A couple of weeks ago, I gave up...and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Now, if you know me personally, you know that I’m not a quitter. I hate partials. I don’t like half doing anything. I’m a planner, & I like to weigh as many options as I can. However, I’ve recently learned that this doesn’t always make me the best candidate for faith, and that in certain moments, it’s best to just...quit.
I got very tired of trying to figure God out. I knew that the Bible says that “all things work together for the good of them that love Him” (good ol Rom. 8:28), but I was really trying to figure out exactly how the mess my life had become would be worked out for my good. There were so many things happening at once. So much had piled up. I had plenty to stress about (I could’ve given it away like Oprah & had sooo much to spare)! I wanted to see my way out, so in true Valencia fashion, I tried to create a “vision” to have faith in. Maybe if I could somehow dictate or imagine how it would all work out, it would help me through it. If you happen to be in the same space, or you just have a lot going on and you don’t know how it’s going to work out, allow me to tell you what has helped me every time I’ve tried it: quit….now. What does it mean to quit? Let’s chat about it!!
Yall, a couple of days later, I got a phone call saying that a shop back home would fix my car for a reasonable price! My car wasn’t beyond repair (it was just beyond the previous shop’s labor costs hahaha). I was amazed at all of this, because it felt like God was just waiting on me to get out of His way & let Him work. He’s watching me literally think myself into a frenzy, while He already had a plan. Some people may ask “what kind of God would let you do that to yourself if He had a plan?”. I’d say the kind of God that wanted me to see the value in quitting (or surrendering).
The beauty in surrendering to God’s will is that your problem is no longer your problem. When you give it to God, you’ve officially given your problem to theeeee best problem solver. He’s got ways that you don’t even see. He knows people that you don’t know. He can get to places you may never get to reach. You are His child! If you had a child, would you not want to do all that you could to make sure that they were taken care of? If you saw them crying, would you not want to instantly know who did it & how? You don’t think that God cares about you that much (at least)? Let me help you out, He does! Trying to figure God out puts Him in the very box we spoke about last week (see previous post if you’re confused lol). Surrendering to Him takes the stress off of you, & puts the burden on Him to perform. It frees you, but it’s definitely not easy. How can somebody truly surrender, though? It’s one thing to say “God, you’ve got it”, & it’s another thing to actually let Him have it. Here’s what I learned about quitting and what to do after you give it up to God:
This week’s background music: Watching (The Moment) by Vashawn Mitchell & Jonathan McReynolds. A little reminder that even in the rough times, He’s watching you...and He’s got you. Hold on to Him!
Random fact of the day: I'm a COGIC girl through & through. For those of you that may not be very knowledgable of the Church (or Chu'ch when it gets so real that Pastor can't preach) of God in Christ, it's a denomination in the Christian faith. A very...active denomination. So for all of my life, I've grown up seeing people run, jump, fall out, speak in tongues, etc. for about 1.5-3 hours (...minimum). Some may consider it shocking, slightly scary, etc. but that is church to me (and it's sooooooo good). Suga, you name it, I can almost guarantee that I've seen it on a Sunday morning, Tuesday (or Thursday) night, or at Saturday morning at choir rehearsal. This is the grand ol Church of God in Christ! You can't join in, you've gotta be born in! (sidenote: we're officially cool if you sung that lol)....but what happens if you don't stay in? Many times, we say "have your way, God!" in church, in our private prayers, or when God is dealing with somebody else, but..what about you? Do you really trust God to have His way with you? Do we really recognize what that means & where it could take us? I'd say I surely didn't, and here's why...
Between the ages of 2 (...I believe) and 15, I attended the same church. I literally grew up in that church. I loved that church! I still love that church! It's my foundation. It's what I know. I got saved in that church. I shouted for the first time on that alter. My first, and some of my biggest, moments with God happened in that church. That...was...my...CHURCH!!! And then, a few months before my 16th birthday, my mother told me that God was leading her to a different church. I was slightly (well, very)...upset. I cried in the bathroom the Sunday that we joined our new church, & the Sunday after that, because I wanted soooo badly for life to return to what I once knew. I wanted...my comfort zone.
A few years later, I moved to Austin to start my "new" life at my dream school. The time had come to pick my own church (I thought it was a sign of the independence I wanted so badly). So I prayed, went on my COGIC church hunt (because that's what I know oh so well), and He sent me...to a baptist church. Stayed there, grew a bit, & long story short, when I move back to Dallas, I'll join a non-denominational church (wasn't that quite the ride). Now, this is a lot of transition, & it hasn't really made sense over the years. However, my church..."progression" (for lack of a better phrase), has taught me a lot about life, & the limitations that we put on God. Let's chat about that for a minute, kay?
Now, please don't misunderstand me, I LOVE the COGIC church! Most of my ministry mentors (that don't actually know me lol) are from the COGIC church. If you've been to any college choir's gospel fest with me, I make it known that I'm COGIC born & raised. It will forever be apart of me (it's already in me...too late now haha), but it wasn't until I got to college that I felt & got to know God outside of the COGIC church. It (lowkey) amazed me that He was the same (*dramatic gasp*)! Same God, different church. I recognized that while we may love to believe it sometimes, God isn't COGIC. He's also not baptist...or episcopalian, or any other denomination. God is...God. And more importantly, He'll meet you right where you are.
