A friend of mine (hey, Erica, girl! 😃) recently posted a status on social media, sharing that God had dropped a word in her spirit for 2019. She encouraged her network to seek God for whatever word He may desire each individual to focus on for the coming year. As I began to draft this blog, I felt myself being drawn to the same word she had shared on her profile: trust. However, I did not want to have the same exact word, even though I knew that God had been dealing with me on trusting His timing. So instead of stopping short with accepting the same word that had been given to her, I continued to ponder and ask God for something different…something a little deeper than the message I’d received several weeks earlier.
In order to receive a deeper response, I sought to deepen my conversation with God. I know You want me to trust You and Your timing. I understand that it means to do so with unconditional sacrifice. But HOW can I go about doing this? What do I need to do to increase the trust that is necessary for growth and increase in my walk with You?
Then the word came to me: RELEASE.
Much of the reason I struggled during the latter part of 2018 is due to my desire to maintain control over every aspect of my life. I’ve always been a control freak, to say the least….which is why it’s difficult for my husband to surprise me with anything now 😆.
Releasing control and fear was the key to everything I had ever questioned God about: my career, my purpose, my desires, my relationships, and everything in between.
The end of 2018 positioned me for a lot of reflection and I opened myself to receiving direction from God through other people, which is illustrated through quotes inserted throughout this post. These are people who have gone through or who are currently facing the same challenges I am facing. So many people I know are trying to bridge the gap between their personal passions and their God-given purposes. Many are stuck in one place, trying to reach the next level. Some desire to completely transition into full-time purpose-driven entrepreneurship. Me… I’m somewhere in the mix of all of this.
Through my search for clarity, I learned and will strive to apply the following lessons in 2019:
Lesson 1: Release your timeline.
“Remember everything is about seasons.” – Alexandria M.
I hold onto my timelines like an elderly woman clutches her purse in a crowded mall. Married by 22, first baby by 23, done with having kids by 30, successful entrepreneur somewhere in between, but definitely by…30 🤷🏽♀️. According to my schedule, I’m way behind the curve. Even with all of the evidence out there, my old school mindset doesn’t allow me to easily let go of the idea that success and accomplishment is tied to a certain age. I simply find it to be wonderful news when I hear of individuals who accomplish fitness, business or relational achievements after a certain age. Great for them! That’s awesome! But I want mine NOW!
“…embrace the timing of the Divine and find peace in knowing that when patience is called for, it is well worth it.” – Ulyssa H.
God often reminds me that the season I’m currently in is because I have refused to release my timeline. And He’s funny about it in that He has allowed those around me to achieve many similar goals in the same time I’d set for myself, even my little sister has checked off all of the above. All I’ve been able to do is stand by and watch because handing over my schedule of life events is no easy task, even when I KNOW whatever God can do with it will be greater than anything I could ever do on my own.
But with so much at stake, I must release my timeline. I seriously have no other choice, otherwise, I’m destined to be disappointed and depressed each time another year passes and I feel as if I’ve accomplished little to nothing. Aside from that, I am missing out on the journey and the growth that is meant to occur during my period of patience and waiting.
Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:34
Lesson 2: Release your fear of the process.
“We must understand that even though we are called to something, [that] doesn’t mean we won’t have to go through a process before we reach a place of enjoying the fruits.” – Alexandria M.
As I mentioned before, I am a CONTROL FREAK! I’ve always been that way. When it comes to my life, I have to know what is going on, when it’s happening and how it will come through. I believe it stems from the moments in my life where I was often in charge of an organization, an event or even through the interactions I had with the people I allowed into my space. If I can control the who, what, when, where and how, then there will be no surprises or uncertainties…or at least I will be prepared for them because I’ve thought everything out.
However, when it comes to trusting God, that’s not how it works at all. I can trust that He will work everything out for my good, but if my trust isn’t manifested through the release of my control over when or how everything will work out, then it’s of no value to Him.
“[God] allows us to be uncomfortable when He is stretching us”. – Talya P.
Releasing the fear that I have for going through something takes A LOT out of me. It’s scary to let go of being afraid… Sounds weird, right? But at least if I hold on to fear, I know what I’m holding on to. If I let it go, I have absolutely no idea what lies on the other side. There is a lot of pain and suffering that can come with the process to get to your purpose, and who wants to go through that?
“Many people were afraid of, didn’t feel qualified for, or straight up just didn’t want to answer the call God had on their lives. In the end, though, His plan was perfect. For all of them.” — Lauren M.
My mom recalled to my memory that there were numerous people in the Bible who were chosen, but did not want the assignment God had placed on their lives because the process to get to the promise was treacherous. However, when the deed was done, the impact was so much greater than one individual could have imagined…and IT. 👏🏾 WAS. 👏🏾 WORTH. 👏🏾 IT. 👏🏾 Pairing this reminder with my promise to Stop FEARing back in 2013, gives me the extra ‘umph’ needed to allow Him to stretch me into a level of discomfort I once could not imagine.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. – Psalm 55:22
Lesson 3: Release your comparisons.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Talya P.
