Sacrifice.

sac·ri·fice
[sak-ruh-fahys] –noun: the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

I find it interesting that the definition for the word “sacrifice” says that we surrender something “prized or desirable…”

Sometimes we feel like what we have right now is the best of the best. That boyfriend or girlfriend. That job or business. That chunky booty. For so long, we’ve become content with the current and, eventually, we begin to believe that it has become our “prized or desirable.”

The second part of that definition, however, gets to the good stuff.

“…for the sake of something considered having a HIGHER or MORE PRESSING claim.”

Sacrificing, in itself, sets us up to receive better, more, greater than what we had before. Everyone may not have to sacrifice in the same areas (i.e. if you have a great relationship/marriage, you don’t sacrifice that for “greener grass. Sitcho butt down.)

But those areas in which we desire for more, we must lose or surrender something that we may feel is already a prized possession.

Before the clock strikes midnight and brings in a new year,  I want us all to consider what we would be willing to sacrifice to gain what it is that we want. Really consider it.

And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and follow Me. Mark 8:34, Amplified

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1, New KJV

I like the fact that the bible says that it is our “reasonable service” in Romans 12. Reasonable means to be moderate, something that is capable of doing or expecting.

What God expects of us, when we “sacrifice”, is reasonable, doable, and in most cases, moderate.

Surely, it doesn’t feel that way when we have to give up what we’re used to or what our flesh likes. But when we consider that what we gain is much greater than what we feel like we are losing.

In the New Year, I plan to sacrifice. Yes, it’s going to hurt like hell, but what I plan to gain is much, much greater than what I feel I’m losing.

Join me, wont you?

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

::Four Words::

Mark 11:22 reads:
And Jesus answering saith unto them, “Have faith in Money. Man. The GOP. Cars. Weezy. The Real House Wives. Your boss. Your crazy baby mama. Your equally crazy baby daddy. Obama. Your [insert college/university name here]. Your skills. Who you know. Your family name. Your education. Freeing T.I. Your sorority. Your frat brothers. The NAACP. The BET Awards. Self. Love. Man. Sex in the City 2. Big. Facebook. Their opinions. Your past. Your potential. Your future. Him. Her. Them. Lawmakers. The Feds. The media. The medicines. The doctors. The health reports. Your bank account. The economy. Your job. A book. Oprah. Dr. Phil. Dr. Oz. The Illuminati. Nicki Minaj’s Monster Voice. Drake’s album. Kanye’s ballet dancers. MC Hammer’s diss track. Your father. Your lost innocence. Your mother who didn’t protect you. Your pain. Your refusal to let go. His mistakes. Your failures. Your pastor. Your church. Your religion. A lace front. A Booty Pop. A facade. The fairytales. Prince Charming. The white horse. Lebron. Kobe. Your degree. Your dissertation. Your collegiate “greatness”. Your  gargantuan amounts of supercilious vocabulary. Your iPhone, iPad, iPod, i..i..i.. Your BLACKer the BERRY. People.

God.

On the chase,

Alisha L.

The Blind Side

I don’t know why I named this blog “The Blind Side.” Just dropped in my spirit, so I’ll run with it.

Anyway…

I’ve learned so much about being a parent by being in relationship with God.

There are so many things parents are responsible for teaching their children: how to brush their teeth. How to tie their shoes. How to say “please” and “thank you.”

I, in turn, have learned so much about God by being a parent.

Today, Ashli and I were walking out of Wal-Mart and when we got to the curb, I looked both ways to see if a car as coming (there were none) and I lead us across the street.

Ashli, however, crossed the street without even looking.

What does it say about her trust in me? She trusts me enough and knows that I am wise enough to never cross the street without looking. She also knows that I’d never do anything to harm her or put her in harm’s way. She’s confident in the fact that she can walk, hand-in-hand with me, without hesitation… even when she’s not paying any attention.

How much more is it when we have a relationship with God?

A relationship with Him requires for us to trust Him, take His guidance and wisdom as gold, and walk with Him knowing that He’d never lead us astray or put us in harm’s way…even when we’re not paying attention.

This trust relationship, however, only comes when there’s a real relationship.

If Ashli was walking with a stranger, (which she would never do by the way) I’m sure she’d be more conscious, looking around, hesitating to make a move across the street–not because of the possible danger, but because of the unfamiliarity of the person she was walking with.

Again I ask, how much more is it when we do not have a relationship with God?

It’s not about church attendance, religious practices, speaking in diverse tongues, or having a first row seat with the deaconess board.

It’s about developing a personal relationship with Him in which that we can not only trust Him, but more importantly, He can trust us.

Ah, that’s why this blog is called “The Blind Side”: God protects us from those sides we can’t see, whether because of positioning or because we’re simply not paying attention. (That’s usually my problem…)

I thought I’d never figure that out.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Transparency.

Recently, Erykah Badu released a video for her song “Window Seat” where she is walking through downtown Dallas buckey-naked. Completely naked. 

While many debate whether or not her antics were for true artistry or just a publicity stunt, I think she brings about something worth considering when chasing after those things we are most passionate about. 

When chasing after God and his purpose for our life, it may require for us to be extremely transparent. 

We may have to remove the fake lashes, the weaves and wigs, the makeup, the fake labels, titles, accolades, organization affiliations, maybe even appendages (cue the movie “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka”) 

Cherry from "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka"

She' removed the filter, ya'll!

  

What I’ve learned as I chase after God He requires for me to be extremely transparent. It is very difficult for me to hide my past and even my present as I encounter people. While writing my book Pieces: Finding the Missing Piece is Easier than You Think, I remember having a hard time writing certain things in the book because they were so personal in nature. I thought to myself, “What in the world will people think when they learn (insert huge failure or character flaw here) about me?” On a number of occasions, I would erase entire pages of text because the information I was sharing was personal, so hurtful, and, in some ways detrimental to my “reputation” that some people may laugh, snicker, or even see me differently.  

