Rev Fave

When You Realize Their Everything is Not Enough

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When I fell in love, she consumed my thoughts. I spared no expense to spoil her. To hear her voice was to be soothed and escaped from the troubles of the world. I loved her smile, her eyes, her hair, her touch, her whispers, personality, walk, the way she chewed her food — I was in love with the way she blinked. She was my everything.

And that was the beginning of the end.

She didn’t hide her flaws; I refused to see them until it was too late. The irony in placing someone so high on the pedestal of perceived perfection, that you stand in shock and disbelief as they fall ungraciously towards reality. Her screams amplified by the altitude in which you’ve placed her. While she once fulfilled your finite fantasies, she was never meant to be your everything. That was not God’s design.

And since it was not His design, it will never be part of His will. Because it falls out of the will of God, the lifestyle of someone being your everything is scripted to fail…everytime.

What happens when you realize their everything isn’t enough? What do you do when the heat of your human nature burns the fairy tale version of you before their impressionable eyes? In addition to the pedestal fall, there’s difficulty in the forgiveness, sensationalization of the shortcomings and the inevitable expedition through temptation in order to fill the void not filled at home.

Why must I be like that? Why must I chase? Nothing but God not in me. We’ve neglected the source — the living God who made us whole so no else had to “complete you.” Our Almighty God is everything and so massive that He’s everywhere all the time and knows your every need – from the ones you shout from rooftops to the microscopic wish list at the bottom of your soul. Meanwhile, we mistakenly worship little gods disguised as big love and wonder why it still can’t fill the coffers of our spirit.

As I sat there empty, God waits patiently to fix it. He stands there with tools of peace, mercy, grace, comfort, healing, understanding, forgiveness, protection, encouragement, inspiration and restoration — but he also stands there waiting for you to stop forcing the person you love into being something they will never be.

When you both stop looking to each other to be everything, the drama can subside. When you stop expecting perfection from imperfect people, the pain won’t be so catastrophic. When you stop gazing at another human being to give you superhuman perfection, your expectations won’t set you up for a huge let down. When you stop looking for and trying to be everything and start looking up to God for your joy — everything will finally be in your grasp.

 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)

The Gift of Goodbye

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It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye. I Never Can Say Goodbye. Kiss and Say Goodbye. My iTunes music library contains more than 190 songs with the word goodbye.

As a culture, we are infatuated with saying goodbye; more importantly, we are obsessed with the difficulty and dramatic fashions in which we struggle with saying goodbye. There is an inherent perception of success in gaining things while, conversely, there is often a stigma associated with loss.

I believe the greatest and most life-changing blessings are often not what is given to us, but that which is taken away from us.

There are inanimate objects, as well as counterproductive people, who occupy the space where greater blessings are destined to be. Perhaps you are the barrier between someone else and their destiny. It’s not always blatant enemies or objects designed to do us harm; in fact, it’s usually something and/or someone that gives us a false sense of security through familiarity: an emotionally unavailable boyfriend, a verbally condescending wife, a shiny digital device that keeps you away from your family, a toxic relationship that hurts so good.

God wants to remove anything that disrupts our relationship with Him. The First Commandment is to never put anything before Him. I’ll admit that I’ve put my career goals, social status and yes, even people in front of God – knowingly and unknowingly.

I’ve literally had people exit my life with no explanation and it wasn’t until I got real with myself that I knew why. I’ve walked away from relationships and friendships that were not conducive to my lifestyle of loving Christ. I’ve struggled with NOT helping certain people in challenging circumstances in order for God to work it out so He would get the glory.

That’s the gift of goodbye.

It hurts. It’s complicated. It’s confusing. But once you shift the focus off what’s gone and praise God for what’s and who’s left, you will see the power and the blessing in the gift.

Back to the Future

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Our society is obsessed with time travel as a means to go back to the future and alter events in hopes of a better outcome.

The truth of the matter is we often derail our progress with “intelligence-challenged” decisions. We paint short-term desires on a long-term canvas and find ourselves frustrated when the picture, intended to be a masterpiece, hangs in obscurity on the hotel room walls of mediocrity. That’s not what we were meant to be. The inclination is to go back for a do-over; yet life is a spaceship with no REVERSE gear to shift backwards and right the wrongs. We can only move forward and pray those past experiences bloom into lessons that foster “intelligence-rich” decisions that place our progress on the fast track of success.

God’s plan has always been for you to have a blessed future (Jeremiah 29:11). We cannot change the past, but I thank God for restoring us so we can mend broken relationships, discover forgiveness and get back to the future of joy, peace and confidence found only in His love.

