Help My Unbelief

For the last week or so I’ve been wrestling with the text of Mark 9:24.

This line of Scripture is framed by the story of the demoniac boy whose father bum-rushes Jesus asking for Him to heal his son.

The father had already asked the Disciples to heal the boy but they were of no help.

Jesus asks all the right questions (after calling his 12-piece squad “a faithless generation”) and reminds the father that all things are possible if he could just believe.

The father yells, “I BELIEVE; HELP MY UNBELIEF.” Continue reading

I Talk to Strangers

This morning, as I was getting off of the Emory shuttle, I was walking down the sidewalk when I realized there was a woman walking in tandem with me.

We were walking so in-sync, in fact, from the outside, it probably looked as if we knew each other. I thought it to be rude to walk so closely to someone and not speak to them, so I turned my head and said, “Good morning!”

She responded in-kind and, after asking me where I was attending school, she began to tell me that her husband was a minister for many years but after going on a missions trip to Budapest, they returned back to the states not as committed to their congregational beliefs as before.

I asked what denomination was she and she said they were a part of the Conservative Church of God.

“Ohhhhh…”, I said. “Real conservative! Missions work usually kills any kind conservative views!”

We both laughed.

She said, “We came back and realized that what I believed didn’t work in Budapest. That’s the point if the Gospel, right? It’s supposed to work everywhere! What good is the Gospel if it doesn’t apply to all?

She said she returned to the States jaded — her husband left the ministry — and, they’ve found peace with living with and for Christ in their own way, with their own understanding of the Gospel being something for all people. Funny note: she mentioned that her mom still cries out, “You’re going to hell!” because of her newfound understanding of the purpose of the Gospel. This Southern white woman then exclaimed, “Well, I guess that’s where I’ll be going, then.”

What a great God moment. She’d rather choose hell than oppress folks with views that don’t allow all them to be able to relate to and receive the liberative Gospel of Jesus Christ. Turn up for Jesus, indeed.

Her question still resonates with me, though: “What good is the Gospel if it doesn’t apply to all?”

I mean, really! What good is it if we use the Gospel of Jesus Christ to limit and hinder and refuse and ostracize and condemn and separate and divide? The Great Commission, to take the Gospel over all of the world, is not only the missional work we’re all called to do, but also the lens through which we view and express our faith. (See Matthew 28:16-20)

Our beliefs, especially those that are shaped through denominational allegiances, can sometimes offer a narrow view of what it means to stand with those who want to experience Jesus. I know that I’ve had some beliefs about Jesus, God, and the Gospel that were limiting and seemingly made me look and feel superior because of my understanding of Jesus. (My very limited understanding, may I add)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is. for. everybody.


Yes, even them.

If how we view Jesus and use the bible in relationship to other people does not include them, their experiences, and contexts, then we ain’t doing this thing right.


Here’s the bright side: you can learn a whole lot (about life and Jesus) by talking to strangers, though!

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Paralyzing Fear

It’s been a minute since I’ve sat down to write a blog; with the busyness of Seminary, motherhood, reading, writing, and [no arithmetic], I’ve had little time to do anything else. I’ve also been waiting for the new things I’ve learned about God and the bible to settle in a bit before I hit you guys with anything. Bear with me!

However, today is a day to write.

I was going through Instagram today and I saw a photo posted by one of my most favorite people, Myleik Teele. If you don’t know her, she’s the brain child behind CurlBox. Yes, she’s that woman. Anyway, she posted a picture of her dainty, well manicured hands on the steering wheel of a Porsche. The caption said:

Last July, my mentor/sister @tremedia handed me the keys to her car and said, “Drive it. Stop living in fear.”

The post went on to say: “I was always afraid to have more because I didn’t feel like I needed/deserved it. She’d always tell me: ‘Myleik… you are a phenomenal woman. You deserve everything and more.’ I fooled around and believed her.”

Fear is paralyzing. It keeps you stagnant. Fear puts your feet into cement blocks so you cannot move. It renders you helpless to help yourself and will drive you to pull away from the very purpose for which you are called.

Fear will cause you to believe that what you have been destined to do/have/be is only reserved for someone not as [insert flaw/short coming here]. Fear will cause you to shy away from opportunities to grow, stretch, and shape yourself into the person you see in your head. It is, my friends, the ultimate paralyzer.

