So if you are familiar with the DPTaughtMe Series “Trust the Process” you know this is about to me some thought provoking, in your feelings, leave you inspired and questioning yourself kinda post. If you’re not, just know this installment series discusses how we can get through life’s ups and downs one step at a time-together. With that being said…
As of late, God has been teaching me about purpose, passion, and practicing perseverance. Many of the lessons he teaches me happens to be through nature. I’m not sure why, but he does.
So, today’s lesson plan included the magnolia tree in my backyard. Magnolias are my favorite trees! I love them because they represent both sides of my family (shout out to Louisiana and Mississippi). I’m also enamored with them because they have a demanding presence that’s graceful, majestic, contagious and pleasantly fragrant. I strive to be like the magnolia. I am a magnolia in training.
But for last decade, the tree in my backyard has bloomed maybe 1-3 flowers a year. Most of the blooms happen at the very top of the tree where I can only observe from a far. I admire the strength it takes to push through when the other flowers couldn’t. I take note of the way they’d make it to the top, even though I doubted their existence would come ever come to life. Every year, like clockwork, I wished and hoped that I would witness more blossoms and every year I was granted 1 or 2. Needless to say, I pretty much gave up on seeing it in full bloom and became content with the couple of flowers that I was blessed with.
But on THIS day, something changed. Before I started work. Before I started worrying. Before I had time to complain, cry or compose a negative thought, God lead me outside and told me to look.
I stood outside for 60 seconds – looked up and saw my little tree had FLOURISHED. I mean…blooms everywhere! Left and right I could see them smiling at me, waving in the wind – happy because it was our first official greeting. And where I was standing, I was fortunate enough to encounter a flower just close enough where I could see it face to face. But If I really wanted a good look, I had to find something to elevate my vision. I scanned the backyard for anything that could lift me higher. I wanted to capture this moment on camera in case I never got to see it again. I acted fast, because the sun would soon be shifting shadows and my picture perfect frame would be blared out by flagrant sun rays. After a few minutes of stepping on random things, I spotted a small stepping stool near the back fence. I ran over to get it it, hurried back to the tree and positioned it right under the lower bloom. When I stepped a little higher to view my favorite flower in person, it was breathtaking.
I yanked out my camera phone so fast yall! I started snapping photos left and right. I mean, I was going IN! But I wasn’t only taking pictures of the blooms. I captured pictures of my favorite plant in its pre-bloom state as well. Yall, I was so deep in my photography zone, I didn’t even realize that I had stepped in a big ol pile a dog crap. Bruh. I mean…… ALL on my shoes, my pant legs. Didn’t give me a warning or nothing Jesus! Now, don’t judge me after you read this…..but I kept it movin. YEP! Scrapped off what I could, walked in some grass that wasn’t defecated on and kept- it-moving. I was in my element and even a pile of shiiii wouldn’t distract me from getting my shots and enjoying my moment.
After a few minutes of intense photo session, I felt a calmness spread through my body as I was instructed to pause. So I did. Immediately, I heard birds were chirping in such a harmonious way, I felt like they had choir practice before I came out because right then, God spoke to me. And in this moment, he shared these 5 Lessons:
5) If you can’t appreciate the process, you won’t appreciate the reward.
As I was taking photos of other parts of the trees that had not yet bloomed, I realized there were things in my life that are yet still maturing. I want so badly to get to my end goal, but I’m trying to skip through the necessary steps in order to get there. Trying to take shortcuts diminishes stamina, cheats your character development and increases your stress level because things become twice as hard to accomplish.
As I took these photos, I realized there as a beauty and a purpose for each level of the blooming process. Had a step been forgotten, skipped or eliminated, I would not have this gorgeous flower I hold so dear to me. So many times we try to transport ourselves into who we want to be instead of letting the process transform us. Just like my aspirations, I have to learn how to engage in the learning process that leads me to my dreams. If I can’t go through it, I can’t grow into it. And if I can’t grow into it, that means I’m not transforming at all. Time brings about a change and positive change is what I wish to see.
