The longer I do this, the more important it is to me that what you read here comes straight from Jesus, and not from Valencia. So, every week, I ask God to let me know what I need to talk about this week. My words may matter for a set period of time, but His words are timeless. That way, regardless of whether you read the blog right after I post it or years later, I believe that it'll still be relevant and true for your situation. This week, He gave me two words...right before we enter the new year: "there's more"....
The more I look back on it, the more I realize that 2015 has literally been the year of my dreams. I graduated from school and received a college degree (from my dream school!! Hook 'em horns!! lol), I started law school, (more importantly) I finished my first semester of law school, I matured spiritually, I have a sense of...freedom that I've never had before, I finally joined the church I'd been watching for over 2 years, and I started a blog that has shown me how God can take my little voice and use it in so many ways. Yet, with all the good that 2015 has brought into my life, I am SO ready for 2016. Why? Because....there's more.
The goodness of this year is simply that....the goodness of this year. It's been an amazing ride. Yet, there's more. I've smiled so hard that I thought I'd need an ice pack for my face. Yet, there's more. I've literally watched God add to my life and take me a little bit higher in every way. Yet, there's more. If I got so stuck on everything that has happened to me, that I just...walked into the next 365 days simply grateful for the last 365 days, I'd be....(graciously) missing out on so much more that God has for me. And guess what? Those two words don't just apply to my life. I didn't ask God for something to tell myself for the next year. I got that a while ago. So there's not just more for me, there's more for you too! Yep...you.
You may have had an amazing year, or a not so amazing year. Either way, I believe that God has an abundance for you in this next season. I don't believe that this is the end of your story. If you aren't winning, it's not over. If you are winning, but you're not..dead...there's a greater level for you to attain. If you've had a great year, there's more. If you've had a bad year, know that I've had a few of those too. I've had enough of them to know that bad years and bad seasons are just the journeys that prepare us to handle the goodness that is coming. So keep your head up, k? Because the suffering of today can't compare to the glory that is to come. There's more. There's more joy, more peace, more love, more genuine happiness, more laughter, and more grace...in 2016. There are more reasons to shout and leap for joy. There are more reasons to give. There are more reasons to be grateful and to give thanks. There are more celebrations, and more healing, and more stories of deliverance ahead. I'm telling you...that's all He said when I asked, and that's the bulk of what I have to say to you: there's more.
Now, I believe the "middle man" between God speaking something, and our receiving the promise is our expectation. The saints of old call it faith (lol). A few weeks ago, I noticed that church didn't....feel the way that it used to for me. I knew that I was where God wanted me to be. I knew that what I heard in church was true. I just couldn't...get into it like I did when I first got there. Then, one day, God randomly decided to tell me about myself, and He showed me that the only thing that had changed: my expectation. It wasn't that I was not in position. It wasn't that I was in the wrong place or there at the wrong time. It wasn't that God decided not to move or not to speak that week. It was that my expectation (and/or my hunger) had fallen. The first Sunday I attended my church, I popped up at 6 a.m. like a kid on Christmas morning. I could not wait to get in & for church to start so that I could get whatever He had for me. What happened? I let school, and life, and stuff get in my way. I was getting some of what He had, but not all of it because every week, I had to fight through my wall of routine to get to what's real. That Sunday, He challenged me to walk in with the same excitement and expectation that I had on the first day. Y'all...it was just like "old(er) times". (Random tidbit: when God elevates you, and takes you to the level that you once dreamed of being on, don't take it for granted. You're going to need the hustle and excitement of the dreamer long after that dream becomes your reality.)
I've been reading through Matthew lately, and I've noticed a pattern. Many of the times that Jesus healed people, He said "according to your faith" or "your faith has made you whole", etc.. In addition to that, one of the most quoted scriptures...(probably) ever, Ephesians 3:20, says that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ask or think...according to the power that works in us (random insert #2: your faith is your power....just in case you've been searching for it). Why is this important to the fact that "there's more"? Because it shows us that every word or miraculous act of God places a responsibility of expectation on us. If you're going to get His promise, you've got to expect Him to do it. There's something that you have to do in order for His word to be apart of your reality. If I tell you that I'll give you $250 if you give me your couch....and you never give me that couch, you can't really get mad at me for not giving you the $250. You never did your part, so I never did mine. I believe that God does a similar exchange with His people when He sends a promise. All you really need is your expectation paired with your action. To me, that's faith in it's simplest form. God's power is limitless. The only restriction placed on His power is your faith. You receive according to your faith. There are a lot of us mad at God about things that He didn't do...that we didn't really expect Him to do anyway (or things that weren't in His will..but that's another post for another day). So, before we step into this new season, answer this question: is it that God couldn't do it? Or that you didn't have the faith/expectation to complete your side of the exchange?
I believe that God meant exactly what He said when He told me that there's more in this next year. I'm just crazy enough to believe that He's a God that knows what I don't, and can see what I can't even prepare for right now, and that He knows all about what's on the other side of December 31, 2015, 11:59:59 p.m.. Now, I recognize that every blessing comes with a burden, but that doesn't scare me as much as it used to. Why? Well, the older I get, the more I learn that God does not allow anything to come into our lives that He does not pair with an "evacuation plan". If He brings you to it, He'll always bring you through it. Wherever you are, regardless of how this year has treated you, or if it met your expectations, know that God has so much more for you in this next season. If you dare believe Him (not me, this has nothing to do with me) and expect Him to give you more (if not more than enough), He'll respond to your faith with a demonstration of His power, and exceed your greatest expectations.
So, 5....4....3...2....1....let's step into 'more'...
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!