We’ve created this alternate future with our fallible nature. We were never designed for misery, heartache and low self-esteem to inhabit our spirit. We can’t truly have a “do-over” when we hurt someone, but we can grow in living a life that reflects our remorse. Bad situations can’t be replaced with better circumstances through the space time continuum — but the lessons can strengthen our wisdom to avoid it again and help someone else avoid it as well. The flux capacitor cannot pulsate healing to our wounded heart, but God (who is time) can heal us through testimony, forgiveness (to and from) and praise.

Praising while in pain typically produces even greater spiritual results from God.

Rather than lament over what cannot be re-done, I’ve learned to trust Him to lead me back to the future He wants for me — a future that gives Him glory while blessing my soul and all those around me.

 

Prayer Works

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Praying is the most powerful tool I have in navigating my day, managing my emotions and interacting with people. Since my youth, I’ve always been taught how to talk to God; but it took some time to learn how to effectively hear from God. Praying for health, strength, victory over illness and protection over my family are no-brainers. Praying in the midst of trouble and seeking God when I couldn’t feel Him has matured me in recent years. This is my testimony as a believer and a minister, but the power of prayer shouldn’t be relegated to traditional, spiritual concerns.

I came to this revelation while sitting at my iMac preparing to design a book cover. 

My client is a published, best-selling author who wrote popular fiction before surrendering to the call of God to help women (and men) in relationships. Her non-fiction titles and conferences on marriage, spiritual bondage and stewardship has blessed thousands. She and her husband were my first client when I decided to be a freelancer and, despite having a team of creatives, I still handle their needs directly because they are special to me.

Her latest literary work is poised to bless millions and I knew that hours of prayer, fasting and focus went into the content; therefore, the cover had to be in agreement with the ministry of the book. Normally, I’d fire up Photoshop and go through the same graphic design motions I’ve gone through the past 20 years. But due to the urgency of the project and the prophetic energy of its author, I was led to do something different.

I prayed and asked God to lead me in the design process. I petitioned Him to guide me to the right imagery, steer me to the ideal typography and anoint the composition in a way that would attract readers to the life-changing content inside. Yes, I did all that over a book cover. I wanted it to be blessed.

The normal design process takes a few revisions to get it right. After laying out the design and e-mailing it to the client, I nailed it on the first try (sans a bit of wordsmithing). I believe I achieved what my client was looking for because we were both on one accord with God on its creation, interdependently. Being able to exceed my client’s expectations makes me feel wonderful; knowing I reached that milestone solely off the humble prayers to my Father makes me feel incredible. And I owe it ALL to Him.

Moving forward, I plan to pray over all my projects…even the ones that aren’t God-centric. I plan to acknowledge God in this way and let Him guide me on how to use the gift (of design) that He gave me to bless others.

 

After all, He is the Original Designer 🙂

5 Lessons I Learned From My Grandma Fannie

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Despite being an only child, I come from a very large family in which my paternal grandmother, Fannie Robinson, was the matriarch. Growing up I spent a lot of time around her and witnessed elements of her personality that carried valuable life lessons. Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned from my Grandma Fannie that guide my thoughts to this day:

 

Celebrate Life

With 15 children and over 50+ grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Grandma Fannie never forgot a birthday. She didn’t need Facebook to remind her. I don’t recall her having a calendar with names written down. I believe she retained those birthdays in her mind because our lives were very important to her. She knew each of our lives had purpose, even before we came into the world (Jeremiah 1:5). That day in which we entered the world – and God’s purpose was activated – is cause for celebration and Grandma Fannie’s recollection of so many of our “introductions” was a pleasant reminder that we are all special.

 

Vision > Circumstance

If you spent any amount of time at my grandparents’ house in the 80s, you knew that Grandma Fannie had every television in the house on the same channel (usually a soap opera). Whether you went in her room, the boys’ room or the living room — every television had the same show playing. Each room had different arrangements – some more cluttered than the other – but when you looked at the TV, the show was the same. I learned that when you have a vision for your life, you must maintain that channel no matter what environment you’re in. Some parts of your life will get cluttered, messy and downright catastrophic — but your TV (aka your vision) must stay on the same channel in order to see it through to the end.

 

Keep it Moving

My Grandma Fannie never drove a vehicle. She walked all her life. Even in the house, she made her rounds frequently – checking on us in every room. You almost felt weird if she didn’t pop her head in the room from time to time. This was a consistency that my grandmother kept for several decades. She knew that she had to keep it moving no matter what. This lesson is key in all things. When we don’t move, we don’t progress. This is true in health, personal and professional relationships. Forward movement and frequent assessment keeps us aware and proactive. We’re flexible and limber to bend and not break under life’s challenges.

