of a previous whole.

God made the church WHOLE. He only made ONE, WHOLE church. He did not establish two whole separate churches. And He also did not create two church halves either. Just the one. But it is said that the CHRISTIAN religion has anywhere from 33,000 to 38,000 denominations!

A denomination means a group of people who have the same religious/biblical/spiritual beliefs. So that means that from the time the church was first established about 2,000 years ago to this date, the one church disagreed thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times. Now of course, some of these disagreements were very minor. All of the Christian denominations ought to be believing in Jesus Christ as our only Lord and Savior and hopefully they all believe in the truths of the Holy Bible. But it is still disconcerting that we can all be reading the same ONE bible (even with its different versions and translations), and still come up with up with over 30,000+ interpretations of certain doctrine. One really is a simple number! Much simpler than 38,000!

Matthew 16:18 – And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Let me tell you what I think Satan hates about the number 1. As we know, Jesus created one church. He did not say in Matthew 16:18 that “upon this rock I will build my churchES; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against THEM.” He said CHURCH and IT. The lack of plurality denotes ONENESS. And as Jesus said, the gates of hell cannot prevail against His one church. But is does seem as if Satan is coming against the church quite heavily. He is making a fool of many church denominations it seems. He is causing us to lose our credibility it seems. Why is it so easy for him to do this?

Well, another important thing about ONE, is that it is very POWERFUL. There is power in an army of one. As we know, ones add up. Some people may disparage receiving 1 cent and 1 dollar because they are the smallest units of American currency. But when you combine a lot of pennies, you can have a dollar. And when you combine a lot of dollars, you can have a billion! But ONLY when they are UNIFIED. So when every Saint/believer/Christian comes together, we have so much more than we have separate or divided. Over 2 million of the world’s population identify with the Christian religion. But we are so divided. And not only are we divided, but we are also WEAKER. If a couple is married and both combined have a billion dollars, they are both billionaires. But if they divorce one another and split all the money down the middle, they become millionaires. A millionaire doesn’t have as much spending power as a billionaire does!

So when a large group of people with a lot of power begin to divide many times over, it results in a lot of weaker people. It seems as if the church has lost its effectiveness when it began dividing. If you split a one in half, it has HALF its former power. If you split a church in half, it will have half of its members which means it may have HALF of its gifts. One half of the church is robbing the other half of the church of its gifts, and vice versa. When the Baptists are competing with the Church of God in Christ, and the Reformers are debating with the Church of Christ, and when the Apostolics are arguing with the Methodists, we are robbing each other of the other’s “power”. We know that God has let THE church know what His will is for us to do on the earth. But no one denomination has ALL the answers. So if we unify in some manner, we can have access to all the answers God wants us to have for this time.

I am not pushing an ecumenical agenda where we pretend that every denomination is 100% right just so that we can combine with a clear conscience. But what I am trying to do is bring awareness of a very simple concept and dynamic of God’s which is the power of ONE. ONE has more power, effectiveness, resources, gifts, unity, etc. than 33,000. So many believers are so making enemies and competitors of other believers that they aren’t focusing their attention and efforts on those who need Christ. When separated we can’t do the work that we can do if we are one.

John 13:35 – By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Now I am not naive to the fact that many churches create denominations because they are CONVINCED that another denomination has many false doctrines. And who wants to be under a denominational name that is known for poor bible interpretation and unbiblical practices? And so many denomination leaders branched off to identify their organization as THE organization with the TRUTH with 100% of God’s “backing”. But is that not arrogant? If you are the ONE TRUE church, you don’t need any name other than “church” because you are the one true church. If Christians would truly seek God’s will and only interpretation of the different bible questions we may have, He’ll only give ONE answer. So obviously, we’re not seeking Him as we should. Instead we assume our interpretation is the one, right one and that everyone else is deceived and lost until they adopt our beliefs.

We need to stop majoring in the minors. Let’s love one another and accept one another. The verse above tells us that the WHOLE WORLD can know that Jesus is real and that He has real disciples if we love one another. But when they turn on the tube and see that Christians act hatefully to one another, they laugh at and deride Christians everywhere. They can’t believe in Jesus because they have no witnesses (no disciples) to observe acting Christ-like. Two billion of the world’s population identify with Christianity, but there is little unity amongst us. No wonder the world is confused.

No one denomination has it ALL together. Every one is doing something unbiblical. But let’s be unified in love and our belief in the God of the Bible – YHWH has being the only one holy, true living God and Creator of all and in Jesus (Yahushua) in being the one mediator and Savior and Deliverer and Messiah of all those who believe and apply the gospel message! Let’s not major in the minors. Let’s be unified and gain back the power and effectiveness that the church had in the beginning.

