The Loudmouth Protestant

June 24, 2010

Quote of the Day: John Ortberg

“It is wrong, it is sin, to accept or remain in a position that you know is a mismatch for you. Perhaps that’s a form of sin you’ve never considered–the sin of staying in the wrong job. But God did not place you on this earth to waste away your years in labor that does not employ his design or purpose for your life, no matter how much you may be getting paid for it.”

John Ortberg, from the book “If You Want to Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat”

That is all.

April 15, 2010

“Everybody Gets Theirs Except Me”

Filed under: God,life,love,work — nickisym @ 4:44 pm
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I went through a rough patch in life during the first quarter of this year. I experienced the highs of a new man in my life and then the lows of his departure. The highs of coming close to a realization of my purpose in God and the lows of the uncertainties about how to walk forward. The highs of being happy and the lows of being sad. What has taken me from these highs to the lows is a central theme that has been pervading my life, “Everyone gets theirs except me.” A dear friend pointed out to me that she has seen that theme persist in my life. She told me that I’m always talking about someone getting theirs except me. She shared this on the heels of a breakdown I had last night because I felt that everyone was getting theirs except for me. The man I met earlier this year got his when he started seeing someone else not too long after deciding things wouldn’t work with me. Someone else (multiple someone elses) got theirs at work when they got promotions and not me. As it pertains to my purpose, someone got more resources to move forward than I did. This feeling got the best of me last night and reared its ugly head, sending me into a place filled with tears of sorrow and crippling me to the point where I couldn’t even pray. I just turned out the lights and went to sleep.

I’ve always felt passed over in life. It started at a very early age when I was given up for adoption. Later in life this notion of being given up would manifest itself into “never feeling good enough” and  “always being left behind” by people in life. I felt everyone was getting theirs except me. The marriage, the job, the money, the success, the acknowledgment, etc, etc. But I’ve had this feeling for far too long and now I realize, thanks to my dear friend, that I can no longer walk through life holding this against others, myself and most importantly, my God. The more I complain about others getting theirs except me, the more I discount what God is doing in my life and how He is doing it.

Someone else may get the guy while I remain single, but I have no idea whether God is preparing me for something better than what I had or if I was even ready for that man in particular. Maybe that is just not what God had for me but He needed to show me what isn’t for me so that when He sends what is for me I would know better. God protects us and He prepares us.

Someone else may get promoted before me but maybe it’s not for me to be promoted. Maybe there is more that is required of me in my current role before I am promoted. Maybe if I get a promotion I’d get too comfortable or lose the humility I had when I was in a lower position. Maybe giving me a promotion wouldn’t allow me to truly step out on faith in other areas of my life because I’d just be too comfortable in my new position. Maybe God just needs to show me that promotion doesn’t come from the east or the west but from above. He knows what’s best for us.

Someone gives me up for adoption but what I don’t realize is that being given up is the best thing that has ever happened in my life–after Jesus of course. If I wasn’t given up, I might not have the life and love I have right now for the parents who raised me in a very natural way. Being given up was not about my biological mother getting hers. Well, in a way it was. It was about her getting her life in a better place and getting her priorities in line enough to know she wasn’t ready to take care of me. She couldn’t give me her best, but she knew that if she gave me up, I could be better positioned to get the best. God knows all about giving things up to make things better. He gave His only begotten son so that we would not perish and have everlasting life. Of course He knew that my being given up would only lead to a better life. My not getting the man would leave me open to receive His best man. My not getting the promotion positions me for a greater opportunity beyond what a job can offer.

“Everyone gets theirs except for me”, will no longer be the theme of my life. Instead it will be how I remember to give thanks to God. It will be how I remember that in other people getting theirs, I must take note of the fact that God has given each of us a separate path to reach our goals in Him. It will be how I remember that in being passed over for a promotion my patience is being perfected in God for what He wants to promote me to. It will be how I will remember not to hold grudges against those who gave me up because in giving me up they have left me open to receive something better. It will be how I remember to give God all the honor, the praise and the glory for withholding things from me because only He knows when I’ll be ready for the man, for the promotion and for His purpose. Only then will I be able to say, “Everyone got theirs, but I got mine, in God’s time.”

