Category Archives: Dear Diary, It’s Me Joc

Fear Meets Faith …. Now What?

Good morning, good day, and all that other good jazz. If you visited me two days ago you will have read a very transparent post in where I shared what’s been going on in my life over the past three years. The way it ended however bothered me. I felt like I wasn’t doing a much as I could (from a Christian standpoint) to offer specific tools to overcome and fight fear. Well below is one of the tools that I have personally used recently in combination with my normal bible/prayer time.

What is it Joc?

It’s a list of declarations to help you focus and center your attention on God whenever problems begin to overwhelm you or fear tries to seep into your day. Around the summer of 2016, I came across a testimonial video of this guy named Tony Kell who experienced anxiety to the point he didn’t leave his house out of fear something bad would happen to him. In the video, he discussed that as an alternative to anxiety medication, he decided to take some sound advice and try fighting anxiety in the spirit. I saved the video to one of my Youtube playlists and began listening to it whenever I would feel that “feeling” creeping up again.

To my delight, as I have been growing after my bad experience, so has he; even going so far as to make videos to document what has helped him and how he is living differently than he did when he allowed fear to rule his life. One of the things he recently did was offer to email any who wanted it a list of declarations that he uses daily.

Now of course I’d already consulted my mother (who is a minister) and my pastor, but it never hurts to have more ways to get your mind set on victory! I sent him a message and within a couple of hours, the list below was in my inbox. I printed 3 copies off and keep 1 in my purse, 1 in my desk at work, and 1 to have around the house. You don’t have to do the same thing, but I’m telling you, just like those sisters learned to read in The Color Purple, having God’s Word before you helps it to stick! Having ANYTHING before you helps it stick! As a matter of fact, a ton of personal stuff has been going on in my life and last night  I had a moment. With the snow storm blasting through the state and being inside with my thoughts while looking after my grandmother, things started to (unconsciously) weigh on me and I felt myself slowly becoming overwhelmed. If you have EVER had a panic attack, it is NOT the bee’s knees. If you can stop it before it comes — GREAT! As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I did when I started feeling pressure building up in my chest and my senses tingling and my fingers becoming numb — it was then I remembered this list in my purse and whipped it out!

I began reading down the list (even though I didn’t immediately feel a difference) and it seemed as though the more I read (when I began) the stronger fear began to set it. So I kept reading it like I was looking right at the fear/devil that was trying to overwhelm me and got mad! Cape on the back SUPA mad. By the time I read the list the second time through I was calm.

No meds, just Word.

If you need counseling get it. If you HAVE to take meds, take them. BUT know that that alone won’t “cure” you of your anxiety and overload. You have to attack the root of the trouble and that’s done in the spiritual realm. Having spiritual weapons powering the natural weapons, the natural weapons are much more effective.

Blessings, Joc

I DECLARE AND DECREE

IN THE NAME OF JESUS:

 

-I REFUSE TO WORRY

-I REFUSE TO FEAR

-I DO NOT FEAR AND WILL NOT FEAR

-I WILL WALK IN PEACE

-I HAVE PEACE IN MY HEART

– I HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST

-I’M CALM

-I WILL GET GOOD SLEEP

-I WILL WAKE UP REFRESHED

-I WILL WAKE UP RENEWED

-I WILL NOT GIVE UP

-I CAN DO THIS

-I’M COURAGEOUS

-I’M BRAVE

-I’M STRONG

-I WALK IN PEACE

-I WILL OVERCOME THIS

-I WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT

-I’M A VICTOR AND NOT A VICTIM

-I’M ABOVE AND NEVER BENEATH

-I’M THE HEAD AND NOT THE TAIL

-THE LORD WILL RESTORE ME

-I HAVE A SOUND MIND

-I HAVE A PEACEFUL MIND

-I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH

-I WAS NOT BORN WITH A SPIRIT OF FEAR BUT A SPIRIT OF LOVE, POWER, AND A SOUND MIND

-I HAVE DOMINION OVER MY THOUGHTS AND I THINK GOOD THINGS ABOUT MYSELF IN JESUS NAME

-I HAVE POWER AND AUTHORITY OVER THE DEVIL AND DEMONS AND THEY ARE SUBJECT TO ME

-I HAVE THE PEACE OF GOD OVERFLOWING IN EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE

-I AM NOT AFRAID OR ANXIOUS – I AM STRONG, I AM AT PEACE, I AM AN OVERCOMER

-THIS TOO SHALL PASS

-I AM FREE BECAUSE THOSE THE LORD SETS FREE ARE FREE INDEED, SO I AM FREE!

-NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL PROSPER

-I’M BLESSED AND HIGHLY FAVORED

-SOMETHING GOOD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME

-MY BEST DAYS ARE OUT AHEAD OF ME

-I HAVE THE LOVE OF GOD IN MY HEART AND PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR

-THIS HAS TO GO IN JESUS NAME AND I WILL NEVER DEAL WITH IT AGAIN

-THE LORD WILL NEVER LEAVE ME NOR FORSAKE ME- HE IS WITH ME ALWAYS

-THE LORD WILL NOT ALLOW MORE THAN WHAT I CAN HANDLE – SO I CAN HANDLE THIS AND -I’M COMING OUT STRONGER THAN I WAS BEFORE GOING THROUGH THIS

-THE BATTLE IS HIS AND THE VICTORY IS MINE

-JESUS LIVES IN ME AND GREATER IS HE WHO IS IN ME THAN HE WHO IS IN THE WORLD

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Dear Diary, Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, It's Me Joc

When Fear Meets Faith

I know the title has you all ready and amped for a SLEW of inspiration right? Well that is exac…..sort of what you’ll get.

I believe (from experience) that it’s best to keep some things to yourself. Just for you and no one else. There are other things that I believe you WANT to keep to yourself, but feel compelled to share because it could help someone else. This is one of those things.

 

adultingThe past three years have been my “growing pain BETA” years. Prior to 2015 I was a SUPER optimistic, try anything, risk taking, blind faith having, blissfully faithful woman excited for the future and all that it had to offer her. Today I am still all of those things, but that woman is learning to move forward after have been lied to by fear.

Yep. Fear. One of the most filthy, underhanded tricks the devil uses to keep us stuck. Journeying from high school to college, I’d learned how to be fearless and in 2015 (though life wasn’t perfect) I was on the edge of a MAJOR period of self-discovery and purpose. Then it happened. Fear came gallivanting with its ole ugly self right into my life.

If you’ve read my post What’s the Cost of Carrying Your Dreams? then you know just how loudly it arrived.

So now, going on three years later, how am I doing?

0a192b1e7f2fc33c643e8f23d4daadd3edfb7db999d0fc8fde1fb0a8964cc67f

I’m here.chrissy-teigens-cry-face-was-the-greatest-thing-t-2-12890-1421106645-0_dblbig

I have honestly never fathomed that I’d EVER be as affected by stress, fear, or anxiety as I have been these past few years. Shoot, anxiety was never in my vocabulary! I’d seen others struggle with it but could never really understand what they were afraid of or HOW they could be afraid of something simple as saying hello, going to parties, or road tripping alone. As I type this, still fighting to keep the residue of fear from my life, I can say that I finally understand. I understand how one bad experience can REALLY change your life. I understand the embarrassment of excusing yourself out of plans to places you want to go with people you really want to be around because you’re afraid something is going to go wrong. I know the disappointment that comes along with knowing you’re overreacting/overthinking on paper, but struggle to convince your mind to get with the program. I know the tight, uncomfortable feeling that bubbles up when you begin to analyze a situation too much. I know what it’s like to desperately reach out to God, KNOWING He’s just a prayer away, only to get distracted by the darkness of dread blocking your view. I know what it’s like to feel “stuck” and aimless because you want the past to leave you alone but it keeps driving past your house.

I never wanted to know, but I know.

