There are times in life where everything seems so unfair. Whether it is treatment from co-workers or so-called friends, an inability to build a community around one’s self or a constant financial struggle. Life can, at times, seem very unfair.
I feel like I am on a rollercoaster of emotions these days. I have somehow gone from supreme happiness and contentment to the deep seeded need of belonging to a community. I feel more alone than I have ever felt and I do not understand where this feeling is coming from. While it is true that I have had a hard time building a community in Los Angeles, I have also stayed very busy so it has not been a bother until now. For a woman, feeling alone equals feeling unloved and you would think that my Father in Heaven would be very sensitive to me at this time. That He would gently remind me of His love and that He has great plans for me.
Instead, my Heavenly Father is in full on DAD mode. He has made me acutely aware of the fact that while I may feel like He is not taking care of me, He actually is doing that and so much more. It started with my learning of a gentleman who had a car accident very similar to the one I had several years back. The only difference being that I landed upright and he landed upside down. That one difference means I walked away with lesions and a life long case of whip lash, whereas, he has endured multiple surgeries to fix an internal problem that has yet to be fixed. He remains in constant misery, unable to work and lives on the verge of suicide due to excruciating pain from an internal problem that cannot be found much less cured. I could have been him, but I was not. I function normally, have no pain other than the reactivation of whip lash which means I cannot rock climb or do any thrill riding. What a difference in our lives! Favor was definitely bestowed on my indignant soul.
My Heavenly Father went on to remind me of all of the favor He has bestowed upon me in all those paying the bill jobs that I routinely tell Him I could do without. The only reason I even landed my first job was due to the fact that my boss just liked me and felt like I could be a friend and a co-worker. It was a similar situation in the second full-time job I acquired. The woman who was doing the hiring, wanted someone closer to her age that could be an accountable co-worker and friend and that is exactly what I was to her. I also received favor in the form of the president of the company taking a liking to me. This man was a ferocious human being, but when he saw me, his whole demeanor changed. Not once, did he ever accost me like he did everyone else. Moreover, once I had put in my notice to move to Los Angeles, I found out that he only kept me on the payroll for the previous year because he liked me. Work was very slow and there really hadn’t been a need for me at the company, but I was able to keep my job and my paychecks, which allowed me to save money to move to Los Angeles all because favor had been bestowed upon my indignant soul.
Once in Los Angeles, I was able to find a job in what I thought took eons but according to LA locals, I was “so blessed to get a job that quick because it can take up to a year or more to get a job in LA”. Again, a man at my company just took a liking to me from the start. If you ask me, I think I remind him of a younger version of his wife, but he has been on my side since day one and has also managed to get me two raises in a company where no one is getting raises even when they get un-asked for promotions. This last raise is what has finally moved me out of living paycheck to paycheck and allowed me to create a plan to get out of debt over the next year. Even though I tend to see nothing but what is wrong and missing in my life, God has yet again bestowed favor upon my indignant soul.
While I am not completely content with life as I know it, I guess I need to stop complaining and start thanking my Heavenly Father for being my DAD and making sure I have everything I need to live a decent life. Los Angeles is both great and horrible at the same time with the main issue being that I have not found a place to truly belong. It is this inability to belong that has me wondering if I only came LA to get clean and sober. The aloneness I constantly feel is eating away at my soul and it has me thinking about that job in Nashville that I so rudely kicked back to God while screaming “Hell No”. The very unfunny truth is that clean and sober Jessica would absolutely love that job! Go figure, right? I have also been thinking about the fact that if there were one other city in America that has the same self-publishing and writing community as Los Angeles, it would be Nashville. While Nashville has a few too many rednecks and no ocean, it is close to family and boasts a great city where I can afford to buy a single-family home. I guess I can say it is on my radar as a possibility in the next couple of years, but even as I type this, I am reminded of my mother who was bound and determined to get out of Tennessee and back to California – she never made it back because love has a way of happening when you are making other plans.
So here’s to staying up in the air, keeping an open mind, making choices that keep my writing a priority, having a thankful heart instead of a complaining one and most importantly… Here’s to a great summer full of whatever blessings God has in store for this indignant soul.
