Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gold Stars


Whew...2006 was an interesting year for me to say the least. Let’s just say I am GLAD that it is over! Talk about drama – some self-inflicted and some stuff that just came out of nowhere. I was like, “What the hizzy is this all about?” I’m sure you’ve been there at some point in life.

But that’s not why I’m writing tonight. I’m writing tonight to tell you the BIGGEST mistake I’ve made every single year for the past five years of my life, and I have a feeling that I am not alone. That mistake is this: At the end of the year, I do some sort of assessment of my life which I have found to be a worthy exercise. However, what typically happens is that I go into the year with a specific personal goal or desire in mind, and when it doesn’t happen then my final conclusion is that the whole year was a complete disaster. In actuality it wasn’t!

A few weeks ago, it finally hit me! I was comparing how closely my current state was to my desired state. When the two didn’t align, I would say, “Dang Gina. I missed it again.” I would get so frustrated. Why? I only looked at “performance-based activities” because usually these activities tell us how well we are doing in life. And, I’m not just speaking from a career perspective. For me, it could be anything - serving in ministry, interactions with family and friends, handling my finances, dealing with temptation, loving my enemies, studying my Word, praying for others, having enough faith for healing just to name a few. The more victories I had over these things, the better off I was doing. Right? Wrong.

What was happening was that I was reducing my life (which is intended to be lived in abundance) to a bunch of “gold stars” just like I did in the first-grade. And, that’s not cute at 31. Let me take you back. Remember, when you did something good, you got a gold star. When you did something bad, you got one taken away. I remember being so proud of the fact that I always had a gazillion gold stars. I looked at that poster so many times throughout a day, hoping that Shelly Smith would never catch me and that my teacher would think I was the best thing since Google. And, boy if I lost one...I was devastated! It made all the other stars that were still lined up so beautifully by my name seem worthless. This was madness, and 20 something years later, I was still at it.

Sometimes self-reflecting (which should be rewarding to us spiritually, emotionally and physically) really turns into self-bashing that does more harm than good. As a result of focusing on “things,” I find myself going into the new year wanting to do to either, (a) Fix all the stuff I screwed up last last year so I could get more gold stars. Or, (b) Avoid making the same stupid mistakes I did last year so none of the stars I had would be taken down. Either way, my victory depended on my own decisions and actions. Too often, I have lost sight of the fact, because of Christ I’m at least on the board in the first place. And being on the board is better than not being on the board at all. That is great news!

Success in life is so much more than accomplishments and failures. Success is being content (effective) in whatever state we are in.

Now, I am ambitious, and by no means am I advocating doing absolutely nothing while believing God for something. But, I am tired of playing “Holy Ghost, Jr. (as Dr. Joyce Meyer would say), expecting God to bless (or deliver) me the way I want to blessed (or delivered) when I want to be blessed (or delivered). God could’ve delivered Jesus and not let Him go to the cross (like Jesus asked in the garden). But, Jesus didn’t let it affect who he was. He quickly said, “Not my will but yours be done.” At the same time, God could’ve blessed Jesus by setting up His holy shop right in the middle of Jerusalem and calling it a day. But, he didn’t. Jesus didn’t dwell on it either. He just walked it out (get it?) by doing His father’s business.

God isn’t our first-grade teacher who sits on the throne all day adding and taking away our gold stars. In fact, “We are saved by grace, and not by works.” We are not failures because things fail. We are not successes because things succeed. We are who God says we are. That’s it.

This year I am committed to resisting the temptation to magnify setbacks and victories - allowing them to change my entire perspective of who God says I am. Instead I am going to magnify Him. I am believing that every day is a new day to write a beautiful new page of my life. I am resting in the joy I had when I first received Christ as my savior. My purpose manifests everyday that I wake up. I am not going to stress over the “show stopper” blessing. If you are believing God for something (a husband, restoration of a relationship, healing, children, financial breakthrough, a business), “be still and know that He is God” and that “the plans of the diligent surely lead to plenty.”

Have a great year!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Check this out...

Fat Greedy..May he rest in peace

For those who started with me, do you remember Fat Greedy? Well, I haven't seen him in a while. Like, an entire year. BUT I did see his little sidekick last night. So, I think Fat Greedy must have died. That's really sad to me. I mean, I didn't like the cat, but I didn't wish any harm to him. I do miss him lounging around the neighborhood. Just not on the roof of my car.

