We Need Each Other

Recently, I was helping to console and support a good friend of mine in the midst of a very hard loss. I was so grateful for the opportunity for God to use me to comfort her. It got me thinking about what that would have been like for her without her friends to comfort her. And I thought about the times of strain and pain I’ve been through that my friends have been there for me in.

These are rough days. To others, it may not even be all that bad. But you know just how painful and frustrating even the littlest of issues can be in your own mind. Time stands still in those times… or just moves so much slower than usual. Truth is, it’s something that we all experience, alone. If you look at that statement, it’s an oxymoron in a sense… how could we all be going through the same things, at the same time… ALONE? Well, it’s because honestly we don’t know our brothers and sisters are sitting right next to us, crying just as loud inside as we are outside.
We really need each other, ya’ll. To comfort when loved ones are lost. To guide and encourage when the job hunt and/or 9-5 grind is hell. When the firsts in our adult lives don’t live up to the hype. When our worldly friends are too busy “living once” and living it up, our family is brushing our problems off like they’re teenage dramatics, and when the whole world just seems too big to waste time trying to navigate… I know I’m going to need you, and I’m going to do the best I can to be there when you need me.

Seriously. Email me if you need my number,  and let’s be accountable and support each other through these twenty-something years. Charlesscanadyjr@yahoo.com

– Charles

“It’s Not You… It’s Me.” – Parting Ways with Envy.

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Earlier this week my friends saw a very cryptic post on Facebook that read like this:

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A few people didn’t catch the whole “FACEBOOK” line at the top, and didn’t read further than “Suicide…” so they had fairly different responses. LOL (Is it funny though?) My other friends were trying to convince me that I needed to remain present and contributing on the FB social-media-sphere. They say I have a lot to say and I have ministered to their lives.

Then, once I gave some insight into why I really wanted to get off [saying that I felt I needed to guard myself and that Facebook has been toxic, so to speak], a good friend, Caroline – whose blog we co-sponsor and endorse, and If you haven’t yet read it, you’re missing out – put me on front-street and just told the world about my life! Nah, but real talk, she knew exactly what the real problem was…

Facebook wasn’t doing anything wrong. It was me who was BROWSING.

Browsing for what though? Why was I so intent everyday on going as deep into my News Feed as my fingers could travel, rather than using that time to let God (In the words of Hillsong) “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wonder…” instead? Well, that’s something folks didn’t get to see. And if you’re one of those friends who did actually comment, here’s the issue, put out there once and for all.

Truth is, It was just revealed to me in the spirit that I had been ADDICTED TO ENVY. It truly was a substance abuse. You know how substances people mis-use for a high, they’re usually good things taken advantage of, right? Well this was what the bible calls FAITH – “the substance of things hoped for…” being abused. I took my faith and cooked it with some worry, some doubt, and a little bit of desire for other people’s happiness and success.

Basically, I went on there, subconsciously looking to be depressed by everyone else’s happiness.

All my friends were getting that new job, moving into their new apartment, meeting people and getting married, traveling the world, getting into their first choice grad school all expenses paid… All those things that would, in a perfect world, happen to every one of us sometime here in our twenties. I would peruse my FB timeline just looking… looking to see what new announcements people had, what new exciting news they had to share, what great blessing God had given them… my flesh was purposely doing this as a self-abusing tactic to lead me daily back into a depressed state of “everyone’s got the promise but you… what’s wrong with you?”

So today, after weeks of battling with hints of mild-depression, frustration with all the wrong people, and more detrimental than anything, addictions to both spiritual and tangible substances like food, porn, procrastination, gossip, and complaining… I’m attacking the true core-dwelling sin that I’ve so passionately practiced lately – ENVY.

When it comes to envy, I’ve truly been taught that the root of it is not what other people have that I don’t… it’s about what I have not being enough. TripLee once said envy is “the lack of confidence in the provisions of God.” He made it as simple as that, because that’s all it really is. God’s been giving me everything I’ve ever needed all along. He’s put me in the places and situations where whatever Glory He seeks to get out of my life, I have all the confidence, the resources, and the wisdom to manifest that Glory. Problem is, I’ve been so wrapped up in my faith in the promise God’s given me for my prosperity, and I’ve taken that faith – that substance of things hoped for – and I’ve mixed it with all those other things that created a spiritual-chemical reaction in my brain… and I got hooked on it. Well, not anymore.