 

Know What You Want

When I got older, I would offer to take Grandma Fannie to Walgreens. There was a specific Walgreens she liked to visit. We passed several Walgreens stores and various other drug stores on the way to the one she wanted to visit.  At the time, it seemed a little nick picky but the lesson is that she knew where she wanted to go and did not compromise that desire. We’re often tempted to compromise our vision, integrity and personal worth under the pressures of life and attacks of the enemy. This goes back to that vision. When you are secure in your vision, there is no compromise.

When you know where you want to go, you will pass several “substitutes” to get to the real thing. Don’t settle. Grandma Fannie didn’t.

 

Love Unlimited

With so many children, Grandma Fannie rarely had a free moment throughout her entire life. I often thought she would get tired of us clinging to her all year round or perhaps there were too many of us to truly capture her attention. She fussed at us, but she never made us feel unwanted. One of the greatest memories of my grandmother was when I was just out of college and working for the City of Gary. I would go visit Grandma Fannie on my lunch hour. Sometimes I’d pick up her prescriptions or just sit in the kitchen and eat a sandwich. We talked more in those moments than we ever did while I was growing up. It was individual, personalized time with my grandmother who was a mother to so many Robinsons. But in that space, I learned that her love for all of us was unique, unconditional, limitless and focused – whether one on one at lunch or a big holiday gathering. Grandma Fannie taught me that real love comes from God and like God, it never gets tired nor makes you feel unwanted. That’s the kind of love we need to have and share.

I miss my grandma but her lessons live in me on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.

5 Things Baby Boomers Need to Get Through Their Heads

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*This doesn’t apply to all Baby Boomers but there’s been enough repetition of thought from them in my world that compelled me to write this prose*

I get it.

You are reveled as the wealthiest, most active, physically fit generation in American history. You’ve experienced the highest levels of income, often with a modicum of education, thanks to an industrial-based economy. Your upward mobility meant access to an excess of food, apparel, retirement programs, and discretionary products. You fed this capitalistic society well with your abundant consumerism. For most of your lives, you have been blessed and highly favored.

More importantly, Boomers raised us: the Generation X’ers, Y’ers and Millennials. You want the best for us; but it seems many of you think we should implement the exact methods you applied to achieve the same lifestyle – as if the world around us hasn’t changed (largely due to your generation’s influence, actions and population).

But the world has changed. Dramatically.

The (financial, emotional and physical) stability – in which you may have basked in during your 20s – is something many of us have yet to realize as we approach our mid-30s and early-40s. There are many dynamics that have impacted us to this point. But instead of pointing fingers, I’ve recognized some ideologies between us that need to be addressed; specifically in five (5) areas I’m compelled to put out there:

01 We Will Never Work The Way You Do
Show me someone who works 30 years at the same company and retire with their pension intact and I’ll show you a baby boomer who’s incredibly blessed. I applaud that kind of blessing, but I abhor your condescending expectation for us to do the same. That’s not our reality and it doesn’t make us flaky, wishy-washy or unstable because we, on average, change jobs every 3-5 years if not starting our own businesses.

Steady paycheck? Benefits? Yes, those are great things you enjoyed on general principle. Take it from someone who’s been downsized, re-organized and had contracts expire from some of the largest corporations in the world…there’s no such thing as a steady paycheck just because get a job working for someone else. That blessing can shift in the blink of an eye. Don’t believe me? Ask my old neighbor, Mr. Roy, a 59-year old baby boomer whose company folded during his 29th year of employment and now has no pension (and subsequently is STILL working). Our economy is different. You know this. So stop expecting us to work the way you worked. It’s not feasible. It’s not available. It’s not the same as it was when you worked hard. We have to work smart and our career paths are paved with many experiences with many companies, maybe even our own.

02 Health is Wealth
Steroids. Pesticides. GMO’s. Service industries that demand we sit at desks for longer hours, staring at a light bulb (aka your computer monitor) and snacking on processed, high carb viddles from the vending machine next to the Keurig pumping out low-grade caffeine disguised as coffee. Do you realize that we’re not projected to live as long as you are? Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc. are all a result of lifestyle and societal influence.

Watch the film, Food, Inc. It’s inevitable that we are leading less healthy lives than you are. It’s ultimately our choice but we are not lazy bums. We are not trying to kill ourselves. We have more gyms than ever before with the most advanced medical breakthroughs in history, but we’re still dying and most of us will die younger than you. And when you tell us how fat we are or how we need to eat less or how much sleep we need; while you’re still serving pork-boiled vegetables, red meat and carb-laden Sunday dinners…that’s not hot, fam.