October 8, 2009

Admitting My Deficit

Filed under: God,life,work — nickisym @ 6:01 pm
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As of September I was ushered into a whole new world. A world with new horizons to be seen, but those new horizons and their view are costing me a whole lot more. High rent, it’s just a face of life for New Yorkers who barely eke out a living—assistants, journalists and anyone with a job that actually adds values to people’s lives. I have managed to not live in this whole new world for six happy years but now, I am a slave to higher rent. The exception to this is that what I get is actually worth what I pay for it, so I’m actually not complaining. This new world I live in is forcing me to be a little more disciplined with my spending—at least I am trying to be disciplined. Not as much eating out as a like. Not as many pretty dress acquisitions. It has even changed my perspective on going out on dates. I used to want a date to enjoy the company of another and now I want a date so that someone else, besides me, can foot the bill. (I bet fellow blogger, Jozen, would love to hear me say that considering I’ve been roasting him over the coals all week.) Anyways, times are a bit lean for me and I went into this whole new world knowing it would be. I also accepted paying higher rent as a test from God to see if I could become a disciplined steward over the resources he has given me. I will tell you now, as a steward, I completely suck–but I’m hoping to get better.

So today, the result of my whole new world and the tax bracket it placed me in came full circle when I had to concede defeat not once, but twice. You should know that I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to say no particularly when it comes to money. I like to think “Money Ain’t a Thang.” But today, money was a thang and the Ferrari or Jaguar didn’t switch four lanes because it broke down and I have laryngitis so screamin’ money ain’t a thang just ain’t an option.

Situation#1: Last Thursday we got the directive from leadership in the dance ministry that we are to wear grey tops and black bottoms to rehearsal. Here I am faced with the prospect of needing like 5-10 of each when I only really have 3 pairs of black rehearsal pants and 5 grey shirts in varying colors of grey. This was an unfortunate finding on my part. Last night as I was getting my clothes ready for rehearsal I realized all of my black bottoms are dirty and it isn’t an option to pull them out of the dirty clothes bag because they could actually smell since our rehearsals are intense. The morning comes around and I was presented with an opportunity to e-mail a member of leadership concerning something unrelated to clothes and being the kind of girl I am, I killed two birds with one stone, did what I was supposed to do and made an addendum to the memo where I let her know I would be showing up to rehearsal with a grey on grey outfit because I have no other recourse. I don’t have a washer/dryer in my deluxe apartment in the sky. I don’t have time to do laundry considering I work all day and then turn around to either work for myself, am in said dance rehearsal or doing something with other members of civilization. Of course, I mentioned that it isn’t fiscally responsible for me to buy new clothes when I’ve accumulated all the Large and Extra Large tops I can tolerate specifically for the ministry. I got no response on my grey on grey apparel, but we’ll see what happens tonight.

Situation #2: There’s a conference that I was asked to attend for work but said conference would require me to pay the reservation fee out of my surplus of which, at the moment, I don’t have because I had to give that over to the keeper of the land. So, in front of my boss and another colleague, when asked whether it would be ok to pay for it myself, I unashamedly said, “No, actually it’s not. I can’t afford to because I just paid my rent.” Sure, I felt a little embarrassed and humbled, but I did what I had to do. My boss went away to see if he could make some other way and it turns out that he could and I will not have to dig into non-existent coffers to gain knowledge for the company. Thank God.

So I share all of this to say that there is nothing wrong with admitting deficit in any area of your life. The admission of deficit could actually lead to your surplus. It’s all about being honest with yourself and others. Scripture says, “You have not because you ask not or you ask amiss.” Well, from now on, I will be asking because not having is a totally downer.

May 28, 2009

Quote of the Day: Vincent Presti

I always seem to find the most interesting books laying around and because I am an avid reader, I manage at least skim through those that I am faintly intrigued with. My latest skim-through, “Career Discernment: Shamanic Laws & Statutes for Dispirited Professionals and Spirited Job Seekers”. I know what some of you may be thinking, “A Shaman? Really Loudmouth Protestant quoting a Shaman? It was enough that you quote Thomas of Aquinas and shared a novena your Protestant self though was interesting, but Shaman???” Yeah well, I told you, I’m a reader and being such there are times when I come across interesting quotes from the most interesting sources. Stephen King isn’t exactly a saint. So here’s my quote of the day, brought to you by Shaman Lawyer Vincent Presti.

“Never fret over mistakes!

No error is really uncorrectable

Except, your submission to error

as an enemy of your life

Rather than a confidant and friend

to encourage your personal growth.

