Growing up in the 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 every day 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.