Lean Not To Your Own Understanding

He said it and I heard Him clearly but…”A book? Me? Yes, I love to write but I don’t know about a book, Lord. I just got comfortable with the blog.”

Yes, this was the conversation I had with the all-knowing One about two years ago. And my questions didn’t stop there. “What kind of book? Who’s going to read it? Forget that…who’s going to buy it? Who will help me? I don’t know anything about publishing a book.” Then I heard Him say, “Trust Me. Stop leaning to your own understanding. Simply acknowledge Me and I will direct your path.” I took a deep breath and let out a big sigh. Not a sigh of relief, but in all honesty, a sigh of “Ok Lord. I trust You.”

So I started writing.

I knew immediately that I wanted to find a way to connect my two heart throbs…purpose and butterflies! And I knew that I wanted to reach children so that they would begin to seek God for their purpose at an early age. So I prayed and I wrote and I wrote and I prayed. And month after month, as my pen and paper met, I realized this was a “God idea.” I was simply the vessel He had chosen to use to put His words on the pages.

I wrote, off and on, for about a year. The thing I remember most vividly was the indescribable peace I experienced. Life continued on as normal, but being in His will engulfed me, creating a separation from the monotonous day to day tasks. I knew I was doing exactly what He wanted me to do.

As I reached the end of the manuscript, I reminded God of my initial concerns. After all, I was almost done and had no idea what to do next. And because God did not respond as quickly as I would have liked for Him to, I “leaned to my own understanding” (don’t act like you’ve never done it!). My flesh said, “Google it!” And I did.

I googled “Book Publishing” and tons of companies appeared. I did my research and decided to submit my manuscript to one. After all, God had called me to write this book. His hand was on it. So I believed He would work everything out. Right? Well, guess what? The manuscript was accepted! The company was ready to move forward immediately, but something was different. The peace I had during the writing process had perished. “Who were these people? What if this entire company was a scam? They accepted the manuscript awfully fast.” My thoughts were all over the place. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I stopped and asked God again, but this time, I waited for Him to “direct my path.”

I can’t remember exactly how much time passed, but I do remember being on Facebook late one night when a friend posted a picture of her mom reading a book to her youngest daughter. The caption read, “Congratulations to my childhood friend on publishing his first children’s book.” My spirit leaped. I did not know who this gentleman was but I knew he had something to do with my next step. Over the next couple of days, my friend connected me with her childhood friend, and God began to move. Within minutes, DeCorey Hale, author of Ebenezer The Sneezer, introduced me to an amazing, yet unfamiliar woman, Caroll Atkins. This was the moment the “walking by faith, not by sight” became real. I had to trust someone I did not know with “my baby”…my manuscript titled, Who Am I?

Sidenote: If you ask Caroll what’s her title, she would most likely say, “Brand Stylist.” I beg to differ. Caroll is more than a Brand Stylist, she is a Dream Releaser.

I’ll share more about this journey with Caroll and others in the coming weeks, but if God has placed a dream in your heart, let me encourage you to “trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Yes, all of God’s promises are true. Today, I simply pointed out Proverbs 3:5-6.

My first children’s book, Why Are We Here, will be released in April 2018. I’ll share the link to the website soon, but please know I am sharing my heart because I want you to trust God like I did so that the fulfillment of His promises will come alive in your life, just as they have in mine.

Until next time…

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Where’s My Opportunity?

“If I just had the right opportunity…” How many of us have uttered these words? We see doors opening for others and we are genuinely happy for them, but as we look into the mirror of our own lives, the reflection often seems to reveal no door at all.

From time to time, I have questioned God about this very thing. In all honesty, I recently found myself asking again. And here’s what He said…..

My child, you are very familiar with the story of Joseph, yet there is so much you fail to see. You see Joseph as the “chosen” son. You even take notice when the favor shown to him by his father causes distance between him and his brothers. You see his gift as he interprets dreams. But you also observe that as he shares those dreams, doubt, criticism, and jealousy rear their ugly head. You see him thrown into a pit and left to die. But for the love of money, he is rescued only to be sold into slavery. You see him as a man of integrity as he rejects the advances of Potiphar’s wife; yet, his story also reveals that bad things can happen to good people.

God knows (no really…He knows this about me) I am not one who enjoys all the little details. So I respectfully told the rest of the story (don’t act like you’ve never done it 🙂 ).