Before fear crossed my path, I was open to go anywhere with virtually any one and enjoyed every ounce of life – even the bad parts – because I knew it was going to get better. My hope was in God and because I had my sight straight on Him, all of the chaos that was my life never fazed me. At all. Resilience was (and still is) my spirit animal. (cue the track ….can’t nobody hoooooold meeeeeee doooown oh no, I got to keep on moooovinnnnnn’.) But after 2015, I struggled ya’ll. And when I really think about it, the part that makes me so angry is not necessarily that I allowed myself to get so worn down that fear had an entry point into my life, it’s that I allowed it to change aspects of who I am. I’m a godmother, but I haven’t been to visit my goddaughter in over a year. I am an adventure seeker, but lately my adventures have been confined to a 200 mile radius. I was a single, feisty, bubbly optimist looking to get back on the dating scene and make new memories with a great guy, but part of why I haven’t been dating recently is because most of my time is spent trying to get back the spunk I once had before; so WHOEVER I date and eventually marry will know the “true me” – not the anxious, small town, humdrum, unadventurous me.

Talk about MISERY! There are few things worse than a creative soul who feels they are stifled from the world and experiences that inspire them so much. BUT this brings me to today. I am here.

giphyI am disgustingly grateful for the relationship I have with Jesus Christ. As a child of God, I can keep on making daily strides because I know that God sees me and has put enough stubborn strength inside of me to make it through anything! At the end of the day, this experience has taught me to:

 

#1 Rely TOTALLY on God because regardless of how we have our life mapped out, if it doesn’t line up with what He desires, it’s ain’t happ’nin cap’n.

#2 Recognize the spiritual nature of ANY difficult time and know that with the proper understanding of how POWERFUL God is compared to anything being thrown at you, you’ll survive!

#3 Not allow myself to get so worn out that I leave myself spiritually and physically vulnerable to sickness, mental attacks, and burnout.

#4 Continue seeking PROFESSIONAL help! I have NEVER been one to oppose therapist. If I could (and had the money) I would become one myself to help someone else! God gives us spiritual weapons, but He also has given us physical ones too. I will continue to seek help to better myself and be better than before.

#5 Take time to breathe if I need to and don’t feel apologetic. There is only one of me, so when progress isn’t going as quickly as I want or expect it to, I need to just take some time to get some fresh air, not answer non-urgent calls, or take a day to do whatever I feel like doing and not feel bad about it.

#6 Keep going when you have a setback. In the journey to overcome your past you may have a set back from time to time. Shoot, you may go months or years feeling better, then find yourself blindsided by the past creeping up again. I have learned to catch my breath, get my bearings, then keep on moving forward regardless of HOW uncomfortable I feel.

#7 Find comfort in knowing I WILL GET THROUGH THIS! Regardless of how stressed I am or how many times fear tries sneak up behind me, this won’t last always. I know that I am getting better each day and that I am still the same Jocelyn, just different. God will allow me to use EVERYTHING I’ve experienced to help someone else who is just coming face to face with the same thing. I am convinced that considering how MAJOR the devil has been attacking me, I am due for a MAJOR blessing and testimony and purpose.

giphy (1)

So to those who know the LORD and have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ – keep me in your prayers. To my friends who have kept me encouraged and challenged me to step back out into the unknown, I thank you and am forever grateful for your friendship. Most of all, I am thankful to have supportive parents who have not thrown me aside to fend for myself just because I’m grown. I am still their kid and I know that regardless of what ANYONE says, I will NOT be made to feel ashamed for the blessing of their friendship when I know that most can only WISH for parents like them. Ya’ll keep me lifted in love.

