Recently, my wife and I took our twin boys to watch “Tom and Jerry” the Movie for their 8th birthday. All I will say is that I secretly loved it being that I’m and eighties baby was a Saturday morning cartoon kid who once relished in the cartoon for years.
As we watched the movie Tom and Jerry reminded me of a few things that I believe we can take with us through this journey of like. One truth is that we seem to always be faced with situations that we did not see coming. Life presents so many suprises from day to day, week to week and year to year that we have got to learn how to take TKO’s, lose a fight and be willing to get back in the ring for either a rematch or face the next opponent.
Tom, the overconfident cat, becomes outsmarted by Jerry, the mouse, time after time but after decades he came back in a movie to show the world that he would never give up his plight to defeat Jerry. Jerry, as a mouse faces constant rejection simply because of who he is and constantly must defend himself against the enemies that wants to see him destroyed.
Get this though. Tom never comes to a point where he gives up and Jerry never stopped finding small pleasure that he could truly enjoy. Both constantly hit with some hard tests, trials, and hardships but they never gave up, never lost confidence, and kept their joy. Sometimes we have to be a victim of pain, loss and hardship to be built for victory. Sometimes we have to be knocked down to learn how to stand up when we are hit.
My point is we have no idea what is around the corner. Many of us are constantly hit with things we did not expect. This past year we have an added enemy in the form of Covid 19 that has taken family members, friends, caused unemployment, pressed additional stress into the homes of families already doing all they could to hold and stolen the joy and peace of so many people.
We did not see this coming! What I do believe is that through resilience, our ability to press through or bounce back, and the decision to push one more day each day you wake up you will overcome. We will overcome. Do not let the thing we did not see coming dismantle your life to the point that you give up. A house that is torn down can be rebuilt. It may take new wood and nails, but it can be rebuilt. Your life can be rebuilt. It may be in pieces but use what is left starting with the breath in your body and the grace that God has surrounded you with and rebuild.
This past week a recognition of internal warfare came to my attention. Regarding success and life, I began thinking of where I am versus where I want to be. Internally I have been battling with wondering if I am able to get it all done. The financial goals, health goals, parenting goals, marriage goals, ministry goals and the list just keeps going. I become paramountly aware that the mark has been missed….Or has it??
Did you see that?? This is my battle! One part of me says, Man…. you are way of course. While the other part says, no matter what you have done, look at what you are now doing. You are heading in the right direction!
Frustration sets in while we are contemplating who we are or what we should be accomplishing. Trust me, this is even a problem for people who look like they’re holding it all together. Rich, broke, healthy or not so much, no one is absent of feeling like they have missed the mark or that they have not lived up to a standard. But each of us, despite our current circumstance must keep believing in ourselves. We must believe in ourselves just after failure, in the middle of losing and right after setbacks.
If we are not walking towards purpose or in purpose, we will “feel” lost. But that does not mean we are. There are times I have been driving and thinking I knew where I was going but then I see landmarks that don’t look familiar. So, I’ll turn on the GPS to realize that I’m still on track to my destination. Achieving success is not about a feeling but a conscious decision to keep going!
Its the reason that Internal faith must be present because our roughest fights are internal. The hardest fights to win start with decisions of discipline such as waking up early, praying daily, exercising, eating healthy, and managing our time well. Too many external battles are lost because we are bleeding out on the internal battlefields.
Take a moment to think. How can “I” be better today and prove to no one but “me” that I am enough. God didn’t create you to be insufficient. You are enough!
Today, because somebody needs your best you, give them your best you!
Have confidence in who you are. And do not let anyone insinuate that you are not enough! You are!
Understand you may not have all the knowledge or skills but giving it attention and consistency will produce success.
Plan your steps. Begin your day with a plan and press through with passion.
Keep your purpose or your why at the forefront of your mind and focus on the actions that will fulfill this.
No matter what you call it, “Faith” is the foundational principle of anything that has ever been accomplished. Someone took action because they either knew they could get it done or believed if they tried it was possible.
It’s important to believe in the possibility even if you’re not completely certain of the outcome. The amazing thing about Faith is the ability to be blind to a visible result, yet believe you will see, then taking action to witness the manifestation of it.
I want to encourage you today to move in Faith. God honors faith and will move with you. In Isaiah 45:2 The Lord told Cyrus “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:”
You see, you aren’t going at it alone. You can’t see how this dream will happen but God is already preparing your future victory. What matters now is converting your faith into action here in the present!