From there, Joseph met a baker and a butler who had dreams that Joseph willingly interpreted. But when released from prison, they forgot about Joseph until one day, Pharaoh had a dream that none could explain. Then all of a sudden, the butler remembered Joseph. Joseph’s ability to correctly interpret Pharaoh’s dreams opened the door for him to be appointed chief over all of Egypt. His position was not only a blessing to him but also to the very ones who attempted to negatively impact his entire life.

I get it, God. I know the story. But where’s the opportunity?

But God said…No, you missed it.

The opportunities I present will initially be unrecognizable to the human eye. Although Joseph was in a prison cell, I presented him with an opportunity. Joseph had to decide, “Will I use my gift to help someone who may never do anything for me in return or will I ‘be still’ and wait for God to rescue me?”. Because of what I revealed to Joseph as a child, he knew he would not remain imprisoned forever. Joseph believed the dreams long before he was thrown in the pit, encountered Potiphar and his wife, or met the butler and the baker. Joseph used his gift because he knew it would bring Me glory. And in return, his gift made room for him and placed him before a king. Joseph was willing to serve when, from a human perspective, serving should have been the last thing on his mind. But he did not allow his physical position to affect his mental condition. In his heart and head, he knew I was with him and he believed that no matter what, My Word would trump any circumstance he could ever face.

Then God continued…So you asked where’s your opportunity? My child, it’s in every moment of every day.

Our opportunity may be in a pulpit or a prison, in Corporate America or a shelter, in a butcher shop or a bathroom, to one or to many. No matter where or when, choose to use what God has given you in a way that will bring Him glory. If the angels rejoice when one is saved, then why do we allow larger platforms to determine our level of impact or significance? If each one of us would share His heart with one who does not know Him, millions could be reached in minutes. Just as God was with Joseph in the pit, Potiphar’s house, and the prison, He is also with you and me. But how we handle each opportunity, simply lets Him know if we have palace potential.

 

 

“I” is for Instructions

We want more! More money, more recognition, more opportunities, more open doors, more chances, more favor. We simply want more! I’m not saying that more is always a bad thing, but how far will you go to get more? Where do you prioritize integrity when it comes to attaining more? Would you go after more if it meant less time with your spouse and children? Is gaining more worth your life or is your life worth more?

Achan sacrificed all he had for more.

I know, I know. By now you are probably wondering how the vowel “I” relates to all this talk about more. But Achan’s greed for more caused him to negate God’s instructions. His thirst for more took a turn that no one, but God, saw coming.

Joshua 6 wastes no time in telling “whodunit’! It was Achan.

When the wall of Jericho was destroyed and Joshua and the Israelites entered the city of Jericho, they knew exacted what they were to do. God had already given very specific instructions. Rahab and the members of her family who were in her home were the only ones to be spared along with items made with silver, gold, bronze, or iron. These were to be brought to the treasury of the Lord’s house. God was also very intentional by telling them what would happen if His instructions were not adhered to. Complete destruction and trouble for the entire camp was His promise.

Even though, God was providing everything the Israelites needed, Achan still wanted more. His greed trumped the instructions of the One who kept him while in the wilderness, safely led him across the Jordan River, and provided nourishment beyond the manna to which Achan had become accustomed. Achan’s desire for more led him to steal and bury many of the devoted items God explicitly told them not to keep for themselves.

And what happened?

Just what God promised. During the next battle, which should have been a simple victory, the Israelites were defeated and no one understood why. But God knew. Achan’s failure to follow instructions brought a victorious nation to a stumbling halt. His noncompliance not only affected him, but led to the death of more than 36 of his fellow soldiers, placed fear in the hearts of men who were walking by faith and obeying God without hesitation, caused his leader to question God’s faithfulness, and ultimately brought death to his children, his livestock, and himself. Achan allowed his desire for material things to overshadow the instructions of the One who had always been faithful.

So often we too ignore the instructions of God. Our reason may have nothing to do with greed; nevertheless, it is still disobedience. But we must always remember, God knows best. For if Achan had just been patient and followed God’s instructions, he would have been privy to an even greater plunder that was given to them in the very next city they conquered.

Today, if you know someone who is tired of waiting, about to give up on God, or feel His instructions are just not working for them, please share this post. We can save lives or deter people from making bad decisions with a couple of taps on a smart device or the click of a mouse. Don’t allow someone to give up or settle for good, when God wants to give them His best. More, so much more, is available to us when we follow God’s instructions.

Next week, “O” is the vowel of choice. Follow my blog so that you’ll never miss a word that will surely empower or uplift!