Five Necessary KEYS to Unlock Just About ANY Door

Have you ever stopped to think about keys? What are they for? I’m not talking about keys as in wise principles that one would do wise by which to govern his or her life. I’m just talking about the natural keys like those on a keychain. What do they do? When you find this out, you’ll know how important it is to have and to apply the keys to success to your life.

While having one of my intriguing talks with God, this subject came up. And I thought to myself about what keys are for. Keys are for unlocking locked doors – not just doors, but only locked doors. Keys denote access granted to an area where access is often denied for most others. If you have a family living in your home, you likely have a few keys for JUST the older family members. You want THEM and JUST THEM to have access to the area which is your home. You want JUST THEM having access to the objects and amenities in the home. You don’t give a key to your home to EVERYONE WHO ASKS .

Why is that? Why are there locked doors in buildings? Why are there car locks? Locks are meant to keep access to a minimum. Locks are meant to keep MOST people out. Locks are meant to keep important things safe within a confined area. Locks keep things as they were when you first left the car and home. Locks give you peace of mind that while you are in the store, your things will still be in your car. That while you sleep, no one will have stolen all of your furniture when you awake in the morning. That while you are out of the office, no one has gone through your confidential paperwork. Locked doors have a purpose.

And so because locks are so important, we know that we must have certain keys to have access granted to certain things. Well, there are certain places in God and in ministry and in your career and in your love life that you want access to. There are certain places you want to go and certain things you want to do and particular people you want to meet. But you will NEVER get there without certain KEYS. Not talking of natural keys here, but talking of behaviors and personality characteristics that you must have to get to certain places. NOTHING ELSE will get you in that locked place BUT a key.

Let me share with you a perfect example that happened recently. This past Sunday morning, I invited my guy friend to my church. But he was very sleepy from the night before. (And he also happens to be the HEAVIEST, DEEPEST sleeper I know. He can lay his head down and close his eyes for a few seconds and he will be out COLD.) Well, I invited this same guy to my church and so I came by to pick him up. His phone calls were not working, so I text him. I do not have a key to his apartment. I beat that door like it stole something. I even kicked the door. I waited outside on the steps. I grew very angry. I prayed that God would miraculously awaken him. I even prayed that God would give him the urge to urinate so that it would wake him up and give him a chance to check his texts. I even called the dead phone a few more times in hopes that maybe the phone would begin to work for me. Ask me if any of these things were successful in opening the door for me…

A C C E S S   D E N I E D !

I couldn’t arouse him with a loud, blaring phone ring. God didn’t wake him up for me. He lives on the third floor of his apartment building, I assure you guys that I kicked and hit that door so hard that I KNOW I had every neighbor in the first, second, and third floors peeping out of their peepholes frightened as to what was this loud beating sound on a door. No matter HOW bad I wanted to get in that apartment, that guy would not wake up to unlock the door. I even thought that maybe he was avoiding or ignoring me because he did not want to go to church. I thought that maybe even he had passed out. I even grew afraid that he might have died in his sleep. THAT is how hard you can know that I was knocking and praying for him to open that door!

Now I’m sure I sound desperate and crazy to you guys now, but I believe God let that experience happen to me for a reason. Even as I drove off to church ALONE, I said to myself, “Mistye, God let this happen for a good reason.” But I had no idea it was so that I could have a great anecdote to put in my note about keys to successful living!

(Side note: The good news is that the guy eventually woke up and we found a later church service to go to that same day.)

I say all that to say this, NO MATTER HOW BADLY I wanted that door to be unlocked for me, it would never unlock just because I did not have a key. There was no way I was going to be let in from within apparently, so it would require me having a key to get in.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are some things you want to do in God that you will NEVER get without keys. I don’t care how badly you want it, I don’t care how much you pray for it, I don’t care how much you wait for the door to be unlocked, I don’t care how much you scream, I don’t care how much you knock, and I don’t care how much you cry; you will NEVER get in without the keys in certain situations. So without further ado, let’s hop into some keys that I will include in this note:

1. Diligence/Consistence – When you are diligent in how you operate DAILY, people see that. They may not comment on it to you, but they are watching. And when an opportunity arises, and they are looking for someone to upgrade to the next level, who do you think will be chosen? A diligent person or a person who is riddled with inconsistencies? The person who never calls in sick, or the person who calls in every 4 days? If you cannot be proven dependable on a lower level, who will trust you with harder tasks on the next level?