Check out this blog I came across today. More than 70% of people nationwide live paycheck to paycheck. We can blame this on income and salary but I’m learning this comes down to planning and priorities.
Most people truly make enough money to get out of debt but it’s the sacrifice and work that is lacking. Here are a few tips to help change your course if you are paycheck to paycheck.
Do you know where your money is going before it leaves your hand or your bank account. Money is meant to serve you, not the other way around. Make a plan for it. Know your goals and make a plan on how to reach them.
Don’t be afraid of the uncomfortable season that comes with relevant sacrifice to gain the upper hand in your finances. Decide what is really important and focus on meeting those goals.
Jim Rohn said in one of his speeches something to the tune of “if you do what is easy now and you will live a hard life, but if you do what is hard now you will live an easy life”
Meet Kalief Browder. He spent upwards of 3 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Kalief refused to plead guilty for a crime he didn’t commit. Unlike so many other brothers, he heroically stood up to prejudiced system and maintained his innocence rather than pleading guilty to a system that would put him away regardless of evidence. Rationally many black men know if they end up in this position it’s not a matter of if they will go to prison but for how long. They have no money, no lawyer and no hope as they are pressured to confess to a crime they didn’t commit.
Every court date scheduled was either pushed back or the court appointed attorney would not show up to defend him for almost 3 years.
I listened to a blind ignorant person by the name of Candice Owens defend a foundation-ally racist judicial system with so called “statistics.” This confirms what we all need to understand. That just because it’s called a statistic doesn’t make it a fact. The statistics we are given about the crimes of blacks are tainted. As I see organizations like The Innocence Project working to exonerate wrongly convicted men and women it’s evident that throughout history until now that INNOCENT black men are arrested, charged and convicted in record numbers. Our law enforcement and judiciary system needs a complete overhaul here in America.
I watched this story on Netflix last year and it is simply a reminder of the injustices experienced by black people inside and outside of prison.
Martin Luther King Jr said “But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
If you have spoken up against the riots after blurring past the death George Floyd it’s because you think this is all about George Floyd. My wife referred to his death as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” What most of you fail to understand is that this out of control response is the reaction of exhaustion. The list of George Floyd is long, deep, painful and historical. It is centuries of documented and undocumented racism that has sparked the riots we see today and we should be grateful that these riots are not equal of the wrongs that have been served up to black people over the course of time. So with one breath I am saying yes it’s wrong but what in the world did you expect?
Have you ever snapped at someone because you hadn’t had much sleep and were overwhelmed. Well the response we are seeing across America is not over this one death. It’s over a scene that plays over and over and over in our communities. The people that can’t relate are mainly the people that don’t live in dark enough skin. It’s an exhausting experience when we continue to bury family that died at the hands of a trigger happy police officer.
On top of that, we can’t even imagine the number of black people who are sitting in jail right now because the police found a black person to blame and Persecute just to appease a white family because a white family was devastated from a crime that had taken place. These numbers are overwhelming!
It’s so important for us to understand that an entire system needs to be reconstructed with the inclusion of black America helping provide attention to the flaws embedded in laws made to specifically target minorities. It’s important for law enforcement and court systems to be held accountable when the presence of color determines whether force or sentencing is unfair and excessive.
We simply need accountability! We must see justice. We can not stop demanding it! Here’s the key though. We cannot get the accountability which could be lasting in the streets. We must raid the system with minds weaponized with our knowledge of constitutional rights and organizational strategies supported by the same passion that moves towards a specified target.
I must warn you that I started my blog today speaking to anyone reading these words but my heart turned to my brothers and sisters who share to same color skin as me. I was urging readers to unplug for 24 hours, giving your soul some rest from all the chaos taking place in America. But as I began writing, I realized I didn’t have 24 hours to lose because right now every breath we take matters.
I feel incapable of describing the last few months. COVID-19 showed up and started wreaking havoc on the world, building unrest and fear in the hearts of most people as this virus is going viral faster than a kid dancing to the “in my feelings challenge” and being hit by a car. In addition, major stories broke loose in the news producing an incredible amount of tension, emotion and outrage towards the ongoing reality of the position racism has permanently held in America til present day.
This morning I asked myself a question. “How did the generations of black people before us cope with this world?” It’s a lot. It’s just a lot! Keeping it 100, for a moment, I thought, hey, it is a good idea to burn the buildings down if that’s what it takes to get the attention of systems that have oppressed us for so long! I even spoke against people who were calling the people causing the damage criminals. I considered it to be justified because of the amount of anger I felt within myself. I understand that it’s not the way, but I felt how I felt. I repented from those emotions and pulled my thoughts together to shift to solution-based thinking rather than being led by momentary passions.
