“ANYWHERE BUT HERE!”

telephoneA few months ago, I became involved in a situation that I fought tooth and nail. I needed and wanted it in my life (had been praying for it for months and months) but didn’t like the circumstances. So, I began to do what we humans usually do when we become stretched, pulled, and uncomfortable, not fully having our way. I began to bargain with God. Once again, He was giving me what I’d been praying for but not exactly how I wanted it. Each day I entered into it with the thought “maybe this will be the day that things will change” meaning the location, mostly. Change was indeed happening, but once again, not like I wanted.

BACK STORY…when I began my freshman year in college, it was my desire to earn a degree in mass communications. This was far from my personality type at the time. I wasn’t much of a talker and I had no clue of how to be interested in people. I did, however, enjoy reading and writing. After being in the mass communications department for a semester or two, I decided to change my major. Aside from making mostly C’s, I hated the way I looked on camera and even more so, I hated the sound of my own voice. Each time I saw or listened to a recording of myself, I grew more and more discouraged. So I played it safe and began to study office administration and management. This line of work would involve some talking but not as much. And I didn’t have to be on camera. I could do my work, in peace, and not have to do a lot of talking.

My career in that field lasted about three years before I decided to enter graduate Romans8.28school to become a teacher. Hey, teachers do a lot of talking too, don’t they? For some reason, during my graduate studies, that fear and dislike of hearing the sound of my voice, never even entered my mind. But once I began teaching, my students, and colleagues, quickly reminded me. I was dubbed the “Southern Belle” while teaching in Metro Atlanta. Each time I’d hear “Miss Howard, where are you from? You sure do have a deep southern drawl.” “You sure are country!” I’d think to myself, well did someone move Georgia out of the South and I didn’t get the memo. Last I checked, many native Georgians are just as “country” as I am, or even more so.

Over the years I’ve learned to like people a bit more; becoming interested in hearing their stories, sharing life experiences, offering encouragement, etc. But oddly enough, I still don’t like talking so much. Those who know me in “real life” know that I cherish my alone time (such is the life of an introvert). However, I will engage those who are in my company unless I’m not feeling well or I really really don’t like you…LOL!

emoji smilePresently, my daily duties and responsibilities require that I talk and talk a LOT! And the conversations are not always pleasant. In the beginning, after each difficult talk, I would begin to brood and whine internally, even sometimes thinking out loud. “LORD HELP!” Sometimes uttering other words, depending on the intenseness of the preceding phone call.

After a few days of sulking and wishing I were “Anywhere But Here” (the title of one of my favorite movies), my attitude and responses started to change. It came to me “you are the one who sets the tone and atmosphere, regardless of how the person on the other end of the phone behaves. Practice what you know to be true. What is your true character?” So, I took a deep breath and took my next phone call. On this particular day, many of them were pleasant, and maybe even the next few days. But then, there were some, at the very beginning of my day, that gave me the opportunity to put my true character into practice and be the person I desire to be. “Ok Stephanie, take a deep breath. DO YOU!”

Some people can be very rude and irate when they aren’t having their way.

emoji mad faceBut I continued with a pleasant, professional tone. And after a few sentences, I began to notice changes in their tones and demeanor. They became calm and pleasant which in turn allowed me to better assist them. Ultimately giving them what they needed and if I couldn’t, they were more receptive of that as well. I think my voice has a soothing, calming effect on people. Come to think of it, I’ve been told that in the past. It has taken me years to believe it.

During my break times, the Holy Spirit began to show me that once again this experience is about changing and creating some things in me. First of all, to help me get over my dislike (or fear, I do believe that it is rooted in fear) of talking and secondly, to continue to prepare me for things to come. I am excited! Not only at the possibilities of things ahead but that I continue to open myself up to being led and used by God. He knows best!

Philippians1.6After years of down time, I was ready to get busy doing things again, but not this. I feel that I am capable of so much more. I would often remind God of that as well…LOL! He knows what He created me for and in His timing, I will be and do it all. Lesson~You can’t hurry the process! #WhatIvelearnedforsure about His character and grown to believe with all of heart and soul, God is intentional, strategic, and purposeful. And if you are truly following Him, He will never steer you wrong. Many of the things I’ve gone through and experienced made absolutely no sense to me at the time (and much of it still doesn’t), but in due time, in His time, He reveals all that I need to know.

I’ve found contentment in the place I’m blessed to go to daily. Honestly, it’s a different kind of experience for me. In my mind, it doesn’t fit the ‘new me” at all. But with God, there is never a dull moment. Things are coming full circle in my life. I am not fully sure where all of this is headed but I do know that Romans 8:28 definitely applies here. It doesn’t matter if a portion of “ALL” occurred 30 years ago, the word of God is the word of God. So don’t be surprised if you hear my deep southern drawl on a radio or television station (just the thought of that sparks a bit of anxiety in me at this moment. But it’s all good!).  

Encouragement 101~ Keep an open heart and mind. Learn how to truly delight yourself in the Lord. You’ll find that His heart’s desires for you will become your heart’s desires. Even if you have to endure a few bumps and bruises along the way, His plan and purpose in your life shall be fulfilled. Remain confident of this very thing, He finishes what He starts!Comfort Zone

PEACE and blessing to you!