What Did I Miss?

A high school buddy of mine gave me the number and access code to a group prayer line. Her church started it to encourage its members and keep them on a spiritual journey throughout the week when they are away from the sanctuary. At the time, I myself needed an extra kick in the butt so I would call in occasionally.

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Normally, I would call in at noon. There is a 6am conference, noon and 6pm. At 6pm I am at the office so that doesn’t work. I remember thinking, ” I damn sure ain’t gettin’ up at 6am.” So noon was my only option.

Yet, when I call at noon I am getting myself ready for work. I am busy with the hustle of family. I am not focused. The TV is on in another room. I’m folding laundry or washing dishes. I’m doing everything but calming my mind and spirit to join the presence of God. Also, sometimes it would seem like the facilitator was busy too. Or maybe they were just praying routinely. No disrespect but it didn’t move me. I still called because I just needed to feel closer to God and his believers.

The other day, I got up at 6am. I was restless. My heart was disgruntled. I wasn’t dreaming so I wasn’t sleeping.

I got up and called the prayer line at 5:57 and waited with my phone muted. A male voice came on the line and began with verses for us to review at our leisure. He went over the meanings of the verses and how those scriptures are related to one another specifically to guide us. There was a theme and he led us in reverence and meditation for 15 minutes. I felt like I went to a church drive thru! It was like a microwaved sermon! I immediately felt a new energy and vigor and POSITIVITY that had been absent from me (or I was absent from it) for some time. My pastor calls that “Preaching and teaching!”

I say all that to say…

What are you missing out on because you are too lazy, unfocused, or undisciplined to attain? What blessings are you “sleeping on?” Sometimes you are experiencing an earthquake in your life because He has to force you to move out of the house of complacency. Your feet were planted there. You wouldn’t move unless he knocked down your glass menagerie and seemingly destroyed everything around you. Why don’t you see that he never destroyed YOU?

You …no WE have to get it together!  Do you eat right? Do you hydrate? Do you restore your temple by getting enough rest? Do you lay your clothes out in advance?  Is your car clean? I went to private school and my father was in the military. I had to be up at 6:30am, room spotless, uniform ironed,and shoes shined.  I ate Special K with a half of grapefruit, Farina or grits and eggs every day. What the hell happened to me?!

Life! Luxury! Laziness! Loss! No excuse for catching up instead of keeping up. Ask yourself what you aren’t disciplined enough to attain. Decide if you want abundance or a life of sleepless nights because He is trying to move you out of misery.

Please don’t wake up at 80 and say, “What did I miss?”

By: Shaun Melissa Nickens

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Etymology of Man

When my significant other and I argue, one of the phrases we use the most is, “Respect my growth!” We say that because we want recognition for the improvements that have been made over the course of the relationship. There are things he’s done in order to be better for me and there are things I have done in order to be better for him. Growth is a funny kind of thing. The big problem with growth is it is relative to the person who is actively growing in thought or maybe just in psyche. When I am long gone and the etymology of me is studied…(my history, my origin, how I was formed, and how I changed over time)…who knows what the end synopsis will be?
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I took a technology course for Summer Session 1 at Stony Brook University and one of the things that resonated with me was: “Information is data presented in a meaningful context. Frequency and severity have a lot to do with the way information is processed. Things have to be done systematically so that everyone can benefit.” THINGS HAVE TO BE DONE SYSTEMATICALLY SO THAT EVERYONE CAN BENEFIT. The course was about technology in the workplace but the things I learned are relevant to everyday life. If I was just disciplined enough to channel skills in the right direction, then I would be more productive and more successful in terms of communication.

Arguments, fights, disagreements, absence, and challenges all contribute to growth. Though they may be painful or uncomfortable at the time, they are necessary in “forming” you and/or your relationships with others. When you’re sick, you appreciate the person who says, “When I was sick, ______ helped.” You appreciate it even more if that person hands you a bottle of what their remedy was or sends you a link to a useful web site. Sympathy and empathy build relationships and contribute to the “formation” of that mutualism. There are organisms in marine biology that survive on mutualism. They need another organisms production or even waste in order to fuel their own life source. As humans, we are cocky. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t need anyone… I am self-made” or some variation of that? Yet, if we were a fly on the wall throughout their development I’m sure we would see how untrue that is. We would see the friend or family member that passed away or deserted them and the thick wall that they put up after that occurrence. We would see the people whose efforts are the foundation of their self-proclaimed “self-made” empire.
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I started a gratitude journal today. I can see you shaking your head and rolling your eyes. I am in no way promulgating self-help techniques. For those who know me, I’m not exactly the poster child for ALWAYS being calm, relaxed or even disciplined. I had to find something that I could implement in my daily life to force me to revisit positivity. See, I begin my day with prayer and affirmations. By the time 5-6pm comes around…I’m miserable. Work, traffic, bill collectors, etc have already put a damper on my mood. It’s important to stay in the right head space. When I was young and in martial arts training, my uncle would say, “Attitude determines approach and approach determines whether you pass or fail.” Somewhere over the years, I abandoned that way of thinking and I suffered for it. Consequently, my loved ones have suffered for it too.

I invite you to comment (I approve all comments before they are posted to the site so you may not see it right away.) I invite you to take this gratitude journey with me. I will be posting the things I am grateful for every couple of days. Most importantly I invite you to critically think about things you have said that may have been hurtful. Think about things you may have done. Do not beat upon your spirit for those actions. Just remember that you still have a chance to rectify and edit who you are and your behaviors. You can’t always backspace or delete but you can modify! Send a thank you note today or just call someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Better yet, give yourself some appreciation today!! I’m looking forward to seeing how you systematically structure your emotional information system.

By:SMN