Blessings,

Joc

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Dear Diary, Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, It's Me Joc, The Christian Life

Life-Changing Lessons from A Broken Leg (Part 2 of 2)

(continued from Life-Changing Lessons from A Broken Leg (Part 1 of 2))

 

giphy (50)By the fifth day of week two, my voice was functioning at about 87% and while I was physically tired and still feeling icky, the week wasn’t overwhelming – UNTIL – I walked into my parents’ house to my mother running around frantic and my grandma sitting awkwardly in her chair grimacing in silence. Once I asked my mom what was going on, she revealed just seconds before I’d walked into the house, my grandmother had fallen while exercising and she was contemplating on whether or not to call the ambulance. Since my grandmother is mere months away from her 90th birthday, no chances were taken and in the ambulance, to the ER she went. Mind you, it was freezing cold outside and despite still being sick myself, I immediately began to pray and joined my parents in the trek to the ER behind the ambulance. My grandmother was struggling not to go into hysteria as fears and statistics began to bombard her head. Within the hour, we found out that she’d broken her leg/hip. We were ALL stunned.giphy.gif

 

If you know anything about geriatrics or have been around an elderly person, you know that for a healthy adult, the same injury that could take 4 to 6 weeks to recover from, could take an elderly person a year to heal. I basically spent the night in the ER before going home for an hour of sleep them back to work to finish up the week.

#LIFE-CHANGING LESSON B: you can plan all you want, but you will NEVER be in full control of the future. Tread wisely.

Getting sick totally changed every plan I had in a day. Plans that I had in place for months – including church choir duties – instantly crumbled into nothing more than good intentions. My grandmother (who has NEVER had a major surgery) at the ripe old age of 89 had her life changed IN AN INSTANT as her break required surgery. This further solidified the truth that I always really knew about life here on this earth – we’re not 100% in control of it. Your job, your health, your money, your family, your friends, your possessions, your status could all SHIFT in a nanosecond without any warning. It CAN be a scary reality, but it doesn’t have to be. Being at peace with this life-truth challenges me to give people their flowers while they’re living and treat folks with respect. It challenges me to love the people who are for me and show grace to those who don’t understand me. It prompts me to really be clear about what I want in life, and do what I can and need to live my best life.

 

Well…. it’s now nearing the end of week three and while everyone has been running around getting themselves together for Halloween, I’ve been making daily arrangements to pack for work while staying the night with my grandmother at the hospital as she recovers from her surgery.  I’m dragging from fatigue and I am seriously behind on photography work, but I love my grandmother and desire to do what I can to help.  While I’M still not at 100% health myself, I’ll tell you, the conversations had and the laughs shared between my grandmother and I have forever altered my faith in genuine family connection.

#LIFE-CHANGING LESSON C: family connection in its purest form is more important than anything in this universe (behind a relationship with God through Christ).

My entire life I have never lived in the same town as anyone on either side of my family. My nuclear family (dad, mom and I) have pretty much been ‘loners’ in a sense. This is the first time in my entire life that I’ve been able to physically see someone from my extended family daily, drop in to say hi, eat dinner together, watch a movie, and talk about random memories without the pressure of the sun setting. My love for my grandmother and appreciation for my family, in general, has grown exponentially. Growing up (before cell phones, the internet, and texting)  I depended on my parents to “remind” me to call my family; not because I didn’t love them, but because I would always wonder “what will we talk about? I’d rather just wait until we drive up and visit them.” Which is what would usually happen.  I actually did myself a disservice because while I would eventually talk to my grandparents, cousins, long-distance friends, I missed out on so many opportunities to connect. This week recovering with my grandmother has challenged me to continue to put the phone down when talking with loved ones (because there will be time to business later). It’s also brought on regrets that my other grandparents didn’t live long enough to know me as I am now. A woman who can converse, laugh, take care of, and be there for them as a friend. I can only give what I have to my family now. Which brings me to the last life-changing lesson I’ve learned in the past several weeks….

 

#LIFE-CHANGING LESSON D: I desire to be some man’s wife and somebody’s mama some day and if that has to be later than sooner, I’ll be okay. I’d rather keep moving forward and learn all I can before the next season in my life.