03 Different Doesn’t Mean Wrong
Calling does seem more effective than texting to you. Social media goes beyond spying on your grandkids’ Facebook page. Instagram is not the best platform to post the pictures from your flip phone. But just because we communicate differently doesn’t mean we got it wrong. Stop acting like your way is always the best way. That’s arrogance and it taints wisdom. The result is your wisdom becomes diluted and something, designed to help your wisdomless children, will miss us because you’re too busy criticizing along with your advice instead of focusing on helping with your expertise.

04 You Were Right vs I Told You So
We need your wisdom, not your indignation. It is such a better feeling to have us let you know you were right versus your taunting us, consciously and subconsciously, when things don’t happen for us in which you warned us. It makes you unapproachable and, again, potentially denies us access to the wisdom you do have. No one wants to hear “I told you so” in any medium but letting you know you were right shows that the lesson was learned and we can move on to the next level. That is what you want us to do, right?

The fifth area allows me to end this on a high note (pun intended):

05 Your Music Was Better
Concept albums. Live musicians. Dynamic vocalists. No AutoTune. Cultural expression. Political activism. Meaningful lyrics. I have no argument in the area of music because your generation had no chill when it came to cranking out timeless compositions.

But we did give you hip-hop and on the cool, our indie scene is incredible.

If you could just pause and see that we are doing the best with what you gave us, I’m sure we could communicate better. In return, we won’t be so much on the defensive. And please excuse those of our generation who are NOT trying and have a sense of entitlement.This doesn’t apply to all of our respective generations, but it happens enough in my environment to say something.

We are working smart with the same level of intensity that you worked hard. We have more health challenges than you will ever know. Our differences do not equal our flaws nor your superiority of thought. As we learn lessons, the easy and/or hard way, let us come to you and show you what we’ve learned and how your being right helped us become a little wiser. Stop waiting to slam us with our mistakes. You didn’t do everything right either.

If we can simply respect each other’s views as adults who live in the most free country on earth, then maybe…just maybe we can swap playlists.

It’s Time for a Renewal

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Growing up in church I saw countless of broken people find their way to the altar – crying, snotting and shaking for God to change their lives. Surrounded by the pastor, ministers, deacons and members, God’s presence washed over them with comfort as they proclaim to make Jesus their Lord and Savior; thus, beginning their walk with Christ. As a kid, I wondered what happened in their lives to warrant such a public, humble outcry. 

What had Satan done to them? What did someone do to them? What had they done to themselves?

And then I kept on living.

I found myself at the altar surrounded by strong men of God interceding on my behalf. I found myself on the other end of the phone with my parents, my uncle and cousin (who are both ministers). I found myself inside my truck with the windows rolled up – screaming at the top of my lungs for God to help me…to save my life. I’ve had my moments where a song, a thought, the vision of a smile or horrific replay of a nightmare – triggers my shameless, humble outcry towards my Father like a toddler lost in the mall on a Saturday afternoon.

I have good days and they are synonymous with staying in God’s presence through prayer, devotions and positive fellowship. I get filled with God’s spirit and I allow him to take the wheel of my life that Satan seems determined to veer out of control. And then there are days where I slip; I put on Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya?” – supposedly for the beat – when I know I’m not ready to listen solely for music appreciation. It’s a chink in the armor welcoming a flood of angry, painful thoughts that erode my faith. I’m not blaming the late MC, but I am recognizing that I need to feed my spirit whole foods of love, peace, forgiveness and trust in God…daily.

You don’t have to cry and snot. You shouldn’t wait until your life is such a mess that you would do anything to relieve the excruciating pain in your heart, mind and stomach. What I’ve realized is that there’s nothing wrong with having that “come to Jesus” moment every day in some way. It’s not about seeking Him only when you hit rock bottom, but trusting Him as he ascends you all the way to the mountaintop of His purpose for your life.

I felt bad. I thought I was prayed up enough to withstand the blows that life would throw at me. The truth is we can’t feed our spirit sparingly and expect to be nourished enough to fight effectively. In the natural, it looks like the “trials of life,” but in the spiritual I must remember that the enemy’s job is to STEAL my joy, KILL my body & mind (and cause me to lose it) and DESTROY my soul. It’s bigger than personal guilt, work stress or family heartache.

I don’t have to cry, snot or scream everyday for God to hear me — in fact, my daily routine should include praising, digesting the Word and helping someone else who needs God through me. By taking the focus off my troubles and allowing God to have complete control over my life  is a surefire way to bounce back.

What had Satan done to me?

 He stayed on his job and continues to do so.

What did someone do to me?

They hurt me to the core of my spirit.

