Ezekiel 37: 1-14 provides details about Ezekiel’s valley experience. He is in a valley surrounded by old, dead, dry bones. Amid this valley experience, God speaks and asks Ezekiel can the bones live? Instead of Ezekiel providing a definitive answer, Ezekiel replies, God you know! God infinite wisdom knows all things. We must be like Ezekiel and recognize the all-knowing characteristic of God. God then instructs Ezekiel to speak to the bones – speak life to the thing that has no life. Proverbs 18:21 states that life and death are in the power of the tongue. So as Ezekiel begins to speak life, he was able to see a shift in the bones, they begin to come together, and skin begins to appear, but they still had no life. God instructs Ezekiel to speak again and then Ezekiel was able to experience God breathe the wind of life into the bones.
This is such a powerful experience as it shows us the power that God provides to us all, the ability to speak life in dead situations. We are in perilous times; however, God is still in the midst of it all, whispering to us to continue to speak Life. No matter what it looks like, we must continue to speak life. So, when negative news enters our space, we must turn it around, find something positive to speak. We must counter the negative with positive.
Father God, thank you for breathing fresh life into me today. Thank you for the blessing that is on my life to hear you whispering to me to speak life over my brothers and sisters. As we go through times of national emergency help us to remember that You are still on the throne, You have the world in your hands, and You are covering us. God, we pray for those experiencing COVID-19 and we pray that those around these individuals will continue to speak life directly to them. As they are alone and without their loved ones, let them know that there are people all over rooting for them to recover for this condition. God, help all of them to continue to remain positive about their outcome despite how they are feeling now. Help them understand that You, God, can change their situation. And when they can no longer speak for themselves, help us, as the body of Christ speak life over our brothers. 2 Peter 3:9 states, “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Thank you, Lord, that you do not glory in us perishing but desire for us to prevail. Give us the strength to prevail, In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Today, I noticed an unusual number of people on the roadway making U-turns. It was enough for me to reflect on the need for a U-turn. Often the person making the U-turn has passed their intentional location, saw someone they knew and wanted to talk to them and or they just needed to change their direction. In thinking about the purpose of a U-turn, they may be necessary on the path of life. Sometimes, we are just going in the wrong direction and need to change our course. It is at this moment that you realize that the direction in which you are traveling is not the one that you would like to continue. Therefore, it is ok to change the direction that you are traveling.
I work with college students, and often these students select a major and then decide halfway through their degree matriculation that they no longer want or desire to engage in the course of study they are currently pursuing. Thus, I often must share words of wisdom to assist in the decision-making process. It is important that these students understand that they should follow their heart. However, there are some things they need to consider before making that commitment to change their major. They must count the cost of the decision they are making. What are the requirements of the new major? How much additional time and tuition will be necessary for the switch? Is the major they are switching to worth the financial investment they will make? Is a degree even required to do what it is that they would like to do? If the costs of making the U-turn are too high, I advise them to remain on the course for now and provide an alternate route. However, if the requirements are within the scope of that can transition, and not burdened by this decision, then my suggestion is to make a U-turn around and travel in a different direction. If the sum of the possibilities is greater than that in which you are leaving, then make a U-turn. Let me be clear, when I say sum, I am not necessarily referring to a monetary value but about fulfilling your life’s purpose, the pursuit of your happiness.
You cannot put a price tag on your happiness. However, you do not want to be burdened by the cost either. Your desire is to be free to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So, you may have to take an unconventional path to get to where you were trying to go. For instance, instead of school to gain skills in an area, you may choose to shadow others that are doing what you desire to do. In gaining experience, you will sometimes have to offer your services for free. (Yes, I said free but consider the number of skills you will gain by getting the necessary practice.) Rendering your services for free may be your starting point, but it is not where you will end. If you find yourself traveling in the wrong direction, do not keep going, turn around at the nearest exit. Take a moment to adjust and decide on where you need to go to accomplish your dreams. Remember, I am on the journey with you, so follow your heart and live your dreams.
Recently, during a flight for business, the plane became very cold. I was freezing. I wore a shirt and a sweater. However, if able to, I would have put on heavier clothing and a blanket. Once we landed at the destination, many people began turning on the overhead fans to keep cool because the changes in the temperature had become noticeable. Whereas, while in the air, we were freezing, once we were on the ground it was over 80 degrees. The flight crew apologized and immediately turned the air conditioning up until we could depart from the plane.
