Spirit

What will your dash look like?

What will your dash look like_ (1)

I love to volunteer. I especially love volunteer events where I get to tutor children. I recently had the opportunity to discuss careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) with Chicago 7th grade kids at a primarily Latino school.

The kids in this part of the city often times don’t have access to many of the tools and resources that kids who are educated in the suburb take for granted (myself included). Positions in STEM aren’t filled by people that look like these kids. Many STEM positions are filled by Caucasian males and many of the students in this class were Latino or African American.

These kids were so excited to learn about career options that they didn’t even know existed. Seeing the look of excitement on their faces brought joy to my heart.

Every time I volunteer at events like this I can’t help but think about how fast time goes by. I remember sitting in those same seats like it was yesterday. I remember feeling like I was on top of the world.  Many of the skills that I possessed I didn’t realize were talents, I just felt like I could do and be anything in life. However, as I got older somewhere along the way that zeal for life began to fade. I’m sure many of you may feel the same way.

As you get older you start accumulating more responsibilities like bills, kids, and all those hopes and dreams quickly fall by the wayside. My dad passed away when he was 43 from colon cancer. He was born in 1960 and passed away in  2004.

Many times when we look at an obituary or headstone, we look at their birthdate and date of death, but what about the dash?  That dash is more than a punctuation. It’s our life. What will your dash look like? The year my dad died was the same year that I graduated from college. I vowed that I would live a life of no regrets. Yet, inadvertently by not pursuing/or honing in on the talents that God gave me left me with some regrets.

To get rid of my regret and regain what I had lost by not utilizing my talent. I decided to let God guide me. I want my dash to be filled with peace and happiness. Last year, when I turned 35 I decided to make a wholehearted concerted effort to create my ideal life. However, it became very clear to me that this type of life is impossible without God.

I was unemployed at the time so I had plenty of time to reflect and rediscover my passions. Even though that was an extremely tough period in my life, it gave me the time I need to reflect on my dash. My unemployment was a much-needed wake-up call.

Fast forward to 2018, God helped me to rediscover my passions and hone in on the talents He gave me.  My point of this episode is to share the love. Below are some of the steps I used to align my soul with Christ:

1.) Close the door to fear

You can’t experience success with a fearful mindset. Fear is a destructive spirit. It’s impossible to succeed with this mindset. Fear paralyzes us and turns our life into a meaningless existence. This is why God demands us to close the door to fear (2Tim 1:7).

In order to do this, we must speak spiritual words that are filled with the power of God and watch out who we hang out with because fear is contagious (1 Cor 15:33-34). This way we will not give Satan an opportunity to enter our life (Eph 4:27, Prov 18:21).

I cannot stress this enough, Satan can’t fill our mind with negativity unless we give him permission to do so. When you’re on the path to rediscovering your talents, Satan is going to create all sorts of mental and physical obstacles to keep you from succeeding.

2.) I filled my soul with God’s word.

The only way we can free ourselves is by filling our soul with the word of God. God’s word is the only thing that can give you the stamina to keep you going and tear down all obstacles that stand in our way. The more you fill yourself with God’s Word, this will slay all those demons that try to deter you.  

Being filled with God’s word is the only way His blessings are going to start chasing you down (Deut 28:2). Why? God rewards those who seek Him first. I can personally attest to this fact.

God has been dropping blessings at my feet like crazy lately.  I’ve always been told that I had a nice voice. Never thought much about it, until last year. I was given the opportunity to do a voiceover project and that completely transformed into a fairly decent side hustle for me.

I’ve always been told that I’m very thorough and have a gift for explaining things, which is one of the reasons, I started teaching English online. God has given me an overflow of blessings in this areas and more.  I work full time and many of my students are located overseas so unfortunately, I’m constantly turning people away. If I had more time I know my day would be jam-packed with students.

Another way God helped me to hone in on my talent is through exercise. I love to exercise. I’ve taken just about every class in the world but martial arts, boxing, and dance fitness classes have a special place in my heart.

