- November: Food/Canned Goods and Money
- December: Clothing (Coats, Shoes)
I need a solid plan but this is pretty much the focus around the holidays.
This week has had it’s ups and downs and I apologize to all of my faithful readers who have not been updated with new blog posts. I will be posting some tomorrow. Today, I found out that a friend of mine that I have known since the 3rd grade passed away. Sadly he was shot in the chest after a dispute with someone else.
It’s sad that nowadays, you have to fear for your life after a petty argument or confrontation. It has hit everyone who knows him very hard because he was so outgoing that most of us had talked to or seen him within the last 3 months or so.
His family is in my prayers. May he rest in peace.
If you overheard two other people arguing about religion, what would you do?
If you’re like many people, you know the rules of what not to talk about with a group of people (politics, religion, etc.) because it can quickly escalate to something worse. But aren’t you supposed to defend God’s word? I would think if someone was disrespecting the Holy Bible or God that most Christians would jump to his defense.
Honestly, I just don’t see any use in that. I could tell someone that what he or she is doing something wrong, but that would only subject me to ridicule of what I do wrong.
I can think about a time that best describes what I am talking about: during my senior year of high school, my friend “Ana” (the same one from this Late Night Emotions) got into an argument with another friend of mine, Adam, who happens to be Atheist.
I sat between the two as they went back and forth with their beliefs. I knew that Adam was an Atheist but we never got into an in-depth discussion about it. They never talked either. (I’m sure that if you’ve read my last post about Ana she doesn’t have many friends because she is very judgmental.)
I don’t remember how the argument started, but I’m sure it started with a conversation that I was having with Adam where he mentioned his atheism and Ana interjected. I remember her saying something about him going to Hell, and it escalated quickly. Even if Adam doesn’t believe in Hell, her telling him that is offensive. She mentioned something about him not reading the bible, and he admitted that he had, and that’s how he came to the conclusion that he did not believe in God. Some may say that Ana was out of line, some may agree with her actions.
What I want to know is, did I do something wrong? I, at the time, believed in God, but I did not call myself a Christian. I refused to because I did not carry myself in a Christ-like manner, and I had never read the bible. I didn’t take Ana’s side when she began to attack Adam not did I tell her that she was wrong. Nowadays, the school administration would consider this sort of verbal attack bullying and we would have been suspended from school.
Let’s say that this happened today, I think that I would have the same exact reaction and that I would try to the diffuse the situation by telling both of them that they should respect their differences.
I’m not ashamed of my personal beliefs, but I do not care to argue with people who will still have the same views tomorrow. It’s like beating a dead horse. It’s not my place to preach to someone who does not believe in God, or believes in another religion. That may subject scrutiny from others when I don’t carry myself in the Christ-like matter that I aim to. I will defend my reasoning for my beliefs but I will not start arguments with friends, enemies, family members, or strangers who choose a different path from me. I cannot force the word on someone, or condemn them to Hell.
I don’t know if there are repercussions from God for my resistance to do this, but I really don’t know how to approach redundant conversations like this when they can easily escalate to hate-spewing altercations.
…and there is always something or someone who will make your dreams hard to grasp. It’s normal to have to deal with a person who says that your dreams are unrealistic, unattainable, and downright foolish. But what if that person is God? And he’s pushing you down, over and over to the point that you have to question if he’s trying to warn you that this dream is not intended for you.
Like I said in my last post, I’ve had to deal with that on the path to my dreams. And I could not tell whether it was a warning, a test, or a blessing. My whole life was on halt not just my career goals. What did he want from me? Was I not spiritually strong enough to handle the experiences that I would have to face? I didn’t know.
One thing that I did know is that my dreams were deferred, not taken away from me. Honestly, I never realized it before but I blamed God for not making things happen when it was really my own fault. I allowed a distraction to block my vision of my initial desires, the ones I had been praying about for years. Before I knew it, I was changing my prayers and asking for the exact opposite. Even after the distraction was gone, I still focused on my new desires instead of revisiting one that I had had since I was much younger. I was set on vengeance to prove one person wrong about everything. At the end of the day it really did not matter until I looked at the bigger picture. What if we all led our lives to do things that we really didn’t want to do because we wanted to prove others wrong? I know I wouldn’t have been that content with myself.