2. Obedience – Obedience is key! People want to know that before they let you through the door to the next level, that you will continue to be obedient to their wishes. If you will not obey the rules of coming in to work on time at a lower position, then why would they promote you to be in a higher position with more responsibilities? You don’t respect their wishes at level 1, you REALLY won’t respect their wishes at level 3. And that is why you will remain at level 1.

3. Politeness/Manners – In most professions, the friendlier competitor will beat the unfriendly competitor. If you are unfriendly with the interviewer, and the other interviewer laughs, smiles, and compliments the interviewer, all other things being equal between the two, the friendly person will get the job offer. Stank attitudes will keep you at stage one. Just smile even when you’re sad! Just laugh at the jokes, even if they’re corny! Just give them a compliment when you see they’re trying even if you’re not impressed. Who gets more tips? The rude waitress or the courteous one?

4. Humility/Easy-Going/Forgiving – It is key that you must let some stuff go. You must forgive and forget some stuff before God elevates you. If you get offended by someone stepping on your shoe, do you really expect God to call you to Africa to do missions where you may face REAL and intentional attacks, natural and spiritual? Christians, we must be able to let some stuff roll off of our backs if we ever hope to be used in a mighty way in God. This here key is important to me because everytime someone did something I didn’t like, I would leave their church or quit the job. And you can never advance in an area that you abandon. And so God is teaching me how to agree to disagree while enduring a challenging situation. And while I endured, I got elevated. If Satan can keep convincing you to hold a grudge against people, you’re burning the same bridges you need to cross to go on to success. It doesn’t always matter if you’re right and if the person should apologize, the key isn’t “be in the right”, the key is to humble yourself and forgive and be easy-going so that you can be the bigger person and transcend the offense so that God can use to on a higher level.

5. Integrity/Trustworthiness – As I said in Key 1, people are watching you whether they inform you of it or not. People are DESPERATE for people they can trust. They know that there is a shortage of people with integrity in this world today. And as I said, locked doors are to keep UNTRUSTWORTHY people OUT and to keep valuable stuff IN. And so of course an immoral, deceitful person can not be trusted with access to a locked door. Make up in your mind today to live a life of integrity. SHOW people that you can be trusted with their valuables. And once you get the access, don’t betray them, but keep your integrity because it takes a long time to gain someone’s trust and mere minutes to lose it all forever. Do right even when you THINK no one is watching, and you will be elevated in due season!

Lazy Lovin’: Getting In the Relationship Is Easy, But How Long Can You Keep It?

Image

What do you do when you’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, and God still has not stepped into your situation? You’ve prayed for a spouse, and no spouse showed up. You’ve prayed for a job, and no employers’ have called. You’ve prayed to get out of debt, and you’re yet still in debt. Is God being lazy?

No. YOU are the lazy one.

Christians have the motto, “Pray until something happens.” And many Christians believe that they should not make any moves until God does something. They believe it is the mark of the spiritually mature to be still and see the work of the Lord. And in many cases this is true. But in some cases, it is laziness for an adult Christian to sit around and do nothing and to blame the Lord for nothing taking place.

I’ve seen this same laziness in people who read horoscopes and who believe in zodiac signs. They can meet a great guy, but as soon as they find out that their signs are “incompatible”, they stop all efforts of trying to have a successful relationship with the guy. They say, “It’s not worth it! It’s not in the stars for us anyway. He’s a Cancer, and I’m a Gemini. It’ll never work!” That is relationship laziness.

Some people may even do this with birth order. I hear that birth order is the number one predictor of one’s personality. This is probably said because your family of orientation is the first relationship you’ve had with people of the opposite sex for many years. If you’ve been the middle child for 25 years, you’re going to have middle child tendencies. If you’ve been the baby of the family of 13 children for 18 years, you’re going to have much in common with other children who are the youngest in their large families. If you’ve been the eldest of five for 14 years, there will be some personality traits that you will share with most other oldest children. And if you’ve been the only child of your parents for 20 years, that will shape a lot about you too. And these traits will likely follow you throughout your life since you’ve been trained with them in a controlled environment for at least 18 years. But is that an excuse to never date a great woman you met who’s a middle child because a book said that you as an only child are very incompatible with middle children? That is laziness not to try!

Many Christians do this. Especially Christians who have fear of failure, fear of intimacy, and fear of commitment. When a person has a fear of being hurt, they can find creative ways to avoid being hurt. And when a Christian has a fear of being hurt, they find seemingly “Christian” ways to avoid being hurt.

