Daily Devotion: Shake it off/Take off your weights, run the race!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Think of the people in your life. Are there people who you consistently work hard to help, teach, heal, console, etc.? Now imagine that you’re running a race with all of them on your back. That would make it impossible to win, right?

The race is your journey to success and self-actualization. Do not let anyone slow you down or replace you at the finish line. Do not try to drag them behind you or carry them across the line–even if you finish, you’ll suffer too many injuries and be too exhausted to even enjoy that you finished the race, let alone the disappointment of running so hard to end up not winning.

Take off your weights! Run the race! The most valuable people in your life or who you haven’t met yet, will be ready to run alongside you on their own two legs, or to sit in the bleachers cheering you on relentlessly.


just take space

they will find other sources, hopefully
within
stay away from those that need you

to fill a void or
validate or facilitate
things that they should be able
to do themselves

love them anyway
though they keep distorting you
into that old role
they don’t mean to

stop allowing it
you have too much to lose

Daily Devotion: Shake it Off/Influence

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm

Proverbs 13:20

What is a fool? We all make silly mistakes, but a fool is one who is unchanging, a person who does not learn from their mistakes. It’s important to identify foolishness in others, and stay away from them, as their mistakes or consistent thoughtless actions will eventually burden your life or distract you as well.

I didn’t always think that way, I’m sure many of us always strive to pull up our friends and family members and impart wisdom on them as we learn it. In college, I had a roommate who was truly foolish. I denied it, and worked hard to help her through her self-imposed struggles, especially since we were just in our early twenties. After 5 years or so, I was growing tired of this dynamic, but she moved away so I figured I was finally off the hook. In all honesty, I was struggling to pay my student loans at the time and resorted to dodging the constant bill collector calls I had started receiving. Finally, after months of being harassed by these calls, panic attacks about my finances, and feeling like I would never be able to resolve my outstanding loans, I decided to answer one of the calls. Low and behold, the bill collector asked for my roommate, by her full name. It dawned on me that all of my woes of the last few months (some self-imposed by my own anxiety) was all a result of the irresponsible nature of my ex-roommate, and her sharing my personal information with lenders.

Luckily, the calls stopped after I set things straight with the company, but it showed me that I needed to back away from her.  When I confronted her about it, she made excuses and played the victim instead of apologizing for involving me in her financial troubles. I thought to myself, “sure, it was just a phone call every day for three months, but if I’m being chased by her bill collectors, what else may happen if I stay around?”

Take a serious look at the people around you. Their issues and demons will jump off onto you the longer you stick around them. It’s okay to back away for your peace of mind.


relinquish

love them, don’t enable
that’s more helpful

say less, be unavailable,
pray for them

let Him intervene

Daily Devotion: Shake it Off/Pruning

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:2 NIV

What is pruning? The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that pruning means cutting off or cutting back parts of a plant for better shape or more fruitful growth. We are all God’s creation, and He tends to us with the same meticulous care of a passionate gardener. By snipping away the dead pieces in our lives and our worst habits, He shows us how to grow into the shape that He originally formed us in.

Think of it this way; a tree that is still sharing its nutrients and resources with its dead branches cannot grow to its greatest height or health since the growth has to be parsed into parts of itself that cannot even grow.  The same goes for us, if we spend all of our time pouring into our dead branches (toxic relationships, the wrong career, self-sabotaging habits, etc.) we starve the healthy limbs, eventually becoming completely barren. It hurts to be pruned–to have parts of yourself and your world cutaway, but rejoice in knowing that this moment of pain only makes way for new healthy, fruit-bearing branches.

For this week’s meditations, I’ll be featuring poems from my ebook, genesis!


when God
is ready to prune you
there’s no stopping it

you gotta hand Him those clippings
don’t hold on

that someone or something
will rot

no matter what you do

Daily Devotion: Motivation/Qualified

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which god prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Do you feel underqualified for the calling on your life? Do you feel like you need a degree, more money, more connections to start achieving your goals? For a long time, I avoided sharing my writing because I felt like no one would take me seriously or benefit from it. I thought I needed to be perfect in everything already, which is not true! God chose imperfect, regular people to do his work. He qualified them for the job He needed them to do. Look at all of the major figures in the Bible. Not a single one of them, besides Jesus, was perfect, extraordinary or even talented.

The Bible isn’t just about rules and spiritual enlightenment, it’s a blueprint for how the Holy Trinity moves through our lives and how we can do something meaningful with the short time we have on Earth. You are no different than any of the people in those stories, which means you can achieve the same greatness. Jesus Himself was also a man, and worked tirelessly to keep teaching, preaching, healing, traveling by foot, surrounded by crowds. His life shows how God does empower us to do the work He’s called us to do, but we also have to be driven, faithful and fearless enough to see it through for ourselves.

Just because God said it was so and you got all inspired and made a few moves doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing from here. Whatever work you have been called to do, even though it is already written that you will succeed, will not come without a price or sacrifices! You have to have faith and determination in knowing that after everything, your fight will pay off for not only your highest good, but for the benefit of generations to come! Jesus walked by faith until the very end, even when he prayed in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane before his death. He moved forward knowing the outcome would be more valuable than those 6 hours of excruciating pain. For him, it was all worth it in order to reach his highest potential and to complete his work on Earth.

Meditation: Write down any insecurities, excuses, or obstacles you feel keep you from taking a risk. Cast these worries onto God, and ask for assistance with improving your confidence. Pray for discernment, steadfastness, and focus so that you may overcome those obstacles and drop your excuses. You’re already qualified and ready to go!

Daily Devotion: Motivation/Chosen

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm you calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.

2 Peter 1:10

You know your calling, you’re just choosing to play it safe. Recently, I realized that while I was praying for guidance in my work, the Holy Spirit had already revealed exactly who I’m destined to be, and what I was made to do. I’ve already been qualified, healed, planted, and blessed with exactly what I need in order to achieve my goals, and here I was asking for more help. I imagine God sighing like, “it’s already in you, just do it already. How many times do we have to go over this?”

I knew that I wanted to be a writer by the time I was 9 years old. I fearlessly, and with childlike faith shared my short stories online. As I got older, the enemy, depression, and shady friendships crept in and started to make me doubt my gift. I spent college quietly attending open mics, all of my friends were artists, etc. I tiptoed around my call to write by focusing on other artistic outlets that didn’t carry as much weight for me–things I was good at with no pressure to be GREAT at doing. I did the bare minimum, just enough to feel like I was really living in my purpose as an artist. Talk about denial!

I confess all this to say that the season of the Lord holding your hand and blessing you at every little milestone has ended. You’ve graduated from spiritual preschool, got through college and earned your spiritual degree and now he’s saying USE IT!  

Today, I urge you to stop answering God’s call with “what-ifs” and “buts” and fear or denial. Stop ignoring that gut feeling that you’re meant to do more in this life. Don’t downplay your gifts any longer. Next time you hear that still voice, try responding “Ok, bet” and make the move. See how quickly your whole life will transform.