There was a reason the desires stayed with me years before the distraction came. There was a reason why God pushed me to pray for those desires as much as I did. And just like that, I threw it all away. Had I just listened to my heart and been patient with God, I would not have wasted nearly 4 and a half years instead. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. L
I experienced struggle in my life for four years because I pushed against God to make someone else happy. I ignored his warnings. I wanted what I wanted, and I wanted him to supply it when I wanted. Who was I to get that angry and lash out at God when in reality he was saving my future? Who was I to get angry because God was not doing more when I was just being stubborn and wanting to do too much?
Finally, I sat down and looked at my life. During this summer I reflected on things that had occurred throughout my life and my overall satisfaction with my situation. Then I realized it, I was willing to put off where I was intended to be, to spend more of my life wasting time and watching years pass. I could do the same things that I desired anywhere. And the only reason why it was not accomplished years ago was because I, me, not God, altered it last minute. He told me to wait a year but I didn’t want to. Why, because I was stubborn and impatient. Two of my biggest flaws. What were the repercussions? He made me wait 3 years (…or maybe I did that to myself by ignoring God’s hints and focusing and moving forward on something else?).
I understand it now. The distraction was a test that I was supposed to ignore. I was not supposed to give it as much attention that I did, although at the time I believed that it was fate and best for me. When it didn’t work the first time I didn’t give up because I was relentless. The second time, I kept going after it and God had warned me enough. Even worse, the path that was intended for me was an easier one. Sometimes the easier path isn’t a trap or a test, or too good to be true. It’s a blessing; it’s a stepping stone to something greater.
I often look back wondering why God did not stop me dead in my tracks and forced me to listen to the signs that I belonged in a certain place at a certain time, rather than watch me suffer. But really, would I have listened? Probably not, because I was so determined and I felt that I knew what was better for me than God Because I cared about my happiness now, not the unseen consequences of the future.
So if you have a dream, listen to your heart and pray as much as you can because no matter how much someone says you cannot do something or that it is impossible, GOD HAS THE FINAL SAY.
“The Lord will provide not for all our wants but for the things he believes we need.”
I have definitely fell victim to the ‘woe is me’ pity party. I had thoughts that God was directly punishing me for other people’s mistakes. It felt like no matter how hard I tried there was a hurdle waiting around the corner to destroy everything that I had worked hard for.
I grew bitter. There was no way that struggle was supposed to last this long. I would sit around thinking “You know I could go out and sin, but instead I come to you.” It was disheartening. All He had to do was let things work in my favor and I could the rest. I liked working hard so I asked very little of him.
Well, God doesn’t work that way. He wants you to depend on him. All I had to do was pray and listen more.
My issue was that it seemed like the more I prayed, the more lost I became. I didn’t know when an opportunity came whether it was a blessing, a test, or a warning. That’s the hardest part about prayer, you have no idea what opportunities to avoid and which ones to take advantage of.
When I was younger it was difficult to believe that there was a loving God when he dragged me through Hell sometimes. I hated the fact that there was always a response to my complaints: “It may be a test”; “Give him time”; “the struggle will make you stronger”; “It may not be meant to be”. It was hard to hear. All I wanted was a definite answer. I wasn’t learning anything, but to do things on my own without needing to ask God.
It’s frustrating because we really don’t know which door God wants us to open for each situation. We just have to assume that the struggle in pursuing something mean either “yes, try harder” or “no, there’s something better for you”; a hurdle signifies a test or the lesson of patience, and excellence means yes it’s meant to be for now at least.
We are strategically built by God to be able to acquire the knowledge, experience, and strength to succeed in all that we are intended to do. Sometimes the struggle foreshadows an even greater reward. We just have to remember that something is in store for us all.