The past year as a single woman has ushered me into a period of reflection: What type of marriage do I see myself having? What type of wife and mother do I see myself being? What type of man do I TRULY see myself marrying? What do I need to work on personally?

giphy (1).gif

The time spent with my grandmother has answered virtually every question on the list. This week I did things I NEVER thought I’d do and sacrificed comforts that I would rather not give up – but I did them out of my love and respect for family. I’ve confirmed in my heart that if I’m going to be some man’s wife and somebody’s mama, I want to BE present. I want to nurture, support, and comfort my family – even if that means sacrificing reasonable comforts of my own. While it took some time to reacclimate to the ‘single life’, I realized that aside from my ex-boyfriend and I having different ideas, I’m single at this very moment for another purpose – to help take care of my grandmother and to grow more into the woman I say I want to be. If I were married right now, there is NO WAY I’d be able to learn all that I’ve recently learned because I’d be splitting my time with my husband and taking care of my own home. If I was a mother, I’d be doing the same. My mind, and time would be split IF I weren’t in the space that I’m in now. While I do desire to be married before I’m 90, I’ve realized that if I say I truly want to be the best wife I can be and marry the best husband for me and be the best mom my kids could ever ask for – I have no choice but to keep moving forward, take the lessons I’ve learned, get back out there/apply them, and leave the rest up to God.

If you see me around town this weekend let me know what your thoughts are on what I’ve had to say. I know I’m not alone. I’d love to hear your story and cheer you on in your journey to a better you!

 

Be blessed, Joc

1 Comment

Filed under Dear Diary, Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, It's Me Joc

Life-Changing Lessons from A Broken Leg (Part 1 of 2)

These past two to three weeks have been what I would consider ‘life-changing’.

On November 16, I caught a terrible virus from a family member and overnight I was in Urgent Care getting a shot in the ‘hip’ and contemplating if I could push through the work day or not. It turns out (per doctor’s orders.)  I was forced to call it a day HOPING I’d get better soon so I could get back to work.

It turns out, God didn’t plan it that way.

Tuesday afternoon brought on a new symptom (other than the sinus drainage and a terribly scratchy throat/sneezing) ……. one large order of VOICE LOSS! Nevermind that my job as an insurance agent requires me to TALK 95% of the time! ** insert a “what are you telling me LORD?!**

With one fell swoop, my entire year supply of sick days was wiped out and I was forced the following Monday to return to work, with a hazmat mask on, barely being able to speak above a scraggly whisper.d21b601d09f254a6301b0c4004f8045b.620x400x1

Most of you who read my blog know that I’m a freelance photographer and will undoubtedly feel my pain to know that in addition to being out of work and running out of paid sick leave, I also had to reschedule a slew of fall special shoots I’d already rescheduled due to an emergency family conflict. I was calling on the LORD (in my heart) heavy now! Appearing unprofessional and flaky was NOT my goal when I initially set up these shoots months earlier.

**in a 60-something year old black pastor voice** Somebody turn to your neighbor and say BUT GOD!

Thankfully God heard my cry and blessed me with my go-to videographer-friend Rashaad (who is my second photographer on weddings and events) and allowed him to be off work so he could step in for me.

# LIFE-CHANGING LESSON A: Be thankful for the good people God has placed in your life and be good to them.

One of the things that bothers me most as a business person is when a situation legitimately makes me appear as unprofessional or unknowledgeable. I love photography. It will always be in my heart; and while there will always be people who will try to “get over” on me or dislike my art, I don’t always take it well when “life” happens and interferes with how customers perceive my business.  This is why I’m thankful to have someone like Rashaad on my team and I always try to be a good as a friend as he is to me. He didn’t have to take on those shoots for me. He could’ve said “well to heck with you, I ain’t got time for it!”, and watched as I crashed and burned – but he didn’t. The importance of true friendship and partnership was illuminated to me in this moment. I was inspired to try and be there for my loved ones when they really need me (although I may not be able to help all of the time.) God divinely orchestrates certain relationships to help us live our best lives and live great.

 

Back to the sickness.

By the fifth day of week two, my voice was functioning at about 87% and while I was physically tired and still feeling icky, the week wasn’t overwhelming – UNTIL – I walked into my parents’ house ….

(to be continued)

1 Comment

Filed under Dear Diary, Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, It's Me Joc

What An Old Testament Shunammite Woman Taught Me About Discretion.

