Hey, y’all! I pray everyone is still healthy and well despite the pandemic. I know we’ve all had our share of major changes during this time. I’m back to share one of mine, just bear with me.
A few weeks ago, I posted a prayer. A prayer that I literally would pray every single day because I was faced with a tough decision. A decision that ultimately would alter my current plan and take me on a brand-new path filled with some significant uncertainty.
The decision to say yes. Wholeheartedly, withholding nothing back. A simple yes.
But really not so simple for me as I initially thought.
I’ve been reading The Purpose Driven Life written by Rick Warrenfor the past few weeks. In a time where I’m trying to really grow and develop deeper in my relationship with Our Father, this book has been fantastic in helping me better understand first, just who all He is.
One chapter, in particular, the book talks about “The Heart of Worship.” Warren details that the heart of worship is complete and total surrender.
When you hear the word surrender, I can understand why there might be a negative connotation. Even in dictionaries, when you search the word “surrender,” you’ll see phrases like “to give up completely” or “to yield to the possession of another.” Surrendering does not sound like a good time.
But Warren further explained that “true worship – bringing God pleasure – happens when you give yourself completely to God. We give ourselves to Him, not out of fear or duty, but in love because He first loved us.” A full out yes to the plan and purpose God has created for our lives.
Now, if you’ve read enough posts, you’ll know good and well by now that I struggle with control. I feel like I talk about it in every post because it’s something that I literally battle with DAILY.
Yet here I am reading that to please God, I have to completely surrender to His will. Sounds easy enough, right?
But what happens when God reveals His plans to you, and it completely uproots the way you’ve been living? Do you stay where you are due to a fear of the unknown? Or do you trust that His plan is far higher than any idea you could make yourself and say yes?
I was stuck.
Buckle in, because this is a ride.
At the beginning of July, I woke up and decided to go to grad school. Initially, I had planned to wait until Fall 2021, but given COVID and the world is on a standstill, I decided, “why wait?”
Mind you, this is July. School starts in August. Many of the application deadlines were due within a week of me starting them. But I just figured I would apply in faith and see what would happen.
I submitted applications to different schools, wrote my statement of purpose (please work with my amazing sister Fatou Sow for all of your writing needs, she’s the truth), and asked for God to just meet me halfway.
As I’m waiting for decision announcements, I start talking to my parents about potential career changes.
I had just completed my first year of teaching 1stgrade at a charter school in Newark, NJ. I wasn’t exactly excited about potentially going back into the classroom despite COVID still running rampant (amongst other hesitations with my school).
I began to be open to the idea of moving on to a different job within the education field and began searching for graduate assistantships. But I wasn’t finding anything that would allow me to support myself enough financially with the east coast cost of living.
This is where the stress started to bubble over. I wasn’t trying to stay in the classroom, but my options for going where little to none.
Low and behold, a 3rdoption was presented and not one precisely to my liking: go home.
I am from a tiny town called Monticello, AR. I lived there my whole life and left at the quickest opportunity to go to school at Howard in DC. Going home was NOT something I even wanted to consider.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved that I would be close to my family and being able to spend more time with them. For the past five years, I’ve lived a plane ride away from them and only visited on holidays. And this would give me the chance to solely focus on school. And not have to pay any significant bills because I could stay with my parents.
But Monticello?? Going from a small town to a big city and back to a small town was not ideal. In my mind, you’re supposed to leave the nest and fly on to bigger and newer places. From living on my own to back with my parents. Back in my hometown. Going back home felt like I was regressing and going backward. I felt like I could get stuck there.
So, no. Absolutely not. I wouldn’t even consider it.
But I got in.
Ya girl is officially getting her Master’s in Education Policy and Leadership from American University in Washington, DC (online, of course). And not only did I get in, but they also gave me a merit scholarship based on my application.
I’m not gone lie to y’all and say I didn’t cry. I definitely let out some thug tears. I just couldn’t believe my God. In a matter of 3 weeks, I applied and got in. And not only did I get in, but I also got a scholarship. I was speechless.
With me now being an actual grad student, the situation of my job became even more pressing. The school year would be starting in a matter of weeks, and I needed to make a choice.
Talking with my mom about my options, she sent me some jobs at the university in my hometown. There was a posting for a graduate assistantship.
Now mind you, the posting would be as a resident director. Though I’ve lived on campus for all four years, I never had any actual experience in reslife. I’ve had plenty of leadership positions over the past five years, but I didn’t know the first thing on how to be effective in that role. However, this would be a fantastic opportunity to earn money towards my degree and allow me to focus solely on school.
So, I applied anyway. Just to see what would happen. And guess what y’all.
I got the assistantship.
So here it is. Stay in Jersey and continue to juggle teaching virtually full time while also being a virtual student myself. Or go home and take the graduate assistantship and really dedicate the time to school.
Seems like a pretty easy choice, right? But I literally felt torn.
I was just starting to build a little life in Jersey. I had my amazing teacher friends. I had a steady job and income. I loved my students and their families. And I had my amazing boyfriend with me there.
How could I just pack everything up and leave to go home? Leave everything I had taken the time to establish and create.
But doors were opening. The opportunities were falling into place one after the other. What should I do?
I started to talk with God and let him know how I was feeling. I’m learning in this walk that God appreciates it when we come to Him in full transparency. He knows how we feel and what we think, but He enjoys it when we are open with him.
I told Him how torn I was. I told Him how nervous I felt. I told Him how scared I was. I didn’t wanna go. I had a plan for my life there. Even though the opportunity was being laid out before me, I still fought against it.
But the words of Warren kept shouting out back at me. “You cannot fulfill God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans. Don’t be afraid; nothing under His control can ever be out of control.”
He just wanted my trust. Trusting that He would take care of me and that His plan is far greater than what I could imagine for myself. He just wanted my obedience. Not just doing what He says when it lines up with what I like and want. But obeying when it doesn’t make sense to me or when I can’t see the path in front of me. He just wanted my yes—complete and total surrender.
And that’s all He ever wants from us. To completely give up our own desires and plans and willfully surrender to Him. And not just once when we feel like it. But a daily, moment by moment, commitment to living according to His Spirit and His plan.
Is that always a natural choice? Absolutely not. We, as humans, still have our own wants and desires. Our flesh literally is at constant war with the Spirit, enticing us to choose what we want most for ourselves. But at some point, we must choose whom we will serve and trust with our lives.
So, trust Him y’all even if you are unsure and uncertain! Fully surrender your life, your will, and desires to Him and watch Him do exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ever ask or think!
I sure did. I’m accepted the GA position and am back in Arkansas. And though I don’t know precisely where this current path will take me, I am excited for what He’s going to do in my life in this season of change. I’m letting Him in the driver’s seat and happily going along for the ride.