I’ll speak from a personal experience. My little sister bought a book called “Marriability”. And this book was written by a married couple who wrote about things that keep us single without our knowing. And one blessed chapter was about Christians. It talked of how many Christian women who have fear of being hurt will sometimes lie to themselves and say something to the effect of, “I’m not going to be actively looking for a spouse. I’ll actually just sit here in my house/apartment until God sends somebody my way. If GOD wants me married, there is nothing that I can do to stop that from happening. It won’t matter if I’m sloppy-looking, dressed in rags, have poor hygiene, and am as mean as a rattlesnake. Can’t me or nobody else prevent the plan of God for my love life!”

How delusional! Not even God will override the desires and will of a man for what he desires in a woman. If men want women who care about that looks, you need to remember that if you want a spouse. I think some people who fear the risk of hurt that comes with dating are the same people who say, “I’ll just sit here until God sends my prince(ss) to me. Why go out and date when I can get hurt? I’ll just stay safe in my comfort zone where no one can hurt me. The person God sends me will never hurt me. And the relationship with them will be effortless.” That is not true. Even someone that God sends your way can hurt you by mistake because they are imperfect. Even in a relationship that God send you, you will still have to put in a lot of work too. Even if you and the spouse are doing everything to make the relationship successful, please understand and know that many other people and spiritual enemies will fight your relationship. So you have to be strong with regards to the two of you and then also you have to be strong with regards to attacks that will come from the others.

So if you’re too lazy to get out and make yourself available and eligible for a relationship, what makes you think that you will have the energy to keep a relationship going? Haters will fight it. Exes will fight. Skeptical church members, friends, and families will fight it. And if you’re a Christian, Satan and his arsenal of demons will sure enough fight it! So since you know this, you know you will have to give it your all every step of the way.

Relationships are hard work. They are not easy. I’ve never heard anyone say either in real life or in the movies that their relationship has been effortless. Even if you and the person are compatible as a Taurus and a Cancer. Even if you and the person are compatible in your birth order – he’s the eldest brother of all sisters and you’re the baby girl of all brothers. Even if you both are preacher’s kids from the same denomination. Even if you two have the same intelligence level, same good looks, same socioeconomic status, and the same friends. Even with the foundation being pretty good, a relationship will be hard work at best.

We have to get the root of relationship laziness. I know someone who’s been trying to help a friend get a job. But the unemployed friend is very lazy. And so even if the working friend helps the other friend get a job, the lazy friend will not keep the job for long because the friend does not have the work ethic for keeping a job for a long time. He lost the last job because he was lazy, and until he gets to the root of his work laziness, he will stay being fired. So just as he needs to find out WHY he can’t keep a job, we constantly single people need to find out WHY we keep staying single even when we are able-bodied, attractive adults.

Relationships take work. Marriages take work. And I feel that Satan especially fights Christian marriages because he knows that every time a Christian marriage fails, it reflects poorly on Christianity as a whole. So when you get married as a believer, you better get ready with the skills to make it last in spite of Satan’s relentless attacks. And because relationships take a lot of work – two imperfect, flawed, sinful people trying to come together for a lifetime – you need to stop being lazy. You cannot do a job successfully with laziness. You can only do a hard job successfully with consistently hard work.

Let me tell you what I would do. I would meet a great guy. I would like him for a while. And then the minute I ran into an “obstacle”, I would stop trying to work at it and I would let it go. And that lack of stick-to-it-ness is what caused the relationships to fail. It wasn’t the obstacle – perceived or actual – it was my laziness. If the guy and I didn’t agree on everything, I would say to self, “See! That’s a sign right there! I shouldn’t be dating this guy!” If he liked a singer I didn’t like, or a sport I didn’t like, or a preacher I didn’t like, I took that to mean that God didn’t send him to me. I took that as a red flag for me to give up. I think I’m very fortunate in that God has sent MANY great guys my way. No alcoholics, no addicts, no abusers, no cheaters, no bums, but good quality men. And yet even though we both were eligible bachelor and bachelorette, I still found some way not to make it work with them. I had the materials to make a successful relationship; I just did not have the relationship work ethic.

