Give Your Dreams to the Wind

Say your dreams out loud. Let the wind carry them off to the right ears.

Say your dreams out loud. Watch God as He takes the smallest of seeds and grows it exponentially. Delight in every part of the process.

Say your dreams out loud. Give specifics and be excited about them! Do not hoard them or save them up for a rainy day.

Say your dreams out loud. Appreciate those who help you attain them. Love those who doubt you.

Say your dreams out loud. Give them away freely to people on the train, in the park, or at your job. Know your softly spoken dreams are protected against all threats.

Say your dreams out loud. They are your dreams, and they are worth having. They are worth pursuing. They are worth every hurdle and every frustration. Your dreams are where you will find life’s simplest treasures, so say your dreams out loud.


Walk like Who?

I like asking people their favorite parts of the Bible. I feel like it helps me know them a bit better. Most of the responses come from stories I know well. Occasionally, I’ll get a story I don’t know well at all. Those are fun. People tend to get creative with their answers when I’m unfamiliar with the story. Personally, my favorite part of the Bible isn’t a story. It’s a little detail in the grand scheme of greatness that the Word is–a raindrop in the ocean.

Genesis 5:21-24 says, “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

I love this. How, I ask, how did Enoch live? Even Abraham could not escape the jaws of death, yet Enoch did! This paragraph has generated countless opinions and historical perspectives of who Enoch was and why God took him. Every time I read these verses, I have a plethora of questions. Why isn’t there more about what he did? Who was Enoch? Why at 65 did he begin to walk faithfully? Is God still taking people away pre-rapture? When I tell people my favorite part, they give me an, “Oh yeah, him,” or a confused, “Who? In Genesis?”

Truthfully, I get excited every time I read this. I get lost in the possibilities of everything I imagine Enoch to be. I’ve dabbled a bit into the history of Enoch, but I read everything with a discerning eye. I have yet to find an answer that satisfies my mind. I long for Enoch’s story to be laid out in front of me. I want to be able to revisit his life. I want more than a paragraph, so my true questions can be answered: What did God see in Enoch? And could He see it in me too?

A Friend Loves at All Times

My friend, A, who is very near and dear to my heart, recently unveiled some things about me that I hadn’t realized I did. What I thought was me simply arranging words out of my mouth was actually victimization or putting myself below other people. Now, as much as I adore A’s straightforwardness, it stung. It stings a bit every single time she points something out. When she gently says something, I react with a defensive response. Being on the defense is what I know, so I fall back on it often.

Yesterday I met with her, and she said, “I’m gonna stop telling you things cause I don’t think you can handle it.”

And in an instant I said, “I’m doing my best!”

“There you go being on the defense again.”

By that time, I was a little less than irked. I went home, took a nap, and when I woke up I was screaming about war veterans.

“It’s like when someone has been in a war and they get home and realize that some of the things they’re doing aren’t normal, but it takes some time to adjust. I’ve been fighting a battle for 20 years! I need some time to adjust!” I felt justified, yet I was still wrong.

It finally clicked after I spent 90 minutes tutoring a 3rd grader who refused to speak to me because I told him he needed to focus more and study or we’d have to discuss if I would return. He listened to what I said. He silenced all his hyperactivity to reach the expectation I had of him. He thought about every problem we went over, and he responded exceptionally well for someone who was not speaking. That’s when I got it. A just wants me to do better, to be better, to grow up.

I’d been walking through this life for a long time believing that my trauma was on my face, but my trauma does not determine how someone responds to me. My trauma does not justify impartiality, victimization, or defensiveness. It explains it, sure, but it is not a resting point for projecting my life off of.

My 3 year old nephew’s Bible memorization phrase a couple of weeks ago was Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.” A Friend sure does, but sometimes, that love comes in the form of a gentle rebuke that begins with, “I love you, but you’re incorrect.”

The Daniel Fast

Last year I participated in The Daniel Fast. It was the first time I ever desired to push my spiritual boundaries. The fast lasted for 21 days, and it was one of the most powerful experiences I have had. I received so many revelations about my current walk with God. Mental and spiritual blocks were removed. God was clear, and His love made my cup overflow with goodness.

This year I wanted to have a game plan, so I could be focused on God as much as possible. Below are a few tips I have to keep myself focused on God and not on temptation.

1. Pray beforehand. Ask God what type of food sacrifice you’ll be taking. I’ve known I was fasting since December. As the days progressed, I got more passionate about the fast and began asking God for His guidance. He revealed to me what my sacrifice would be. Ultimately, your sacrifice is between you and The Lord. You’ll know it’s a sacrifice by how The Holy Spirit impresses you. This means you don’t need to justify it to anyone or worry about it. If God told you to make this sacrifice, then He will provide you with the strength to succeed.

2. Prepare your meals as far in advance as possible. The last thing you need to be focused on is what is going into your mouth. Prepare it. Pray over it. Store it. Move on.

