Growing up, I spent a few summer vacations in my mother’s home state of Arkansas at one of my aunt’s home. I was the youngest cousin of the furious five (my nickname for my mom and her sisters) and so, most of the time, my enjoyment and exposure came at the directives of my aunts demanding my older cousins to include me. Needless to say, they were not pleased, but obedience was not optional, so they complied. On one occasion while visiting, the Commodores came to town. I desperately desired to attend. In fact, I all but assumed I would. I envisioned the scenario playing out like countless others. My cousins would ask my aunt if they could go, she would say yes, they would be excited, and then she would provide the condition, only if you take Stephanie. They would of course be mad, but I wouldn’t care because I’d be singing Zoom, live and on location with the Commodores! However, the initial part of my scenario rang true, but the latter, I took an L. I asked if I could attend, and my aunt simply responded, “Not this time.” I was crushed. All the day long, my cousins played every song the Commodores ever recorded, pumping themselves up for the evening that lie ahead. I pouted, I cried, I attempted to distract, but nothing worked. When it was time for them to depart, again, they reminded me, “You cannot go.” During a most recent encounter of reflection and as we embark upon the last few days of January in the year 2019, do you find yourself in a position of reminding anyone or any entity that “they” cannot go?!
The “they” can include anything that desires to disrupt the purpose God has established for a time such as this. Not only can “they” not go, there is likely no room for the baggage that accompanies them. Perhaps you’ve mastered this anomaly, but I am a still enrolled in the class – perhaps a 100 level, beyond remedial, but registered as a student nonetheless. I have historically uttered a robust “yes,” like the one I expected my aunt would, especially to the things that I believe are rooted in Christ. Yet, God is intentionally reminding me that sometimes the “they” is me, and I cannot go to everything or everyone that sends forth an invitation. Through prayer and meditation, the Holy Spirit shared to me that while I may not be privy to exactly where God is calling me, I must be obedient and wait until He has given me permission to move. Lord knows I feel like I may rely upon the thimble full of wisdom I have, but who am I compared to the only wise, true and living God? Jeremiah 29:11 decrees, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We will never know the plans of the Lord for our lives if we attempt to go before Him, failing to seek His intention for us and ultimately what He deems to do us for His kingdom and for His glory.
I am a visual learner, and as such, it is most appropriate for me to align scripture with my learning style. Habakkuk 2:2 reads, “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Thus, I am creating a vision. Lots of people do this at the beginning of the year, but I’ve typically found it helpful for me to wait a little while. The top of my board shall read, “You Cannot Go,” and everything that fails to correlate with the purposes God is unfolding in my life will be listed beneath. A few that I already know are, “Doubt, Guilt, Shame, The Insecurity of Others, Apology, Regret and Trauma.” I mean this as much as the NO to the Commodores concert.
Did you make resolutions? Did you make agreements? Were you too afraid to because of your past inability to hold yourself to your word? No worries. If you are reading this, you awoke with a brand new case of grace and mercy. Simply try again. Figure out what cannot go with you. I have Back to Life by Anthony Evans on repeat as a reminder of what has no place in this year. Fill in the blank of what will have no power over you! May the year 2019 have more Easy Like Sunday mornings than we may count.