I love this quote because I am the first to fret about the mistakes I’ve made on any given day. I’ll write an e-mail to someone, read it after I sent it–after I’ve read it twice before sending–and see that there is a spelling or punctuation error and I will practically throttle myself simply because I don’t want the receiver to think I am silly enough to not copyedit my e-mails. I’ll talk to some guy I like and stumble over my words in our conversation and be embarassed because I swear he’ll think I am not quite as eloquent as he initially thought. I’ll re-read posts on this blog and see errors and think, “That must be why my traffic is low.” But this is a perfect reminder to not be ruled by errors, consider them a lesson and keep it moving. And lest you think I’ve completely lost my mind, I didn’t really need a Shaman to tell me this, I know that Jesus died for my errors aka sins and I’m given new life in Him everyday and that was established well before Shaman wisdom. 🙂

April 5, 2009

God’s Hand in the Recession

Filed under: bible,devil,God,recent news,work — nickisym @ 1:05 am
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On Friday, the numbers were released for the unemployment rate since the beginning a 2009. A staggering 2 million jobs have been lost in the last 3 months. Approximately 666,666 jobs a month for the last three months. 666,666, the number sited in Revelations 13:18 as that which would be the mark of the beast. 

I stared at that number for a second. And remarked that the devil is a liar. God is the only one with power in this situation because while the devil may have meant this for evil, God can turn this around for His good. The results of this recession have no bearing on God’s people because as much power as the devil would like to think he has, he’s only working with manual power. The devil has about as much power as a manual screwdriver whereas God is that DeWalt powertool that gets the job done right the first time. Paul, in his letter to the church of Ephesus, prayed that we would understand the exceeding greatness of His power at work within us. If there were ever a time for us to believe in the exceeding greatness of His power, this is it. 

I believe the enemy would have us to believe that pink slips and layoffs mean the end of our lives as we know it. But I posit, by revelation of God, that the layoffs are the beginning of our purposeful lives.  Though some of us may keep our jobs this season, those that won’t have been called to seek out their God-given purpose in this life. We weren’t called to just chase a check for something that isn’t fulfilling God’s design for our lives. A leader in my dance ministry commented, we are being called out of our jobs because God needs us to spend more time with Him. And yet another minister made the statement that this recession is taking place because God’s people inverted the directive in Matthew 6:33 which says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” 

One can point to manifold reasons as to why we are going through this season of life. And really, it may all be outside of our comprehension because we are to lean not our own understanding and simply trust God. But if there’s nothing else you believe this season, believe that God works all things for the good of those of love Him and are called according to His purpose.

January 6, 2009

Living Life on Purpose

Filed under: God,life,work — nickisym @ 12:10 am
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Have you ever stopped to think about whether what you are doing is what you were called to do versus something you just do really well? I’ve been thinking about this alot lately and as of tonight I had the impetus to put this on file for many more people to duly consider it.

You see, I believe that I do many things well. I’m sure many of you have the same thought. For me, my “thing” is writing, it’s my passion and it’s a gift that I know has come from God and one that wasn’t fully revealed to me until about two years ago when I started tapping into this “thing” on a more consistent basis and really feeling wonderful about it. But now I wonder, “Where am I going with this “thing” this gift that God has given me? Am I Christian Spirituality writer? Am I a Women’s Interests writer? Am I an entertainment writer? I believe I can do all those things well, but God has a specific calling for me and I am making it my mission in life to discover what.

You see, it is my belief that you can be great at many things in life and that will serve you well in a very one-dimensional way. Like let’s take Beyonce for instance. She an entertainer which makes her great at singing and dancing simultaneously and she is also a relatively decent–which is translation for mediocre–actress but in this world with looks like her you don’t need talent. She got that “big break” as my Bible study teacher mentioned tonight. So, Ms. Knowles is great at singing, dancing, acting and designing impossibly hood-rich clothing and that’s all well and good according to worldly standards, but what of these things is she called to do and what is her true purpose on earth is the bigger question. Her voice seems to be a gift from God, but she has yet to use that gift toward her calling–thanks Ify! But what I do know is that once she starts doing what she was called to do with the gift that God gave her, she will change people’s lives because she will move from using her gift to glorify the gods of this world to using her gift to glorify the God almighty. She will go from existing as a superstar to truly living her life on purpose. She’s not there yet, but she can be and so can we.