Most recently, I made the decision and obtained my Zumba certification. I’ve already had people asking me when am I going to teach and received offers to teach even though I haven’t even finished my routine. For the record, I probably won’t start teaching until next year. I don’t want to rush and screw it up-LOL Guys.

In every one of those examples, I NEVER advertised for a single one of those side hustles. They are literal examples of blessings that simply fell at my feet.  

3.) Let God daily direct my steps

The only way I was able to experience my blessing is because of point #3. I let God daily direct my steps. So many of us get so focused on the resource that we forget the Source (God). Many of us (myself included at one time) devote so much time to our jobs or other activities that we don’t have time for God.

I we put God first in our life, I am here to tell you that God will free up your schedule so you can have more time to pursue your passion and talents? Now, guys have a balance, I’m not saying quit your jobs or don’t give it your all, but show God that you’re willing to put Him first.

If you have to wake up early to do Bible study then do it. Don’t give God your leftover time. Start your day with Him. In doing so, you will start to see a major change in your perspective and your life as a whole. Putting God first, things will start to work out in your favor because God will cause all things to work for your good (Rom 8:28).

4.) After doing the aforementioned, God showed me to hone my God-given talents.

If you put God first He will work out your schedule so you can enjoy the abundant life Christ came to give us. God provided me with the resources/people in my life to help me take my talents to the next level. I know for a fact that the next chapter of my life will involve those talents intersecting and becoming my main hustle.

Now, things don’t always happen overnight, so don’t get tired of doing the right thing. Don’t give up. Remember, God’s timing is perfect Gal 6: 9. Just know that your talents will materialize at the right time.

5.) Last, but not least, I’m using my talent to help others rediscover there’s (i.e. this podcast) as God leads me to my destiny.

There are so many people hurting in this world, so since two of my talents are my voice and love for writing, this podcast is one of my ways to give back. I want you to feel the joy that I’ve been able to feel this year as a result of finally rediscovering the talents God gave me. I want this podcast to serve as your cheerleader telling you that you can do it. You got this.

Don’t delay your happiness for another second. It’s time to get to start working on your dash.

James 4:14 tells us that our life is like a vapor. It appears for a little while and then it vanishes away.  So tell me what steps will you take to make sure that your dash mattered?

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. I hope you will take a moment to connect with me on Facebook and Pinterest.

If you have enjoyed listening to the content as much as I have enjoyed creating the Hustle in Faith podcast, please consider becoming a supporter by donating any amount you feel compelled to give to help offset the cost of producing this show.  

Don’t forget to share this message. Remember if you’re everything to everyone, then you risk being no one. You never know who may inspire. See you in the next episode!

In order to be notified when new content is available, please be sure to subscribe to my podcast on Anchor, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Castbox, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or Radio Public.

How do you adjust to life’s twists and turns?

HOW DO YOU ADJUST TO LIFE'S TWISTS AND TURNS

 

The story of Joseph has ALWAYS been one of my favorites. Mainly because his life was literally filled with twists which you read about in Gen 39.

I’m well aware that I will never endure the same trials that Joseph went through, but the pain and confusion Joseph felt as he went through those trials is something everyone will experience in varying degrees throughout their life.

Are you a risk taker?

ARE YOU A RISK TAKER

I had a situation happen to me yesterday that prompted me to record this episode. I was contacted yesterday by a potential client to see if I would be available to do some voiceover work, but they wanted to know if I would be comfortable with swearing. I thanked them for contacting me, but that I would not be comfortable with using that type of language. I was willing to let this job go because I didn’t want to compromise my beliefs and go against Col 3:8.

I was thoroughly prepared to lose this job, but something else happened instead. The person asked me if I would still be interested in looking at the script and reading the lines that did NOT have swear words in them. I’m glad I did because out of the whole script there were only three lines that I would not read. They hired me and were so pleased with the work that I did for them that they will be using me for another project.

This experience got me thinking about how God tests us in life. You have to be willing to let something go in order to gain something better. The degree to which your willingness to do so lies in how much faith you possess.