I'm extremely confident that the church I'm about to join is where God wants me to be for this season of my life. I'm not moving to spite anybody, or to run away from my past. I'm going there because that's where God has instructed me to go (that's the important part). But...what if I had said no? What if I was still driving around Austin looking for the COGIC church of my dreams? What if I was so stuck on what I grew up with that I never thought to look outside of the bubble? I would've either missed or severely delayed my destiny. The transition would've been a lot harder (if in no other way than the change in service times...11 became 10, & 10 is now 9...sweet Jesus). I wouldn't have been so receptive. I definitely would've been scared, and I wouldn't have been confident in the fact that this is God's direction, not just my feelings from 7 years ago. Isn't it crazy how He works? Isn't it cool (...and slightly terrifying) that the God we want, the experiences we need, and the growth necessary for our next season may be right outside of what we've always known?
I think that's what a lot of us fail to recognize: God is bigger than what He's done for us. We (well, I, let me not put that on yall) have a tendency to only define God by what He's done, not necessarily what He's capable of. Do you necessarily have to be broke to know that He's a provider? Do you have to be raised from your death bed to know He has healing power? Or, beyond that, is God only a provider because that's what He's done the most in your life? I think that in this season, God wants to show us (or maybe just me) that He's bigger than whatever He's done in the past. He's bigger than His history with you. He's been doing this a while. Suga, wherever you are in your journey, you've barely scratched the surface of His power.
You may not struggling to find a church home. You could be right where God wants you to be concerning that area of your life. If so, stay there!!! It may be you've just gotten stuck in another area of your life. It may be that some your relationships seem...off. It could be that the life plan you've always had isn't making much sense anymore (because He's leading you somewhere you've never been). Could it be that you've trusted God with one specific area of your life long enough, & He wants to show you a different side of Him? A lot of us have gotten so used to praying for our finances, families, peace, etc. that we could recite our nightly prayers right now. But in this moment, I think that God is ready to show us that He's bigger than what we're used to. He's bigger than your church. He's bigger than your problem. He's bigger than your past. He's bigger than your expectation. The God that will blow your mind? Oh, He's right outside of whatever box you've (unknowingly) put Him in.
When we tell God to have His way, we have to understand that His ways are higher than ours. His ways can extend sooooo far beyond our boxes, and that's a good thing, because it backs up the fact that He can do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). It means that He can find or make a way that we don't even see. Saying that (and actually meaning it, versus just saying it because it's something we heard in church) gives God full reign over all of our lives. It gives Him a chance to show us what all He can do, and not just what we've seen Him do before. It makes no sense to ask God to do something new in our lives, and expect Him to do what He's always done. Why ask Him to take a old route to a new destination?
This week (just for this week, kay?) I dare you to trust God with an area of your life that you haven't fully opened to Him yet. I dare you trust Him for something outside of the usual. I dare you to expect something new from Him. Something big, simply because He's big. Has He not proven His ability to pay your bills? To keep you when you're lonely? To heal you when you're sick? Is He not bigger than that? He's not just a bill payer & "doctor in the sick room", is He? If we're going to say that the God we serve is so massive & can do so many things, we're going to have to open our lives up to be a testimony to that (because your testimony could reach your peers in deeper places than the borrowed testimonies of your mama & big mama...if you tell it). We're going to have to step out of our comfort zones. If He's really that big (which He is), why won't you give Him everything (like, for real), & trust Him with it? He can handle it...I promise. Let's start something new!!
Background music for this week: Big by Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship..Choir (lol)
**now when you sing it, or listen to it....think about how big he really is...and apply THAT God to everything happening to your life. I guarantee you, your issues, insecurities, and worries won't stand a chance ;-)**
As a church kid, I can't tell you how many times I’ve heard preachers scream people into a frenzy, tell them to turn around & say that as they turned around, God was turning their situations around. I can't tell you how many times I have seen people turn around until they almost fall out because they’re dizzy. I also can't tell you how many of those people did all of that spinning...and still walked home in bondage.
Now, don't get me wrong, I’m not saying that those things don't work. I’m definitely not saying that God can’t turn your situation around if you have faith (or that it has to be slooooowww). I’m not saying that you don't need to do things like that to increase your faith sometimes, or that visuals don't help us in certain moments. What I am saying is that church has taught us to see the end game, & some people are so busy shouting about the end game that we don't ask for the strength to get to it. To be perfectly honest (maybe this is just me, but I’m gonna say it anyway), sometimes the promise alone isn't enough. That’s coming...at some point in the future ("in God’s good timing, baby"), but I’m struggling today. How can I get the promise tomorrow, next month, next year, etc. if I don't make it through today?!
Words from the Author
At the end of the day, these posts are the thoughts that run through my mind. These are the lessons I've learned. The doors that I've walked through. The path I've chosen. This is part of what it means to be me. Hopefully, it'll help you be...you. Let's grow together, kay?
Within the first year, Church Decoded was viewed over 15,000 times! FIF...TEEN....THOUSAND!....IN A YEAR! I am SO grateful to everybody that has ever read, shared, and/or liked a blog post. Ya'll have truly blown my mind. Let's keep telling (our lives) His story!