3. Get an objective. Why are you fasting? What do you need clarity in? What would you like to be stronger in? You have 21 days to dig into a facet of your life that needs clarity, healing, or attention. This requires some self-awareness as well as some prayer time. Once you know what to focus on, you’ll know the kinds of seeds you’ll be sowing for your situation during this time.

4. Plan out prayer times. Make time for God. Have a set time or times that are solely dedicated to prayer. Don’t focus on fleshly, soulish matters. Dig in deep. This isn’t just a time for you to know God, but this is a time for God to know you. Open up to Him. Cast your life upon Him. Allow Him to flood every part of who you are during these times. Last year, this happened for me in the middle of my fast, maybe around day 12 or 13. Once I allowed Him to fill me up, I found myself praying without ceasing. When I truly began seeking God, I couldn’t go a moment without thinking about Him, praising Him, or seeking His heart.

5. Know His Word. It’s nice to have words of encouragement to meditate on while fasting. I have index cards with a verse or two around my room. These cards are what I read before I go into my prayer closet or when I leave my room. I even have a board on the refrigerator. Welcome His Word in all your spaces. Some people plan out Scripture to read for all 21 days. I even think the Bible app has a devotional for The Daniel Fast. I think that’s wonderful. If planning out your Scripture works for you, then go with that, but be flexible enough to be led by the Spirit. Dig into the Scripture as much as you can. This is the time to seek knowledge and wisdom from God.

6. Keep a heart of gratitude. Jesus Christ laid down His life to reconcile us with God. He is the ultimate sacrifice. This is a sacrifice for us to be dependent on God and to seek His will over our lives. This 21 days will be powerful and intimate. It’s life-changing and having a heart that is grateful, regardless of your hangry stomach, will allow you to push into the promises of God. Seek God’s Word for your life and believe that whatever He says will come to pass. His Word never returns void.

As my Pastor taught me, this world parallels the spiritual one. Remember that during this time you will be sensitive to spiritual shifts. You could be more vulnerable as well, especially if this is your first fast. So make sure the only voice you’re seeking and hearing is God’s. Read His Word. Speak to Him. Praise Him. Worship Him. Be discerning of others speaking on His behalf. This time is for you to know your King for yourself.

Father God,

I lift up my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to you Lord who are about to embark on a journey to know You more. Father, may they find peace, joy, and strength that come directly from Your heart. Lord, may you impress upon them the power that they have in Christ. Father, during this time please remind them that You are always with them. You are around them. You are for them, and no weapon formed against them will prevail. Lord you are working through them to build up Your Kingdom, and You have an extraordinary plan for their lives. Father, may they put down themselves and exalt who You are. I thank You Lord God that we are in a moment of sacrifice for our King. All glory and honor belong to You and You alone forever and always.

In Jesus name I pray, amen.

**Always consult your doctor before you undergo any dietary changes.**

The Details

Do you know God thinks about you? Do you know He hears every desire of your heart? Do you believe me as you read this? Well, He does, and you don’t have to go far to know it. He hears every outcry of your heart. He’ll bless you in the littlest of details to the life-altering moments just to remind you that He’s there. He’s listening, and you don’t have to wait for the big problems to arise before you call on the Lord.

I serve as an usher at my church, and we receive our schedule Thursday morning. I skimmed the email about halfway through, knowing I wasn’t on it for that week. I sat for a moment and started thinking about all the other ministries and for a few minutes set my mind on one in particular.

I said to myself, “I’m going to serve on that ministry.” My heart pointed to it, and I put that desire away for a rainy day.

Today, I was at church, and I had to excuse myself during the Apostle’s preaching because my allergies got the best of me. I was sitting in the lobby at a table watching the sermon on the TV and pouting about it. I was disappointed I wasn’t in the sanctuary. Every time I tried re-entering the sanctuary, I would cough so hard and loud that I became a distraction.

I strained to hear the remaining parts of the sermon. Five minutes before the closing prayer, I see, Mrs. C come out of the sanctuary. I hadn’t realized I was sitting at her table. She wasted no time in saying how she’s seen me around. She asked me what else I was involved in at the church. We talked for not even five minutes before she asked me if I was interested in serving with her. She runs the ministry I was thinking about Thursday morning.

The last words the Apostle said that I could hear was, “God’s got it!” And He does. He holds your life in His hands. He has every little detail planned out. He knows what you’re going to want, when you’re going to want it, and how He’s going to get you there. However, if I was really disappointed about my lobby seat, I could’ve waited in the car or gone completely off the grounds, but I didn’t. I sat at that table and tried my hardest to focus on the sermon, and there came Mrs. C extending an invitation I knew eventually would be mine.

So, I’m asking you again: Do you know God thinks about you? Do you know He hears every desire of your heart? Do you believe it?

Little by Little

“E.L. Doctorow once said that ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.” Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Right now, I’m sitting on my patio listening to the trees rustle and my neighbor’s garage open. The Sun is blinding. I’m sitting typing on my phone. My brother and nephew constantly interrupting any growing thought I might have.

I’m loving every second of it.

