It fascinates me how quickly time passes and how quickly we grow, learn and change.
I remember writing a blog similar to this one at about this time last year. I had prayed and asked God what he expected me to do in 2016 and he simply said — (1) enjoy yourself again and (2) have fun.
That wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
But, as weird as it sounded, I embarked on a journey to do so. I decided I was going to start saying “no” more than I said “yes”. For those who don’t know me, that sounds cruel… but for those who do, you know that I have this uncanny ability to give to my detriment… which used to leave me in really “unenjoyable” situations. ;)
I began to take time. There’s something about taking the time to enjoy others… to enjoy your food… to enjoy a good book that makes your enjoy life.
I also began to plan “fun” events and not just expect them to happen. If you simply expect them to happen, they hardly do.
At first, doing all this seemed very minimal and absolutely pointless, but after doing these things for a while, I began to realize one thing: my heart was beginning to burn again and I was falling more in love with who God is.
I was no longer simply working for God — doing ministry and tasks to make Him happy (which left me pretty burnt out and wanting to run away to Mexico).
I was ENJOYING Him again and simply being his friend, which began to soften my burnt-out heart and made me want to joyfully give him all of me… once again.
Who knew that taking time to enjoy what I’ve been given and the one who gave it to me would do such an incredible work on my heart? Well, God did.
I began to enjoy the little things again: dinner with my family, running (I know, I sound crazy to some of you), reading the Book of Life, and many of the things I had taken for granted in the past.
I found myself enjoying God and all that He’d given me so much, that I stopped searching for “my place” in this world. Changing my focus from “I must do to be loved” to “I must love and out of a result from that I will naturally want to do”… changed my life this past year. In fact, it gave me life this past year!
Let me explain a bit: At this time last year, not only did I hear God’s instructions that I mentioned above, I was also going through a deep searching process. I was wondering with all my might where “my place” was and where I should be. I was exploring all possible options — geographical, career-wise and more, but knew deep down inside that if God didn’t call me to go somewhere new or make a career-move, I wasn’t going to move.
To some, this might sound as if I was fearful. But, honestly — I was tired of chasing “the wind”.
I’ve been bombarded and sometimes moved by my culture and what society says I should be doing as a young, creative woman in her twenties for far too long now. Like the wind, these things constantly change and if followed, make us feel more and more insecure about who we are and what we’re meant to be doing.
One thing that remains true for me is that God has always been (and always will be) the one that provides, as well as makes things happen, in my life (Philippians 4:19)
So, I decided that I was going to wait on Him.
I knew I needed a change and that it was time to make it, but I wanted him to lead me. I’ve led him in the past and out of his generous love He often blessed it, but this time it had to be different. I wanted Him, the best at creating, to show me the path He had created for me to walk down.
I’ve seen Him work time and time again. From allowing me to get jobs I didn’t deserve… to protecting me from people who were out to get me… to opening for legends like Snoop Dogg and so much more!
If He’s made a way for me in the past, why can’t He do it in the future?
We live in a culture nowadays that often whispers to us that we’re “missing out” or “not chasing our dreams”, if we stay in one place for too long. I’ve bought the lie before and ended up forsaking the true blessing God loves to give all of us: a set of roots.
Yes, I said it: roots.
Now, hear me out: I’m not saying that we’re never meant to travel and do glorious things in other places — if that’s the case, I would have never been a traveling musician for the 4 years that I was. What I’m saying is that we’re not meant to do it alone and that there is a blessing, that many people never realize, in being “rooted” in a place where God tells us to be.
One of my dear friends that’s a part of my current church family brought up an analogy that is so powerful. He was discussing the strength of Redwood Trees and the force that makes them live way longer than most trees, despite natural disasters.
He said that their massive strength lies in one thing: their roots.
Yes, their roots are what keep them around when entire forests catch on fire or go through massive disasters.
I can hear some of you now — “Well, don’t all trees have roots Martay?”
Yes, they do, but what most people don’t know is that instead of having deep roots, Redwood Trees thrive on being rooted to one another.
Instead of digging deep to plant their roots all by themselves, they grow at incredible rates and stay strong when things get crazy because their roots are wrapped up in and tied to one another.
It’s the same for us as people. We can try and do life on our own — and to be honest, that might work for a short amount of time — but, true fulfillment, growth and our ability to thrive is unleashed when we become rooted… rooted to others with the same goals, hearts and minds.
I know the holidays are upon us and there might be a lot going through your mind: presents, feelings of loneliness, and more. I’m here to interrupt the surface level activities and ask you one question before 2017 hits:
Who are you rooted to?
What communities and people are a part of your life? Who is able to call you out when you’re living subpar to how you’re designed to live? Who is there to encourage you when the going gets tough? Who are you hanging out with?
The answer to this question is a definite indicator to whether or not you’ll thrive in this coming year. Being connected to people full of life and vision will leave you full of life and vision. Being heavily connected to people who are negative and lost, will most likely leave you feeling negative and lost.
And no matter where you are at (unless you’re somewhere you’re not called to be at the moment), God has the right people for you to be rooted to right where you are. It’s just a matter of God revealing them to you and you listening.
So, before this coming year comes I want to say: don’t devalue where you are right now.
Don’t devalue being “right here”.
This past year, I learned that everything I needed to get to the next level that my heart desired to be on was right here, where I’m at. I just had to hear God’s call as to the communities he wanted me to invest in and then humble myself, as well as be willing to plant my roots, where I’m at.
Though I knew I was called to live in my hometown, where it seems as if there is nothing or nobody great here, I had to believe that God would connect me to people who are passionately pursuing what I am pursuing in life, God.
And he did.
So if you feel as if there’s nothing where you’re at, look again. Unless God is truly calling you somewhere else, you might be missing the blessing that is available right where you are. The blessings to thrive.
Once I stopped searching and began to trust that I’m exactly where I am called to be, everything shifted. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.
Dead dreams came back to life.
My heart seemed to soften in many areas.
Parts of my life began to be restored that needed it.
And other things…
Life isn’t perfect… but I’m renewed and satisfied. I’m full of joy and I know exactly where I’m going.
Feeling unsatisfied? Unsure? Lonely? Insecure about your future?
I want to challenge you to stop chasing the wind, whatever that may be in your life, and plant your roots right where you are. Ask God to help you do it and watch how your life thrives when it does!
Thanks for always letting me be 100% raw with you guys. I’m so thankful for you and am praying that 2017 is your best year yet!
Your sister -- Martay