That’s one thing I realized about myself. I’ve never fought for anything all my life. If a coworker or employer or client annoyed me too much, I would quit the job. If a club I joined had lost its excitement, I’d drop out of it. If a goal I made for myself became too difficult, I would either make the goal too easy or just quit the goal altogether. If I was given a prophecy and I didn’t feel like I believed in it one day, I’d just stop working to get what God promised me. If I didn’t like the pastor of my church or something he said, I’d leave the church. If a friend or family member made me mad, I would cut them off. If a Twitter follower or a Facebook friend rudely disagreed with something I wrote, I would delete or block them. I was L A Z Y! And needless to say, I had little to show for myself. I could have had so many more friends, could have been further along in the ministry, could have been closer to my family members, could have led many loved ones to the Lord, could have had a graduate degree, could have been married by now, etc. But because of my laziness, I would give up on things.

Everything you want is just outside of your comfort zone. The love life you want is just outside of your fear of intimacy. The career you want is just outside of your work ethic and your educational comfort zone. The health you want is just outside of your exercise and eating comfort zone. You will never attain anything of great worth in this life within your comfort zone. The only thing you will attain is comfort and regrets. Regrets that you didn’t work harder at that marriage. That you didn’t try to get the Master’s. That you didn’t persevere a little more with your pastor. That you weren’t more patient with that family member.
Comfort zone is the breeding ground for regrets.

Who told you that you should give up on something because it got hard? Did Moses give up on heading to the promised land because the way got hard? Did Abraham give up on having a son with Sarah because it looked impossible? Did David give up on honoring King Saul because Saul made it hard on him? Did Jesus give up on the Cross because it was difficult? Did Paul give up preaching the gospel because it got hard? No one has attained anything of great value in the bible by giving up when it got hard. Things getting hard are NO excuse to stop trying. Stop being lazy. Keep working at the thing until you achieve the thing. It’ll never get any easier. It’ll only get harder with time. NOW is the time. Now is easier than then. For example, it’s easier to go to graduate school right after undergraduate. It’s easier to work out the day after you worked out rather than waiting a week to work out again. Keep going even if it was hard the first time because it only gets harder when you wait.

Dear Procrastinators, Sometimes It’s Now or NEVER

Why wait until New Year's to begin? There's nothing magical about January 1st!

Heights of great men reach and kept
were not attained by sudden flight
but while their companions slept
were toiling through the night

We humans make things so much more difficult than they have to be. People want to lose weight, and they want to wait until New Year’s to make another unsuccessful resolution to lose 10 pounds. If you don’t have the motivation to do it now, what makes you think you’ll have it in 1 – 12 months? It’s not a big grand theory to lose weight. It’s simply a matter of using common sense mathematics. 1 + 1 = 2. If you know that an average-sized, active woman should consume 2,200 calories a day, and you eat three value meals at McDonald’s, then you know that you have surpassed your caloric intake to stay a healthy weight for that day. Now if you consume 5,200 calories a day and exercise off 3,000 calories, then you are fine. But you know if you don’t work out that you will gain the weight! Stop being so deep! You don’t need a profound plan to start on this date at breakfast time. You can start losing weight December 29th during lunch. Why you got to wait to January 1st?!

We want to make up plans to leave a jerk boyfriend or girlfriend. No plan needed. Ain’t nothing to it but to do it! We want to think of a way that won’t hurt feelings. Guess what? Break ups hurt period. We say, “I’ll wait until after our anniversary. After his birthday. After Valentine’s Day.” Why not now?! It’s not that deep. We want to write out pro and con lists. We want to consult with all of our friends. If dude is a jerk or if your girlfriend is a jerk, then leave! Kick him to the curb! Do it now! Like Dr. Phil says, the only thing worse than being in a wrong relationship for a year is being a wrong relationship for a year AND a day. Now is the time! I believe in tact, but I believe that if your boyfriend or girlfriend are just wrong for you, then no amount of tact can fix that.

CME Saints. Christmas-Mother’s Day-Easter Saints. “I’ll get saved next Easter. It’s time for me to finally turn my life around.” Why wait until Easter? Do you have any idea how many people were going to wait until Easter to give their lives to God and then died the day they decided to wait until Easter? Or died the day BEFORE Easter? The devil wants you to keep procrastinating. If he knows you’re going to die January 15, he’ll encourage you to hold off until Easter to get saved because you are a CME saint. You may not have that long. People who are not spiritual believe that there is a 50% chance that you will die tomorrow and that there is a 50% chance that you will not die tomorrow. But you never know. As Christians, we believe that on one day there is a 100% chance that you will die, and every other day there is 0% chance that you will die because God is in control and already has our death date set. Even if he moves it 15 years down the road as He did for King Hezekiah, there was still a 100% chance that King Hezekiah would die on a certain date. So if you think as a non-spiritual person, there’s a 50% chance that you could die tonight. Do you have time to wait until next Easter? You may or you may not. Do you really want to take that chance? It’s not that serious of a matter that you have to think about doing it. But it is very important that you give your soul to Christ. What’s so important in your life that you can put off eternal salvation for another second or for another 12 months? Don’t try to fix your life up first because there is no way that a physical and sinful body can make itself righteous and spiritual without the Holy Spirit. People say that they want to get out of a gang first or dump their fornication partner first. If you could make yourself right on your own then you wouldn’t need Christ! Come to the altar with your sins. He will take you as you are.