The whole experience allowed me to understand something about life; we must learn to rise above the heat. During the flight, the temperature had not changed on the ground; we were just flying above the heat. The altitude in which we were traveling, that elevated space, was a place of coolness.
In dealing with the pressures of life, we must rise above our situations and our circumstances and get to a place of peace. A place that will allow us to view the situation from a different perspective that will allow us to see the full scope of what is going on. This different outlook will allow us the ability to view the situation from a place, which may help us to determine exactly how we should maneuver through the challenges we are facing. A different perspective often allows us to solve whatever problem that we are encountering. When we are in the situation, we are only able to see what is around us, but once elevated we can see the bigger picture and identify what is going on. Once we rise above the heat and get to a place of elevation, we have a vantage point that will strengthen our insight.
So, I encourage you to rise above the heat and pressure of your current situation to move to a place of elevation to be able to deal with the situation and not be overtaken by the situation. I want you to walk into your best life. Move fervently to that place focusing not on the problem but on the solutions necessary to change your situation. It may not be easy, but it is well worth it and necessary for you to grow. You are on your way to living your best life, right now. Go higher so that you can move forward.
One of my favorite shows on television right now is OWN’s Fix Your Life featuring Iyanla Vanzant. This show focuses on people that have issues that affect them moving forward in their lives or obstructing their peace. Ms. Vanzant provides insight on how to overcome the issues the people are facing. At the beginning of each episode, there is an introduction where Ms. Vanzant speaks about having to do the work to put her broken life back together again. This statement about having to do the “work” is a powerful statement because to fix anything; someone has to work. There is no getting around taking the necessary steps to bring organization to the disorganization of life. And more often than not, we know how to make our situations better; however, we just avoid the process because of difficulties we perceive we will encounter.
Maybe you must forgive someone for past discretions. Take the necessary steps to do this. Often forgiveness has little to do with the person you are trying to forgive but everything to do with you internally. So, if forgiveness is the obstacle that is keeping you from fixing your life, then forgive. I am not saying that this is easy, in fact, it will be difficult. However, to free yourself, you must forgive others. Make up in your mind that you have already forgiven the person who has wronged you. Then work toward forgiving that person daily. Follow these steps until you can see the person and are no longer offended by their past actions.
Maybe to fix your life, you need to gain additional knowledge to pursue your goals. If this is the case, then research various educational options. Take an online course. Find someone that is already doing what you desire to do and ask them what steps did they take to get there. Furthermore, request that the person become your mentor so that you will have the assistance needed to navigate unchartered waters.
Or just maybe, you have some sort of addiction, and you need to tackle this so that you can fix your life. My advice, my friend, is not to try to do it alone. Develop a support group that enlists friends, family, and professionals that can provide you the resources and supports you need to become addiction free. Make sure you acknowledge small steps because those steps can have a significant impact. Remember, overcoming addiction is not easy but so worth it!
Whatever it takes to fix your life; you must do the work. The benefits outweigh the process. A wise person once said, “Anything worth having is worth working for.” Your goals, dreams, and peace of mind are worth having. Therefore, do the work! Do what it takes to put the damaged areas of your life back together. I know you can do it and when you do, don’t forget to share your story. Your words may help someone else take the steps they need to fix their life.
I serve as the caregiver for my mother who suffered a stroke a few years ago. As a result of this illness, her left side remains weak. One morning, as we were preparing for our day, she called me into her bedroom. As I entered her room, I find her sitting on the floor. She had slid from the edge of her bed onto the floor and was unable to get up. We were the only ones in the house, so I did not have any help in getting her off the floor.
After several unsuccessful attempts, I realized that she, indeed, had the strength to get herself off the floor. So instead of me trying to become a powerlifter, I became her coach. I placed a chair on her right side, and I was on her left side. I told her to “Plant your feet and PUSH! Push with everything you got in you!” Her first attempt was unsuccessful, however, when at first you don’t succeed, try again. During her second attempt, she pushed herself up so high that she was higher than the seat of the chair. Therefore, all I had to do was pull the chair under her, so that she could sit down.