Our time on this earth is short, too short for us to spend our time doing what we have not been called to do simply because we are too dull-minded to realize there is a big difference between the things we do well and the things we are called to do. My dance ministry had us answer this question a few months ago regarding our calling into the ministry. It took me awhile but then the light went off in my head that my being called to the ministry of dance was tied directly to my impact as a minister in the dance on the lives of those who see me. If I simply move beautifully, know how and when to point my toes, leap the highest, turn the fastest and dance like a dervish that is all well and good in the natural but I can cause no supernatural shift with that ability. It is just something I do well. Something I learned with the greatest level of proficiency. But, as a minister in the dance, called to dance, I know that my every move is a weapon of mass destruction in the face of the enemy. I know what it looks like for my hands to make the path straight for the Lord to enter, for my feet to move swiftly away from evil, for my countenance to be as though he has shined his face upon me and been gracious to me, for my heart to be overflowing with His love so much that I am almost ethereal in ministry. I know every time I step in front of the congregation is an opportunity for God to show His goodness through me, that he may dance through me so that no one will see me. I know that being called to be a minister in the dance means that it’s not only about the ministry that takes place in front of the congregation but the ministry of worship taking place every day of my life where worship is my lifestyle and I am protecting my body and constantly crucifying it for it is His temple and His possession. Whoo!

Ok, I got off track. But my real purpose in going there was to give legs–pun intended–to what it means to move in your calling as opposed to moving in what you simply do well. Moving in what you do well may produce results, but whose results are those and really, why does God care if it isn’t bringing people closer to entering His kingdom?

We are five days into the new year, six when some of you read this and probably further in for others. But it’s not too late to get yourself on track now and ask for your calling to be revealed to you. I suspect you already know what you do well, but from that pile of things you do well and that you are passionate about, what can God use to make His name glorious. Make 2009 the year you went from simply existing to living your life on purpose…For God.

August 22, 2008

Receiving Rejection

Filed under: God,life,love,relationships,work — nickisym @ 4:15 pm
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Everyone—in some way—is scared of rejection. Who wants to think of a lover rejecting your admission of undying love and affection? A friend deciding that you can’t be friends anymore. A mother giving up her child. Losing a job. Even the man who hands out fliers in front of my job probably doesn’t like it that I tell him, “No thank you,” instead of just taking one. Rejection is just one of those cold hard parts of life and I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of it at all. At the thought of rejection in any sphere of life, be it professional or personal relationships, I haven’t done the best job at coping with being denied the things I want–or what I think I deserve.

I’ve cried after being turned down for a job. Cried after more than a few like-interests—I don’t want to call it love—rebuffed me. Sometimes I cry when I miss the train—it really is devastating sometimes. I just have this gag reflex to release salty discharge when I am either rejected or see it coming—and yes, I can discern when it’s coming (look at God!). So what’s a girl to do?

Well, today God turned on the light in the corners of mind, blew the cobwebs out, and let me know that I’ve never been rejected. Does that seem too idealistic to you? If it is, then I guess you don’t really believe God is that good. Here’s what he shared with me.

“You’ve never been rejected because I have always been here with and for you. Anyone who has rejected you was not who I intended for you. Any place that has not hired you is not where I want you to be. Any train you missed is not the one I want you to be on. Stop thinking that because someone told you “no” you have lost anything.”

After this, I thought to myself, “God, you are right. I have been grossly out of order with the way I perceive rejection.”

My Bible study teacher mentioned that there are things that God takes out of our lives that we commiserate over, but in reality it is His will and His protecting us from greater harm. Of course I never see it like that initially, but I always see it in retrospect. He is always so diligent to show me what the aftershock of any situation is. For example, when I got turned down for a job I so desperately wanted at a major magazine, I was utterly devastated. There was nothing anyone could tell me that could of made me feel better. I knew I was an awesome candidate so I couldn’t understand why I didn’t get the job. A few months later, the brass at the magazine changed and a few months after that people started getting laid off and a few months after that, the magazine folded. He knew what he was doing.

He always knows what He is doing, but it takes our trusting to know that everything He does, He does it well. So I write this today with renewed faith that everything God does, He does it well. And if He tells me to go right, I’m going to have to go right. If he takes someone out of my life, it’s quite alright—considering I can do bad all by myself anyways. Everything really happens for a reason. Sometimes it happens for a season. And sometimes it happens for a lifetime. I never know which is which, but I guess my biggest job it to trust God and follow His lead. From this moment forward, rejection is a non sequitur to me.

June 6, 2008

Promotion from Above

Filed under: God,life,Uncategorized,waiting on God,work — nickisym @ 1:06 am

Today I went through my annual performance review. I felt pretty confident going in because I knew that I was working hard and becoming an invaluable asset. My boss told me that I was doing an excellent job but as if he was doling out the good news to fill me up on sweets only to drill into my tooth later, he then dropped the bomb that I wouldn’t be getting a title change. I was shocked and slightly appalled because I knew I was working hard and previous conversations seemed to allude to it going in that direction. I asked about this title change with tears in my eyes and a frog in my throat because I believed I deserved it. As he was telling me that it wasn’t going to happen for several reasons, including the fact that others had been there for many years preceding their promotion, I died inside. I didn’t know what to do with this information.

