Let It Go

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

― C.S. Lewis

                 This past week, I began reading a devotional about forgiveness. The author was explaining how so many people had hurt her in her past and it took her many years to realize that she was holding all of that hurt and bitterness inside of her. When she finally took time to forgive those who had hurt her, no matter how unforgivable she thought it was, she felt the bitterness and sadness leave her immediately. As I was reading this, it reminded me that I have even the hardest time forgiving someone when I feel that they have said something or done something towards me that was hurtful. However, as I read the quote above, it really hit me that if God can forgive us for every last wrong we have ever done, no matter how many times we have done it or how terrible it may seem, then I should truly be able to forgive someone else.  During this moment of reflection, I realized that many scriptures in the bible deal with this subject, with one sticking with me the most:

“Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -Luke 17:4

                Basically, this scripture is saying no matter how many times a person does you wrong in a day, if they ask for forgiveness, then you have to forgive them. It seems that now and days, instead of forgiving someone, which I admit can be quite hard at times, it is much easier for people to just want to get even without addressing the issue at hand. Although getting even might bring just a little satisfaction, in the end, there is still a sense of hurt and bitterness left inside. In order to continue to grow as a person, we must be willing to forgive even what we think is unforgivable, even if it’s forgiving ourselves or our enemies.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

       ― Steve Maraboli

                By holding a grudge and not forgiving someone, you are hurting yourself not only emotionally but also physically. Research shows that holding a grudge for such a long period of time may eventually lead to depression or anxiousness as well as losing valuable and enriching connectedness with others. (www.mayoclinic.com). Whatever hurt you are feeling or grudge you find yourself holding, let it go! Just like the quote says above, by continuing to reflect on the situation and those involved, you are stalling yourself from moving forward.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

     ― Lewis B. Smedes

Although, it may be hard to get into the habit of forgiving people, just as the devotional said, we must continue to pray and ask God to give us a spirit of forgiveness so that whenever someone wrongs us, it comes as second-nature. When you are able to let go of the bitterness and hurt that someone has caused you, you will finally be able to move on so that you can continue to make dreams manifest for you. The quote below sums up forgiveness perfectly:

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

   ― Martin Luther King Jr.

He Keeps on Blessing Me

Over the past few weeks, I found myself worrying and debating what I would be doing during the summer. I didn’t know if I was going to go home and try to work while doing an online class or stay here in CoMo and try to work here. I realized that I was worrying and that I wasn’t keeping Philippians 4:6-7 in mind: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  So, instead of worrying, I decided to pray and just wait and see what God had in store for me. I’m glad I did!

As I was riding home from church one Sunday with my friend LySaundra, she mentioned that she saw my Facebook post from the night before, asking if anyone knew about any potential jobs for the summer. She went on to say that her current employer was looking for another assistant since she would be graduating in the next couple of weeks. I told her that I would be more than interested but if I was to get the job, the only thing I would need was a place to stay during the summer.  LySaundra then proceeded to tell me that her roommate would be subleasing during the summer after she left, and if I wanted, I could just sublease from her! All I could do was thank God, because He knew exactly how to fit the pieces together so everything would work in case I got the job!

“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”

― C.S. Lewis

Upon her telling me about the job, I applied and got an interview on last Wednesday, May 1.  I felt that the whole interview process went well and if that was God’s plan for me, then He would see fit that I got the job. Like my dad said: if you are going to worry, don’t pray and if you are going to pray, don’t worry.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

― Aristotle

       Well, this past week, I found out that I got the job! I was so grateful that everything worked out! On top of that, LySaundra’s employer said that not only would I be able to work during the summer but also during the 2013-2014 school year. So, I had the job and I had a place to live during the summer too! Then, I remembered that the lease at the place I was staying was over July 25! How was I going to continue working if I didn’t have a place to stay? So, just like the whole situation with whether or not I should stay in CoMo or go home, I decided to let God have his way, and He did. I got a text out of the blue from LySaundra and she told me that her roommate was moving into a new place and that her other roommate wouldn’t be moving in until September, so I could just stay at the new place until classes started! I realized that even when I couldn’t see how everything was going to work, God was continually working behind the scenes on my behalf.

“God doesn’t bless us just to make us happy; He blesses us to make us a blessing.”

― Warren W. Wiersbe

So, my plans for the summer are complete. I’ll be staying in Columbia and working five days a week and subleasing from LySaundra. I’ll also have the chance to chill with my friends, as well as start my online class in July. Just as I came into my freshman year open to all of the possibilities and opportunities that would come my way, I am doing the same as I prepare for the summer.

I’ve had many ups and downs throughout this year, but through each of them, I’ve grown either personally, spiritually, or both. I hope to continue to use the lessons I’ve learned as I continue my college career. Through it all, I will keep asking God to guide my steps so that He will continue to make dreams manifest for me.

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.”

― Mother Teresa

You Were Here

This is a great song to remember when you are on the path to making your dreams manifest. You want to make sure that your dreams leave a legacy that make people remember who you were and the kind of impact that you had on their life. You want them to know that you were here!