Our anger is legitimate, justifiable, rational and logical but with that anger we must be completely responsible. The action we take today will determine the level of change we see tomorrow. So, the protests must be peaceful even though our souls, hearts and minds are in a state of unrest, tumult, pain and disorientation. Hell, many of us are waking up fighting depression as we speak as new videos of injustice continue daily to surface at the hands of racist citizens and reckless law enforcement. Now more than ever for our generation we must have the moral fortitude to outlast the response Donald Trump really wants, which is, please loot so that hopefully the police will shoot! We must have the mental capacity to keep pushing for all the reform we can get within our policing systems, court systems, prison systems.
We are dealing with record numbers of Unemployment where people are unable to pay bills, feeling claustrophobic in our homes through stay at home orders, trying to maneuver through a way of life we’ve never seen and cops are still killing black people in the street like black lives don’t matter.
Black people are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 while three police officers stand and watch while a black man dies handcuffed, under the knee of their fellow officer and none of these so called civil servants who have taken an oath to protect and serve, have the heart, the common sense, the moral decency, or the freaking basic training to lift this man up and sit him on a curb or in the car instead of watching to see how much pressure his life can take under a knee with a smirk on his face because he was aroused by the sound of a grown black man begging for his breath and calling for his dead mother.
I feel like America has its knee on our neck to see how long we will keep breathing?
We need to stop counting on Black lives to matter to others and focus on how much it matters to us. I don’t care if my life matters to you as long as police, judges, and racist white people will obey the laws and stop violating the rights of black people every single day as if we don’t have the right to sit in a Starbucks without ordering, make deliveries in gated communities, ask a white lady to put their dogs on leashes or sale bottled water on the side walk to raise money for our hardworking single mothers!
We must form larger institutions among blacks that teach and train our current and future generations in depth criminal law so that every instance that our laws are violated we can win court cases against the organizations and people that unlawfully harass, detain and arrest people.
We must form bolder institutions that will push those who have the capacity and skills of communication and leadership into the seats that will replace those in office who don’t give a damn about a darker colored skin.
We need systems that will direct and redirect funding to the schools in our communities and enhance the education of our sons and daughters. We can start here but letting our elected officials know we are here. Start by completing your 2020 Census so they know how many people are in our neighborhoods. Prepare to vote come November and every 2 years going forward without fail or hesitation so that we can get the right people in place that will petition for the grants and funding our neighborhoods desperately need.
Too many of us have been silent long enough. I guess our homes must be comfortable enough that we thought the racism struggle was over. It’s not! And with this underlying campaign to “Make America Great Again” there is an inclusion of conversations to set black people back in the mindset that we as black people don’t belong here. We do! And every single one of us that make up 13% of America need to strive to pull every other person of color up so that we will continue to rise economically, socially, morally and intellectually.
Knowing what’s important is the first step to moving stress as an obstacle.
For most people their main stream of income, or their 40 hour a week job is not their passion. Some of us even went to school for a certain degree and never landed a job in that field. However, don’t let the “job” cause you to forget that this work may simply be a means to an end.
If your job is simply for a means of income that doesn’t mean you show up just to “get a check” so you perform the bare minimum. That sort of mentality can lead to a lack of productivity and demonstrates unprofessionalism. And you may ask, why should I be “all in” if this isn’t my career path?
Well No.1 it’s important to understand your job provides some kind of service to someone who may truly need what you offer. Even if it seem irrelevant or minute, someone may actually appreciate what you produce or provide.
No. 2 You never know who is watching. Someone may walk into your building with an opportunity that could maneuver you into the career path you are seeking or maybe a promotion is available that will provide a significant salary increase. If none of these happen, your posture alone will prove you as a person of character and earn you respect from other people.
Remember though, It is important to utilize your time outside of the job along with every dollar you can to do what you love to do even if you have to spend your first year(or more)simply volunteering. Not only will this give you a sense of joy but it will also help you discover your purpose while impacting the lives of others.
Sometimes you can only focus small amounts of time to the thing that matters most but consistency will eventually tip the scale allowing options to spend less time on the job and more time on your passion. I promise you, if you are willing to push past how you feel and give all you can to this life you have, your life will reward you back!