Over the last month, I’ve watched specials like Surviving R. Kelly and the abuse that happened to the Menendez Brothers. In both cases, when allegations first came to the surface, my initial feeling was that the media was stoking rumors and bringing down another talented black man, or that the Menendez brothers were running a scam by crying abuse. This was many years ago before the #metoo movement and other movements against sexual violence and psychological abuse that has created awareness. I’m so glad the cover is being pulled off of so much dirt. Continue reading
“Often a sign of expertise is noticing what doesn’t happen.”― Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
When I first read this quote, it was amazing to me the truth of this statement. The ability to notice what’s missing can be instinctive, but in life, it takes learning by experience to become expert at what’s missing. Suppose a man wines and dines a woman and does all the right things to court her. It would seem that he says all the “I loves you’s” at the right time and calls when he says he will. Then he always has the perfect explanation for why he didn’t call or didn’t pick you up that time he was supposed. Other than those times, he’s thoughtful and considerate. No big deal right? He just seems perfect. Would you believe the woman in this relationship if she said, “But something is wrong.” Continue reading
Watching what happened with FBI Director James Comey reminded me of the time I was fired –at church. Like so many, I’ve been watching with interest the current events of the last week regarding the firing of James Comey. I’ve heard comments about the messy way the firing was done (not even a heads up or a handshake?), Comey’s prior mistakes, Comey’s support or lack of support in the FBI. Of course, if you listen to the Huckabee-Spicer-Trump connection from the White House, you would think he’s the worst FBI director of all time, but that’s politics. Continue reading
When I woke up Sunday morning, during my prayer time and I began to thank God for my husband. It had been a rough week emotionally. Him, with his business and me fighting off some disappointments. In both cases, we were focusing on the wrong thing and needed the other’s help to shift in the right direction. As I sat there, I thanked God for putting us together and finding my soul mate; something that would not have happened if we had listened to people.
Sometimes looking deeper than the surface can bring out gold.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8: 2)
Sometimes God allows us to go through situations to try our hearts. Pride can really hurt us in our natural life and our spiritual walk. The scripture above talks about three things: humbling, proving and knowing. Being put in circumstances that are humbling, can be trying for anyone and it can lead to knowing and understanding what’s in your heart.
A few years before we learned this lesson; my husband went through the torment of losing a $30,000 a year job. In 1988, that was a pretty good salary. My husband worked for an exclusive restaurant that catered to celebrities. It was normal for him to serve Michael Jordan, Governor James Thompson and various high-level Chicago businessmen, politicians and actors. Nice work if you can get it and great tips. My husband lost this job because unfortunate for him he had a personal conviction about serving drinks as he moved up in the ranks He was one of their best workers, but he was given an ultimatum to serve drinks or quit. The way the job was structured everyone was in training for the next step up. He felt he could not keep that job and his Christian testimony. It was at this juncture in life that he learned what he now calls the “Tarzan” rule, “Never let go of one vine, unless you’re holding another one”. So instead of waiting to ease out, he quit and ended up bouncing around in a variety of jobs he didn’t want and that were barely meeting the bills.
To keep things going, he found a job at an all-night Dunkin Donuts working the night shift. One night he was scrubbing the baseboard and an old friend walked in. Now, he wasn’t so much embarrassed at where he was working, but what he was doing—scrubbing floors and not managing the place, he had been in restaurant management level jobs on and off for years., and was just embarrassed at his situation.
Even though his friend did not seem to care and gave him praise for being willing to work hard, all he could see was that he was scrubbing floors for a living. He quit the next day, saying he would find something else. While his friend said he was so proud of him being willing to take a tough job for his family. All my husband could think of was that he was working this low-level job, and his other friends were all doing well. It’s funny how the enemy makes you think that you’re the only one in a tough situation–the liar. Anyway, he was too embarrassed to continue. Well, he didn’t tell ME that he was quitting. He was just eaten up with humiliation about the whole thing. He didn’t consult with ME about this at all. I was hot. How could he do that?! We needed that little bit of money he was getting. We patched that up, and he apologized to me about quitting but it helped him to see something about himself–PRIDE! Yep, that big ol’ thang that sticks out its foot and trips many of us.
He failed to see the big picture which was working for the good of this family, keeping food on the table and keeping a roof over his head. Not feeling successful is a blow to any man. He was working at a world-famous restaurant a short time before and moving up the ladder and now he was scrubbing baseboard at Dunkin Donuts at 3:00AM. However, he realized that pride was playing a part in all of his recent decisions. Like most people, my husband could not have foreseen the chain of events that would follow from a decision to quit. In the end, though, we all do what we have to, to survive. So he went back to school and got a trade that led to a great career. He currently owns his own trucking company.
Most people do not live their lives perfectly and make perfect decisions. God understands when we are ill-advised or hasty in our decisions and some of those decisions can be devastating and will send us on the wrong path. Yet, if our love for Him prevails, God will open our eyes to the root of the problem.
–excerpt from How to Walk on Water: A Christian’s Survival Guide for Going through Trials at Amazon.com
Will pride keep us from seeing the big picture of God’s plan for our life?
Do other people’s perceptions of us affect our decisions about our lives? Is this what God wants us to do?
When we stay honest about our mistakes, God is faithful to come to our rescue. Is it harder to be forgiven or to forgive ourselves?