4) Continue through the crap. Don’t let life’s circumstances distract you from going after what you want.
When I finished my session, God said ” You see how you carried through with the pictures even after you realized you stepped in dog poo? You did whatever it took to get those shots. You tuned the negative smell out. You did what you had to do to get your desired end result. You found a way to persist at any cost. That’s how I want you to go after your dreams. That’s it.”
If you can make lemonade out of lemons, you can continue through the crap. Crappy things in life happen all the time. That’s a given. But we can’t panic or sit and sulk when those moments occur. Those circumstances are not standing appointments. They are temporary. And most importantly they are manageable. Look at it this way: think of the most challenging time you’ve ever experienced in your life to this date. Ok. Now, did you get through it? Most likely the answer is yes. If you’re in it, did you get to the next day of new opportunities. YES YOU DID! All it takes is the simple decision that you’re going to persist anyway. PERSIST ANYWAY. There are always other options. There are always other strategies. There are always different roads that will lead you to where you need to go. So wipe off the crap and keep-it-moving.
3) Learn how to focus on your current season and flourish with what you have now to get where you need to be later.
When I’m trying to do too many things at one time, I get flustered, frustrated and adapt this highly bothersome “EFF the world!” mentality when things continue to fall through the cracks. That’s because I’m trying to concentrate on too many ideas and enter into areas of my life I aint even really ready for. Just because I’m eager does not mean I’m adequately prepared to handle the trails or triumphs of that particular stage of my life.
Focusing and flourishing on my craft in THIS season refines my thinking, my skill sets, and my motivation. Things that were once practice become mastery. Things that once were foreign become second nature. Training myself to make the most of my now teaches me what I’ll need to know to thrive in my future. I pay attention to detail. I find intricate places to leave my mark. I learn the ins and outs of everything I do so thoroughly, I can repeat the processes in my sleep. Tackling one season at a time allows me to conserve, reserve, and manage the energy I exert into each task. When you develop yourself in your season, you’re able to confidently move into the next stage in your life. And that means you’re one step closer to your dreams.
2) Find the time to implement tools that will position and elevate you higher in order to reach your dreams.
When I tell you I was frantically looking for something to stand on, yall. Yall. I was stepping on broken buckets. Rocks. I almost stepped on my dog. Poor baby. But I was semi-desperate to find something. Somethin lawd! But when I took a second to pause and really focus, what I needed was right where I needed it to be. And once I put everything into place, it made my view that much more memorable and my experience much more enjoyable. I like simple things. And this brought me so much joy. To able to capture MY OWN picture (I have dozens of other people’s pics saved on my computer) was incredible. I felt accomplished. I felt empowered. I felt at peace and I felt thankful.
The same goes for going after the life you want. You have to find the tools and IMPLEMENT the tools that are going to help you achieve your dream. If you want it bad, it won’t matter what it cost. A class. A certification or another degree. Completing a program. Finding an exercise tool to get summer time fine. Downloading an app to watch your spending. Whatever you need to do to get you to your level of greatness, do it. And do it ambitiously and consistently.
1) Learn how to be still and cherish moments.
When you finally get to where you’ve always dreamed of being, cherish the moment. Let it soak in. Learn to appreciate the nuances of the newness your experiencing because you won’t have THIS ever again. We’re such a goal driven society that sometimes we fail to really take in moments like “Man, I really completed this.” or ” Yoooooooo, look how far I’ve come. What an accomplishment” or “God, getting here wasn’t easy. Sometimes I couldn’t even see me finishing. But we made it.” Being still cultivates an attitude of gratitude, reverence and humility. And all those characteristics help us as people elevate to bigger and greater heights. Higher than our original dreams could ever take us. And that’s the life I ultimately strive for.
And I’ll just leave this with you. Have a blessed day fam! Trust the process and know we’re all in this together.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. 12 I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.