So I’m sitting at a Panera Bread location right now having my lunch, a month after my birthday, excited at all I’m about to share with you. First off, about three hours ago, I presented at an international conference for work, on something very close to my heart: “advising international students in the academic setting.” My actual title was much cooler than that but this gives you a better summary of what I was speaking on, haha. It would not be an understatement to say God took absolute control of my whole presentation. The reception from attendees was AHMAZING. Lots of questions, lots of contributions – huge success.
I took a second to share that with you all to give a complete shout out to God! So, if you have a big project coming up, an interview, presentation, a difficult conversation, etc., basically anything that would naturally make you nervous, anxious and have the sick stomach feeling – take this moment to pause. Breathe in and out, and say it out, “God, I give it to you. I trust you. Please take it over and do YOUR thing. In Jesus name.”
Ooookaayyyyy, who’s ready to chat now?? Boy, i feel like it’s been a minute. I want to commit to sharing at least once a month. I’ve been praying about what I’ll be sharing this month. I know it’s going to be a reflection of my birthday last month (which btw, I have picturessss, stay put lol. It’s gonna be a long one), I believe God has given me these words specifically to breathe life here.
So, almost exactly a month ago, I turned a new age (I would say the age, buttt there’s a possibility one of my students will read this and that is not information I am disclosing to you guys LOL). To celebrate, I went SOLO to California!!!!! Flew in to LAX and took a lyft to my airbnb where I spent the next 3 days. Another understatement in this post would be saying, my trip was amazing. No, no. IT. WAS. AH.MAY. ZINGGGGGG. Here are a few pics:
During my solo birthday celebration, i met lots of people, had lots of conversations, did lots of new things, lots of good food – you get the point, basically, I did lots, by myself, but ALSO with lots of people I met – even though I had gone solo on that trip (even had strangers singing me a happy birthday song). I remember when I was about to get off the plane at LAX, I think it finally dawned on me that I flew halfway across the country by myself. I remember saying to God, “Lord, I’m scared. I’m not sure if this is what I want anymore. Please be with me, I still want to have a great time.”
Boy, when i telll you God CAME, He CAME. From my lyft driver who put me at ease with great conversation and amazing recommendations to my airbnb host and a fellow guest from China whom I met there. Everything was perfectly ordered and planned out by God. I just got to walk in it and enjoy every bit of my trip. I did a lot of praying, communing with God – just us two – well four, if we count Son and Spirit separate ;). Lots of reflection, gratitude, revelations, living, being alive, sharing – just lots and lots of God and life.
I think the morning or the day before I left, I was looking across the pacific ocean from the Santa Monica pier and I asked God, “Lord you’ve been speaking to me concerning me all these while. What can I bring back for others from this trip.” And along the way, I heard myself say these words:
"I was scared
I wasn't sure what to expect
but look at you God
You went ahead of me."
And as the words echoed in my heart, I felt the Holy Spirit guide me to share them. So here it is, the way He has been teaching me, He wants to speak to you about fear, worry, anxiety. Why let those things settle in you when you can turn it all over to God?
I met someone in downtown Hollywood, on a line to get free ice cream (whoop whoop), and hours into our conversation, the person commented, “You must be very spontaneous…” LOL. If you knew me, you would have chuckled with me right there. And this wasn’t a one time thing, lots of people kept commending my braveness and boldness, amazing personality and character and all these other great things. And through all of it, I couldn’t help but constantly chuckle. Because again, if you knew me before, brave, spontaneous, bold, will not be the first words to cross your thoughts when you met me.
But let tellll you about my Jesus. His strength boy. His strength, and grace will take you THROUGH obstacles and to high places which you never really imagined. If you will commit your ways to him, He comes through. He comes through.
Today I am speaking to areas of your life where you have hesitated. Maybe you’re hiding from just being you. Maybe you’re not even sure who that is anymore and rather than go through the uncomfortable, daunting process of finding out who that is, you figure it’s easier to keep up with this facade you have built to the public. OR maybe you’re just scared man. You’ve been here before and you’re here again, so what if things never change, what if the light at the end of the tunnel never shows, you’re tired. You’re also just scared of being tired. You can’t give up but you’re also scared or nervous to keep going. Or maybe, it’s just fear of speaking up or stepping out. You’ve been tagged “introvert” “shy” “weak” “timid” all your life. Surely, anyone with these qualities, should not be bold enough to speak up or step out, right? Wrong. Listen here:
The time is now. Rise up. You can’t lay there anymore. You can’t just settle while YOUR life keeps passing you by. Choose you THIS day, not tomorrow, not next month, THIS day whom you will serve. Let God’s light in. Let him overwhelm the depression and confusion and chaos that has wrapped you for so long. Let him give you courage, you are no longer the timid weakling. Rise up. Let Him reveal himself in all His glory and grace. Let his face shine upon you. No more walking as a zombie, just going through the motions. It’s time to wake up. There is LIFE right here. Right there where you are and God has breathed in you the strength to live it. Come Alive. In Jesus name alone.
I think this post escalated really fast, which I am very okay with. From my birthday to trip to an invitation to live life alive! Whew.
A trip to California is something I have always wanted to do, but like a lot of things in life, there were always reasons not to. I stepped out to do it and just decided from the very beginning of it, to give it all to God – however the outcome, I pre-determined to celebrate myself and how far God had brought me. I stepped out and God was there. Even with my presentation to an international audience today, I stepped out and God was there. And I have many more instances I could share of this. On the hardest of days when I say “God I’m so physically and mentally tired. I’m not sure I can do this anymore.” He comes. Not always exactly and as immediately as I would want. But He comes. And I am continually learning to trust His timing. Because His grace never leaves. He carries us through. He’s carrying YOU through.
My lunch bowl at Panera is now empty, ha. I’ll be closing my laptop and leaving in a bit. BUT. I hope this post is exactly what you need when you need it. You are brave and bold and you have what it takes, to do and deal with those things which God has called you to, even when it all seems so daunting and impossible.
Here are a few more pictures:
And that’s it folks!
All my best ❤
P.S. If you are blessed, don’t forget to like this post and share it on your social media or with at least one other person to be a blessing. Also, use the “leave a reply button” below. I would love to hear from you!