A Resurrection of Sorts
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
Speaking of a soul nudging, I had an intense desire to worship on a week night in March. I was just being pulled to the computer so I got some things done, logged into Pandora, clicked on the worship station and let it rip. By the second song, I knew this was not going to be an ordinary worship experience. God had made this appointment because He had something to reveal to me. I have previously shared that I have issues grasping and believing God’s love for me. I can fully believe it for everyone else and often encourage others in His love, but I have always had a hard time accepting it for myself. Alcoholics are known for being hard on themselves and I can say with all certainty that I have this trait. Becoming more and more aware of my lack of joy, I have been praying that God would help me to open up to His love, that He would help me receive it on a daily basis so that I can have the joy that so many other Believers seem to radiate. I don’t feel that I can ever become a light in this world until I am fully able to receive this love and so I have asked Jesus to help me receive it, that His love would become real to me, that it would impact me daily.
This week night worship experience ended up being a dialogue of love from my Heavenly Father to me. Through the songs that played He told me how He already knew every mistake, slip up, wrong turn, absurd plan, stupid word and every disappointment I could ever cause Him and He still deems me worth taking on the worst death in history so that we can walk together through this life and escort me into an eternal life that is beyond what any imagination can fathom – supreme happiness – everything this world started out to be until we intervened.
I am proud to say that since this worship experience, I have noticed a difference in my attitude at work, in the car and during my personal outings. I am nowhere near perfect, but I can tell that God is transforming me into that radiate light I so want to be and it is awesome. If you are reading this and think you are too far-gone to ever make a change like I am making – then by all means read through my earlier posts. I am not a saint and that is exactly why I am thankful for my Savior.
This worship experience has also redefined my goals for this year. First and foremost, I am striving to love Jesus by living my life in such a way that it leads others to Him. A second goal is to stay sober, which has not really been an issue as of late. This, however, is due to the fact that I tend to only hang out with people who either do not partake in alcoholic beverages or I only accept invitations where it is unlikely that alcohol will be a focal point. I know that I will have to branch out at some point, but until then I am happy to just be enjoying the sober life. Lastly, God has reminded me of something He told me a few years back: My job is to write; His job is everything else. Insert eye roll or dumb face or whatever you would like because these are the ways I usually respond to this comment from my Creator. It just does not compute in my brain. How can I only carry the writing and God carry everything else? It seems like a deal anybody with even a quarter of a brain would jump on but, I am one of those beings who seems compelled to make everything more complicated. Nevertheless, I am complying and what I am finding is that as I make my writing a priority, interesting things start to happen around me. For instance, the more energy I put into my writing, the clearer I become on what I want out of my daytime career. I also have some doors opening in terms or new writing groups, critique groups and info-panels that directly correlate to my own business plan. Hmm, maybe I should listen to my Creator more often! It’s a horrible statement, but it is true. So often in life, we earnestly seek God’s advice, but as soon as He gives it, we tend to shrug and go make another mistake that makes more sense to us. Somehow, He still loves us through it all and even patiently holds our hand while trying to keep us from walking directly into and/or climbing over the bumper rails He’s so kindly placed on our paths.
The winds of change are still blowing through my life at this moment and I know I am headed for a major career change, but I also know that this change will usher in a new era in my life. I feel a resurrection of sorts is on its way – Whoever said it is not about the destination; it is about the journey was right. Destinations change and often times you find that once you arrive, it is not at all what you had in mind so you might as well savor every moment and let the destination find you. Besides, if it weren’t for the journey, how would you ever know where you belong?
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
A Fork In the Road
I find myself walking up to a fork in the road. I am not there yet, but I can feel it coming. It has been both a blessed and a cursed year with the curse being extreme financial lacking and it has weakened my resolve. I am exhausted from the strain of not being able to cover my basic needs much less attend outings to which I have been invited. I am also finding that I hate the hectic pace of my current career. I swear I do nothing but bend over and take it in the rear all day long and for absolutely no reason at that. But this is the glory of being in the distribution world…Not.
The fork that I see coming is the decision to stay in the entertainment industry… albeit in a completely different part or jump ship to a stable, slower paced and financially rewarding private sector institution. There are pros and cons to both roads. Road 1 (the industry) has definite advantages for writers: creative environment; networking with agents, actors and producers; and privy to the inside scoop on everything Hollywood. The down side of the industry would be the long hours, high stress and hectic work environments often supporting projects you don’t support or believe in and until you make it past a certain milestone – very not great pay or benefits. Meanwhile, Road 2 (the private institution) has its own pluses and minuses. Pluses would be the slower pace and non-neurotic managers, the better pay, hours and benefits, as well as better job growth and job security and a better possibility of actually supporting that for which you toil. The only minus on this road is the simple fact that I would be out of the creative scope for a majority of my day.
