Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fix Your Face!

Imagine this:

You arrive at work on time and are sitting at your desk when your boss approaches your cubicle. He glances at your computer screen and when he sees that you are doing a work assignment, he smiles and says, ‘____ (insert your name here), Happy New Year! I’ve noticed all the hard work that you did for the company in 2011 and I want to show you my appreciation. I am giving you a special $1000 bonus. This bonus is tax free and will be deposited in your bank account by 10:00 a.m. today.’  Your boss smiles at you again, shakes your hand and walks away to begin his/her day. Immediately, you bow your head and say a prayer of Thanksgiving. (At ten o’clock, you go online and check your bank account and, sure enough, there has been a cash deposit of $1000!)

I’m picturing myself looking into a mirror which is casting your reflection. Whoa! I can see all those pearly whites because you are grinning from ear to ear. Wait. Is that pep in your step? Did you just jump in the air and click your heels together? You are definitely looking like someone who received super-duper good news! You appear to be the epitome of “blessed and highly favored!” Go ahead! Everyone can see that smile, even from blocks away. I even noticed that when the “office hater” walked past, you gave them an extra smile and even topped it with a nod and a “Hello”. Yes, I can look at you and tell that you are having a great day!

Now, imagine this:
You arrive at work thirty minutes early, per your usual routine, because you want to get a leg up on your daily work. Over the past year, you have been a model employee and have already decided that this year you will be even better. You are feeling like today is shaping up to be pretty fantastic.
A few minutes later, your boss comes into your cubicle and says ‘Happy New Year, ______ (insert your name here). I’ve noticed all the hard work that you did for the company in 2011. However, I also noticed that there are a lot of areas in which you could have done better. As a result, I am cutting your annual salary by $1000 and demoting you down to an entry level position - effective immediately! Please box up your belongings and report to the basement after lunch.’ Your boss gives you a disapproving look and walks away to begin his/her day.

I’m still checking you out the mirror. Oh no. Where is your smile? I don’t see anything but a scowl. Did I hear you mumble something bad about your boss under your breath? Did you just throw your paperweight across the room? Is that a stomp that I hear? Wow. Did you just ignore Maria when she said ‘Good morning’? Yes, I can tell that your day is not going anything like you planned. Even Stevie Wonder can see that you have a straight up attitude right now.

Though the two examples are extreme (or are they?), they raise a valid point.  If your voice box suddenly stopped working, are people able to look at you and see what kind of day you are having? Does your outer man [attitude, facial expressions, how you carry yourself] match your inner [God]?

As a wife, there are times when my husband can look at my face and tell if something is bothering me or how my day is going. He is able to judge solely by my attitude if he should “proceed with caution” or if it is “safe”.

As a parent, whenever my children look a certain way after I have scolded them, I often tell them “fix your face!”

Yet, am I practicing the same?

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.

The word “seeking” means that the enemy is watching me and if he sees me looking or acting a certain way, I have already given him the indication that I am vulnerable because my emotions are in control of me – no matter what or Who I claim on the inside. If I allow my emotions to control me, I am easy prey. 

John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.”

With peace, there is no room for attitudes or bad moods. Likewise, the “good cheer” described in this scripture is what Believers should demonstrate at all the times. Sure, there will be trials, frustrations, aggravations and stressors because we do live in this world. But knowing that Jesus has already conquered them all and has made us the victors, we should always look, act and treat others the same way – no matter what the circumstance.

When someone or something comes against you, know that they are simply small, supporting characters who act in your triumphant story! Do not give them the leading role! Through Christ, we have already won all battles and arguments and have conquered any situation that comes our way – whether in the spiritual or the natural.

Because we have Christ in us, people should not be able to look at us and tell when we are experiencing challenges. With Christ on the inside, He should be shining on the outside - at all times!
Today, I plainly heard the Holy Spirit admonishing me to follow my own instruction to “fix my face (and my attitude) in times of unease and pressure.

I know for sure that today forward, I will be more conscientious of my face and attitude. Whenever I am tempted to let my emotions run me, I am going to “fix my face!” and declare Romans 8:37.  “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”.

After getting revelation of this scripture, I now understand the true meaning behind the saying “never let them see you sweat!”


P.S. – Happy New Year to you and your family! May God reign on you in 2012!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Delayed But Not Denied

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”
2 Timothy 4:7

Last year, a coworker recommended that I read ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett. I read the book and have to admit that it was an enjoyable read. So imagine my delight when I first learned that the book would be turned into a movie!! (Although I am already anticipating the book being much better than its cinematic version).

Today, I read an article about Ms. Stockett's determination and drive. The article revealed that over a course of eight and half years (that’s 5,110 days), her book was turned down (rejected) by 60 (sixty) literary agents before becoming the bestseller it is today!

We recently went through a teaching series at church called ‘God Has A Plan For You’.  In that series, we learned that 1) God has a plan for your life; 2) once God reveals your plan to you, you need to take the necessary steps to make your (God's) plan a reality and 3) you may need to make course corrections but you do not give up until that plan is fulfilled!

I want you to honestly think about how you would have felt and if you would have continued to pursue your plan after receiving your first rejection. What about the 5th? 30th? 59th?

Following God’s plan takes faith, strength, faith and more faith! You definitely can not walk by sight when you are walking out your plan. Sometimes it will seem like roadblocks and mountains are insurmountable. But with God…

I am not sure if Ms. Stockett is a believer. I am not even sure if recognizes where her tenacity comes from. But to God be the glory!

The inspiration behind Ms. Stockett’s story can be applied to so many areas of a Believer’s life: When you go to the doctor and get a poor bill of health, do you give up and go by his report? Does his report sentence you to death? When you go to an audition and you don’t get the part, do you give up on acting/dancing/singing and let your gifts and abilities go to waste? When you experience a failed relationship, do you give up on the hopes of finding a suitable mate? When you fall do you just lay there and sulk? Or do you get back up?

Remember, "Don't Give Up! Don't Give In! It's Not Over Until You Win!" (Will you still be chanting this after rejection number 10? 59?)