Scripture: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administrating God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ”; (1 Peter 4:10-11a NIV).
Last week I participated in a “7 Day Positivity Challenge,” in which I was nominated for. After reading the rules of the challenge a couple of questions came to my mind. “Can I encourage 3 people a day for 7 days in a row?” and “What would I say?” I took a day to ponder my thoughts before I accepted the challenge. I thought about my purpose and the gifts and abilities that God has given me. How could I best serve God and add to someone’s life? I figured out that it wasn’t a question pertaining to my gifts. The question should have been, “Am I willing to step out of the box that I was holding myself hostage in”.
I knew that I possessed the gift of teaching, and as a child, I wanted to become a teacher. I was inspired by my first-grade teacher, who was soft-spoken and very nice. I wanted to be a teacher just like her. Unfortunately, as I grew older, I did not take the path of becoming a school teacher, my mother had different plans for my future. What I know now that I didn’t know then was that God had placed the desire to become a teacher in my heart when I was a child. He also ordained paths for me to cross before I could walk into my calling. These were preparations years.
“God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).
As an adult who loves God, I sought Him with diligence. He revealed my purpose and my assignment in the ministry by way of dreams which gave me a vision. My God-ordained ministry gift is teaching, and with the gift of teaching comes the gift of encouragement. I take pleasure in using my gifts and I am most happy when I am operating in my gifts. Encouraging others is a two-fold blessing. It has a way of strengthening an individual to help them to overcome obstacles that may be a hindrance to them. Encouragement also lifts a persons countenance and gives them the will power to carry on.
I knew that the “7 Day Positivity Challenge” was something that I had to do. I learned a few things about myself that helped me to be effective in the challenge. I knew that I had to get out of that box that I had placed myself in, I have to be open to embracing new opportunities of doing things that I had never done before.
On a daily basis, I interacted on social media, cheerfully greeting and encouraging people to have a wonderful day and to be grateful for every blessing from God. This fact totally escaped my mind after I received the Challenge nomination. Therefore, I started reasoning and doubting my capabilities. I always give encouragement from my heart by expressing what I truly believe. I also believe that the gift of love is what we are really sharing when we encourage others. Love is the greatest gift of all. Love is also a fruit of the spirit, (Gal. 3:22-23).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, meekness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self-control.”
I’m not saying that my love is perfect, or that I love better or deeper than anyone else. I do believe the love that I share is a gift from the Holy Spirit, in which I operate in. It’s all of him and none of me. I trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in me and through me.
One of the rules of the Challenge was to nominate 3 people a day for 7 days and encourage them. First of all, I found it difficult to nominate only 3 individuals. I wrote down several names of the people who encouraged me daily via social media, but the list just got longer and longer. Before I knew it I had 18 names on my list. I had enough names for 5 days, and there were still other names that I wanted to include. So, I decided to follow my heart (even though I would be breaking the rules), I added an additional person a day to my list of nominees. Each day of the Challenge I listed 4 nominees and on the 7th day I had a list of 5 nominees. The last five nominees, I purposely saved for last because these ladies encouraged me when I needed encouragement the most.
After becoming active on social media, I learned that social media consisted of a community of followers and some of them were writers and bloggers. I didn’t know anything about blogging, in fact, I felt intimidated just by the term blogging. What was blogging? I knew that I had to get acquainted by way of interacting, but I wasn’t familiar with the lingo. I didn’t know the meaning of “Lol” (Laughing out loud), an expression used when humor is used. I knew that I had to make connections without being weird. I asked my daughter to explain different phrases to me. I began to wear her patience thin by asking repetitive questions. I felt bad because of my lack of knowledge, and I was thinking of quitting my IG acct., for fear of not fitting in. These thoughts led to satan’s temptation. He tried to plant seeds of discouragement by whispering thoughts of defeat in my ear. He said, “No one cared about your daily messages. Nobody even likes you. And your IG name is dumb” (@IcyBlueTopaz).”
But before I could even consider the lies, three ladies from my 7th-day Challenge list, randomly left comments stating how much they enjoy reading my daily posts, that I encourage them. One of ladies told me that she was learning a lot about the Scriptures from reading my post. She also said that she was gaining a better understanding of the Scriptures. I gave credit to the Holy Spirit and I thank her for encouraging me! This is what I love about social media, it can be used as a blessing and a prosperity tool! By prosperity I mean it prospers one’s soul and spirit by building and elevating the mind in spiritual things. As a blessing, the blessing travels both ways. While you’re encouraging others the blessing of encouragement is reciprocated. This means that not only is the person receiving a blessing, but the blessing of encouragement strengthens you as well.
So far this year, God has given me several opportunities that have challenged me. I have received both a lesson and a blessing by stepping out on faith and trusting God. I’d like to share:
- I was invited to be a guest speaker on a Christian radio broadcast, on four different occasions.
- I stepped out on faith and now I am a Christian writer with my own blog.
- I am a Contributor for Afrophire Magazine @afrophire.com
- I hosted my first giveaway.
- I wrote and publish my first interview with a Christian author. I read her novel and I published a book review.
- God challenged me to add a prayer page to my blog, in which I invited several IG prayer warriors to assist me by writing a heartfelt prayer to be added and published on my blog.
- Currently, I am working on another God-given opportunity that is in the early stage of development. I know that God placed this door before me and my faith is the key that opened it.
Each of these things happened this year. Each time that I took a step by faith, the results have been rewarding. I depend on God to lead the way and to show me the correct paths to take. My future plans are to continue to walk by faith and give God the glory for all that He allows me to do. I will continue to serve God daily and be a blessing to others on my path. I encourage you not to ever stop trusting in God and serve Him with excellence. Step out in faith and look for new opportunities to arise. Keep God first in all that you do and everything else will come into alignment. Remember, if you’re faithful in the small things, God will bless you and increase your territory. Use your gifts and talents wisely and bless others abundantly.
To God be the glory! Amen.
(Image Courtesy: Master/Free Digital Photos.net)