What did I do to myself?

I disconnected from the source of my strength. I hurt the one that hurt me. I gave Satan permission to do his job (and honestly, that’s the only way he can do it because he has no power).

It is a daily necessity to have a renewal of my mind and spirit so that God may restore my life, the life of my family and impact those who come in contact with me.

If You’re Scared, Say You’re Scared

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Scared people will do anything. There’s no strategy. No calculated move. Nothing. All that matters is the moment at hand, their fear and how they can escape. Scared people don’t think, they react. Scared people operate in a chasm of fear — ripping through their life’s journey and causing a rift between reality and destiny. Halting progress, if not stopping it all together. Darkening futures because your light (focus) is solely on the present. Incubating ignorance because we often fear what we don’t know. And to willingly function in fear can paralyze your thinking; thus, impeding your movement towards information, enlightenment and confidence.

“Please don’t hurt me.”

There is a correlation between that phrase and those who have blatantly hurt me with malice and indifference (which is the opposite of love – not ‘hate’). Whenever someone has led with that phrase, they have later proven to embody the exact thing they didn’t want done.

It’s actually comical — the times I’ve had friends, relatives, co-workers say, “You better not hurt her” or “you better take care of her” as if the pain-causing acumen is solely within my reach. Those aforementioned phrases serve as an omen that this is the individual who will actually end up administering pain rather than receiving it.

“God protect us.”

We are all capable and guilty of causing pain to someone – intentionally or inadvertently. It happens; especially when conflicting agendas collide and even moreso when we operate out of fear. We are so scared about what has happened or “could” happen to us that we negate the fact that our actions could potentially hurt someone else.

You hurt her when you force her to pay the fines of someone else’s transgression. You hurt him when his niceness is so refreshingly unfamiliar that you’d rather “end it now before anyone gets hurt” and fizzle your future happiness. When we wait for the bad to happen…it happens. Being cynical and expecting the worst is NOT discernment – it’s pessimism. Trusting God to protect us, praying about our interactions and our intentions (the ones we actually control) can at least offer a balance of healthy cautiousness and sober optimism.

God did not give us the spirit of fear.

Operating in it = not operating in Him.

Before Anything Else (Bae)

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BAE (Before Anything Else) is a contemporary acronym meaning. It’s a popular term of endearment in urban culture used to describe our significant other.

The owner of this title changes often and rarely used to describe The Almighty God who does more for us than any loved one on earth.

This audio message on how we prioritize God in our lives.

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Be Bitter

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bitterness |ˈbitərnis|” n. the experience of anger and/or hatred felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done.

This is the real silent killer…eroding our souls and bodies from within. We aren’t designed to hold bitterness – it’s like pouring battery acid into a styrofoam cup. In a world full of external negativity; our true, imminent danger is found in bitterness — feasting on our faith and destroying our future.

The cost of bitterness is way too high and here are five (5) reasons why you can’t afford it:

01 Bitterness causes us not to be forgiven.

When you don’t let go, neither does God. It’s just that simple. When you let go (of the bitterness inside you), God releases the judgement reserved for your ratchetness. It’s a sweet deal, eh?

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15)

02 Bitterness affects our prayer.

We can’t expect God to hear our praise, problems and petitions with unforgiveness in our hearts. Bitterness is a barrier between you and God; and there is too much jumping off for us to be disconnected from Our Dad.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

03 Bitterness poisons relationships.

By allowing bitterness to grow inside us, we are inviting it to defile (aka desecrate, spoil, violate, stank all up to be damned) our spirits and cause unnecessary drama in our lives. You may hide it well, but bitterness seeps out into how we interact with other people – often those who have nothing to do with why you’re bitter.

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:15)

04 Bitterness = prison.

Holding on to bitterness does nothing to the person who ignited that fire of unforgiveness in your heart. Instead, it places you in prison and not only are you spiritually incarcerated — you are mentally tortured. Replaying that garbage in your mind over and over and over. Release that bitterness and get that “Get-Out-of-Jail-FREE” card or stay locked up in misery. The choice is yours.

“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.” (Matthew 18:33-34)

05 Bitterness impairs our decision-making.

The haze of bitterness cripples your ability to make decisions that will help you. The choices you make, while bitter, will likely err on the side of stupid; which isn’t a good look when your decisions effect your children, friendships, personal and work relationships.

“Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:14)

You think you’re doing something…staying bitter. If being bitter prevents God from forgiving me, blocks my much needed prayer, jacks up my relationships, places me in spiritual prison (and tortured…can’t forget that!) AND causes me to make dumb-er decisions than I already make??? 

Nah, B (and the “B” is for bitterness).

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