I’ll be honest. I’m a bit of a control freak, so needless to say, I’m not a big risk taker. It’s something that I’ve been working very hard to get rid of in my life. I conditioned myself to rely on what I see instead of relying on God. I was focused on the resource and not the Source which is God. Even though I never saw myself as a risk taker, living life purely based on what you see is a gamble.

Looks can be extremely deceiving. You can’t see all the obstacles that lie in your path, but God does. As a Christian, you have to be willing to take risks. Many times the things that God will ask you to do may not make sense. For example:

  • God blessed Abraham with a son. Then asked Abraham to sacrifice his son only to stop Abraham from doing so at the last minute. You can read more about this in Genesis 22.
  • Daniel got thrown into a Lion’s Den. The jealous men he worked with created a law which made it illegal to worship and pray to anyone other than King Darius. They knew Daniel would never worship anyone other than God. Therefore, Daniel was thrown into the Lion’s Den but did not die. God protected him. The next morning, King Darius discovered that Daniel was alive and that God protected him, King Darius had those that thought of this law thrown into the Lion’s Den. However, they did not make it because God was NOT with them.
  • Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego found themselves in a similar situation because they refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzer. King Nebuchadnezzer had them thrown into a furnace. He looked into the furnace and saw 4 people walking in the fire instead of three. The fourth person was the Son of God. King Darius later had the 3 men brought out of the fire and they were unharmed.

The one thing that all of these people had in common is that they were not willing to compromise their beliefs. They were willing to take the risk and obey God. They were literally leaving all the consequences in His hands.

These men could have easily allowed doubt to talk them out of their decision, but they had faith that God would never forsake His children (Heb 13: 5-6). This is something that Christians constantly have to remind themselves of because our world is accurately described in Is 5:20 as good being called bad…bitter for sweet and vice versa.

We can save ourselves the headache of experiencing unnecessary confusion by always taking the risk and betting on God to give us the desires of our heart (Ps 37: 4) provided we put Him first (Matt 6:33).

Thanks so much for listening to today’s podcast.  If you have enjoyed listening to the content as much as I have enjoyed creating the Hustle in Faith podcast, please consider becoming a supporter by donating any amount you feel compelled to give to help offset the cost of producing this show. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. Don’t forget to share this message. You never know who may inspire. See you in the next episode!

In order to be notified when new content is available, please be sure to subscribe to my podcast on Anchor, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Castbox, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or Radio Public.

Are You the CEO of Your Life?

ARE YOU THE CEO OF YOUR LIFE

Many people dream about being their own boss. However, many fail to realize that they already are CEOs of their own lives. Your life is your brand. How are you running your company?

How will you use your arrows?

How will you use your arrows

I know this may come as a surprise, but most people who know me, know that archery is one of my favorite ways to relax (that’s me and my mom in the photo for today’s blog post!). 

I’m actually pretty decent at it. It takes a lot of patience, concentration and aim, but it’s all worth it when you hit the bullseye. It’s been a minute since I’ve been to the Archery range, so needless to say when I came across the story of Joash in 2 Kings 13 it got me thinking about the game in a totally different light.

Joash was the King of Israel and he came to Elisha for help to deliver Israel from the Syrians. Although Joash problem was physical “people were trying to destroy his nation”, yet he could only solve it by spiritual means. Hence, why Joash went to the prophet for help.

To help Joash defeat his enemy, Elisha took Joash through a process to demonstrate obedience. Elisha told Joash to take a bow and the arrows. Joash put his hand on the bow and Elisha placed his hands on top of Joash’s hand and. Elisha told Joash to open the East window and to shoot one of the arrows into the air.  

This obedience process was conditioning Joash to face his enemy. Since Joash was obedient in this endeavor, Elisha then said, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them,” confirming that Joash’s obedience will ensure his victory.

In order to defeat the Syrians, Elisha then instructed Joash to take the rest of the arrows and to strike the ground. Joash only struck the ground 3 times and then he stopped. Elisha got angry because Joash should have at least struck the ground 5 or 6 times, so Joash could have completely destroyed Syria.

However, because Joash only struck the ground 3 times, he would only be guaranteed to defeat the Syrians 3 times.  This leads me to my situation.

