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God is not Punishing You...

he's stretching you!

Truth be told, I'm lazy. Ambitious, but lazy. Most things are completed in the spirit of procrastination and panic and it's probably why I never really have a chance to process it all. This will all be made relevant later.

But this season is being obnoxiously aggressive.

It's also been insanely emotional.

What?! Why me and why the hell now?

I'm always feeling like I'm on the brink of the next and then *slap*. "Two steps forward and two steps back.." or whatever Paula Abdula said.

But, I'm here. And, for the past month, I've been trying to figure out what to do while in this space. There have been many days full of nothing and quite a few with the bare minimum. In traditional terms, "I went to work, came home and went to bed". (Of course I'm going to show up for Trap Cardio -- It's my job!) But yeah, and everything was placed on DND. I was having a hard time working through my own thoughts, let alone, dealing with the lives of others. I guess, unconsciously, I was paging God and telling him that He could call me whenever He was ready.

Silence. Literally nothing.

I talked with Mell (my husband, for those of you who are new here) and he said, "you've been what felt like 'here' before. I can promise you that. And, all I can tell you is that you never come out of 'it' the same. You're going to have to figure out what growth God's requiring of you."

So, I did something different. Why am I waiting on God when I can call him on the main line myself. So, I prayed. Sound simple right? Well, prayer is not my ministry. I've tried to do it the traditional way and my focus is so off, I'm always distracted by my thoughts or what's going on around me. So, I chose another method. I decided to talk with him aloud. An outsider would say I was talking to myself, but talking to him aloud made me feel like He could hear me clearly. I talked. I cried. I talked some more. I cried even more... and then I laughed because I felt like I slid in His DMS. lol.

Something about talking to Him aloud made me become a better listener spiritually. I was able to receive the messages around me. What did I get?

  • Your reaction to life will determine your path -- choose cheerfulness and to be grateful.

  • You have to lock in so you can move into the next season fully - body, mind and spirit.

  • Trust yourself. Do not let fear hinder your progress.

  • Trust God; If you're going to leave it with Him, don't try to pick it back up. YOU are putting more on you than you can bear.

  • Clear the clutter.

  • Get out of your own way!

And one morning, I looked in the mirror, opened my mouth and these words came out, "God is not punishing you, he's stretching you." The past few weeks started to flash through my mind. I thought about how present I've been with my family. How efficient I've been with the time I do have. How my self-care is evolving. How I am able to show up for others. How I'm not overwhelming myself. How I've had the energy to get all things that matter done. And, in that has been hope.

Hope that a moment is just that. This moment is like a class to help me graduate in this thing called life with honors. I don't know how long this class will last, but I'm going to try my best to remain present because... hope. I know this too shall pass because... hope. I know that God is able because... hope. I will bend, adapt and remain flexible because... hope.

So, right now, I'm Ashley. I am ambitious and transforming. I am learning to become more organized and to prioritize things according to their urgency. I am not lazy, however, I am allowed rest. I am allowed to change my mind and change my methods. I am full of faith and will continue to practice serenity -- learning where my power lies and being wise enough to not stress things beyond my control. I am allowed to let go. I am a leader and as I take the stance to lead from the front, I want to encourage you to to talk to Him.

Just as we're to write a vision and make it plain, do the same when you need spiritual insight. God doesn't require the formalities. There's no need to romanticize your requests or think your questions are too much for Him. Having Godfidence is appreciating the gift of hope. It's where peace, power, joy and love unite and I wish all of this for us.

And, as always,

I love you cousins.


Images: Benbow, Candice M. [@CandiceBenbow]. Instagram, posted by Candice Benbow, 11 Jun. 2023.

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