Men who want to sow their “royal oats.” You make me laugh. Royal oats. Ha! You want to wait until you’re 40 to settle down with a wife and to have kids. Those kids will have your back thrown out when they get 6 and want to play ball! Quit goofing off, and be real men! Sowing your royal oats will have you reaping STDS, unwanted pregnancies, and baby mama drama. You need to stop making it such a big deal. Ask God to help you to prepare to be a husband and father and stop making it so profound. Of course, marriage and family is nothing to be taken lightly, but with God on your side, you can get some responsibility to do things God’s way. If you want to have sex, why not have it with your wife? Do something fun the moral way. If you sow to your flesh, you will reap corruption.

I am very into orderliness. I’m not a stickler for disinfectant, but when it comes to a room looking neat, I got to have it! My friends say I’m a neat freak/OCD. So when I come into someone’s house and their home is a mess, I get slightly upset when they say, I was going to clean my room, but I ran out of time. If you put aside that TV program or two or three or four, then you’d have AMPLE time to hang up clothes, put clothes in the hamper, put papers and books on a shelf, put dishes in the dishwasher, etc. etc. I promise you the room refuses to clean itself, and it usually gets messier. CLEAN UP NOW! My sister always says, “I’ll clean up when I finish this exam.” Her room is still a filthy mess a semester later. If you have time to go shopping, then you have time to clean up. People act like throwing clothes in a hamper needs a schedule. JUST DO IT. Get off the couch, walk to all the dirty clothes, pick them up, and place them into the hamper. It takes seconds to put dirty dishes in a dishwasher. This is not a deep revelation. This is not a Rhema word from the Lord. Just put the laptop to the side. Stand up. Now walk to the stack of papers and books. Then put them on the book shelf.

The same goes for people who are in college. I used to put stuff off forever and a day. Yes, college courses and school work are more mentally demanding than cleaning up, but I do declare that a college education is the single thing that people will spend THOUSANDS of dollars on and will not even want to get all they can out of it. We make our cars worth what we put in them and then some. We’ll wear our clothes out of style. But when it comes to college, we’ll spend thousands upon thousands and then decide to skip class and stay in bed. Just get up and get out! Even if you fall asleep in class, you can sign the roll and get an idea of what class was about. People want to be doctors doing surgery on me and my friends, but they want to skip class and cheat on tests. I don’t want to working on me with that kind of dedication! I bet you’d get some motivation if your boyfriend was coming over even after you only slept for three hours the night before. I bet you’d get up for things that cost you little to nothing, but we want to make attending class a profound matter. Just get up! Just drive to the library and get the book! Just open your laptop and start typing! Ain’t nothing to it but to do it! Don’t write out a schedule or a to do list. Don’t do THAT. Just do IT! People put more effort into a to do list than they do in doing the actions listed on the to do list!

Don’t talk about applying to college on Saturday. Just do it today! Then find some financial aid! Don’t talk about looking for work tomorrow, just get your butt off that couch and drive around and apply tomorrow. Because gas is high, join a job search website and apply that way (that’s how I got my job). Don’t talk about fasting and dieting next week to lose weight. Fast and diet now! Don’t talk about exercising starting first thing in April. Start March 26th! (What’s the fascination with certain dates and holidays when it comes to procrastinators? What’s so magical about the first of the month or the first of the week? Today has just as much opportunity for success as January 1st!)

Don’t talk about reading the Bible more and praying more starting next Sunday. Put away the computer and pick up the bible or begin to pray now. The devil want you to wait because he wants you to be at a standstill. He doesn’t want you to progress. He wants you stagnant; God wants you prosperous. If you are a lazy couch potato who is 30 years old living with your parents, it’s because you weren’t applying to enough jobs. I called and applied for about 40 agencies before I finally was blessed with a job. Had a given up at agency 38, I’d have been unemployed to this day!

Self-Sabotage: The Strange Fears of Love, Success, and Happiness

Doubt your doubts! Success, love, and happiness are on the other side of your fear!