The verb “paralyze” means to “cause a person or part of the body to become partly or wholly incapable of movement.” It also means, “to render someone unable to think or act normally, especially through panic or fear.

Wow. So, paralyzing fear not only can keep your physical body from moving forward, but it can cause you to be unable think or act normally. (I read normal to = what you were created to do/have/be).

This means that what you are trying to accomplish right now — in any capacity — is and should be normal for you. It was why you were created. A telephone is not afraid of being a telephone. It makes and receives calls because that’s what it was created to do. It does not shut down, run away, or hide it’s capabilities because of the fear of being itself. It simply does what it was created to do. No fear.

What I’ve come to realize is that my fear is deeply rooted in what Myleik’s fear was: that I am not deserving or do not need what it is I desire. There are more deserving people. There are greater causes for which I could rally to help others achieve their dreams. I am too this, or too that, or not enough. We tell ourselves these lies for so long until they become ingrained in everything we do and say. Sometimes, we need a shake, a wake up call to let us know that we deserve everything and more… and be foolish enough to believe it.

What do you have to lose? How often are we afraid of failure when we’ve done nothing to even approach the thing of which we are afraid of failing.

I don’t know who this is for or who it will help, however, I challenge all of us to look deeply into the reasons behind our fears; conjure them up, stare them in the face (because you may be the very thing that you’re afraid of!) Acknowledge them. Then, do something totally opposite of what you’re afraid of. It can be something small; take baby steps.

Get free of fear. It is nothing but a dirty liar.

On the fearless chase,

Alisha L.

The Right Moment

The number 30.

In our world, turning 30 years old holds so much weight. That number serves as the marker of success; we’ve been told all of our lives that there are certain things that should be in place before you turn 30. Owning a home, moving up in your career, getting married and having kids are just a few.

I, too, believed that I was supposed to reach this pinnacle of “success” by the time I turned 30. In reality, I’m nowhere close. I live at home with my mom, I’m technically unemployed, and I don’t even have a prospect for marriage , let alone have someone in the picture to take me on a date. I’m sky-high in student loan debt, and I’m becoming a college student all over again in just a couple of weeks.

My life looks nothing like I thought it would at 30.

But I am in the right moment.

You see,the number 30 is the number that denotes the perfection of divine order, the right moment, dedication. (source)

30 is the indicator that something is beginning when it should, taking its rightful place in the world, a new level of commitment to goals and aspirations.

Jesus was 30 years old when he entered His ministry. (Luke 3:23)

David was 30 years old when he became king of Israel (2 Samuel 5:4)

Joseph was 30 years old when he began ascending the ranks in Pharaoh’s house. (Genesis 41:46)

The years prior to age 30 served as moments where these individuals learned valuable lessons that propelled them into their divine moment. It was the years that came after age 30 that set them apart and created a long-lasting legacy in the earth.

Too much are we consumed with not having all that society says we should have by age 30. What I’ve come to realize is that the greatest opportunity for us to have all that we desire comes after the 30, not before.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the pressures (socially or self-imposed) that we face as we turn 30. We both agreed that we want the money, homes, cars, career success, and happy love life, and more often than not, we want it sooner than we can really handle it.

The final conclusion was this: God wants us to have all of those aforementioned things, however, acquiring them takes a little longer than what we’d like. Why? Think of it this way: the longer a tree is planted in the ground, the longer its branches become and the deeper its roots grow. God’s process forces our roots to grow extremely deep before acquiring too much — this way, when the proverbial storms of life come, we aren’t toppled over by a little wind and rain. Society’s way of giving us the same desires doesn’t allow for our roots to grow very deeply. We’re like saplings in a hurricane, quickly snapped in two by the weight of our desires.

This revelation has taken the pressure off in many ways! You may look at your life and say, “I don’t have xyz yet… and it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen by age 30.” Trust me, it’s okay. This is just a time for your roots to grow deeper!

I’m looking forward to turning 30. I’m running towards it with arms outstretched because I know this is my right moment. I don’t find it coincidental that a week and a half after I turn 30 I’ll begin seminary at Emory University. I’m no Jesus, but turning 30 and entering ministry is quite a parallel. God is so funny.