This morning I read the entire fourth chapter of 2 Kings in its entirety. I don’t always read whole chapters, but today, I just could not seem to put my bible down.

After wrapping up, I had a revelation about the Shunammite woman that I don’t believe I’ve had before. In the text, her preteen/teenaged son apparently suffered a stroke or an aneurysm, and once he died in her arms, she made a b-line to Elisha — the man of God who prophesied that God would even give her a son in the first place. The ENTIRE TIME, from the moment she decided to go to get Elisha up until the boy was raised back to life, she said “all is well” or “everything is fine” when people asked how she was doing — despite the fact that her son just died. I know people give a lot of flack when Christians “pretend” that everything is fine when things are falling apart and I always thought this woman was doing the same thing….BUT The LORD revealed to me this morning that she wasn’t “faking” at all. She was in all actuality practicing wise discretion.

TRUTH: We all go through crazy events and trials that make us feel hopeless and afraid YET we need not “waste” our precious strength sharing our every woe with EVERYone. That was the key difference between the Shunammite woman and those Christians who act like life is all sprinkles & unicorns. This woman was no fake. She had a need and knew where to get it filled. She didn’t spend precious seconds risking being thrown off her mission by telling people who couldn’t help her her problems. She basically told them, she was alright and kept it moving. She didn’t say “fantastic” or “magnificent” — just alright. Then The Holy Spirit said to me, “Jocelyn, THAT is how you need to be. That is how God TRULY wants His children to act. Not fake and phony, but not sulky and or sluggish. YAHWEH is the first one Who you should tell your problems too — not friends or social media! Some people may have good intentions but will ultimately do nothing but damage your faith that God can fix your problem. Yes, God gives you a trusted few to physically vent – but remember keyword FEW!”

That revelation floored me. The Holy Spirit was absolutely right (he always is for that matter.lol) The Shunammite woman didn’t even go into great detail with her own HUSBAND when he asked why she was hurrying to see Elisha. She simply said “everything is alright, I’m going anyway” and she was on her way.  To have a drama-less life, guard your mouth and only share your issues with people GOD gives you peace about. That may be ONE person in the entire world and that’s okay.

I plan to make changes to be more like the Shunammite woman and guard my mouth. Be careful who I tell your business to, and be careful who I share my prayer life with. Sometimes the conversation will just need to be between myself and God as I seek my healing, restoration, blessing or whatever I may be in need of at the time. And that’s okay.

Be Blessed, Joc

1 Comment

Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, Joc's Observations, Quotes To Live By, The Christian Life

Life lessons I learned from Miss Lucy

Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.

She’s the friend every woman has but doesn’t really like. Whenever she comes to visit, she’s a pain in the butt and literally saps every bit of energy you THOUGHT you had stored up. The only time she doesn’t come around is when you have a kid, but then she’s right back at your front door after they’re home a month or so.

imagesIf you haven’t guessed by now, Lucy is the menstrual cycle that comes ‘round every month. The two of us have had a hate-hate relationship since I was in middle school and it’s only gotten better because I know once I hit my fifties she’s outta here! So I can deal with her for another 20 years or so.

Anywho, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had SERIOUS issues whenever Lucy came to visit. More than normal – to the point my little twelve-year-old body could turn from a shining example of happy-go-lucky youthfulness into a tangled pretzel of agony in a matter of seconds.

As I’ve approached 30 years living on this earth, Miss Lucy has brought more bounce to the ounce as the pain has doubled, my energy has gotten freakishly low, and a myriad of other oddities have found themselves sneaking into my life.Menstrual-pain-470x219

When my natural instinct has always been to quit my job, curl up in a ball, and sleep all day; Lucy has forced me to pull it together, pray, and get through!

 

Lesson # 1 – Pain is inevitable in life.