Last month, I quit my job. I walked out midday and didn’t look back. I screamed of victory and restoration. I screamed for joy. I screamed for freedom, which comes close to the freedom I felt the day I was saved.

One of my friends, my parents, my brother, they all asked me what it felt like, and for over a month I have been failing myself to describe what it is I feel. That quote is what it feels like. I don’t know where I’m going. I have no idea what I’m going to pass, but I know, eventually, I will get to where I’m supposed to be.

I look at the time, and I know if I were at that job, I’d be sitting in a grey cube, listening to people complain, and calculating the time in which I will be relieved. I wouldn’t have seen the Sun. I wouldn’t have experienced all the things that happen during my days now. There would be no volunteering, no serving. There would be no working my own hours and earning twice an hour what I made at that job. There would be no passion.

I’m grateful that the job I had was the provision I needed until I found the courage to step out into what is unknown. I thank that job for being what I needed it to be at that time, but my GOD, do I thank for saying, “It is done.”

So, I’m sitting on my patio, watching the Sun park itself behind my neighbor’s trees. I’m watching bees fly around my ankles. I hear my family playing basketball, and I feel it: My cup runneth over. I can only see a few feet in front of me. I have no idea what else I’ll get the privilege of witnessing, but I know it’s going to be good.

Life is not about doing what you want to do or about what you have to do, it’s about doing what God tells you to do. I was terrified of quitting because all I could think of was the bills I have to pay, but God says, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” It wasn’t until I left that I realized, my stuff owned me. I was living to pay bills and be mediocre. That’s not my intended use.

I’m not sure how or when the things I know to be true will come to pass, but I wholeheartedly believe, that they will come. I finally found the words to say, and it is a relief.

A Multifaceted Me

During my quiet time with Papa before church, I said, “I feel like I’m supposed to have an answer for a question, but I don’t know the question, and I don’t have the answer. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to fix whatever it is that’s broken.” I paused for a bit, waiting for a passionate response to a question I could not form. It didn’t come. The only thing that lingered in the air was my, “I don’t know.” 

I got to church a little late and sat in the back. I knew only a few songs, and I could tell by the atmosphere that it was going to be one of those nights. A night when the Apostle ditches his sermon and speaks directly from the heart–a Holy Spirit kinda night. For one reason or another, I wasn’t having it. I wanted a simple sermon where I could take notes and read around the Scriptures given. I wanted to be spoon-fed my solution. 

I typically sit in the back of the sanctuary for no other reason than I like it. I like the openness. I like that when I get there, no one’s there, but by the time praise and worship is over, a plethora of people have poured in without me noticing. I love seeing other people worship God. I think that’s pretty cool. However, yesterday, I didn’t even want to stand up. I made up my mind that praising Papa was not what I needed in that moment. But, the more I listened to the Apostle, the more I knew this night, like many other Wednesday nights, was intentional. 

Somewhere down the road I swapped seats with The Driver. I gave Papa my map made out of crayons and napkins. I doodled my potential detours in the margins. Papa in all His glory, held my map. He said nothing when destinations were smudged off. He said nothing when I asked for directions except, “This is your map, but I can drive if you want me to.” (Sounds awfully similar to: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8 NIV.) I knew a little of where His map would lead me to, and that’s in a position that I didn’t think I earned. I pitched a fit, but I still pulled the car over to reverse what I had done. 

How I see myself and how I think Papa sees me are thoughts that should not be dwelled upon. I saw myself as always doing one thing, excelling at it, but never being able to veer away from that core. That’s how I thought He saw me too. I can be a teacher, but I can also be a better counselor. I can be someone who excels at serving. I can be more than one thing. 

What I found out post church was that I wasn’t nervous about succeeding. I was nervous about not knowing what it felt like to complete what He designed. I forgot that Papa wants to make me His multifaceted giver. For a while, I was doing what I wanted and occasionally looking at Papa in the passenger seat making sure He didn’t jump from the car. Oh, how wrong I was. He drives. I sit shotgun with a pen and paper ready to write down what He points out. As much as I couldn’t admit it yesterday, it was nice being back in the passenger seat. It was nice recognizing how and where I fall short and where Papa picks up. 

My mind limited me to thinking God was rooting me into a small, grey box. A box that would only be opened for special occasions and events. I would never get happiness, but happiness is subjective and silly. Happiness is something I have in one moment and lost in the next. I was so focused on what I didn’t want to become or what I didn’t like, that I missed everything that I am. I am who He made me to be. If the driving force to His destination is happiness then I have already run out of fuel. I need peace and the patience to stand firm in the direction my life has already taken. 

My doubt was nothing more than a reminder to remain steadfast. Nothing seems to make sense right now, but I have to know it will make sense later. That’s so much easier said than done. That’s a multiple times a day reminder, which is more effort than I am willing to give. Surrendering in itself is terribly difficult for me, but at some point, I have to put effort into something. I have to put effort into keeping my relationship with Papa, and part of that is always letting Him drive. 

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24-26‬ ‭MSG‬‬