Those who are reading this probably cover the entire spectrum: successful and happy before 30, still finding your way post 30, and many more. If things aren’t looking quite like you’d like them, it’s okay — let those roots grow deeper and branches expand a bit. You’re in the right moment. You’ll see.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Beyond His Name: Steve Jobs

Since he co-founded Apple in 1976, Jobs personified what it meant to think outside the box and to do more than what people expected of him.

He’s been called a king and an egomaniac. A genius and a troubled soul. A pragmatic, secluded individual who only let us into his life one Apple, NeXT, and Pixar movie at a time.

The amount of accomplishments that Mr. Jobs held could go on and on, but what I find most interesting about the man and his life is that he lived beyond his name.


We are taught to strive for more than just a job. Strive for a career, your passion, what keeps you going.  Mama and daddy would say, “Having just a ‘job’ shouldn’t be the end goal. Doing what you were born to do, living with purpose should be.” To many people, a “job” is a way to meet an end, a short-term goal, a stepping stone to something greater. In many circles, it takes on a negative connotation and, as we learn in our later years, working a job just isn’t enough. We always want more.

Steve Jobs lived beyond his name. He lived beyond what people called him day in and day out. “Mr. Jobs,” employees and people around the world would say. Had we really thought about what we were calling him, “Mr. Mediocre”, or “Mr. Stepping Stone”, or “Mr. Way to Make Ends Meet”, we’d laugh and tell him (in the most respectful way possible), “You really should consider changing your name.” What a double whammy for his name to end with the “s”, implying that the plurality of what mediocrity could have been in his life had he never strived to be more.

It has been noted that Jobs’ biological parents, (who gave him up for adoption and whose last names were Jandali and Simpson) never named him. It was his adoptive parents, Clara and Paul Jobs who gave him his name.

Steven Paul Jobs embodied what it meant to live beyond your name. To live beyond the social expectations set by the world around us. To live beyond the abandonment of biological parents. Beyond the cold nights of living on your friend’s dorm floor after dropping out of college. Beyond selling your only possession (a Volkswagen van) to fund your dream, your passion. With every adjustment of his thin-rimmed glasses, with every speech and new development, with every megabyte, processor, megapixel, and animated story, we’re reminded of a legacy that pushes us to take a bite out of our own proverbial apple and change the world.

A final note: As innovative as he was, rarely was he seen outside the black mock-neck shirt and jeans combo and for many, it was that “uniform” that made him so interesting to us. With all of his money and notoriety, that same black mock-neck shirt and jeans reminded us that he was just a kid with a dream like the rest of us. He wanted to live beyond the norm and push the envelope of what it meant to exist and communicate with human kind. No one can say that Steve Jobs didn’t change the way they thought, lived, viewed and interacted with the world. No one. We can only hope to live beyond our names and be as innovative as he was.

Intentionally Intentional

“I won’t be before you long, saints…” — From the book Lies Preachers Tell


No seriously. Won’t be before you long but I wanted to discuss being intentional.

Adjective: Done on purpose; deliberate.

Noun: a determination to act in a certain way.

Many times, we become comfortable, complacent with our current state of being. If you’re anything like me, most of us won’t do anything that’s not required or that we have to do.

That has turned into being passive in all things: in our pursuit of God, of better life, of better health.

It’s not until we receive a bad report from the doctor that we have diabetes or at high risk of dying of a heart attack that we tighten our belts and live a healthier life style.

It’s not until all that we know is taken away from us in tragedy that we decide to pray daily, morning, noon, and night, until we see a change.

Why must it take a push, a tragic change, a enforceable requirement before we become intentional in our living?

We have to live on purpose. Just as we purpose ourselves to do things like go to work, pay our bills, etc (because we have  to) we need to be very intentional on pursuing God, living healthy, and having an overall better life.

This week, I’m challenging myself to do those things that I don’t usually do simply because I don’t have to.

This means getting up at 6 am make SURE I seek God’s face before my day gets started. I don’t HAVE to get up that early, but to make sure that God doesn’t get lost in my day, I’m going to intentionally set my clock and plan to get up like I do to get to someone’s job.

There are other things I’m going to be intentional about and I hope that eventually my intentions will catch up to and blend into who I am. Then it becomes second nature.

Join me, will you?

On the chase of intentional living,

Alisha L.