I hope you all have a great week! Find something today OR tomorrow to laugh about. I tried to do a cartwheel the other week (just for fun) and about broke my neck. Now THAT was a funny sight!!!! I thought I still had some tumbling skills left over from my youth.

Guess not!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In case you missed it...

My friend told me that he saw this on Montel. There's an interesting documentary out about racism in America. A movie looks like it might be on the way. I'll keep you guys posted.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I miss Whitney...

I was listening to the radio driving home and The Bodyguard song came on. As I was driving, I was beginning to think, "Wow! This is a shame. We have truly lost, in my opinion, the most beautiful voice ever." Whitney could blow!! She was in a class of her own. No one has been able to sing like her. I am praying for her because she needs to make a come back for real.

Kidd Grown

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Gas prices...

I cannot, absolutely cannot stand it when I think I've found a really good gas price and fill up my tank. Then, I drive about 5 more miles and find some gas for 5-20 cents less. For some reason, this is irritating. More irritating than a fly buzzing around you while you're trying to eat.

I mean, am I the only one who is amazed at how price sensitive I am to gas prices. I mean, I really trip over 5 cents. I vote that we shold be able to lock in on a fixed-rate gas price (if you prepay) for up to 6 months.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

I love Superman!

This movie was so good!!! I almost cried when I thought Superman was going to die. But seriously, these superheros will have you believing that they are real. I was amazed at how much this Superman resembled Christopher Reeves. Anyway, cool movie. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Finally…I Got a Lunch Box

God is so funny! I’ll bet He just looks at us some times and smiles. This past week, he blessed me in the most humorous ways ever! I thought that I’d share it with you in case you’re wondering. “Excuse me, but where’s my blessing?”
Now if you recall, I told you a story in a posting last year about how I always wanted a lunch box as a kid. Because I was bused to the predominately white school, I naturally wanted to fit in – that meant having a lunchbox  (thermos included) with a character on it (i.e. Star Wars, Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake, etc.). I don’t know what it was about a lunchbox, but really, really, really wanted one.
Well, guess what? Last week, I finally got a lunchbox! I was so thrilled! I know you think I’m crazy, but seriously. Now, I’m not thrilled because I actually “still” want a lunch box, but it was more or less a reminder that God hasn’t forgotten about me. Let me help you understand.
You already know that God works in seasons. I can tell you that the past two years of my life have been the roughest season EVER, especially the past six months. I’m talking about I was really beginning to question some basic fundamentals like, “Am I real? Let me pinch myself.” Okay, please don’t act brand new. When life really stomps your pinkie toe, your mind surely can come up with some stuff.
I felt so far away from God, even though I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing - studying my word, praising, worshiping, serving. I felt like I was living in one of those dreams when you’re walking in pitch-black nothingness yelling, “Hello. Where are you God? You said that you would never leave me. I know that you’re here. I trust you, but please don’t hide from me.” All you can hear is the echo of your own voice. Are you feeling me? It got so bad that the enemy wanted me to curse God. But, no sir! Real country right here, “I ain’t gon’ be able to do it!” God is faithful!
You see - a former co-worker/friend of mine has had my graduation gift since December. Anyway, I finally went to get it last week. I must have acted a fool in my car when I pulled that lunchbox out of that bag. It had Snoopy and Charlie Brown on it. And, I love me some Snoopy. Like, he is the coolest dog ever, right? What other dog do you know can ice-skate and cook Thanksgiving dinner? But I digress.
I totally went into little kid mode, smiling and screaming. My friend was just laughing at me. I admit that my reaction was a bit overly dramatic. At that moment, my faith was more childlike than it had been in a VERY long time  More than 20 years later, one of the desires of my heart was fulfilled. I had forgotten all about my childhood wish. Just like some times we forget all about prayer requests we’ve petitioned before God years ago.
My point is this: I could’ve picked up that gift way back in December, but on that particular day I went to get it. At my lowest season, God gave me the smallest reminder of His faithfulness. All I had to do was receive it like a child. My friend, he hasn’t forgotten you either. I encourage you to accept the smallest gift from God today with childlike faith.
When it seems like God has placed your requests on the back burner, just remember that prayers are boomeranging back to you right now! They may not get answered tomorrow, or next week, or even next year. But, don’t lose hope. Your seed will sprout in due season.
You might not get this awkward praise report, but get this - God promised to be with you forever. And friend - forever is a mighty long time.
    “I gotta lunchbox!”
    “I gotta lunchbox!”
 Dancing and singing,