No doubt to many of you it seems like the simplest decision on the planet. Road 2 clearly has more advantages than Road 1, but Road 1 still has my heart or at least some of it.
Considering the fact that I am known for making bad decisions and passing up opportunities like they number the stars in the sky, I have thought about partaking in an experiment of sorts: Do whatever it is that I do not want to do. In other words, if I want to go left – go right. But I struggle with this decision. You see even with all of the hardship I have endured out here in LA, I still feel I am supposed to be here. I still feel that I am right where I am supposed to be; I still feel that it was the right decision – It’s just not making complete sense yet.
And so I continue to make my way towards this fork in the road, hoping with each step, that the decision will somehow be made for me, that perhaps circumstance will force me onto one road versus the other. If not, I will have to decide whether I should go with my gut like I have always done or try something new and do the exact opposite.
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
Cake or Icing?
Do you tend to go for the cake or the icing? It says a lot about you, if you think about it.
Anyone who has made a cake knows that most of the preparation and baking goes into making the cake and not the icing. The reason being that the cake is the foundation. It is what you put the icing on so a lot goes into the making of the cake. In our lives, the “cake” would be our relationships with our God, our family, our friends and maybe even our co-workers and neighbors.
After the cake is made, the chef or baker turns their attention to making the icing, which is usually a quick process. While the icing is not an afterthought, neither does it garner as much time and attention as the cake. When I think of icing, I think of the things in life that make the cake better like a significant other, financial prosperity, the privilege of leisure and material possessions whether it’s a closet full of the latest trends, a nice car, or a spacious house in a sought after neighborhood. All of these things are fine and dandy and make life more fun, but if we don’t have quality relationships with our family and friends are we really going to be able to enjoy the nice car and the nice house and the ability to travel whenever and wherever we want?
Trust me on this: there’s nothing worse than finding yourself in paradise and not having a soul to share it with. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Just ask all the millionaires shooting up and smoking their lives away to numb the pain of having every material possession possible all the while knowing that even their closest “friends” have more interest in their death than in their life.
We are all naturally one type or the other. We are either busy eating the cake or we are busy eating the icing. When you look at your life, where is the majority of your time and money spent? Are you focusing all your energy on the cake or on the icing? Does your paradise consist of the things you own or are the people in your life, your paradise?
I’ve had a lot and I’ve had a little plenty a time in my life, but the only time I was ever truly saddened was when I was without my closest friends and family. As it turns out, things are interchangeable; people are not.
A Willingness to Change
This past month I made it to one year of sobriety for the third time. This trip on the carousel has definitely been different in that I brought absolutely nothing to the table other than a willingness to change. I have to say that my life is remarkably different and that I am becoming a believer in the notion that there is magic in the twelve steps.
Prior to quitting this time around, I now realize that I was walking up to a very dangerous fork in the road that would have cost me my life. Now while I’m not the tiniest of ladies, I’m not a big girl either, yet I was consuming a large bottle of vodka a day, sometimes two large bottles of wine, but mainly the vodka. Why I thought this was normal behavior I will never know. Anyways, my days were spent consuming vast amounts of vodka followed by popping migraine pills. I began to spend more and more time in bed. Not only was I completely dehydrated and malnourished but my drinking also made my potassium plummet and I suffered from constant heart palpitations and muscle spasms. This once runner and soccer player could now barely walk down the hall, much less down the street. Any sort of physical exertion was just out of the question. Frankly, I was at the point where I was about to exchange the long time love of my life for a harder and faster fix and it would have killed me due to my weakened state.
I guess I can say that I never really decided to get clean. It was more like I was out of options. I had no money and I couldn’t get a job to save my life. God had me cornered and I began to desperately seek His help, but the only response He kept giving me was to give up alcohol. I told Him that I didn’t understand because my seeking was for a job. I told Him that He did not understand what He was asking of me. I told Him that alcohol had nothing to do with my problems. I also told Him that alcohol is the love of my life, that it is my everything. He refused to budge. It would be months before I would realize why getting sober was the key to everything else unfolding in my life, much less the fact that it was the key to me staying alive.