Social media is the devil! No seriously, the way it is utilized to make everyone seem as if they have the perfect life, even when you know that’s not a realistic viewpoint, makes it one of the most evil tools ever created in the history of technology. I love social media, though… talk about oxymoronic, huh? I do, though. I love how it keeps me connected to people I love and those I admire, but it can be daunting if not used properly.
I recently penned a blog entitled, Mama by 30, because like I said, I’m a control freak and expected to have not one, but all of my children by now. Don’t judge. I’m super traditional when it comes to family planning and aspired to be like my mother who married and had both my sister and me by the time she was 25. My mindset has progressed a lot, but at the same time, the desire to conceive has not left me. It makes it harder when every day someone is posting a pregnancy announcement or photos of their growing children. I must say I had to have a “come to Jesus” moment about seeing unwed women constantly posting baby bumps because I’m not trying to be envious and judgmental. I did need God’s grace in understanding why though. Why are some my age – whether married or not – being blessed with children? Or, even worse, why have some of my exes, who’s deeds shall not be put on blast, been blessed with having multiple children while I’m yet and still waiting?
While I understood my husband and I have a unique situation where children probably do not best fit into our equation right now, it never lightened the heaviness of disappointment I felt every month that my cycle came. However, in this particular blog, I had to call myself to the carpet and simply say, “Look, it’s just not the time. And whenever the time comes, you’ll be beyond ready.” And that goes for every little and large goal I aspire to accomplish in life. Now is the time of preparation so that when the blessings come, my arms will stretch long and wide enough to receive them. Now, I strive to be intentional about being godly proud and happy for others when I see them share amazing news, especially if it is similar in nature to something I aspire to because it simply means that if God is blessing them, He can and will do the same for me.
Lesson 4: Release your disobedience.
“Your reward is in your willingness to be obedient to the Spirit in spite of what your flesh desires.” – Kendra H.
This ties into the first three lessons. We are being spiritually disobedient when we try to go around God’s time and attempt to supersede His way of doing things. I still believe that, when I quit my job a few months back, it was God’s way of creating a way for me to leave a toxic environment. I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually drained and was dreading the process of getting up each morning to go into a negative place to do a job that I actually loved. It had gotten so bad that when I was able to leave, I publicly declared that I would never return to this field in my blog, Diary of a Transitioning Teacher. So I wasn’t just leaving that job, but any other job that remotely resembled it, even if it meant walking away from God’s will and call on my life.
When God gave me an inch, I took the whole dang mile! I spent the next 5 months looking for any job that would carry me away from the classroom – praying for something to come through, crying when it didn’t, but stubbornly refusing to apply to any school in the capacity of classroom teacher. SMH… Y’all remember I said God is funny, right. The moment I decided to give up on running was the moment I got the job I said I’d never go back to. Out of 30+ applications, this is the job that literally answered all of my prayers, except the one that requested God remove me from the position He had appointed me to.
Now as I settle into a new job that meets every need I had left deserted with my resignation, I laugh and shake my head because I have NO IDEA what God is up to, but I am learning that as long as I am obedient to His calling, the pathways He will set before me will be great.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time, He may exalt you, casting your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 2:16
Lesson 5: Release your praise.
“I stopped complaining and started praising God for what He was going to do.” – Dwan A.
The final ‘ah-ha’ moment came through another’s shared revelation. Stop being upset about what you do not have and start thanking and praising God for what is to come. During our final 2018 session of family devotion, I shared this clarifying moment with my husband and it truly set the foundation for entering the new year. We are both in stages of preparation: both in school and still new in this thing called marriage with dreams, goals and desires we would like to accomplish individually and collectively. The issue comes when we delay those accomplishments because we constantly complain about what we have been blessed with already to eventually get there. After being unemployed for months, how dare I complain about waking up to go to a job God blessed me with? Having pursued medical school for over 6 years, how can my husband groan about his course load or how much studying has to be done to pass the classes?
The same can be applied to anyone reading this that is in a season of preparation. You’re not where you want to be, but instead of complaining about it, THANK GOD for you not being where you once were or for placing you in a position where you can learn from, grow with and connect to others God may use to propel you into the next season of your life.
2019 is my year of release. So if I seem unbothered, or if you find me laughing when I should be crying, it’s because I’ve given it over to God. The strength to control everything has been completely drained and acknowledging that with God in control, only the amazing can happen, has given me so much peace. I’m walking into 2019 without a care or concern because through my obedience and dedication to my calling, it will be a year unlike any other.
May your New Year be abundantly blessed through your personal release. Amen.