I remember when I first came to know the Lord. For me, it was quite the experience. I had a zeal to study and to pray after that. I remember this one night. We had spent an entire night praying, singing, and just being in his presence. It was beautiful. Its normal for folks where I grew up. It was then that that still small voice whispered –
“Think positive. Speak positive…”
Of course, that wasn’t the only thing I discerned Him saying, but this particular phrase, I have never forgotten.
What’s odd about my transition into the kingdom of light is that the word that drew me to God and prompted instant conviction was,
“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts….look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame….- Proverbs 4:23-26 GNT.”
Since then, my experiences and my interests with and without Him has had something to do with thoughts.
Once, I met a girl at the airport. She was a manager of a fashion store and secretly a shoe designer. Call her Zoe. And people, let me tell you something about Zoe.
She was super cute, probably born on a Sunday morning, walked on sunshine, and man… she was super talented. (I know, these are old lines. But give a brother some space to catch up).
For a moment, I confess, it felt like we were an e-harmony match. As we met in line to get tickets and sat to talk, she whipped out shoes she had designed and man…!
Well, I like shoes. I am the shoe guy in the family. Someone had to be. I love carefully crafted, handmade kicks that takes your breath away. I mean attention to every lace, buckle, and leather detail; tone, color, and shade aesthetic on them sandals, heels, boots…I mean…beauty. So, obviously, I know what I saw and what I am talking about. If the way into a man’s heart is food, then for me, its shoes. Oh wait! Maybe its both. Oh dear…
But, I digress.
Those shoes screamed Beyonce and Arianna Grande. Or maybe Top Model and NYC Runway. I don’t know. Read Rolling Stone or something. All I know is that those shoes were cute. Getting so excited for Zoe thinking about them. After she pulled out one after the other, in awe, I said to Zoe – “You should be in New York on some runway. Have you talked to some designers…?”
When she heard me say this, she said, “Really? I’m sorry. I not good…” and gave me so many other reasons which clearly did not reflect her talents. All I saw was low self-esteem, hurt, verbal and emotional abuse…hiding away this beauty beneath the sound of faint heart beats and airport radio calls.
In that instant, its as if something else took over my mouth and I heard myself say, “Be careful how you think for your life is directed by your thoughts.” (True story)
Well – we were both stunned. I knew where it came from but was unaware how it came out of my mouth with such vigor. Now I do. Zoe asked me to say it again and explain. I did. Then I asked – “Do you know who said that?”
Zoe: No, she replied.
So, I said with excitement –
Me: Jesus. You know Jesus?
Zoe: No, I don’t.
With a big smile, eyes wide open, and a faint Texas accent I said –
Me: GIRL…! YOU DON’T KNOW JESUS!?
Zoe: No, I don’t
Me: YOU MEAN TO TELL ME YOU DON’T KNOW JESUS?
with curiosity, enthusiasm, and excitement mirroring my own, she said –
Zoe: NOOOO! WHY?
while swirling as if I was in black church, I said –
Me: OOUUUHHH…GIRL…you are missing out. Let me tell you something about that man. Did you know he also said out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks?
We had a great conversation about God and shoes and Jesus and more shoes. Yeah, God is interested in shoes.
YOU MEAN TO TELL ME YOU DON’T KNOW GOD IS INTERESTED IN SHOES? (God forgive them for they know not what they are doing.)
Well, He does.
For – Blessed are the feet of the ones who brings good news. And of course, they are wearing “shoes with the readiness to announce the good news of peace.” Do I need to go on?
Some of the things that I shared that day seemed to come from “nowhere.” Well, excuse me Holy Spirit – they obviously came from you, sir (thanks for the nudge) and yes, I love you too.
Of course, HE was interested in revealing his image on Zoe and becoming a friend to Zoe. We ended our conversation with a business plan for her to start her shoe business. I didn’t know much about business or anything about business plans to share what I shared. So, we thank God for that wisdom for Zoe. She’s family now.
As is my ritual, I gave her a nickname – Agent Cheesecake! And yes, we are friends and talk to this day. After years of battling that same negative mindset, she told me recently that she believed what I said and is in (and I think almost done) with designer school. I didn’t know she went back to school.
Well, hello and thank you – Jesus!
For me and Agent Cheesecake, what began with a moment of instant conviction resulted in a process of transformation that has enabled us to become unique and authentic in our own ways at our own pace. We are each finding our truest identities in the One in whom we live, exist, and have our being. Indeed, its a process for us all.
But, I understand.
How can we keep our sanity in a world that is going “Koukou,” one in which people are going nuts? In Trump language, “Its a mess. Everything is a mess.” But, hey…I want to encourage you.
Don’t forget that gold is tested by fire and pressure makes diamonds. Staying sane in the midst of insanity is part of the process. Its part of highlighting the light of God in you to the world around you.
Don’t forget the process. Don’t forget about His process and don’t ignore or undermine having and using your own personal process. It all starts and hinges on a good thought. So, revel in the counsel of our friend, counselor, and helper –
Be positive. Think positive. You cannot afford not to be. Be careful how you think even now because your life will follow the direction of your thoughts.
You are reading this right now because you thought to read it and then decided to click the story. And ta da, you are reading it. Now, imagine how many other things you might have done or places you may have been even though you didn’t want to. Watch those thoughts people…watch them thoughts!
So, think positive people. Think positive!
If you have a negative thought, change it. For a moment, think of a brilliant or radiant thought. Own it and hang on to it for a while. Just having this alternative thought is enough to set and direct your life on a new path paved by radiant thoughts you chose to believe about you, life, and destiny.
The world is filled with fear. Counter it with love! Ironically –
Love is the greatest level of faith
For faith is the evidence of things hoped for but love, believes ALL THINGS. For God so loved the world that he gave his son so that WHOSOEVER…!
Love doesn’t just believe all things; it believes in everyone. It gives everything and everyone, even life, a chance to surprise you.
As you are convicted by a brilliant thought and enter a stage of process transformation, carry a war chest of smiles, compliments, and radiant thoughts for yourself. It just may come in handy for a Zoe you meet at the park, on the bus, or on the plane.
Our parents told us – don’t talk to strangers.
Well, now, I am encouraging you to talk to strangers. Try it. Its fun! But, be wise. And when you do, using the ancient wisdom of Proverbs 4, tell them –
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts (vs. 23) – for everything begins with a thought we agree with it.
Never say anything that isn’t true. Have nothing to do with lies and misleading words (vs 24) – because it is just exhausting, alienates you, and steals your peace. To be authentic, you must find the courage to be bold, strong, and courageous to defend the good thoughts He has and shares with you.
Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame(vs. 25) – for it is true you made a mistake, but the truth is that is not your nature.
Plan carefully what you, and whatever you do will turn out right (vs. 26) – Its not going to turn out the way you want, but you will have good results if you don’t quit and if you flow with the wind, the Spirit’s leading.
Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don’t go one step off the right way (vs. 27) – for if you trouble trouble, trouble will trouble you.
I end with the wisdom from a revered orthodox Jewish Rabbi of late whom I love, admire, and respect. He said and I quote from Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s book, titled – REBBE, The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson –
Think good and it will be good – The Rebbe
Put on your positivity shoes!
And each time you look at them, know that you are blessed! You are loved! And you matter!
May God bless you with intimate knowledge of how valuable you are.
One Love, One Spirit.