And so I very reluctantly, quit drinking. It was horrible. Oh my God, was it horrible. I literally did nothing, but scream into a pillow for the first sixty days. I did not realize how dependent I was until I no longer had my magic potion in my cup. I was scared of everyone and everything. I was paralyzed with fear and mundane tasks brought about serious panic attacks to the point that I was retreating from places more than I was going to them. I was literally a dear caught in headlights for the first three to four months of my sobriety.
It was during this time, that God placed me into a church. Mind you, I had previously made a solemn vow to never be a part of a church again, to never get close to any Christians ever again and to certainly never ever get close to any pastors ever again. God obviously had other plans and decided that my being completely upside down was the perfect time to place me into a new church. He knew that by the time I realized that I had become an integral part of a church again that it would be too late and He was right. I also have to hand it to these people as they have done a good job caring for the crazed lunatic that is/was myself though I do keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I do keep wondering why they haven’t thrown me away yet and wondering when they finally will, but this is one of my character defects and I am working on changing these thoughts as I come to terms with the events that created them.
As I sit here typing on this last day of August, I can say that life is very different in a very good way. Yes, I have my list of character defects, but I am aware of them. I no longer crave alcohol either. I do still spin, but I am starting to catch myself earlier and earlier and am able to stop that spinning almost immediately. I am told that this is the program of Alcoholics Anonymous in action. I am told that my ability to catch my spin before I actually spin out of control and do something stupid is proof that the AA program works. I am learning how to deal with life, something I apparently never really learned and I thankfully, no longer resemble a deer caught in headlights. I guess you can say I am getting my chutzpah back. I have great friends and really good, solid people around me; people that really do care and I know that I am loved. I am in the process of obtaining a new career position and have plans to begin publishing some of my fiction works in the next year or two. I guess the biggest difference is that all of these struggles have walked me across that bridge to where God is my everything and for this I am most grateful.
In continuation from last month, I need to ask what does it mean to act like you are the answer to someone else’s prayer? How do we break that down into bite size pieces that are small enough to apply to our lives? I guess I can start by stating what it does not look like. I know it does not look like complaining about the lack of or perceived lack of planning at my church or giving the worship leader the coldest shoulder I could muster this morning or coolly responding to someone who was just trying to make small talk before service. What can I say? I was having a moment.
Anywho, when I think about what it means to act like I am the answer to someone else’s prayers, I am reminded of a short message given by the very person I spent all morning complaining about. Coincidence? I think not. The message regarded Being Your Best For God and was the central theme of a production meeting held earlier this year. In this meeting, our worship leader spoke about how God wants to work in us, with us and through us. By working in us, God wants to challenge us to be on a continual path of improvement with ourselves, the responsibilities He has handed us and the people He places in our lives. And yes, this includes, those pesky horn honkers on Wilshire, that co-worker who makes your skin crawl and that obnoxious new friend of your best friend. Our end goal being, of course, to love our neighbors as ourselves just as Jesus demonstrated. Once God is able to work in us, He can start working with us to build His Kingdom. He has a role for each of us to play and has therefore, equipped each of us with a unique set of abilities and interests. It is as we begin working with God that He is able to show Himself to others through us. Instead of living in a world of me, we begin to live in a world of we and as a result we begin to treat others with kindness and respect. We begin to change and so do the people around us ... in that they don't seem so bothersome anymore. What's really happening is that we have stopped being a part of the problem and started becoming a part of the solution.
Yes, we are all still going to have our moments, but the goal is to have less “me moments” and more “we moments”. More smiles, more kindness, more generosity: these are the ingredients of a much happier you and a much happier world. So I end with asking what is God stirring up in you? What is your first step? Do you need to become more reliable? Do you need to be more proactive with the responsibilities God has handed you? Do you simply need to be more welcoming to the people that cross your path? Whatever it is that God is stirring up in you, I challenge you to improve in that area and see what God does as a result. One thing I do know is this: He works in you to change you for the better so that He can work with you and through you to … well, answer prayers, yours included.
Trust in the Trenches
Once a tissue box, now a prayer box.
They say that Jesus loves you. What about me? - Jewel
Oh, the T-word… I spoke about it last month, but it is has been a serious struggle for me this month. Yes, the word I am referring to is TRUST. I have to say that I have been in and out of church my entire life, but I don’t think I ever grasped the real, everyday concept of trusting God. I guess in a way, I have always had other people to rely on in the event I got myself in any sort of physical or financial strain, whereas, now I do not. While it is important to trust God for a roof over my head rather than a park bench, which is a reality that is extremely too close for comfort at this moment in time, my main concern is my seemingly inability to trust that God really does love me.