On a scale of 1 – 10, the pain I endure every time Lucy pops in to say hey is about a good — umm — CHILDBIRTH! Now I know I’ve never had kids before, but I’m pretty sure the pain I experience is as close to childbirth as I can get! I’m talking pain where your entire body writhes, pain that lingers every time you sit up, pain that makes you want to throw up and pass out. Yeah. That type. Regardless of how much I hate pain, this experience every trip around my body’s sun keeps my attitude in check. It reminds me that I am human and as unfair as it may seem, I’m not the boss of everything. The only thing I can truly control is my response to negative experiences during this life of mine. I don’t have to let painful events or happenings warp my view of the future or kill my hope….I can just deal, choose to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and push through!

 

giphy (31)Lesson #2 – I need God.

Maybe this should’ve been listed first. My oh my – the need for God has been scribbled in jumbo marker ink all over my entire existence! To experience the emotional ups and down, energy plummets, and nausea has taught me to lean on the everlasting arms of Abba Father! There is absolutely NO WAY in this entire universe that I would be able to make it through anything without Him. I need the strength only given by God through my salvation through Jesus Christ. I as a mere human do not possess the strength necessary to DEAL with half of the stuff I’m able to day in and day out. I’m don’t agree with “we’re all gods and goddesses” – naw, we are image bearers of God, but we ain’t Him ya’ll. HE made our bodies as they are. HE gives us that extra burst of juice we need to push through the pain. HE whispers to us “keep going, I’m with you” when life gets too hard to deal with. I (and my body) are physical testaments that the help of God is what’s allowed me to not check out.

 

Lesson #3 – Resilience is my spirit animal.

giphy (5)

I’ve always said that resilience is the primary name of my game. Since birth, I’ve had to bounce back from some pretty tough hands, and regardless of what I was dealt, found a way to grow from the experience. When Miss Lucy comes around, there is nothing “prissy or missy” about her. She is a savage Amazon warrior who plays rough and keeps you on your toes. One month, I may be out of work for a week. Over the course of several others, I’m fine. Some, I’ll have close calls and just pray my way through – but in each situation, I’ve found out that I was better than I was before. Whether it’s becoming stronger mentally, getting much needed rest physically, I’m able to emerge from Lucy’s visits happier and more renewed than I was before she came. Sure, I may be running on emotional fumes the first day or so after she leaves, but eventually, I get my mojo back.

 

Lesson #4 – There is never a time creativity can’t come out to play.

giphy (19)What I mean by this is, balancing the consequences of mother Eve’s idiotic decision-making skills has caused me to be creative in figuring out ways to stay working, making money, and functioning at a normal level. Whether that’s taking cat naps in my car or ignoring phone calls to sleep for 5 hours or create a makeshift anti-nausea tonic from ginger, carbonated water, and pain pills – my creativity is usually called to light. You always think of using your creativity to manipulate photos, paint, or create kiddie forts; but you never think of how creative you have to be when it comes to maintaining life balance!

 

I’m about 98.72% sure that reading this post has been one of the most oddly interesting things you’ve done today, but don’t let the lessons escape you. Though Lucy has taught me these things, they are still applicable to every aspect of life.

Be blessed ya’ll

  • Joc

Leave a comment

Filed under Dear Diary, Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, It's Me Joc, Joc's Observations, Quotes To Live By

Are You an Ancient Israelite in Disguise?

Around 2013 I decided to really get serious about Bible reading. For some of you reading this you may have just blurted out loud….

“But you’re a Christian Joc, you’re supposed to take the bible seriously and read it!” You were probably also sporting one of these faces…..

— and what you may (or may not have) just blurted out is a valid response; yet the sad truth is, as society becomes more corrupt, the days become more hectic, and people become more comfortable with seeking selfish pleasures to “get away from it all” — SERIOUS bible reading (reading to actually understand it and apply it to real life) often takes a back seat….if it doesn’t end up getting thrown into the trunk out the gate.

Back to 2013…..

I decided if I was going to understand the story of the world and all that jazz, I needed to start from page one and read a little each day. I was able to successfully do this until I got to the book of Ezra, when I found myself getting a little off track. Life circumstances and changes caused me to lose focus and skip all the way into the New Testament. Well now it’s 2017 and I’ve decided to start back at the beginning and uncover what I missed before. Today, I was reading Numbers chapter 11 and I was hit with a spiritual revelation!