I’m not gonna sit here and honestly say that at this very moment I’ve completely gotten over this addiction… I’m not gonna act as though this relationship i’m ending is going from “I’m so in love with you” to “I don’t love you anymore” overnight. This is the break-up… the moment of honesty. This is me admitting my substance abuse, and parting ways. It’s gonna be hard… but something’s gotta give.

So no, I won’t delete my Facebook account. My friends were right, I have a sort of purpose, a calling, if you may, to minister and be a light in social media. I think about all those other people who scroll the news feed looking for something they don’t need, like I have been doing, and I imagine what a blessing and a benefit it is for them to see my post, speaking edifying and soul-stirring words, preaching the Gospel, and sharing my testimonies. I can’t deny them that chance.

What I will do, is stop browsing and abusing myself.

I Keep Holding On

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I’m currently fighting my flesh from falling into the trap the devil has laid before me.

It’s a test. I have the answers. I see the fork in the road and where they both lead. My spirit is trying to pull me in the right way but my flesh wants what it wants. Craving, desiring, foaming at the mouth for the attention.

I’m riding strictly on grace and mercy in this situation. And that’s why I keep holding on.

There have been many times on this Christian journey that I’ve wanted to give up. Being a Christian was just too hard and I didn’t want to have to deal with the sacrifices anymore. Why does Sally get to do X but I can’t do Y? Why does Bob get more blessings/favor/honor than I do? Why is John so special with his gifts? Why can’t I indulge?!

You know those kids you shake your heads at? The ones who throw temper tantrums when they can’t eat all the candy they want or simply won’t obey their parents. Well, that’s me.

I know what’s good for me. I know what will break my heart and cause me to take a million steps backward. And yet I keep moving towards the carrot on the stick, blindly following where my cravings lead.

In the midst of all this…God is quiet with me. Gentle with me. Kind to me. Merciful unto me.

No one else would be so patient with me in my rebellion. So even though I’m not where I want to be, or even where I “should” be, I keep holding on.

Love you,

Jay.

Down For Life: 5 Reasons Why I’m Still Serving Jesus in My Twenties

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My phone’s Facebook App keeps reminding me of this link I saved called “5 Ways to Show Millennials Why They Need To Stay In Church” by Caleb Breakey. Ok, yeah… cool. The first part of it tells this sob story of how we’re all supposedly turning away from the church. Really? Where? and WHY? I don’t see it. On top of that, I’m tired of being grouped off by such a broad margin – 18 to 35? REALLY??? Today’s 18-year-old fresh out of high school has A LOT of differences in thinking and character from a 35 year old who’s career is about 5-10 years into its prime, probably married with 1-4 kids… BIG DIFFERENCE. And we twentysomethings are caught in the middle of this huge gap, but yet somehow categorized along with them in the sense of where we stand on the Church?

So I am going to give some perspective on why I haven’t left. I can only speak personally… I can’t convince anyone to “come back” to the church based on any other story than mine. End of the day though, my job is to share this Gospel and love my neighbor… but if someone strays, it’s something that inevitably they’re gonna have to come to grips with.

Personally, I couldn’t EVER see myself straying away from God’s love.

Sounded pretty cliché, right? Typical bible-thumping, radical-for-christ Jesus Freak, sold on the idea of some guy dying for his sins. YEP!!! And I’m even more unashamed to say so now than ever before. I bible-thump cause the Bible is TRUTH, I’m radical for Christ cause he’s Radical for me. So here you go – another “list” blog post, for you fanatics, to give you some perspective:

5 Reasons why I still serve Jesus in my Twenties:

1. I Love Jesus.

Pretty wack for a number 1, I know… where’s the spicy content? Look folks, That right there is my end-all, be-all. I love Jesus. It’s not a reciprocal type of love where I feel this way because way back when, something happened, and Jesus did something on some day to change something and make me love Him. Nah… my soul cries out for Jesus, real talk. And yeah, He did do something… He loved me.

2. I Met Jesus Personally.

When I was in High School, I had an idea of “saved” that grew from being in the church all my life… it was fun while it lasted, I guess… but when I got to college and experienced unrestrained life, I pushed all that farce aside, and thought I discovered myself. Once all the temporary fun was done, I went even deeper and discovered the not-so–fun “self” I wasn’t looking for. That “self” was on academic probation, throwing away money, gaining weight, losing friends, and couldn’t look himself in the mirror. THAT was the low point that Jesus met me at. I tell NO LIES folks – one night at a special worship service, Jesus HUGGED ME. I knew it was him. You can’t tell me it wasn’t… you weren’t there. Dude straight hugged me and said, “That’s not who I called you to be. Get it together. I love you.” THAT was when I REALLY got saved. December 2007.

