Living for God Alone

Seeking GodSo these past few weeks have been a whirlwind filled with the occasional ups and downs and the rare heartbreak, but during this time I realized how special it is to have a relationship with the Lord because while everything changes he remains the same faithful loving God and always will be! I mean WOW – when you really think about it, he remains constant despite all our shortcomings.  Even when we drift apart and are led into sin, he still loves us!

I was listening to a song and one lyric that always stood out was that, “We’re a product of grace.”  I started to delve into this and really thinking about what it means. While I could try to write this eloquent blog post to describe it, truth is there are no words to describe this kind of Love. He gave up his son for us – when we were his enemy separated by sin!

My time in NYC has been amazing, not because of all that is going on here or the job I have or other external factors, but because it’s where I strengthened my relationship with the Lord. I even got baptized (sorry I didn’t tell/invite y’all, I wanted it to be between me and God). I feel for the first time I’m all in and not going through the motions. That doesn’t mean I won’t stumble, but I will try my hardest to not conform to the world and live for an audience of one. I want everything I do – from my thoughts, what I eat, how I spend my time, working – to bring Glory to God because that’s all that should matter.

If you told me a few years ago that I would be where I am I would have laughed. Not because I didn’t believe in myself, but because God had much bigger plans than I had for myself. While working at a global agency was a goal of mine since I became a journalism major, I never would have thought that I’d be working at a global agency in their global tech department in NYC. That’s not to brag or boast about how great I am because without God I wouldn’t be here. It look lots of rejection (including 11 in Waco alone), waiting, persisting, crying and praying. There were moments of doubt, but God told me to wait so I did and the rest is history.

What’s the point of all this? It’s that God is SO good!! I mean If he’s able to do this for me, the one who is always overlooked and broken, imagine what he can do with you?!? Living for God has given me great joy and despite the ups and downs, the heartbreaks, the pain, the joyful moments, etc. On my way to work I started to think about why I wanted to do what I’m doing and it was mainly for status, money and power; however, none of that matters anymore. I remember even just a year ago I’d look down on missionaries or people serving in a church and now I commend them. They are doing what God has put them on this earth to do. Who am I to look down on others? I’m a nobody and the majority of the world doesn’t even know I exist.  What a humbling lesson that was.

God has placed me where I am for a reason, but that doesn’t mean I can’t minister to others through my actions if not directly through my words. How I treat my coworkers, my managers, how much effort I give on a certain task etc. matters because Jesus wants us to give it our all. At the end of the day whether it be good or bad, I want God to know that I’m here to serve him and not wasting the opportunity he provided for me. However, I know I can do more, which is why I’m founding Woven Hearts. I’m really excited about this ministry because it will give me the opportunity to minister outside of church or work and reach the unreached. There are so many broken people in the world, so I want to help. God gave me a servants heart for a reason.

The point of this is to let God use you! He gave everyone a different platform and while some might be bigger than others, each one matters because we’re all a piece of a puzzle for his greater purpose.

Cheers,
– The Real Swaggy P

Waiting on God’s Timing

49729bbb322042cc547a9d6878e82f87Lets face it – we all want to be in complete control of our lives. We think we know what’s best for us, what we want, what we like, etc., when in all honestly we can even decide what kind of sandwich we want half the time.

It’s been almost 6.5 half months since I’ve moved to New York and on my way home last week I started thinking about all the little things: the pain, the waiting, blind faith, etc., so get to where I am. Life isn’t perfect, and as always I’m still in the constant state of “waiting,” but I have peace that the dude upstairs knows what he’s doing.

My journey wasn’t always easy. When I applied for my first PR internship, I was rejected (seven times to be exact). Slowly anger started to fill my heart and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t land an internship. I even called random companies and offered free help. Nothing happened. Shortly after I took summer classes and started applying for fall internships. Same thing – still couldn’t land an internship. Doubt started to creep into my mind. Should I be doing PR? Is this really what God wants me to do? After seeking the Lord, I knew this is what he wanted for me. Would I stick with him and trust his plan or would I quit?

I continued fcfe10c0b76ea4cf407c6ea856e04b6ato persevere and apply. All I needed was one ‘yes’. However, during the “waiting” period, I made it my goal to learn as much as I could on my own. I had informational interviews with professionals in the area, watched webinars via PRSA (thank you PRSSA membership) and started a PR blog. Once I had an opportunity (I thought to myself), I would work hard,  and make all of those people regret passing me up. While I was able to find a semi-internship during the summer after calling West Oaks Urgent Care (which was great because the doctor worked with my school schedule), I started thinking about fall 2013.

After four more rejections, I put my trust in the Lord. I gave up control and gave it to him. One day I received an email from the Baylor journalism department about an internship opportunity with InterviewStream. Not only was it paid, but it was a semi-startup (which is rare in Waco). I decided to apply because at this point what did I have left to lose?

A couplee37606047de1042e0f749c64b228208e of weeks after I received an offer. Thinking back this was the best thing because it cemented my love for Tech PR. It also helped me land an internship with Walker Sands which then led me on the path to Weber Shandwick Dallas and then NY in their global technology practice. Additionally, if I hadn’t taken those summer classed that summer, I wouldn’t have graduated on time.

It’s been a long journey and it’s obviously not over, but it’s amazing to see how far God can take us when we trust him. The best things do come to those who wait, but what are we doing during our waiting period? Are we sitting on a couch eating/drinking our sorrows or are we taking the time to draw near to God and trying to become the best version of ourselves? God sometimes tests us to see how badly we want things and if we’re going to stick with him during the trials.

No one likes to wait, especially if you’re as impatient as me, but like Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Give God control over your life because he knows what he’s doing Also know your waiting isn’t in vain.

Cheers,
– The Real Swaggy P

Testing of Your Faith

B-DVCZUCQAIo0dJLast night I read James 1 and it resonated with me because everyone goes through slumps and trials. Two weeks ago, I questioned every decision I made: should I do Tech PR? Should I go back to school? Should I leave New York? (the answer is a definite no to the last one). But through it, all I realized that I was burned out and lacked that fire I had when I first moved here. The Honeymoon phase was over so to speak, so I wanted something new.

Unlike many people I know, I welcome change and sometime initiate it myself to try something new. Once something becomes routine, it goes down hill from there.

Now what does this have to do with James 1? Before I connect the dots, I wanted to highlight the verses (2-5) that resonated with me:

 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

We all face trials of different kinds, some more difficult than others, but in the end we have to remember to persevere. Since the end of May, I had lost my fire and was going through the motions. My life was definitely not being lived to its fullest. I started questioning my reason for existence with the fear that I’m wasting my life without doing anything meaningful. As much as I love my job, I started to wonder if Tech PR is really what I wanted to do/what God wanted me to do. In prayer, I asked God two things: to light that fire in my heart and to show me where I needed to be in life.

The thing with prayer is that it’s not always answered over night. It took a month for God to give me a clear answer – not because God wants to see us suffer, but because he wants to strengthen us and develop our character.

This week I realized how faithful our God is even though we don’t deserve. It may not seem like it in this broken world, but he truly does love us and answers us (and sometimes tells us things we don’t want to hear). During my “funk” phase I consulted with several people and they basically told me what I didn’t want to hear (at first), but as I started praying, I began to realize it’s because I am where God wants me to be. I began going to work with a new attitude and started to love it again. The biggest lesson learned is that joy only comes from the Lord and nothing else. **One thing to note: joy and happiness are different. Things/moments can make one happy, but true joy is from the Lord.

Cheers,
– The Real Swaggy P