You know it’s kind of funny I’ve had the idea for today’s episode in my head for the longest time.

I kept telling myself, “Ok, I’m going to do this tomorrow.” Now, here we are almost two weeks later. 

You know even though this podcast is a passion project, I treat it like a job. My goal is to help people and I don’t like to leave folks hanging.  I do my best to be consistent in releasing episodes at least twice a month.  I kid you not every time I went to record this episode, something crazy would happen that caused me to devote my attention elsewhere and look for another more “convenient” time to record this episode.

The past two weeks have been especially hectic for me. Between work and trying to finally resolve this lawsuit…your girl is tired! In case you want more info on that checkout Ep.177 How do you embrace seasons of Change? So anyway, this was the first time in weeks that I was finally able to finally breathe. I didn’t have any client work to finish and I didn’t have to deal with any lawsuit stuff. 

So, I settled down to watch some TV. I watched it for about an hour and then immediately reminded myself about this unfinished episode stuck in my mind that was waiting to be recorded. Again, for the past two weeks, I had been craving for some downtime and now I finally had it. 

Yet, here I was about to go down the rabbit hole of watching mindless TV until I fell asleep. Now, there’s nothing wrong with watching TV or falling asleep, but you have to have a balance. I know my schedule gets hectic pretty quickly, so while I still had my energy I decided to record this episode.

Now, I think as you get older you start to realize how time is the most precious resource that we will ever possess. It’s up to us not to waste it. There’s so much chaos in the world right now, some of it I will be discussing in upcoming Make it Make Sense segments, but I couldn’t help but think about the parable of the Wise and Foolish virgins in Matt 25: 1-13. 

For those of you not familiar with the story, it’s about 10 virgins being invited to a wedding. Five of them were wise and the other 5 were foolish. The wise ones were prepared for the trip to attend the wedding. The wise ones took their lamps to guide them and they even brought extra oil just in case they needed it during their journey.

The other 5 foolish virgins just brought their lamps without any extra oil. Now the groom was delayed so all of the virgins took this time to get some sleep. 

Around midnight, there was an announcement made stating the groom was on his way and to meet him at the wedding. All of the virgins got up and fixed their lamps so they could make their way to the wedding.

Now the 5 foolish virgins’ lamps were about to die so they had the nerve to demand the wise virgins share some of their oil with them. The wise virgins said, “No, go to the store and buy some.” So while the foolish virgins were out buying oil the groom and everyone else that was ready went inside with him to the wedding. The foolish virgins made it to the wedding late and were denied access to the wedding.

This parable is a cautionary reminder of how important it is to be prepared. Who do you identify most with in this story? The wise virgins who were prepared and brought their lamp and extra oil or the five foolish virgins who just brought their lamp?

I know many of us may want to say we relate to the wise virgins, but if we’re honest and upon further inspection of our lives, our actions may indicate we may have more in common with the foolish virgins than we care to admit.

The foolish virgins had two chances they could have capitalized on that would have prevented them from being late for the wedding. They could have easily brought extra oil with them at the beginning of their journey or when they saw the groom was delayed, instead of sleeping, they could have purchased more oil during that time.

These chances are what we would refer to today as windows of opportunity. There are 24 hours in a day. We all have the same amount of time but how we choose to spend those hours will determine the level of success we can expect to achieve in our lives. 

Over the past two years, we’ve all of us have had our lives altered in some way shape, or form. During this time, we weren’t able to do a lot of the things many of us were accustomed to doing so we all had some downtime. Some had more downtime than others, but nevertheless, we all had extra downtime we ordinarily might not have had.  However, it doesn’t make sense to have downtime or ask God for extra time if you’re not going to make the most of it.

So my question to you is simple, “ How will you leverage your window of opportunity?” 

When you get older, you have got to be more protective of your time. Otherwise, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your schedule will be filled with activities that won’t help you get to the next level. Again, you have to have a balance. There’s nothing wrong with watching TV, going out to eat the list goes on, but if you’re doing that every night and it’s starting to impact your ability to achieve your goals then it’s time for you to course-correct. 

