Even though my birthday is in May, I have a special place in my heart for the month of June, because it represents the halfway mark. It is the sixth month of the year and causes a time for reflection. Earlier this month, I reflected back on the past six months and wrote down the things I’ve accomplished, the things I’ve learned, and the things I have yet to accomplish. The first half of the year has been rewarding in some areas, but there are still so many things that I would like to achieve.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19).”
Even though I have yet to accomplish some of the things that are on my vision board, this month God has been putting the word “new” in my spirit.
As I read this scripture over and over, I don’t think of ‘new’ as in material things, but more so a new spirit. Getting rid of the old and living in the new. Walking more into what God has called me to do.
I was lying in bed one morning getting ready to read my Bible, and the Lord put in my spirit to read the story of Saul and his experience on the road to Damascus (read Acts chapter 9 for reference). Saul’s conversion is one of my favorite stories in the Bible because it’s incredible to me how a man can go from persecuting God’s people, to leading people to follow Christ. I always say that if God can use Saul (later only referred to as Paul), then He can use ANYBODY!
Saul was persecuting believers that followed Jesus. As you can imagine, the people were afraid of him. So how crazy it must have been to see the man that you once was afraid of, now telling you about Christ. But only Jesus could do that transformation in Saul. Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). As you further read, you’ll find out in that chapter that Saul gave his life to Christ and was baptized.
“And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
Saul was a new man. So much of a new man that he later went by the name Paul. While reading, God reminded me of a conversation I had with a coworker a few weeks ago. In this conversation, my coworker had just won “Employee of the Month” and I was joking around with him asking how he won the title when he hasn’t been working that long.
“I’ve been working here for over a year and no one has ever recognized me”, I said jokingly.
My coworker replied, “Well have you tried being nice to people? Have you tried to have a relationship with managers and customers? It doesn’t hurt to simply say hello to people when you walk past them. I know it’s difficult to work here but if you practice just saying hello, I promise your day will go by a lot quicker.”
Whew. He read me that day.
I couldn’t even get upset because I knew my attitude needed to change and how I thought about my job. God has a unique way of telling you to get your act together.
As I was remembering this conversation while reading my word, I felt God telling me that in order for me to get the new things, I need to have a new spirit. How can I want the things I’ve prayed for to come to past, but have a bad attitude at work? How can I pray and ask God for another job, when I barely speak to customers when they’ve done nothing to me. I know that disappoints God.
Just like Saul decided to get his self together and live life God’s way, we have to do that. You could be the most saved out of your family and friends, but we must self-reflect from time to time. What toxic traits do we have? How can our attitudes be adjusted? How can we be better friends? Better Christians?
Is it still hard for me to walk into work sometimes? Most definitely. But in that I can say I have been working hard to do better. I started smiling more, speaking to people more and overall just being around to help others. My coworker was right. it does make the day go by quicker.
My prayer this week for you is to self-reflect. The old man in us has to die in order for us to be created new in Him. What more does God want from you? What is He saying for you to do? Ask yourself these questions this week and pray that He reveals it to you.
On Memorial Day weekend, I went to visit my family back home in Jacksonville, FL. It was a wonderful trip filled with love, laughter, theme parks and quality time. On that Sunday, my mom had to minister in song in Palatka, FL for their Blue Crab Festival. I decided to ride along to support her. Palatka is about 45 minutes away from Jacksonville, so it’s a pretty decent ride to sneak a nap in since it was so early in the morning. My mom had an idea of how to get there, but we had the GPS on our phones just in case. We weren’t in the car for a full five minutes before my mom told me to type the address in the GPS.
As we were driving getting ready to get on the express way, the GPS was taking us another route that was not too familiar with my mom. She said, “I don’t know why it’s taking us this way when Palatka is on I-95”. So instead of following where the GPS was taking us, she decided to take her own route. I laughed because I knew how this was going to end up. I knew we were going to eventually get lost and need the GPS to reroute us.
We indeed got lost.
When we got to I-95, the GPS rerouted us again. This was the third time by this point. I said, “Mom, we are going to be late if it continues to reroute us. Let’s just follow what the GPS is telling us to do.” She finally agreed with me.
Once we finally decided to obey where the GPS was telling us to go, a word from God hit me and made me ask a question.
How many times do we as believers think we have it all together and know the way to take when God is trying to tell us to go another route? Or maybe we know what God is telling us to do or understand the vision He has for us, but think we don’t need any help to get there.
I started to reflect on my own life during the rest of the drive to Palatka. Sometimes we make it harder on ourselves during our journey when we don’t listen. Sometimes we go through unnecessary troubles and hardships to reach a destination when God already made it a smooth journey from the beginning! Why do we do this? We think we know what to do without seeking God first and in the end it makes it harder for us!
Oh but we serve a God that will still reroute us when we mess up and try to do it on our own! When my mom and I finally decided to follow the GPS, the time took longer for us to get to Palatka. What could’ve been a 45 minute trip, took us over an hour to get there. If you know me personally, you know I HATE BEING LATE! It is my biggest pet peeve in life. But once we got to our destination, God spoke to me. God is so merciful that even when we do think we can do a task without Him, He still shows us grace when we decide to give it all to Him! It will take us longer to get there since we weren’t obedient to Him the first time, but we will still get there!
Trust me, I’ve been there before when I’ve rushed God and thought I could do it all on my own and ended up having to surrender it all to Him. I thank God for not giving up on me during those times when I was trying to go my own way. He won’t give up on you either! If you are currently trying to do your own thing and go your own way without God’s help then you need to stop, repent and ask for forgiveness. It’s never too late! He will reroute you to the right direction and you will reach your destination. God is a great God! You may get rerouted, but don’t take it as a punishment. Learn some things while you’re being rerouted.