There are three fears that I find the strangest. There are SO many phobias known to man. There’s no limit to phobias because as soon as a new one appears, they just add it to the list. There are some very strange ones like geniophobia – fear of chins, consecotaleophobia – fear of chopsticks, anablephobia – fear of looking up, and one of my person favorites, zemmiphobia – fear of the great mole rat. (these people fear that giant rats are plotting against them.)

But even with all those peculiar ones, I find three in particular even stranger than that. They are the fear of being loved, the fear of happiness, and the fear of being successful. I believe the fear of success, love, and happiness are even more common than the well-known fear of death, fear of failure, and fear of being disliked and disapproval.

I love this quote by Marianne Williamson:

“Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate
our biggest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
we ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us,
and as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

From what I’ve read in different books, I feel as if the main reason people fear success is because they fear people resenting them because of it. People fear being an outcast NOT because they are disapproved of because of being a failure; people fear being an outcast based on being disapproved of for being A GREAT SUCCESS. I believe that just like plant seeds, we have potential to become as big as even a huge sequoia tree. But if we’re afraid of being a great, big sequoia, we’ll stunt our growth at the size of a bush or a blade of grass in order to fit in with others and make them happy with us. Let yourself grow to the full-size that God put in you to get to!

In middle school, I had some friends who didn’t do very well in school. I always did well in school, so the teachers asked me to be in the advanced program. But I didn’t want to leave my friends behind, so I stayed behind. I could have learned so much more and done better in college perhaps from the advanced learning, but I didn’t want to be an outcast. Even with people now, I oftentimes downplay my intelligence and skills so that they won’t resent me. I know that most people can appreciate others’ success, but haters do exist. I don’t let people know all of what I know because I feel that they may think that I think that I’m better than them when that is so not the case.

Next, from what I’ve read and witnessed, there’s the fear of being loved. Many people unknowingly have this fear. People with this phobia will test their girlfriend or boyfriend to see just how much they love them. For some reason, some people deem themselves as unlovable or at least unworthy of love, so when some guy or girl comes around professing their quote unquote love for them, they proceed to prove the boyfriend or girlfriend wrong and to prove their negative self-view as correct. Even if the significant other did love them, they make sure to scare them off with tests so that their self-view is secure regardless of how wrong and negative it is.

For example, some women will pick the DUMBEST fights with their guy, and if he lets them win and don’t argue back, then they say, “He must really love me!” But because they are still convinced that no one could possibly love them, they find another test the next day. You’d be amazed if people told you the type of things they did to test people. Some men will cheat on their girlfriends with some they both know and make sure that the girlfriend finds out about it just so that they could know if she did love him by sticking around.

Of course, we know that testing people like that is very dysfunctional and that no self-respecting guy or girl would hang around to continue in that dance of dysfunction. I learned that no matter how hard you try, you can’t prove to someone that they are lovable; they have to find out for themselves by knowing how much God and Jesus love them. When you begin to internalize that God loved you so much that He gave His own Son to die for you, you slowly start to realize that, “Hey! If the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and the Originator and Embodiment of Love loves me, then SURELY I must be lovable! I’m going to start believing people when they say it unless they prove it otherwise!” One way you can tell if you think you’re lovable is if you can look in the mirror and say with 100% certainty and with a smile, “I AM LOVABLE!” Some people can’t even look at the mirror and look themselves in the eye and say that and others can’t do it without crying.

I learned from books I’ve read that some people fear love because they think that they may lose it in a dramatic way. They may fear that the person will die soon, that the person may betray and hurt them, that the person may humiliate them by leaving them, and/or that the person may be pretending to love them when they really don’t. You also may fear that if the person you’re in a relationship with REALLY knew who you were, they’d run screaming in the other direction. You may fear that if she or he knew your ugly childhood, your dysfunctional family, or your weaknesses, downfalls, and imperfections that they would stop loving you. So instead of all that risk, you may just decide to avoid love all together. So when you do meet someone that you could potentially be happy with, you may find little silly reasons to rule him or her out. You might say silly things like, “He has bad teeth, his feet are ugly, I don’t like dudes with long hair, she’s too tall, she’s too cheerful, etc., etc.”

All of these little requirements and standards for your boyfriend or girlfriend are really just subconscious ways to keep you single – to keep you from getting hurt and to keep you from being loved because, to you, being loved is risky and is against what you believe that you’re worthy of. This dynamic is also in play when women purposely or unintentionally choose bad men to date because they honestly feel that in their heart no one can really love them. So they think that an abusive, unfaithful man is what their unlovable self deserves. I noticed that girls who have good, loving dads in the home tend to go for good, loving men. But girls who have abusive or dead-beat dads tend to go for the same type of men. They learn at a young age that either no man can love them OR that every man has to treat them right because how things were with daddy.

