Lessons from Tybee

One of the greatest things about being at the beaches the sound of waves crashing on the shore, hearing the playful sounds of seagulls and watching the sun rise or set on the ocean. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being at the beach and when I thought of my yearly ‘me-cation’, I planned to visit Tybee Island, GA. For an overthinker such as myself, I researched everything I wanted to do, created a checklist for food spots, etc. What I didn’t plan on were so many in your face life lessons. For those who don’t know, I tend to look for the lesson in different situations, probably because this has been one way that God consistently speaks to me. Sometimes it’s a gentle nudge, other times, a smack in the face.

I got both of those today while exploring what is also known as ‘Savannah’s Beach’. First, In spite of my fear of heights, I climbed 178 steps to the top of the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Looking up from the bottom while in line to go up, I imagined every crazy scenario that could happen… Again, the mind of an over thinker. When I finally reached the top, the fear evaporated when the view of what God created came into sight. I could do a complete 360 around the top and see the entire island. It was beautiful.

Lesson 1: Stop allowing what if’s and unlikely scenarios to keep you from seeing what’s ahead of you. Every 25 or so steps, there was a landing and a window area where you could rest and acclimate yourself with the height and a different viewpoint. Once I reached the top, the feeling of accomplishment was high. (Trust me, if you are afraid of heights, you understand)

Lesson 2 was the slap in the face. I was venturing to downtown Savannah, found a great place to park and saw some awesome sights. I deliberated about catching a hop on hop off trolley to explore more of the city, but there were several other things I wanted to do. I went back to the car and found that I was sandwiched in between 2 cars that over parked… (so afraid to be in the middle of their space, so they were super close; THE NERVE). The crazy part was that the car in front of me came as I was walking away, so I could have asked them to pull up to the front of their space (Y’all, these were little cars and I’m so used to the Yukon, I tend to pick on people who can’t manage the itty bitties. SMH) Anyway, I didn’t say anything and kept going my way. Fast forward to returning to the car, I saw that I was STILL sandwiched in. SMH. There was a tiny margin of space, but even with my Yukon skills, I didn’t think I could get out. I sat there, talked trash, called names (don’t judge me), and prayed. Yes, prayed, because I literally felt trapped. I was overwhelmed and inconvenienced. The overthinking was starting again. It’s funny now that I reflect on it. But in the moment, I was pissed.

Why do we pray when we have an issue that needs to be resolved? Because we want a solution. I said out loud ‘Ok God, I believe one or two things will happen; one of these people will come back and leave OR I will be able to get out of this space with no issues. I moved the car forward and back, but the way I was parked on a busy downtown street and traffic was a hot mess, my nerves wouldn’t let me keep doing that. Then I proceeded to sit there and ruminate. Started that whole process over of talking trash, etc.. Then like a ton of bricks or in this case, a sharp back hand, I realized the truth in James 2:17 ‘Faith without works is dead’. What was I doing? Sitting there like I hadn’t already established what was going to happen. And the people didn’t come, so, option number 2 was still on the table. Move the car TT…

The lesson: You can have all the faith you want; you can even declare the decree of the Lord in terms of what will happen, but if you never take a step, God will also remain still. Don’t tie up his hands! Move! Take the first step! Open the business! Write the book ! (Talking to myself here) Register for the classes! Do whatever it is that you know you’ve been feeling the nudge to do. Stop making excuses and get to it. You can do It. And ESPECIALLY if God has spoken to you about it, MOVE! I hear you God.

I encourage you to conquer your fears. You’ll look back and wonder what took you so long to get that thing done. I even feel differently about driving over bridges after being here. Trust me, coming to an island will test your gansta if that’s a problem for you. When you pray, think about your course of action. Ask for wisdom and courage to make the first move. Don’t be afraid to fail. What seems like failure is really us getting our bearings before firm steps occur (think a child’s first few steps before walking). Above all, keep moving FORWARD! You only fail if you quit and you can’t move forward if you choose to stay stuck.

I love you and God loves you more! Be encouraged!

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Black Sheep

Black Sheep

The worst thing in the world is to be a part of a family that you feel like you’ve failed. That’s exactly where I found myself 28 years ago when I finally had to fess up to being pregnant. I was 16, a junior in High School. I had a plan, dreams, goals and in just a few months, those would be altered. I tried everything to make all of it go away. I met with someone from The Children’s Home Society, I tried abortion – couldn’t, I was told I was too close to the 20 week mark… I was a baby having a baby. Everyday all I could see was the utter disgust and disappointment of my biggest fan club, my parents. When you’re the only girl and youngest of a family with 3 boys, you likely have had life handed to you, the spoilage was REAL. But this was something I wasn’t cute enough to get out of; something I couldn’t pout my way out of. I messed up bad. I was absolutely the Black Sheep of the family.

The shame of my pregnancy nearly crushed me, so for a long time, I hid it from whomever I could. I continued to march in the band, work at Walmart Snack Bar (Hey.. this was the early 90’s). I even thought I would still have my ‘coming out’ and participate in the Debutante Ball… Not a chance. This and the rejection of family, friends and church people that had known me all my life was like the nail in a coffin. I felt like life was over. The thing about being a Black Sheep, is that you kinda stand out without really trying. You are either someone that people run from, or someone that people tried to get close to… Somehow, I was neither. I just didn’t fit, period. I’ve ALWAYS struggled with rejection and this was a beginning point, the root of it all.

Fast forward to present day, our oldest, the son of my youth is an awesome 27 year old young man, who wows me everyday with his words of wisdom, his weekly new music drops (He’s a rapper y’all: Check Him Out.) I’m so proud of who he is becoming. My parents, though disappointed, supported me through college and just life in general and I’m so grateful for that. But because I never dealt with the rejection and self hate, those things continued to plague me as time went on.

The Spirit of Rejection has destroyed so many lives and hold so many people captive. Until we realize that our worth is not about the things we’ve done, the challenges we’ve endured, not what people think of us, but WHO GOD SAYS WE ARE, we will not be able to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. I didn’t have a healthy grasp of this growing up. So It took me years to forgive myself and allow God to change my perception of myself. My being set apart was preparation for what God is currently doing in my life. I still feel left out at times; not chosen, not invited, not mentioned, overlooked… BUT GOD. I know there’s someone reading this that feels the exact same way. Don’t despair; He’s kept us hidden for such a time as this.

Romans 8: 15-16 says For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”  The Strongman of Rejection can no longer overpower us! We no longer have to succumb to that dark power. God has accepted us through the blood of Jesus and we are HIS! Join me in casting down the lies the Spirit of Rejection tells us by:

  • Renouncing rejection. Know your identity. Study the Word of God for the Truth of who you are.
  • Asking God to help you get over the need to be accepted by people.
  • Stop seeking revenge on the people who have rejected you. God is our vindicator and he allows some rejection to keep you away from things and people you don’t need in your life. Every NO isn’t rejection!

I pray all Black Sheep will rise and be the incredible people that God created you to be. Be encouraged: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18