This picture of me jumping off of a ledge (the kind of thing you do on vacation these days) was taken this afternoon in Old San Juan after lunch at Cafe Puerto Rico. As I write this, I am sitting on my balcony, staring out at the beach and scrolling through work emails.
How did I get here? Well, I’ll tell you.
Around this time last year, I began to feel like it was time to leave my job. Trust me, I had wanted to leave long before, but I am a firm believer in the power of God’s timing, and I knew that when it was truly time to move, God would release me, and provide me with another opportunity.
So the moment I felt His release, I began to pray. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or really where (because I’m a bit of a jack of all trades), but I had a dream: a job that would meet my needs, allow me flexibility to finish school and have time to write, and would allow me to travel and meet/help people. So that’s what I prayed for.
I will leave the entire testimony for another day – because I don’t believe it’s done yet – but long story short, three months later I had exactly what I prayed for.
There are three things I learnt through this process:
- God can give you what you ask for. Sometimes we worry so much about being out of the will of God that we don’t very much believe for anything. We fail to dream because we fear that our dreams will be limited by God in the name of Purpose. I’m beginning to understand this purpose thing better and better, and it really is more about WHO you are, than where you are or what you do. God can give you exactly what it is that you’re believing for. It might mean doing something you’ve never done before – like fasting and praying harder than ever before – because, let’s face facts: there are forces that don’t want you to get what it is God has for you, so sometimes you gotta do a little contending. But He can do it – you just gotta have a little faith in Him!
- God doesn’t always answer the way we expect. In the same way that dreams don’t always mirror reality, God is in the habit of answering prayers in ways we never imagined. I thought that to have a the kind of life I wanted, I’d have to work 8-9 in a corporate environment – and I don’t know where that would have left me in terms of writing or serving or doing all the care free black girls things I love because I’m a horrible multitasker lol. I never imagined that I could find the exact same thing – and an insane passion – in working in education. I didn’t see that my whole life – growing up on a university campus, with a father as a professor, going to one of the best universities in the country, and working under some of the most amazing deans – was preparing me for just this. Dream hard, but recognize that like Joseph, sometimes we don’t even really know what our dreams mean until they happen. And sometimes we don’t even really know how to articulate what we want, or what it looks like, until it’s right under our noses.
- God will give you what you ask for. No, I didn’t repeat a point. God will give you exactly what you ask for. If I had known that God would answer that prayer – and in the perfect way that only He could – I would have dreamt bigger. I would have asked for a higher salary, prayed specifically for the kinds of coworkers I want (the ones I have are awesome, but a Drake look-a-like would have been nice too), contended for a corner office even! This year has taught me a lot, but I think the most important lesson so far is to learn to take the limits off of God and stop deciding for Him what He can and can’t/will or won’t do. Commit to praying the biggest circles you can imagine around your wildest dreams and passions, and watch Him show up and do exceedingly and abundantly beyond anything you can imagine.