And the last strange fear I mentioned is fear of happiness. This also applies to love and success sometimes because love and success add a lot of happiness to people’s lives. Some people fear happiness because they fear that as soon as they begin to really experiencing the joys and highs of it, something terrible will happen. I read that they believe that if they just stay unhappy, when they get that scary phone call that a loved one has died or that so-and-so has dumped them, they have no high point to come crashing down from because they are already on that low point. They fear happiness only because they know that happiness will not always be. Life is not all good or all bad. So they feel that if they celebrate too much of the good, it’ll make the bad feel even worse.

If you’ve always been poor, then you don’t have to worry about losing your job or going through a recession. But if you allow yourself to become rich, you can lose it all! If you have no close friends or family members, you don’t have to worry about getting hysterical upon the news of their death because you never had any strong and happy feelings for anybody in the first place. You would think that people would want to experience as much happiness as they can while they can, but that is not always the case. Some people are so used to being abused as a child that they never allow themselves to feel happy because they knew the abuse was coming sooner or later. How easily could you rejoice in having a report card with all A’s and E’s if you knew that when you got home, dad was going to be in his scary drunk mode and that mom was going to beat you senseless for no reason?

Some people self-sabotage when they feel themselves getting too happy. They have “happiness anxiety”. When they feel too comfortable with a boyfriend or girlfriend, they may pick a fight. They aren’t used to happiness! They’d rather feel unhappy without the anxiety than to feel happy with anxiety. Anxiety is arguably the worst feeling to have, and people do whatever they can to get rid of it – including sabotaging their happiness when it comes to romantic love, a good job, a great friendship, etc. Anxiety is fear of something that poses no immediate or serious threat, but fear of the unknown is one of the scariest fears. So some people will consciously or subconsciously ruin any chance of happiness because it gives them the creeps. They are in control as long as the sabotage their chances at happiness.

If we lived in a normal world, we wouldn’t have those three weird fears. We’d be glad about being successful. We’d be so happy to have all that potential just waiting to express itself in us. Imagine if Michelangelo had feared success because his dad or classmates or brothers might get jealous of him and begin to resent him? We’d be missing out on all his beautiful artwork. The same goes for athletes, singers, dancers, and actors. What if Michael Jordan didn’t play as well just so that his teammates wouldn’t think he was a show off and so that he wouldn’t make the other teams feel like losers? You can’t dumb yourself down or make yourself average just so that jealous people can be happy with you. You’ll please those fifteen people of your family and friends at the expense of pleasing millions of potential fans and admirers, not to mention pleasing God by fulfilling the big purpose He placed in you to fulfill!

If we lived in a normal world, we’d love to experience being loved. We’d realize just how lovable we really are. Babies in normal homes are loved unconditionally. All they do is puke, defecate, urinate, cry, scream, eat, and sleep, and yet they are the favorite beings on the planet of their parents beginning at the first few seconds of their life or before they’re even born. They don’t have to do anything to be loved. And as they get older, they should know that approval and love are separate. A parent can disapprove of their child’s stealing behavior and still love them 100%. But for some reason as we get older, we begin to make our “lovability” dependent on our approval rate; and if you are raised in a dysfunctional family with narcissistic parents, you’ll also probably have this tendency. But you need to realize that you are 100% lovable regardless of what you do or don’t do. Jesus died for us WHILE we were yet sinners, and He forgave His murderers AS they murdered Him on the cross! So this shows us that we are lovable no matter what we do. YOU are lovable. YES YOU!

If we lived in a normal world, we’d be happy to be happy! We’d live every day in joy until something bad happened. Then we’d recover from it and be happy all over again! But in this twisted world we live in, being happy is scary because it has a determining factor in how sad we can get. It’s like a bride refusing to be TOO happy on her wedding day just in case her groom gets cold feet and doesn’t show up. In a normal world, all brides would be ecstatic on their wedding day until the very second she finds out her groom isn’t coming; in a normal world, brides wouldn’t keep their happiness level at a 5 instead of a 10 just in case he doesn’t show.

So these are the three strangest fears to me. I believe that everyone has experienced them to at least some degree unless you were raised in a very normal, loving family. Realize that God created success, love, and happiness for us to EXPERIENCE THEM – not to RUN AWAY FROM THEM!
SUCCEED, LOVE, AND BE HAPPY WITHOUT FEAR!