A Christian man at one of the meetings I attend always asks me why I’m having such a problem because as a Christian the twelve steps should come easy to me. This made me think about the things I easily trust God with versus the things I have a hard time handing over to Him and leaving in His care. What I found is the things I have absolutely nothing to do with are easy to hand over, but the things that I play a part in are the things I keep taking back. As it turns out, I have a serious trust problem. I mean the Bible doesn’t say our works makes us righteous; it says our TRUST makes us righteous. Never mind the fact that my inability to trust states that I have more control than my Creator and Sustainer. I mean come on! Yes, the choices I make and the actions I take do have consequences, but if I am honestly doing the best that I can and seeking God’s will daily, does God not honor that effort and add His touch to the situation? Did I not write about this last month?
I guess I should add that I am having a problem seeing myself as a person of worth and value which is why I am having a hard time grasping the reality of God’s love for me. All of my self-sabotaging ways are a result of this deep inner feeling that somehow, some way I’m just not good enough, but God has an entirely different view. God created me to be a blessing and not a curse. He created me for a specific purpose and has a specific plan for the contributions I will make to this world. I’ve been trying to force myself into agreement with God’s view of myself and getting absolutely nowhere except for Discouragementville. Then I heard God whisper that I am trying to make a leap where I need not make one. All I need to do is be willing to accept that what He says about me is true. If I am willing to accept that what He says about me is true then I can be willing to act like what He says about me is true and as I act like what He says about me is true I will eventually become His truth. I will become all that He says I am. I just have to be willing to accept His truth, which allows me to act on His truth, which will at some point down the road make me His truth. AWESOME.
I’ve started praying the following prayer each morning: Lord, help me to trust You. To believe that you really do love me and to know that what You send me is good. Because sometimes the best presents arrive in the ugliest wrapping paper.
I have to be honest that these first two months in Los Angeles have not been easy. For one, I am up in the valley and apparently “no one hires people from up there”. Second, I happen to live with six female college students who don’t speak a lick of English as they are all from the great land that owns us, China. Being from China you would think they would be at least a little tidy, but they are just like American college students in that they are filthy and apparently under the impression that a fairy is going to clean up after them. My biggest problem as of right now is parking in that I am not use to having to have cash on hand 24/7 to park and I happen to be out of cash at the moment. Dear State Farm Bank: Please send me my debit card, as it is of utmost importance that I receive it. I am also not use to pedestrians being everywhere so if you, a pedestrian, see a silver Impala please look before crossing because I am probably not even aware that you exist. On the bright side, I am finally starting to get a handle on navigating this giant city and as a result only make one wrong turn per trip, which is an improvement of gigantic proportions.
Boredom and lack of human interaction has also been a major problem in these first two months. As is being stuck in a hot, un-air conditioned house in the valley that could use some serious TLC. Moreover, I am facing the fact that I need income as medical bills keep arriving that I cannot pay. Adding to the boredom and impending financial doom is the fact that I am getting sober for the umpteenth time. Needless to say, I need something to give and I need it to give now. Unfortunately, I seem to be sending out resumes left and right and nobody seems to be interested. Moreover, those that are “interested” only seem to be interested in telling me that I need to “move to the city” or better yet “you need some experience before you can intern here”. Um, really? I thought internships were for experience and as a matter of fact, I am in the city! And for the love of God, the 405 is not that bad! Suck it up Lalians, Suck it up!
Any who, things got to the point that I felt like I was suppose to receive some sort of key in order to actually live here and without that key I would be doomed to wander the streets as a beggar. No matter how much I prayed or cried, nothing seemed to be changing. I felt locked out and I had no one to seek advice from and I didn’t know what to do so I did the only thing I could do… I unloaded all of this on the poor messianic pastor at the messianic synagogue I have been visiting and I did this unloading during the service. He, obviously having dealt with a bunch of crazy people in his life, asked if I had ever tried fasting and prayer. He said that whenever he needs a breakthrough in life, whether it is financial, relational, emotional or physical, he sets aside a day or a weekend to fast and pray. He told me that Yeshua, himself, in the seventeenth chapter of Matthew, told His disciples that some problems require fasting and prayer. As luck would have it, the congregation was having a day of breakthrough prayer and fasting the very next day. I assume you think I went. You would be wrong. I got scared at everyone trying to get me to go so I left the service as quickly as possible. I must have resembled a dear caught in headlights. Note to self: flight response is alive and kicking; fight response – not so much.
