Monday, July 21, 2014

Watch Your Thoughts

“Watch your thoughts. They become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions” (unknown). Until recently, I didn’t pay much attention to this quote; however, Heavenly Papa found a way to make sure that I learn this lesson. Each day, life presents an opportunity for my growth and development and I appreciate all of the moments that I am able to acknowledge, learn, and apply my lessons.

A couple of months ago, my Bestie put us on this workout regimen, nothing strenuous; we just had to run at least three miles a day.  To ensure that I got my miles in, I participated in this fitness initiative in which an organization would donate a dollar per mile to the Mt. of Olives church in Haiti’s Raise the Roof fundraiser. This all sounds awesome, right? I’m getting in shape, working on ensuring that I’m taking good care of my temple, while contributing to a greater cause..Perfect! Wrong, to be honest, my thought process was the absolute worst and it would show in my workout.

Proverbs 17:22 reminds me that “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Anyone who really knows me can attest to the fact that I detest running. If I had to choose between eating a spoonful or worms and running, (well I’d probably just run…eating things is gross, but you get my drift). So, we started this workout regimen and out of my mouth would come words like, “oh yeah, this is great. I’m about to go get these miles in!” My tone portraying that I’m extremely excited about the task at hand, but in my mind, I’m thinking, “Heavenly Papa, please let it rain so I’d have an excuse not to run today. In other words, my heart was far from joyful, and my thoughts reflected that. It was even more difficult for me to get my runs done because I focused more on how much longer I had to go. I’d be about a quarter mile into the run and about to collapse; however, with time, my endurance got better.

For instance, I was running so often that I could jog up to two miles straight and then an additional mile and a half of walking and running. During the run, you could not tell me I wasn’t Gail Devers, [although I probably looked more like Betty White (Rose from Golden Girls)]. I was in complete beast mode; however, my thoughts prior to my run were still the same. Everything in me still dreaded the idea of running. Heavenly Papa knew it.

When I went home for the 4th of July, I made a pact with myself and one of my friends that I was not going to get out of practice and that we would run together every day while I was in town. That was the game plan, until I broke a bone in my foot three hours after being home. The Dr. told me that I could not run, or bike, (heck, I could barely walk), and that I would have to be in a boot for at least six weeks. I just threw my hands up in the air and said, "Heavenly Papa…I really did it this time. I understand," and I hung my head in shame and began to think.  I haven’t run in over two weeks and this current situation has made me realize that I need to mind my thoughts.

It’s not always good to just do good things for the sake of doing them. You have to wholeheartedly believe in the reason behind your actions or you won’t be doing it to the best of your ability. This is the same when you make the choice to give your life to Christ. One can’t just say, "I believe that Jesus is the savior; I’ve been saved," and continue to live life the way it was when the person was unsaved. Negative thoughts plant negative seeds which impede the production of good fruit. This is a reason why you should be mindful of what you think and be honest in the words that you say. Your thoughts eventually become your actions and even though I was out there running, my runs could have been a lot more productive had I just encompassed a positive attitude. From now on, I’m going to do my best to “let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in [God’s] sight (Psalms 19:14). After all, I don’t need to learn all my lessons the hard way.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Show Me Your Love

1 John 4:12 states that “no one has ever seen God, but if we love one another God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” Any time that I get to go out into the world and recognize Heavenly Papa’s love is a great time for me. This past weekend was perfect. I like to think that all days are perfect because they are created by our Heavenly Papa and even though they may not turn out how I envisioned them in my mind, they each play out exactly how Heavenly Papa designed it. For that, I am grateful.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Heavenly Papa for my perfect Saturday. First, I woke up, which is always a blessing and I had the opportunity to connect with friends and family that I hold dear to my heart. Whenever Heavenly Papa creates unexpected moments of fellowship, I have to take the time to thank him for that. 

During my Saturday escapades, I was able to become one with the Father and identify Heavenly Papa’s love through nature all throughout the day. Upon stepping out of the house, the clouds opened up to let the sun shine through.  The morning sun kissed my skin as I walked along. The cool breeze whispered softly in my ears. I wandered across a field of giant sunflowers, (it was placed there just for me. Sunflowers are my favorite). The morning could not have been more magical. On top of that, I got to spend time with my Godmother who treated me to lunch and I found that I like cashew butter, yumm. All mega bonuses!!

It did not stop there, I went to pick up my laundry and our laundry guy said that we’re one of his most consistent customers. He even made a joke about me not ever picking my clothes up on time, but he would never sell them because he knows I’ll be back. When I offered him a tip, he refused and said that my smile was tip enough. After thanking him kindly and making my exit, I started to think about all the many reasons why Heavenly Papa was making my day so perfect and then it dawned on me that I was to continue to spread the joy, happiness, and love that he was showing me. I became eager and added a little bounce step in my walk as I headed back to my car. I now had a daily mission to spread joy and cheer as I continued throughout the remainder of my day.

This was achieved on many different levels. Most people think that in order to add to someone’s happiness, you have to do something elaborate and specifically tailored to that person. While this is one way of doing so, we must remember that Heavenly Papa took his time to orchestrate the earth, but even in his story of creation…the acts were all simple. He said, “Let there be light,” and there was light and the light was good. By simply speaking things into existence, they became. I decided that this was how I was going to make others happy. Some people thought I was crazy because I went on a greeting spree. I smiled at everyone that walked past me. Said hello to random strangers, and struck up several conversations that turned out to be really inspiring.

Then, I decided that I was going to reach out to some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while because catching up with good pals always makes a person happy (that one was more so for me, but it also brought great joy to my Bestie, very nostalgic moment having everyone around for her).  That one decision also opened up the opportunity to give praise and thanks to our Heavenly Papa and it made my heart rest easy to know that I’ve picked a good group of people to call my friends.

This post is just a friendly reminder that Heavenly Papa sends us out into the world every day to be its “salt and light.” He shows us he loves us constantly and expects us, "to love one another: just as [he has] loved [us]. By this all people will know that [we] are [his] disciples, if [we] have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).

Even though the world is imperfect, everything in it is perfection because it was created to be exactly what Heavenly Papa wanted it to be. My days are perfect because there is always an instant in which I can see Heavenly Papa’s love, grace, and mercy on display. There is always an opportunity for me to be someone’s bright spot. Small joys are always worth celebrating. The world is a beautiful place and we just have to take the time to notice and remember.