Up until now (Genesis-Numbers), the ancient Israelites were oppressed in brutal slavery for 400 years, miraculously freed from Egypt, graciously given food from Heaven, and yet reeked of ungratefulness! Here’s what I read:

1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the Lord had burned among them.

4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.

10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

That sounds like a lot of us, doesn’t it?! We literally beg God to give us a miracle, then when He performs it, we get bored or tired of it, then want something bigger and better — totally ungrateful for the blessing we literally JUST received! 

When the ancient Israelites first stepped out Egypt they were complaining, but when God delivered them via the Red Sea they changed their tune. They were glad to be out of slavery….until a little time passed and they got hungry. They went to Moses so he could ask God to send them food — BOOM — God drops manna from heaven and brings on a horde of quail for them to eat. They’re happy again….until they reach Mount Sinai and get bored again. They TOTALLY disregard the Living God Who LITERALLY just performed miracles out of nowhere and began making an idol to worship like they were back in Egypt. FACEPALM!!! Over and over they find themselves running on the hamster wheel of being grateful-ungrateful-satisfied-not satisfied …… it’s no wonder they stayed in the wilderness so long…. how could God trust the first generation Israelites with the Promise Land if they couldn’t even be satisfied with the starter blessings God had already showered them with!?!

EXACTLY.

Take a moment to think about everything in your life. Your job. Your home. Your mode of transportation. Your health. Your finances. Your love life. Your family.

Are you praying for and expecting God to give you more, but still missing the fact that you’re a smidge ungrateful for what you already have?

Take this lady I know:

She graduated from college between 2008 -2010 when the economy was plummeting and there were literally no good paying jobs available. She didn’t know how she was going to pay her loans, let alone survive. She didn’t know how she was going to afford rent, food, gas — ANYTHING! She prayed for a job and in less than 2 months was called by an old employer from high school asking if she needed a job. Sure she had to move back home and stay with her parents…sure she had no desire to work in the field she formally worked in…sure her paycheck was small and she was technically living below the poverty level — but she had a job, no rent payment, and enough to cover her bills.  She was grateful! NOW fast forward 5 years later and she’s still working the same job. Though she filled out what seemed like a billion applications, she wasn’t able to find a job paying more money, or a position in the field she wanted to work in. She was MISERABLE! She was barely getting by juggling paying her bills and trying to maintain some sort of social life. She slowly became discontent, overly stressed, and despised the very thing she asked God for — her job!

15078822_3111720437567_9064634263547187570_n

In her eyes, her job was holding her back from the life she was truly destined to live. It hurt her to wake up every day, racking her brain on why it seemed career opportunities were passing her by, while the cost of living was going up! I’m happy to report that now, while it’s still a struggle, she’s more content with the blessings of having her basic needs taken care of and she hasn’t given up on her dreams. She’s just a little more thankful.

That woman developed the attitude of an Ancient Israelite and didn’t even realize it. I’m not God but I would dare say God hasn’t blessed her with anything more YET because it’s not the right time (He’s got something grand marinating behind the scenes) AND because her posture towards the blessings she’s already afforded still isn’t quite right. Like the Ancient Israelites, it’s quite possible that God is not giving her ALL of the blessings she could be getting because her attitude isn’t ready for it. Let’s say He was to give her the job of her dreams now, she’d probably tire of that too and start complaining about how much work it is or about how it’s not like her old job! I don’t know for sure, but it’s certainly a thought.

Take some time (as mentioned above) to reflect on your life and pray about it. Ask God to reveal any way you’re being ungrateful. Take time to thank Him for what He’s given you. Even if you don’t have as much money as you’d like, travel as much as you’d like, have the relationship or marriage that you’d like — you’re still blessed and God will supply ALL of your needs! Just continue to be thankful!

Be blessed,

Joc

giphy (13)

Leave a comment

Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, The Christian Life