Many times, we use activities such as TV or constantly going out as a coping mechanism. It’s a way to avoid doing the work we know we need to do to make it to that next level. That’s even scarier when you don’t know what that next level even looks like. It’s a catch22 situation because you will never know what the next level is if you’re not willing to spend time by yourself. This isn’t a group project. Spending time with just you and God is the only way you’re going to grow.

I’m a pretty independent person now, but when I was younger I used to hate being alone. It made me feel lonely and unloved. This definitely wasn’t the case because I come from a very loving family and have a solid small group of friends. However, in my mind, I associated being alone with being lonely. However, I finally realized it wasn’t being alone that caused me to feel lonely. In fact, there were plenty of times I felt lonely and I was surrounded by people. My loneliness was due to the fact that I never properly addressed nor removed the negative words that I allowed to reign over my life thereby causing me to doubt my capabilities to create my own opportunities. 

For the majority of my life I was constantly thinking and saying, “I can’t do this or that,”, “I don’t have enough, or I’m not enough.” These were phrases that I allowed others to project onto me because I certainly didn’t get that from my family. My life isn’t horrible by any means, but I know for a fact, that I could be much further ahead had I heeded my mom’s warnings and really acknowledged and embraced the impact the words we hear, say, and accept have on our lives. I was instilling negativity that was slowly but surely not only eating away at my soul but surely starting to affect my health.

I have never been as diligent as I am now at paying attention to how I speak to myself. I’ve had a couple of situations happen to me recently that really highlighted the fact I have got to improve on having more control of the words I choose to accept and say to myself. I’ve been reading this book called, “ Words: They Become You by Lisa Singh. I’m still going through the book, but it’s been an eye-opening experience to see how many verses highlight the fact that our destiny is literally shaped by our words. 

I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion when I thought about some of the dreams that I left sitting on the shelf because I chose to believe the words of people whose behavior and actions had proven they didn’t have my best interest in mind. These were people I thought were my family or friend, a co-worker or manager, a teacher, the list goes on. In some way shape or form, I let those words get to me. 

Unlike the 5 foolish virgins, I know that in order to retrieve the blessings I left on the shelf, I’ve got to get my thoughts aligned with God. Remembering who I am in His eyes is the only opinion that matters to me. My goal is to gain so many of Christ’s attributes that there won’t be any room for negative words to slip into my mind. Obviously, there are times when that is easier said than done, but I know it can be done. My mom’s life is confirmation that it’s possible. That’s why during my downtime you will find me reading the Bible,  listening to podcasts, and reading books that are going to help me get to the next level.

How fast you make it to the next level is literally being shaped right now by the words you choose to say. I know my desire to change my speech and embrace a more positive mindset is going to be difficult. Why? I know without fail once we decide to change and embrace God’s characteristics that is when all hell breaks loose. Satan doesn’t want us to succeed. He wants us to be content living a mediocre life. Speaking negative thoughts is what Satan wants us to do. Negative words are setting us up for failure. Satan wants us to go to sleep like the 5 foolish virgins so when we wake up we won’t be prepared when it’s time to take advantage of our window of opportunity.

When you’re trying to get to the next level it’s incredibly important to know that God is going to stretch you outside of your comfort zone. One of my audacious goals has to deal with real estate. I am not a realtor, but I’ve been learning as much as I can about real estate because I know that’s going to play a very large part in my goal. God is the ultimate multitasker. 

During this time while I’m learning more about real estate, He decided to throw in some free law classes as well. This lawsuit has placed me in an even better position to learn more about real estate and how to protect myself in the future. I look forward to the day when I can share the entire story with you because it is definitely a telenovela that’s full of lessons that I guarantee you will never forget once you hear my story.

This is yet another trying time in my life whereby I could easily go to sleep but I’m way too ambitious to allow that to happen. 

You’re not going to catch me slipping. I’m going to continue improving my thought life and view challenging situations as a chance to grow and gain new skills.

That way the next time God opens a window I’m going to be prepared and have the wisdom I need to seize that moment so I can live the extraordinary life God planned for me.