Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Don't Let Your Past Dictate Your Future!

It never fails that when we strive to become the very best that we can become, people come out of the wood works trying to remind us of what we used to be. Much of what is taking place in the events surrounding Trayvon Martin, with people digging through his past to defend what possibly caused his murder, is an example of what happens when people see you gaining some momentum, and for fear of what you might become, they dig up something from your past to remind you of who you used to be. The Black community has responded to the recent death of Trayvon in alarming numbers, to both the surprise and fear of the predominantly white government and communities. In an effort to slow the momentum of the black community, some people have begun to dig up dirt on Trayvon trying to portray him in a negative light that is intended to somehow persuade people that he deserved to be gunned down in his neighborhood. I’M NOT BUYING IT! I know that people make mistakes and are not perfect, but I also know that God, if allowed to, has a way of shaping people to become outstanding individuals who help to prosper their communities and the Kingdom of God. I am fully aware of the power of God and how God’s power can redeem people who were once traveling down a destructive path.

The media and others who desire to drag Trayvon’s name through the dirt must remember that a person’s past does not always dictate their future. Perhaps Trayvon could have been an NFL player, CEO, NFL team owner, lawyer, doctor, or even the next President of the United States. Who knows? But in memory of Trayvon and all of those who,(like him) have suffered because of the judgmental thoughts of others, we must not let our past dictate our future. For those, who in the past, have been judged by the color of their skin, the shape of their bodies, the length of their hair, the grades on their report cards, the styles of their clothing, etc., don’t let the judgments of others stop you from becoming the best YOU you can be. And most importantly don’t let your own thoughts about your past stifle your growth and cause you to forfeit your future. Your past can only dictate your future IF YOU LET IT.       

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good in the HOODie

The recent murder of Trayvon Martin has left the African American community in an uproar. This uproar is taking place not just because Trayvon died, but because of how he died and the seemingly disregard by the justice system to do anything about it. In response to this, news platforms, magazines, and social media networks have become the sounding boards for blacks of all ages who are fed up with injustice and racism that continues to infiltrate this country. No matter what they tell us we, the black community, know when injustice is rearing its ugly head, and injustice is rearing its ugly head, AGAIN! Not long ago we were in this position fighting for Troy Davis who was executed by the State for a crime that the justice system couldn’t prove he committed.

            To speak out against the injustice that is taking place in lieu of Trayvon’s death, blacks across the nation have shown their support by posting pictures of themselves wearing hoodies. The interesting thing about this show of support by the black community is that the support seems to span all ages. Babies have been seen in hoodies, teenagers have been seen in hoodies, newscasters have been seen in hoodies, well accomplished and high profile people have been spotted in hoodies, pastors, preachers, and scholars have even traded in their tailored suits and fancy pumps for an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the legacy of Trayvon and the black community. In essence, not only has the overwhelming appearance of hoodies made a statement against racism and racial profiling, but it has also declared that clothes don’t make a person.

            Unfortunately, what people fail to realize, in particular people of the other “persuasion”, is that a person’s physical appearance does not always warrant suspicious eyes and a deadly pursuit. But there are good, intelligent, well versed individuals that look just like Trayvon Martin. There are people who wear jeans, sport hoodies, and like converse shoes who are not thugs and are not looking for trouble. There are people who look like Trayvon, talk like Trayvon, and may even dress like Trayvon who are educated, upright citizens who try to contribute to society in the best way possible…I am one of them #iamTrayvonMaritn. The truth that everybody knows, except for those who insist on being blinded by their own biases and racial tendencies, is that Trayvon was not a threat, he was just black. Racism is not just a systemic constituent in 2012, but racism, injustice, and hatred still walk the streets looking for its next victim. That victim under the HOODie happened to be a person of potential, character, and a person created in the image of God. When will we start to value the person and look past the HOODie? There is good in the HOODie!       

Friday, March 23, 2012

Define Your Target!

Lately I have been engrossed with the idea of guarding my time and being more effective at what I’ve been called to do. In the last few weeks the more I have sought to guard my space and time, the more things seem to demand my attention (i.e. family, school, ministry, etc.). But, it was a recent meeting with my pastor and mentor that caused me to reflect on the importance of guarding my time and essentially putting first things first. She mentioned to me that “focused energy was better and far more effective than energy that was all over the place.” I instantly realized that in order for me to be effective in my daily responsibilities I had to use my energy better and define my target (what I wanted to have accomplished by the end of the day). In recent conversation with individuals and reading different perspectives on time management, I realized that I was not alone in attempting to be a good steward of my time and resources, but often falling short of succeeding at it. Realizing this, the question then becomes, ‘How do we decide what is important and what gets done first?’ Let’s examine this…

In the words of my pastor and mentor we must determine if “the need is the call.” In order to define our targets well we must examine the things that are filling up our time from day to day. Is it school, ministry, work, care-giving, T.V., social media, worry, disappointment, anger, relationships, emotional distress, etc? Now, which of those things is a part of what our life’s purpose is or what we have been called to do? What is it that zaps our energy, only to leave us feeling unfulfilled and unproductive? What pulls us off our course that we are not called to, but is possibly a need for someone else. This is not to suggest that we can’t help others, or that our calls and purposes do not call for interaction with others, because they often do; However, I am suggesting that our calls and purposes demand that we closely inspect what is consuming our time and determine whether it is someone else’s need, our own lack of discipline and prioritizing, or is it related to the larger scope of what we want to accomplish in our lives (target). Defining our targets well can lead us to a more focused, fulfilling, and fruitful life and the energy we spend pressing towards our targets won’t be for naught. DEFINE YOUR TARGET AND PRESS TOWARDS IT!