Sometimes we don’t realize that we have everything within us that we need to do those things that we desire to do. We sit back and talk ourselves out of our visions, hopes, and dreams. STOP it! Some of us try, but after several unsuccessful attempts, we give up. After my mother’s ordeal was over, she was a little out of breath, but I could see on her face, the personal accomplishment she felt. When you are exhausted from several attempts, give it another try. You can do it; you have everything in you that you need to succeed.
Therefore, PLANT YOUR FEET AND PUSH! Push with everything you have in you! Push out the business ventures, the new investments, the promotions…and remember to share your successes with me because I know you will be able to do anything that you set your mind to do.
As many of you are making your resolutions for the year, decide each day to live your life to the fullest. Set goals that will allow you to capture the moments, to walk in your truth, and to be better than you were the day before. You owe it to yourself to be the best you possible.
When my son was in high school, he participated on the track team. During the season, he would spend a few hours each day practicing and conditioning for track meets. This time was helping him to hone his skills by learning correct techniques, proper form, and regulations for competition. However, these sessions taught him the importance developing himself. I would often ask about how the practices were going, and he would reply that they were good. But some days, he would state, “I set a PR today.” Initially, when I heard him say it, I questioned the meaning of PR. He told me that PR stood for a personal record. In preparing for competition, his coaches and trainers taught him that the goal was not to win every race. The goal was to develop himself to do his personal best.
I share this lesson with you today because the goal is not for you to win every competition. Your goal to do your best daily. Stop looking at the accomplishments of others and making comparisons to where you are or are not. Look within and resolve to do your best daily to set your personal records. Learn the things that you need to hone your skills. Take small steps daily to get you to where you would like to be. Remember, the objective is not about you competing with anyone but about determining to be better than you were the day before. You will have those days when you set personal records, when you do, remember to give yourself a pat on your back. You will also have those days when you don’t do as well, shake it off and try a little harder. Identify your mistakes, learn from them and keep it moving.
So my thought to you today is let’s go into this new year, striving to do your personal best daily. Run the race at your pace, establishing milestones that will allow you to push harder and farther than the day before. Remember to share your accomplishments, so that we can celebrate with you. No matter what you do, resolve to live and be the best you possible.
There comes a time when you are working on your goals, that you will come to a point where you can not see the results of your efforts. You have worked and worked but to no avail. It is inevitable that on your journey, you will hit a brick wall that stops you or appears to stop you in your tracks. As you try to continue, at every turn, you are halted in your tracks. You try something different, it does not work as you had hoped. My friend, this is not the time to throw in the towel. This is not the time to quit. This is the time dig in your heels and go deeper.
Remove every distraction and press in harder to accomplish that goal. During this process, frustration abounds because in every instance you are already working hard, you are already pressing in, you are already giving your all. But what you should realize, at that very moment, is that you are closer to that goal than ever before. So dig deeper within yourself, stay focused, and push with everything in you until you see your goal come to pass.
Everything you need to accomplish what you desire is already within you, now go get it!
When traumatic events occur in your life, you often try to suppress your feelings and emotions to continue on with the normal routine of your life. You begin to throw yourself into work or other tasks, as to not focus on the hurt. Before you are able to realize that you are not living up to your fullest potential, years have passed you by. These events have a way of resurfacing through bad attitudes, mean spirits, depression, or just an overall sullen mood. In order to move forward, you must revisit that period of time, that sad or bad place, the emotions, and the events, to begin to heal from them.
This is not an easy process but the overall goal is to move past your trauma to begin to live again. It took me years to talk about being a survivor of domestic violence. However, there is a freedom that comes with being able to discuss the hurt that came from the hands of someone that is suppose to love and cherish you. You are not what has happened to you but who you become as a result of it: I am a survivor!
It is time to free yourself from past hurts, past traumas, past abandonment so that you can live in this moment and enjoy the things around you. Allow yourself the freedom to revisit the past so that you will also be free to let it go. Release the fear, shame, or hurt that is associated with the events. If the process becomes too intense or overwhelming, please seek out assistance. You don’t have to go through it alone. There are licensed professionals that are trained to ensure that you will come through this process better than you began it. Seek out family and friends for support and encouragement. As Iyanla would say, “It’s time to do the work.”