“I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

-Mary Oliver

 

Growing through Change

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

                As I begin to prepare for the final stretch of the semester, I can’t help but look back at my first year at Mizzou. I’ve realized that this quote seems to fit my first year the best. I’ve realized that some friends, or those that I considered friends at the beginning of the year, have had to be cut out from my social circle. I realized that in order for me to continue to reach my full potential during my time here, I have had to continue to surround myself with people who will continue to encourage me. I realized that I needed a group of people who I could rely on, who were there for me through thick and thin, and who were always honest, not telling me just what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. After cutting off certain people from my social circle and realizing that these so-called friends weren’t really my friends, I saw myself grow in many areas. Two areas that I’ve seen growth during my first year is in my personal life as well as my spiritual life. I’ve realized that in order for me to reach this place and experience growth, I had to embrace change.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

― Leo Tolstoy

                This quote makes so much sense. How can I hope to bring change to my surroundings if I don’t think about changing myself? I realize that there are many characteristics that I have that could use improvement in order to change myself for the better before trying to implement change in my surroundings. I know one thing that I am trying to change in order to make myself better is my stubborn personality. I know that I have to become more open to the opinions and advice of others instead of being set on my way being the only way. Another aspect that I’ve realized that I must continue to change is to continue to not be afraid to go against the norm. I have to continue to keep in mind that no matter how I’m judged by those around me, the only person I have to fear is God. I must continue to seek and ask God to guide my footsteps in all of the decisions that come my way. By making these small changes, I then hope to take steps to help implement change on my campus, community, or whatever other area that I find myself involved with.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

― Eckhart Tolle

                Another area that I found myself change and grow during my year here is spiritually. During a time where I felt that everything was crashing around me, I couldn’t understand why these things were happening. In the end, I realized that God was putting me through these trials so I could understand that when I am at my lowest point and no one is around, I only have Him to turn to. During this time, I realized that the only person who I could truly rely on was God. I knew that no matter how much I felt that I messed up or had let Him down, He was always going to be there. When I was at my lowest point and needed someone to just listen to me and be there to comfort me, He was always willing to listen. When I think of my relationship with God and how it relates to me, I almost see Him as being a grandfather figure that I can run to about any and everything. I know that He will be there to listen, comfort, and advise me about any situation that I may be facing. Through these situations I realized the only person I truly needed and who I could rely on was God. I also continue to improve spiritually by being a part of the Impact movement, a Christian organization on my campus as well as the Legion of Black Collegians (LBC) Gospel Choir; through my year with these organizations, I have continued to see growth. By attending weekly bible studies and choir rehearsals, I am constantly encouraged and uplifted by those within that community.  I’ve found people who can help keep me accountable and on the right track spiritually. By going through these changes, I have seen serious growth in my spiritual life.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

― Lao Tzu

                So, as I continue to reflect on my first year here, I have realized change, good or bad, is unavoidable. Some of these changes may not seem to have any significance or make sense when they first happen, but in the end, they happen for a reason. Some people may have to be cut off or we may have to do some personal or spiritual growth in order to change for the better.  In the end, you and I will have to go through change, good or bad, in order to make dreams manifest. In the midst of these changes we have to continue to trust God and know that He has our best interests in mind.

Order my Steps

For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

As I begin to reflect on what I hope to do and achieve within the next three years at Mizzou, I realize that I truly don’t have a clear definition, it’s not black or white, but instead a shaded area of grey. I have begun to piece together what I really hope to achieve through my major in journalism, but it’s hard for me to know exactly what steps I need to take in order to get to the finish line.  I realize that I need something that will tell me exactly whether I should stay or go, move left or right in whatever decisions I make. I have been praying to God, especially during these last few weeks before summer vacation, to give me that something. That something is wisdom.

Wisdom: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.

I have found myself calling out to God and asking Him to give me wisdom on choices that I will have to make over the next coming weeks and during my summer home and to show me just exactly what He wants me to do. For example, this past week, I found out that I did not get the Emma Bowen Internship, which was good for all four summers during my college career. Thus, I realized that what I hoped would be my summer, would be no more. However, I realized that I wasn’t discouraged or even upset.

I felt that by me not receiving this internship was God’s way of telling and showing me that He has something better in store for me. I felt that although I didn’t get this wonderful opportunity, it was God giving me the chance to really work on my blog and skills as a journalist during the summer as well as continue my volunteer work in my community. I know that my heart really belongs to writing about others who have or are in the works of making their dreams manifest, as well as volunteering with the different organizations and my church in my community. I am continually asking God to give me wisdom as to go about promoting my work and really developing my journalism skill as well as showing me what He feels is my true purpose in this life that He gave me.

In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. (Proverbs 24:14)

I know that through wisdom and letting God take the wheel with anything and everything in my life, God will lead me to make the right choices, even when they don’t seem like the right ones at the moment. So right now, I am going to continue to focus on ending my first year strong at Mizzou and will continue to seek out God and the wisdom that He has. You and I must know that once we gain this wisdom, we won’t ever have to worry about the choices we make and the outcome because we know that He will never lead us down the wrong path. He will always be there guiding our every step in order to make dreams manifest for us.

Growing through Songs

Walk into the Gaines-Oldham Black Culture center any given Tuesday at 6:15 pm, you will more than likely hear the Legion of Black Collegians (LBC) Gospel Choir rehearsing for an upcoming event or concert.

Meghan Barrett, a senior Health Sciences major has been with the group since her freshman year. She is currently on the Executive Board and is one of the two choir directors. She says she was motivated to join the choir because she enjoyed singing and never really had the opportunity to do it in high school. She also decided to join because she knew many other people who were a part of the organization as well.

During her four years with the choir. She says she has seen herself grow as a director. During her first year as a director, she remembers that she was timid and lack self-confidence in her directing. However, the second time around, she says she has no problem singing in front of others and has gained much confidence in her directing since her first time.

When asked where she hopes to see the choir in the coming months, she said, “I hope to see growth in numbers as well as spiritual growth and that people will continue to have fun.”

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