After I got home, I looked up Matthew chapter seventeen and found in verse twenty-one that Yeshua did indeed say that some things can only be conquered through prayer and fasting so I decided to do my own little version in the solitude and safety of my little rented room in the hot, sticky valley that everyone pretends doesn’t exist. Being that I have never done this before and being that I always have a bit of method to my madness, I decided to plan out my six hours of prayer and fasting… I’ve never done this before and thought a whole day was a little presumptive of myself.
Hour 1 (12-1pm) – Praise
Hour 2 (1-2pm) – Prayer
Hour 3 (2-3pm) – Praise
Hour 4 (3-4pm) – Scripture
Hour 5 (4-5pm) – Prayer
Hour 6 (5-6pm) – Praise
Okay, so maybe I did a lot more praising than I did praying, but due to a recent realization, I actually connect to God through praise much more than I connect through prayer. While, I could probably do a whole post on all that thought encompasses, it will not be done today.
I do have to say that the experience did not disappoint. I thought I was going to be bored. I thought I would not be able to concentrate or run out of things to say, but let me tell you that when the God of the Universe wants to talk, He has a way of commanding your attention beyond all of your human capabilities. I used the Praise & Worship channel on Pandora for my praise hours and actually found some songs and artists that I really enjoyed. As for the first hour of prayer… I began by telling my God and King my purpose for this time and explained in detail what I was feeling and what I felt I needed from Him. After that, I opened up the floor for Him to speak and well, let’s just say He relayed what He needed from me before He could give me what I claimed to so desperately want! I had recently taken a class entitled Actualizing Your Soul’s Goals with Mastin Kipp from The Daily Love, an online blog and community. In this class Mastin taught us the difference between goals and intentions and lead us through a series of exercises designed to bring out our own individual purposes for this life. By the end of the class everyone had a list of intentions, goals and grounded action steps to help them reach the goals that would bring true fulfillment. I have to say the class was awesome and I was immediately hit between the eyes with the realization of what was keeping me in a very unhealthy cyclical holding pattern from which I was desperate to break free. I thought the work from that class was done, but during the first hour of prayer God took all of my class work and went much, much deeper. I ended up spending the last thirty minutes of prayer completely re-writing my intentions, my purpose and something Mastin calls my Major Definite Purpose. I had gotten ahead of myself in the class and while the majority of what I wrote was and is true, I have work to do before I actually get there. AMAZING!
After the initial prayer hour, I continued with my itinerary until I came to the scripture hour. I actually didn’t have a clue as to what I was going to do with that hour. I suppose I was planning on looking up some verses on some particular topics I am struggling with but I ended up just asking God to guide me as I opened His book and He did. It seems He has some things to tell me about life and how one is to live life. He directed me to several scriptures, one of them being 1 Thessalonians where Paul talks to the new Christians regarding how they are to live their lives and why. He also led me to look over the Ten Commandments again. It seems as though God wanted to remind me that He has some advice on this thing called life and that it would be good for me to familiarize myself with such advice both on a physically practical level and on a mentally practical level.
And don’t think the hours of praise were a vacation either. I strained to really listen to and contemplate the meaning of the words I was singing and in those words I found God speaking loud and clear regarding many aspects of my life. It is interesting to note that I now feel that my own personal life purpose is to… “Be a blessing to everyone I meet by empowering myself so that I can empower others to live out their own individual purposes thereby sharing their own unique gifts with the world and making the world a better place by having done so.” … When I am so far from being a blessing in any sense of the word to any other human being on this planet. In simplest terms, I have a lot of transforming to do in terms of what I say and what I do blending into a recognizable harmony.
All in all, I am very happy with the outcome of my first ever day of prayer and fasting and feel it is a great way to reconnect with God, empower yourself when feeling vulnerable or need divine insight into a person or situation. It is especially useful for times when a breakthrough is needed. If the door is locked, go to the Person with the key… You know, the Person who created the door and the lock or at least allowed the lock to exist. Of course, the challenge is to keep your focus on God and His love and NOT on the end result because God will only give you that which you are ready to receive. Though you can be sure that He will reveal exactly what you need to cultivate in your life in order to be ready for that which you want.
