Sunday, December 23, 2012

What God says versus What I said versus What makes sense: Balancing it all

This will show you why you should never let fear be your god. Fear isn’t a very good god. Trust me I served it for quite awhile. It didn’t’ answer any prayers, I talked to it and it didn’t talk back. It didn’t provide for me or make ways for me. And worst of all, it serving it made me weaker not stronger.

See how fear of being broke, fear of being illogical and fear of the unknown effected me.
So let’s see what you all can learn from my education/career journey.

The M’s: Medical, Massage and Money
Let me start by saying, I am a scientist at heart. I like calculating, measuring, math, symmetry, structure, repetitiveness.

Science classes were always my favorite classes and I knew I love helping people, so for me it was a no brainer to become a doctor.
It’s  funny isn’t it, how something as serious as what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, you’re supposed to know at the right old age of 17 or 18, when you haven’t even lived.

Nevertheless, in 2001, off to UNF I went, I majored in psychology, and started taking the pre-med classes.
Along the way I fell in love with the idea of pharmacy and got a job in that arena. I took the PCAT and scored fairly well. I wanted to still live in Jacksonville though and go to pharmacy school. To me that’s where my life was: my ministry, my man, my family. I figured I had 2 shots: FAMU satellite school and UF satellite school. I applied to UF, didn’t get in. I applied to FAMU, kept getting run around and wasn’t sure where I stood. They even said they lost my paperwork and said I had to resend it.  So by august I had accepted the idea it wasn’t happening. THEN they called me the day before I needed to be there for an interview. But I was kinda over it.  But as you know, life is much more than just what is happening in class.

Meanwhile, I began to struggle with supporting myself in school. There were a few bills, the other part of my tuition that bright futures didn’t cover, and my loan covered room and board but not much else.I kept running into the problem, of having a job, but if my class schedule changed and the job I had couldn’t accommodate me, then there was a dilemma.
WHAT MADE SENSE to me, was getting a job that I could make my own schedule. I could make money as I finished school & it was something I always wanted to do anyway to help my mom out. She always had me working on her. So I had the bright idea of going to school for massage.

So in 2005. I leave UNF for a year, get my massage therapist certification, get my state license, get business cards, brochures, a website, purchase a table, market myself, did promotional things around holidays… and uh, well short of a handful of people, it did not blossom! My target was “my people” and who knew that that many black people were funny about nudity or being touched.
So then, I looked to resorts/spas, well we only have 3. Ritz at Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra Club and the Marriot Sawgrass. I applied to Amelia and didn’t get it. Marriot wasn’t hiring. Ponte Vedra only need on call.

So then, I tried chiropractor’s offices. Again, only needed on call help. However, one of my teachers had recently started her own clinic, focusing on neuromuscular massage. She picked me and my white sister to intern for her and I definitely learned a lot. Didn’t make much money though. And it closed down soon after. Meanwhile I the steady income I had while I worked on this endeavor, had closed their Jacksonville location, and I found a job inside a furniture store that worked with my UNF school schedule. Just another attempt to make the best of the current situation.
The Birth of a Performing Artist

Behind the scenes of all this, God had been really getting my attention. It’s funny how he will allow all your plans to go arry, and let things fall apart so for once instead of looking around, you’ll look up.
Anytime I would hear something on the radio, I would instantly start forming choreography for it in my head.

I would go to sleep and I would dream dance pieces. I never let it go any further. I mean I was a scientific person not creative. I just ignored it for awhile.
I mean I figured, as long as I was serving it didn’t matter how. I was on new members ministry and I had also joined a community choir led by my brother Kavin. I loved to sing and I loved the fellowship.

