Religion

#40Days – The Home Stretch

I had no idea what was going to happen when I embarked on this journey of total submission. All I knew is mentally I was hoping to take a large leap forward. I was having doubts in a few areas and I wanted to set new standards for the people that were  in and would come in my life. When I’d heard the message on that Sunday, it was a necessary instruction to stop and chill.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Today, is the 30th day.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling “off”. I couldn’t explain why and couldn’t even convey the feeling into words. Physically, I didn’t feel the best either. I’d had a rough boxing session with a client that literally kicked my ass.

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It took a few hours for me to key in on what was up. I’m writing this on my way to Cali, taking a few days for a well-needed vacation. Going through this last month, I noticed how even the smallest decisions can change your life so drastically. And sometimes you have to catch up mentally to where God leads you spiritually.

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The Post About Nothing And Everything

When I sit down to write for the internet to consume – whether it’s 1 reader or 500 – I’m deliberate with word choice and execution. However, today is one of those days where I need to let my heart speak. I have things that I’ve been wanting to share but have been waiting for the right moment or rather, the proper post do so.

I’ve grown a decent readership in the past few years so by all means if you’re expecting eloquence, you might want to ignore this 1 and head over to Medium for my latest piece.

So I’m currently embarking on a 40 day fast where I’m spiritually cleansing my life. It started after my pastor delivered a message where he spoke about reaching the point where you feel like you can’t take it anymore. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can watch it here. (Fast fwd to about the 15:00 mark)

There are parts of my life in need of a hard reset and purging. I don’t want to wait until the new year. I don’t plan on doing a recap or one of those “year of review” style posts so here it goes.

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5 Things I’ve Learned While Not Having Sex

It’s been a long time that I’ve written about my sex life in great detail. The reason for that is there wasn’t much to tell. However, this year I’ve been struggling with my celibacy.

Around my birthday, a woman offered to cook dinner for me. It seemed innocuous enough but I still had reservations about it. The truth was I didn’t trust myself around women. It had become increasingly more difficult to not be overrun with sexual thoughts. My heart and mind were in one place but my body wanted to respond the way a human body naturally responds to pleasurable stimuli. Not only was it a conflict of emotions, it was a conflict spiritually.

I didn’t wake up one day and decide to be celibate. I gradually made the decision to stop viewing sex as an automatic expectation in a relationship, though. I also decided to stop using sex as an escape.

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You Break Curses By Not Being Afraid Of The Scars

It’s taken a few days to digest Beyonce’s latest opus. I’m still processing the nuances of the visuals for Lemonade and the album. I watched the visual a few times. I gave the album a fifth listen last night. I’ve heard it enough to have favorite songs. I don’t think I’ve sat with the movie enough to catch all of the details. Thankfully, a lot of journalists have already analyzed and deconstructed both.

So I’m not exactly going to do that.

What I can take away from this album and its accompanying visual is that Beyonce has shed the last bits of perfection that she spent a great deal of her career and life living in. Save for a few songs, she’s talking about what happens to a woman after the honeymoon stage. How does a woman replenish herself when the well has run dry?

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Post Revisited: Confirmations Are Everywhere If You Pay Attention

In the past few years, I’ve been on the fence with God. I’ve never really been tight with God to begin with. Definitely not by choice. And even though, I wasn’t always being honest in my relationship, I developed a passion to get closer to God because of her. When I lived in Houston, I found a church that was close by. After a few weeks, I became a regular at this church. I would look forward to Sundays.

My move to VA was brought on primarily to be closer to family. But what was crazy is that I went to church one Sunday in Houston and the guest pastor happened to be from a church here in VA. His style was reminiscent of the pastor in Houston. So since I liked him, I figured I’d check out the church once I got all settled in VA.

The past couple of years have been a series of events, conversations, and occurrences that seemed random on their surfaces; complete coincidences. However, something happened in the last 7 days that’s made me think sometimes your life is a series of signs leading you to where you need to be. If you’re not paying attention, you may miss out on the answer to prayers.

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5 Affirmations From A Spiritual Point Of View

As the end of the year stares us in the face, now is the time that we begin to think about our plans and goals for the new year. Although my plans have changed, my goals have not. One of the assignments I gave myself was to take a detox. So much has been happening in the news between the tragic shooting of Mike Brown back in August to circumstances in my personal life. I needed some peace and quiet in my life. I know I needed the opportunity to work on my relationship with God and to gain some new perspective that’ll help me stay the course for 2015.

I signed up for this devotional plan called “Soul Detox” on bible dot com. While I don’t talk much about religion here, I completed the plan yesterday with some new clarity that I think anyone can benefit from.

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#30in30 Day 22: Sometimes Prayer Isn’t The Solution

Social media and the news is overwhelmed with disappointment, frustration, anger, and sadness over the Not Guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial. But this isn’t another post about the miscarriage of justice.

This isn’t another post about how the state of FL is a cesspool of ignorance.

This is a post about your relationship with your God. This is about the belief system upon which we base our actions.

My pastor once said when things don’t make sense, you have to deal within your 6th sense. National tragedies have always had a religious aspect. Hell, the entire Palestine/Israeli conflict has lasted for thousands of years and will continue on for another thousand. Religion is sometimes a security blanket or a defense mechanism to explain actions that logically make no sense to us. But it’s unnecessarily used as an excuse to pacify the inaction we get comfortable with in our daily lives.

“God, help me pay this bill.”

“Lord, I really need this job opportunity to come through.”

“I don’t know what to do, God please have your way in my life.”

Those are prayers that roll off the tongues of Christians worldwide all the time. The 3rd is actually a prayer I sent up just last night. But how can God answers our prayers if we don’t exercise free will to take steps? The bible has many verses that instruct you to never turn away from God. God is the alpha and omega. God doesn’t forsake his followers. 1 of my favorite verses in fact is Proverbs 3:5-6

As a Christian, 1 of the tenets you have to practice is total and unyielding faith in the greatness of God. However, in the very same Bible, James 2:26 explicitly states that faith without works is dead. I’ve always interpreted that to mean that if your actions don’t align with the desires and wants from your heart, then your prayers are essentially pointless.

Often in my life, I’ve wondered why do bad things keep happening to me. It’s human to get to a point of emotional exhaustion and want to give up. No matter how long of a race you’ve run, we all reach that point of “why am I still chasing?” It’s discouraging to know in your logical mind that you’ve done everything you could possibly do to reach a goal or fulfill a dream and it’s just not going to happen. For me, I’ve always concluded that whatever that thing I was desperately chasing wasn’t meant for me. But in my 30s, I know now that’s a cop-out; as is thinking prayer will solve every calamity, hardship, or delay you encounter.

The works that you do as you pray for a breakthrough will determine the answer to that prayer. So if you’re praying for a better job, yet you haven’t updated your resume, you haven’t brushed up on your interview skills, you haven’t applied to every single position that aligns with your qualifications, you can’t expect that better job to magically appear. If you want to meet a great guy/woman, you can’t keep frequenting places where the unsavory hang out. You can’t pray for justice if you do nothing to improve the system.

To keep this in vaguer terms of being a black man in America, we can’t be complacent and simply pray for our sons, fathers, brothers, and husbands. We can’t just pray that God will protect and save us. We can’t just keep praying for the families of the black men that system doesn’t protect. We have to put in the work to align with our desires for change. We have to make our good works – whether it be attending a peaceful protest, becoming a mentor to a young child of color, or being more active in local civics – back up the prayers that we send up to God.

For every callous heart that’s armed with a piece of cold steel, there has to be a heart that’s armed with good intent and consistent faithful service.