As for me, I guess I was ready. Let’s just say that the giant door on the entertainment industry appears to now be unlocked. I have received a multitude of internship opportunities and am in the midst of the selection process as I type this post. On an even more pleasing note, I am beginning to receive interviews for paid positions within the industry too. Hopefully, I will land an offer soon and be well on my way to obtaining a place of my own in this land known as La la.
I did not plan on making this my October post, but as John Lennon put it: life is what happens while you are making other plans. I wish I had known the truth found in this quote three years back or five years back or well, you get the idea. For the past three years, I have been making other plans while life threw me curve ball after curve ball and somehow this year I finally woke up to the dire situation I am in and I have absolutely no one to blame, but myself.
To say I have not had many opportunities to forge a good life for myself would be the truth, but to say that I have not had any opportunities to forge a good life for myself would be absolutely false. I seem to have the same taste in job opportunities that I have in men: if it is good and will treat me with the respect I deserve and offer me great rewards…then I tend to pass.
This past month, opportunity actually rang and it rang loud and clear, now that I have taken my cell phone off of the silence mode. To be clear, this was not just an opportunity; this was an opportunity in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. This opportunity was so good that it would have allowed me to live in my own one-bedroom apartment near the ocean in my preferred west coast city. So you can guess what I did with that opportunity, right? If you guessed played phone and email tag with an executive that I thought was a recruiter then you would be correct. The worse part is that while in a snot slinging moment of desperation, that executive called me back for the last time and I refused to answer the phone.
What can I say, this is not the first time I have had an amazing opportunity laid at my feet. And this is not the first time I have defiantly kicked that opportunity back to God. About a year ago, I had the chance to work for the Christian music arm of Sony in Nashville. At the time, I could not stomach not going to Los Angeles and I had no desire to go back to Nashville as I was looking for new pastures and not old ones. Looking back on that situation, yes I sort of sabotaged my chances, but in all honesty had I given a 100% in that interview, there is a giant chance I still would have walked away empty handed. The company needed someone to start the following week and while I could have told them I could make that happen, chances are they would have gone with someone in town and already available. Even with this knowledge, I still cannot dismiss the fact that I had been very defiant with that opportunity and now, here I am being defiant again.
The morning after I possibly deflated my own Hollywood dream, I thought about how I could have blown my nose, woken myself up and called that executive back. I did call him that day and I left a message knowing full well that it was already too late. That afternoon I decided to count up those “once in a life time” opportunities that I defiantly kicked back at God, which included the following: a major state college to the North, a major Airline to the South, the Nashville fiasco, a hospital here in town and last, but not least, the Hollywood dream.
In all honesty, I am dumbfounded by my audacity to tell God, “ no, not now, not like this”. Who am I to instruct God on how He is going to resurrect me? Who am I other than something God should smash at this point?
To say that I felt like I had crossed a line with God would be an understatement. So I did what many people do who feel they just might have gotten themselves on God’s last nerve and I found someone I was sure God liked a whole bunch, my congregational leader. In my e-request I asked for the elders to intercede for me since God might listen to them whereas I wasn’t so sure He’d listen to me. Two days later, I attended service for the first time in a couple of months. I’m not sure if part of that service was tailored just for me or if God was answering me through the service, but one thing is for sure: God loves us no matter what we do or what we don’t do. He may not be exactly happy with us due to some of our choices, but He never stops loving us.
God’s word says He is unfailing, always faithful and with us until the end, but does God really stick with us and work in spite of all we do to get in His way? Can we really expect Him to keep offering up once in a lifetime opportunities if we keep batting them away?
I actually sometimes wish for a Jonah-like life. Yes, I imagine it was horribly disgusting to be swallowed by a whale, but when he got regurgitated back to dry land and God asked him if he was ready to go to Nineveh, he sure didn’t have any hesitation in his voice, now did he?
Part of me wants to believe that God, in his infinite wisdom, knows that some of us need several opportunities to run across our path before we are ready to run with the right one, but how many opportunities does He lay at our feet before He finally turns His face and leaves us to the messes we have created for ourselves? And, if He does turn His face from us...how long before He turns His face back?
Since God did not leave Jonah in the whale, I am guessing He will not leave me in my predicament either. I don’t know if a viable opportunity will come in time to get me out of the horrible situation I am about to be in, but I do know He will bring another opportunity. To sum up the thirteen attributes of God found in Exodus 34:5-7: He is merciful, He is powerful, He is compassionate, He grants even undeserved blessings, He is slow to anger, He abounds in truth, mercy and loving kindness and He always keeps His word.