But I guess my time ran out. And he wouldn’t let me run from it anymore. He let me know in so many terms that dance was going to be apart of my future in a major way. But then there came the question of WTH??? I am not built like a dancer. I haven’t been dancing since I was 3. And I can barely afford my bills so how am I going to afford dance classes? THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. Why would you start giving me a passion for something that its clear you didn't create me to do. i am the antithesis of a dancer God. Nobody would look at me and say oh she looks like a dancer.
NOTE: when God speaks to you about your calling, use your memory, its probably not the first time you felt the tug for what he is saying. forget the fact that i had been dancing in church since middle school. that i dance and sang in plays at school, that in high school i choreographed and performed as entertainment for our school male pageant, or that i danced with my marching band, or that i danced as my talent for the Ms. Black and Gold pageant. no, apparently according to me, this dance thing was all out of the blue.
Still, that wasn't on my mind and I felt like science was my thing, but I realized that things were going to keep falling apart until I listened. So in 2006 I left the singing group and my church's new members ministry and I joined my church’s dance ministry and at the right old age of 23, I joined a local Christian dance studio. More about my dance journey later.

Back to “my plan”
So b/c God is blaring about dance, I gave him a bone. And I kept on with my plan. I got my degree in Biology, and since pharmacy nor massage worked out, I looked for jobs that required a degree/was in science.

My line sister sent me an application to Vistakon, research and development. And in January 2008 I got my first grown up job right of out school! Making $15 bucks an hour, related to my major. FINALLY things were on my side! 
I had so many plans. Taking more dance class, start paying on some loans, build up a savings, etc.. etc… I was on my way. And then, the rumors started. Business is down, they’re going to be making cuts in R & D. yeah, 10 months later I said good bye to Vistakon, or rather, vistakon said goodbye to me. I was still living paycheck to pay check, so taking the time to find something else in my field was NOT an option, I just needed a job and I needed it quickly!

So my bestie, she worked at the Hyatt and she heard they were hiring.  A week later, I was working at Hyatt in the Engineering department, making 3.50 less an hour. So much for those plans I had. And so much for trying to get back to what God had shut up in my bones as far as dance was concerned. I told God I was going to eventually go to school for dance after I got my money straight. I needed more money! In fact, to make up for the difference in funds, In 2009, I took a 2nd job at state farm. So I was working 8-5 at hyatt and 545 to 945 at state farm. What a life!

NOTE: don't mess up your own plan by not being a good stewart of your open door. sure i saved a little, but mostly, i did what i didn't have a chance to do when i didn't have the money before. I travelled a little, i ate out more than usual... it was just not what the 2nd job was supposed to be about!
After about 11 months of going like that, I knew I had to make a change, again, I went back to WHAT MAKES SENSE TO ME! So I researched ways to add on to my degree. One of those ways was the medical technologist program at FCCJ. The program alone, when completed you were a lab tech. But if you had a science bachelors. When you completed the program, you were a lab scientist. Made sense to me. So in spring of 2010, I joined the program.

After one semester, I finally stepped up and did what God had been trying to get me to do. I changed my major to entertainment technology and dance. The scariest yet most liberating moment of my life.
The story does not go smooth from there. But this particular blog definitely should stop here so we can get to the lessons.

Always consult God. For everything. He says in his word that they that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. If you’re seeking him for the right move, he loves that and he wants to answer.

What makes sense isn’t always the right answer, and what doesn’t make sense isn’t always the wrong answer.
Don’t be afraid to make the wrong move. God would rather you make a wrong move trying to follow him and he guide you back to where he wants you, then you sit and do nothing b/c you’re not sure of anything.

You HAVE to believe the statement that all things work together for good. If not, then everytime a plan falls apart, you will find your self depressed, believing you’re a failure, or doubting your ability to hear from God, or worse, doubting God.
My career path has went to Timbuktu and back. But what I have learned is that in those moments on the journey that appear to be “off course” he is teaching you. God is always showing you things about you and turning things around for his glory. There are assignments at every turn. People I never would have met, strength I never would have gained if I didn’t go down every single path I went.

Ask yourself, will you really do anything for his glory?
Realize once you give your life to Christ, there are somethings that are under your free will, but TRUST AND BELIEVE, he don’t play about that sovereign thing. And when he gets ready to do something, that’s a wrap. Like for real no discussion at all.

My next blog? How to keep plugging away when obedience doesn’t seem to make things much better.

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