How was I supposed to receive the fact that I wasn’t going to get title change despite the fact that more work–not just busy work but work important to the development of the company–was being added to my plate? How was I suppose to receive the fact that my reviews pen me as a wonderful employee but I have nothing to show for it? All of the pleasure in my accomplishments thus far went down the drain and a cloud hung over my head for the next hour. I went straight to my desk and put on my iPod and for no particular reasons I played Rev. Ernest Davis’ “He’s Preparing Me.” As I listened to the song, tears streamed down my face. I felt kind of lost and felt like I had gone everywhere and nowhere at all in my position. I couldn’t even explain why I was crying and didn’t really want to stop because I knew it had to happen.

I chatted with a friend over IM shortly after my meeting ended and she did a lot to calm me down and then I remembered something I learned in Bible Study. Our teacher told us that we must stay in trust that God will reward us for the work we do. He said not to look for approval from people at work, in ministry, our family or our friends, but look up. And with that the cloud above my head started to dissipate. So as I write this I am reminded not only of the message my Bible Study teacher left me with but of a scripture from Psalm 75:6-7:

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

November 16, 2007

God’s Word Is First

This morning I spent some time in the book of Job. I love the strength and courage of Job even in the midst of trials and tribulations and I also love God’s rebuttal to all of Job’s ponderings.

I was reading from the Blackaby Study Bible which has historical excerpts and contemplative thoughts on God throughout the Bible. But as I was studying I stopped on this scripture in Job 23:12b: “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” It became bold to me within the nanosecond of my reading it. I understood it all too well because I always seem to let the little foxes of life interrupt my relationship with God. It is always the little foxes, isn’t it?

But then I looked up to the next page and it said this:

“God’s word is top priority. If we must forego sleep or food or recreation in order to not neglect God’s word, then that’s what we must do.”

But how many times have we all not forgone food, recreation or sleep to be in God’s word. We are so consumed by the cares of this world. I dare say that even work comes before God’s word for some of us, but I dare to think that work can wait–particularly if it is the job that God gave you–just so you can stay in his word just a little bit longer. For the last year or so I have been sustaining myself on the concept of not leaving my home until I am overflowing with the anointing. I don’t always get there–at least I don’t think I do–but the point is that we are supposed to stay in his word, pray and meditate for long enough that when we leave, we work out of the overflow and not out of the draught. The draught will slow us down, make us tired and incapable of doing God’s work, but the overflow gives us energy to press forward. I notice that on days when I press into God’s word through tiredness and a long “to-do” list, those days are way more productive and bountiful than when I don’t.

So choose this day whom you will serve. Your stomach, need for entertainment, need for sleep and your job can wait if it means you will be that much better.

October 19, 2007

My How Time Changes Things…

Filed under: celebrities,God,life,work — nickisym @ 12:30 am
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This afternoon I was scheduled to do an interview with a cause celeb in one of the city’s most prestigious hotels. When I received the location for the interview it seemed familiar to me, if only by name. But as I walked up to the hotel, it didn’t click. It didn’t click at all until I reached the front door where I was greeted by two doormen and welcomed into the stately lobby. It was then that I was taken back to a time three years ago when I was being interviewed for a position at a startup public relations firm.

I was nervous about putting my best foot forward with the woman who owned the company because I felt that I might not be worthy enough to work for her firm–only having an internship at a major magazine, an internship before that, a degree with honors and dynamite communications skills–oh and the top HR recruiter on my side (as you can see, I specialized in short-changing myself.)

I hoped above all hopes that I would get the job because I was afraid I’d have to leave New York otherwise. I felt like everything was hanging on my getting this job. Clearly God had bigger plans in store for me, so it turned out that I didn’t get the job with the PR firm, I actually landed a full-time position with that major magazine.

Fast-forward to three years later. I’ve since left that major magazine for greener pastures which sometimes are a bit daunting, but today God would show himself mighty to me again as I’ve been put in the interviewers chair. Sure I was jittery and nervous, but more than the bowl of emotions that I was, I was thankful that God brought me from such a mighty long way.

If God has been this faithful to me now I can only imagine was the future will hold.

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