3. His Grace & Mercy Covers Me.

Do you understand what this phrase means? Here’s a basic understanding: You walk into a police station. The mayor, chief justice, chief of police, an fbi agent, and your mom, are all standing there. You shoot a baby in the face, and then laugh. All those folks who have the ability to END YOUR LIFE as you know it… they all say, “That’s ok. I understand, you can’t control yourself. Just don’t do it again. In fact, I’ll take the murder charge and go to the electric chair for you.” SERIOUSLY? That would never happen in real life, right? Well… It did. And it makes no sense… I know all the wrong i’ve done… all the wrong I’ve thought of doing. Not just wrong according to a book. Wrong in my heart, as in that voice that tells you “dude… NO! You know that’s wrong.” For all the evil in my mind, someone still loves me enough to take on that justice. I know that I didn’t make it through undergrad based on my grades – I remember those nights when I refused to study, when I sat up all night on the internet instead of resting for the test in the morning, when I skipped class just so I could hang with popular people… praise me all you want for getting my degree from Howard, but truth be told, that diploma hanging on my wall is IN NO WAY mine. I didn’t earn it on my own, I couldn’t have. I mean, forget just graduating – I’M ALIVE!!! I’m 25 years old, Black, grew up in the hood, so-on and so-forth, all these pointing towards the inevitable for my demographic – either jail or the ground. I beat both… how? On my own prowess and wit? Please… someone’s up there pulling strings, setting things properly so that I survived. GRACE. In a nutshell.

4.  I Can’t Imagine Life With No Jesus.

I know that there are other deities out there who, should you righteously chase after them, provide wisdom and guidance for life. But tell me… is there any other deity out there who chases you? My Jesus does. My Jesus sits in the hallway of the Student Accounts office with me, waiting with me to hear from the lady whether or not I am cleared for graduation, and tells me “it’s cool. I’ve worked this all out for you already.” Now, imagine me sitting there BY MYSELF… with either a) just a book and a few notes from some random priest or monk about what to do in those situations, or b) plain and simple, NOTHING… just me. I’d probably die. That’s my take on life without Jesus – death… slowly but surely. Call me crazy but I just think that this world is much too dangerous and much too chaotic to be walking around out here with no covering… no LEGITIMATE covering. Like I said, my Jesus CHASES AFTER ME. Seeks to save me from myself and from this world. Show me another God who does that.

5. Jesus Needs Me.

That’s the other great thing about my God that sets Him apart from other FALLACIES – I actually play a role in His-story!!! A role which He wrote the script for a looooong time ago, and my character was never erased. I ALWAYS served a purpose. I just LOVE that… I MATTER TO JESUS. No matter what the world thinks of me, or how it tries to write me off as though I’m just another black dot, a smudge on the counter, a fly on the wall… nah, my God says I’m IMPORTANT. That’s worth every ounce of my time, quite frankly.

There’s your Millenial staying “in the church.”

Take some time and think about why it is you stayed with Jesus so long… or why you left.

 

The Reset Button

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This past weekend, Howard University held graduation ceremonies for the class of 2014. It is also the one-year anniversary of my own graduation.

My mother asked me, “How does it feel to be out of school for a year?” I couldn’t answer her with anything substantial without being a real negative Nancy. Before today, I wasn’t grateful for the progress I made in this past year. In fact, I felt like I hadn’t made any progress at all. I’m not where I want to be or where I planned to be and so I deemed myself a failure.

I tried really hard to get back to DC for the graduation ceremonies. But no matter what route I planned to take, there were obstacles in my way. The truth is, I didn’t want to see 2014 graduate. I wanted to relive my own graduation. I wanted to put on my cap and gown again and press the proverbial reset button. It would make me feel better about where I am in life. I can no longer say “I just graduated…”. I graduated a year ago. But I still feel like a college student.

That’s because I haven’t truly accepted where I am in this journey. I refuse to accept my current circumstances so I revert back to the last position I was comfortable in. But how can I progress forward if I can’t even accept the now?

It’s ok to graduate and not know who you are, what you want or where the heck you’re going. It’s ok if it takes you 6-12 months (or more) to figure it out. Life is ok. You are ok.

It is with a warm heart that I extend a hearty congratulations to every member of the class of 2014 across the globe. You deserve to celebrate! And when you’re done celebrating, remember that everything will be ok.

Love,

Jay

 

Life's Not The Party They Said It Would Be.

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