How many of us have been in Joash’s shoes? For whatever reason (overconfident, fearful or whatever) we give up and quit in the midst of our crisis.

The real reason why many of us give up and quit is that we fail to realize that in order to resolve a physical problem you have to view it from a spiritual perspective.

I’ve felt like Joash so many times in my life. During my crises, I wanted to hurry up and get through it, which made me rush through the situation and half-heartedly obey God’s instructions. In doing so, I made my situation worse. I thought that God would just bless my half-hearted endeavors. I can’t get over how foolish that was on my part. Especially since in reality, I had chosen not to face my problem.

God specifically asked for Joash to open the East window because that’s where the army was located. God wants us to face our problems head on, not run from them. Many times when we try to resolve our issue, we choose the path of least resistance and end up hurting ourselves even worse.

Our approach in fixing our problem is often using a band-aid. As you know this can fall off at any time. However, if we go to God first, He gives us all the tools to completely heal the wound (aka our problem).

God blessed us with the tools we already have (our gifts and talents). We just needed God to bless our tools.  We do this by praying and asking God to intervene or help us in our endeavors.

This is precisely why Elisha placed his hands on top of Joash’s hands when he asked Joash to take the bow. Whatever battle we are fighting, God will take our tools (our gifts and talents) and cause them to work in an extraordinary way to deliver us out of the situation that was causing us harm and pain.

God knows that Satan will do whatever it takes to wear us down. This is why God always wants us to go to Him first so He can guide us in how we can win our battle. If we learn the concept to seek God’s guidance and solution first, our battle is already won even though it may not be over yet.

However, in order to ensure victory, we must follow God’s instructions all the way. Joash was well on his way to completely defeating the Syrians. Yet, because he only struck the ground 3 times instead of using all of his arrows, he was only guaranteed to defeat the Syrians 3 times.

How many of us are wandering around wondering why we keep encountering the same exact problems year after year? Could it be that you, like me, are half heartedly fighting your battles? Due to my half-hearted fighting, my enemies kept getting back up to do further harm to me. I made the matter worse by not completely obeying God. If you truly desire to live the Christian life you can’t half-heartedly listen to God’s instructions.

Here’s a perfect example. Last year, I was unemployed for almost a year. It was incredibly frustrating. I didn’t see an end in sight. I had my degree, plenty of experience, I even gained another certificate thinking this would help my quest to make ends meet. I was like Joash. Nothing that I did worked.

I was trying to fix my situations with a bow and arrow that God hadn’t blessed. I didn’t see a change in my situation until I went to God. I was trying so hard to fix a physical problem with a physical solution.

I finally realized that even though my problem was physical, I needed a spiritual intervention from God. I had no idea what, when and how to fix my situation. This is how you know that your problem requires a spiritual answer.

The way that I was finally able to resolve my situation went like this:

  1. I went to God in prayer
    1. First I repented for not including Him in my life the way I should.
    2. I outlined my problem and asked God to show me what I needed to do.
    3. Then, I left everything alone.
  2. I started to go to bed on time so that I could get some rest. I know this seems counterintuitive when you’re looking for a job, but after filling out over 400 job applications you earned it. God clearly knows you’re trying.
  3. Through my faithful prayer and appealing to God based on His word, God showed me how to face and address my problems.

I kid you not after I had that long heart to heart with God, the tools (gifts and talents) He used to help me through my unemployment situation were things I had already been doing in my spare time.

Just remember that in your crisis God is there for you. He will not do the work for you. He will guide you out of the situation by telling you what to do, when to do it, etc. God will help us shoot our arrows but He will not shoot them for us. Facing and fighting our problems is our responsibility.

In order to free ourselves from our enemy, we must not give up and quit.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s podcast.  If you have enjoyed the content provided by the Hustle in Faith podcast, please consider becoming a Hustle in Faith supporter by donating any amount you feel compelled to give to help offset the cost of producing this show. Don’t forget to share this message. You never know who may inspire. See you in the next podcast!

 

In order to be notified when new content is available, please be sure to subscribe to my podcast on Anchor, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Castbox, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or Radio Public.