Birthday Suit

Today is my birthday. Although I vehemently feel like all birthdays are monumental, it’s not a real milestone or anything special like 40 or 45.  It’s kinda smack-dab in the middle – 43. 41 was a very tough year! A very close friend walked away without explanation, had a bout with congestive heart failure…twice; and the man I loved decided we’d be better as friends – which we are not. Tough. But as I always say and believe about myself – I’m TOUGHER.

42 was a year of growth. I decided that I was going to spend my time strategically, intentionally and being results driven in the most important areas of my life. I deeply concentrated on my relationship with the Lord because I knew without that failure was imminent. Like the failure of a disciple deciding to leave my influence. (smh) When this happened I was tempted to blame their weaknesses as the reasons why they left. Instead, I took a good hard look at my methods to see how I contributed to the break up of the relationship. While the leader/disciple relationship is difficult and most rewarding, it’s very different from a reciprocal friendship. Friendship has always been one of the most difficult areas of my life. Nevertheless, I jumped headlong and made some new friends that I believe will be in my life for the rest of my life (#lifegoal).

Sometimes when we go through tough periods we forget that there are actually people who do love us. I made the distinct decision to hold on to relationships that I did have. There’s nothing like losing friends that make you want to hold to those you love a little closer. Also, in 2014, I lost a ton of weight. One of the toughest things has been to keep it off. With consistent discipline I have been able to keep it off; still have a bit more to lose though.

To top it off, heartbreak is one of the toughest things to get through. I’ve done it a time or two. The temptation is to blame the idea of the situation rather than the truth that can be hiding behind the person that caused the pain.  Let me explain. People who have had a bad marriage, or several, tend to blame marriage for their heartache rather than looking at the truth of why heartache was the result. Marriage is never the problem.  The Lord designed a perfect institution to show how great He really is. Therefore, instead of giving up on my lifelong dream of having a family, I decided, in my soul, not to get waylaid by another man and believe for marriage again. Most importantly, I climbed the proverbial dream horse and began to feed my faith, even though I feel so foolish doing so. (Ugh) But what’s the alternative? Being satisfied with being single for the rest of my life? Iaintgonnabeabletodoit!

As result of my relentless faith, at the end of the 2017, the Lord spoke to me.  He gave me a very precious promise that is the fuel for the passionate fire in my heart once again. When I received the word something happened to me. The words of those mere 2 verses literally jumped off the page and busted me square in my heart. 1 Kings 2:3-4 (see the 1,2,3,4?) Tears jumped from my eyes and for about 5 minutes I was stung. It was clear when I heard the Lord speak to me. However, I have a pretty heavy dose of the combination of head and heart. I am a logical brainiac, but my FAITH is on FLEEK – always. In this case the brainiac took over. I’m sure it was because of all the pain that I have experienced in my life.  Pain’ll gitcha if you don’t forgive. One way you can tell if pain has a grip on your life is to ask yourself a question. If when you get the opportunity to believe again does past pain keep you from trusting God once more?  In this instance, the word I received was so potent that it took me 2 days of devotions to truly understand it and settle in my heart that it was the Lord renewing my faith.

As a result, I’m going to make a fool of myself. I’m going to believe for what has felt impossible all my life. I’m gonna risk it all and throw all my eggs in one basket. After all, the impossible is only temporary to the God I serve. My birthday gift to myself is to allow myself to unapologetically and indubitably believe for my dream miracle to come true this year. I don’t care if I look like a fool. 

The leaders of culture have spent billions of dollars capitalizing on our innate need to be accepted. This has caused us to have an unhealthy craving to “fit in” at all costs. It’s proven by the kid that was strapped because he went to Wish (a sneaker-head store in Little 5 Points in Atlanta) to buy the new red and black retro 1’s (Nike Air Force Ones). He shot and killed the guy who was trying to jack him. Bananas! Funny how we learn this behavior in Elementary school when kids start getting teased for the clothes that they wear. We learn to try and look, talk and dress like everybody else.  The result? We become like everybody else and therefore lose the courage to bare the originality that God intended to shine and the bravery that is required to look stupid and believe for the impossible. We have been too scared to behave like our prayers will be answered. We have become a bunch of cookie-cutter Christians that no one wants to be like. Talking that Christianese nobody understands like, “what’s for me is for me…” Tuh! We have embraced just enough “normal” to be irrelevant. This squashes our God’s value of looking, what the world may deem as, foolish. And this is why we have less and less miracles! Our inner-fool has been cuffed to a world that is ruled by fear, pain and shame. This is where Jesus comes in.  He died a butNaked fool to free your inner butNaked fool.  He didn’t just die for you to have fire insurance. He died to unleash the fool who dares to believe for the impossible. This makes you a dangerous person to the kingdom of Satan; because truly believing in God for a miracle is being willing to be butNaked in your faith. Now, what does this have to do with my birthday gift to myself? Here it goes.

I am convinced of better things concerning myself because I have been faithful to give to God and His people, simply because I love to. Now all I have to do is have faith and patience like those who came before me. Noah foolishly built an ark; Sarah making booties at her age; Rahab lying to save her family; Ruth fooling around with a grown man’s bare feet; Easter’s death defying approach to the king; David taking a slingshot to a swordfight; the rejected woman at the well infecting a whole city; Israelites walking around a city then yelling bloody murder; Peter stepping out of a boat onto water in a storm; Benaiah chasing a lion in a pit in the snow; Jesus, hangin naked on a cross for all of humanity that spit in His face a time or two. I must believe as they did that the God they served could swear by no one greater, so He swore by Himself that he would surely bless and multiply me. (Hebrews 6:9-14) Jesus is the one who is still as alive and powerful today as He was on the day that He got up out of the grave. In fact, the power that raised him is the power that will bring my dreams into reality.

I’m Tifiny and iambutNaked for my birthday…