But God. 

Being transparent has allowed me to not only remove the dusty residue from those experiences, they have allowed other people to be transformed through my learned ability to be transparent. No, I don’t run around telling everyone every little mistake I’ve made, wearing my failures and triumphs on my sleeve, but when the time calls for it, I will pour out every bit of me to allow that person to see that redemption is possible. 

How transparent are you? How many lives can be changed by just one moment of transparency? Many believers think that they don’t have a “calling” to minister or have a great spiritual impact simply because they aren’t called to the pulpit. Know that your biggest ability to have an impact on someone else is to drop the act, take of the mask, and just. be. you. 

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimonyRevelations 12:11

Oh, by the way. Every page I deleted I had to retype or click the “undo” button. God just doesn’t like shortcuts, I guess.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

The Glass Ceiling

When we think about the phrase “the glass ceiling”, we are reminded of the limited point of view, experience, expertise, or restrictiveness that comes with reaching our highest heights or greatest potential. The glass ceiling, metaphorically speaking, has represented reaching the pinnacle, the highest point of something. We strive to reach beyond that point, breaking through the glass ceiling, to go above and beyond societal and social standards of living.

As I grow in Christ, I’m learning that the more I learn, the more He expects. The more He expects, the more I must give up those things that easily beset me. The more I give up those things, the more I am able to move higher and higher in God. And even in moving higher, I must give up even more.

Mark 8:34 (amplified)

And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me].

There is no such thing as a perfect Christian; even those of us who live so-called righteous lives fall short in some area. Despite our short comings, God graces us with blessing we don’t deserve and opportunities that we are sometimes not qualified to have. He loves us so much that He’ll give us the greatest desires of our hearts even when we haven’t earned them or deserve them. He’ll allow us to be blessed beyond measure despite our sinful ways, our shortcomings, or the numerous times we’ve ignored His call to go higher.

We know our God to be merciful, gracious. He gave us his only son for our sake even when we were undeserving. He’ll continue to do it over and over and over and over….

But even God has a glass ceiling.

There will come a point where we will reach our limits in his grace and mercy. We’ll bump our heads on His “ceiling” because we’ve reached our greatest potential in this current walk. We will finally max out on the current mercy and grace He allots us despite ourselves.

If you plan to go higher, your must lay down your life (your will, your way, your sin), pick up your cross (His will, His way, His sinless life) and follow him.

Easier said than done, I know.

But…

We are limited by our own refusal to live a righteous life for God. We stifle God’s ability to continue to bless us on a consistent basis because we desire our own will over His. God, in all his sovereignty cannot and will not dwell (versus visit, which is momentarily) in a place where sin/death is prevalent.

It’s a hard gospel, but its the truth.

You want to go higher in God? You want to not have a fly-by-night experience with Him? Remove the “ceiling” of sin… take the roof off this mutha by no longer excusing our short comings with sub par excuses like “the devil made me do it,” “I can’t help myself,” and my absolute favorite “what had happened was…”

I speak from a place of familiarity; at the end of last year, I was involved in a relationship that was operating in (quite well, I may add) some *clears throat* stuff. I knew that God was calling me to a higher place in Him. He was showing me things, revealing parts of my purpose to me–but every time He showed me a piece, it seemed to be so far out of reach. Not because it was unattainable or that it was even out of season, it was because my sin was limiting God’s ability to release that part to me. In order for me to walk into that part of my destiny, I had to let go of the thing (or person) that so easily beset me. 

I laid down my “life” (that relationship) and picked up my “cross” (a total committment to God’s plan and his righteousness) and haven’t looked back. It was hard–when the text messages rolled through and the when hitting the “ignore” button wasn’t enough to keep me away–but the end reward has been so much greater than anything I could have gained from remaining in disobedience.

Breaking through God’s “ceiling” is my goal. I’ve shattered it into pieces in the last three months, but there are some jagged pieces still hanging around that I’m working on knocking out through obedience to Him. We push to break through the “ceiling” at work, in our relationships, etc. We will change our ways, our hair, our weight, get more education, lay aside our hood ways just to break through society’s “ceiling”. What are you willing to change to get through God’s?

I want the limits off, don’t you?

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

I’m Not Looking At You…

This is overdue, so to those who this is really for, I apologize for my disobedience… Even delay in obedience is disobedience, ya heard?! 

Satan, get some Lasik.

I was talking to my good friend a couple of weeks ago about how she was feeling the heat in her finances. She was getting attacked from each and every way; unexpected repairs on her home, a student stealing money from her, even an ex boyfriend leaving her house with some money in his pocket that didn’t belong to him. 

It seemed as if every time she turned around, Satan was in her back pocket doing what he does best: steal, kill, and destroy. 

After chatting it up for a while about how that lil’ hussie stole money out of her wallet at work, I came to the realization about something. 

Satan has really limited vision. He can’t see past the current, the right now. Every time he attacks us, whether that be through our money, our bodies, our relationships, our careers, anything, he operates on a “right now” time frame. He can only see as far as what kind of pain or anguish it will cause us right now

But what he fails to realize, you see, is that everything he does causes us to (if we faint not Gal. 6:9) reap a greater reward than anything that we lost in the first place. 

Satan can’t see the other side of things. His view is limited. It’s like he’s sitting at the bottom of a hill throwing stones up at us on top of the hill. If he throws hard enough, a stone or two may hit us. May even knock us down if that stone is big enough. But what he fails to see that behind us, God picks up every stone and is placing it strategically, storing it up, multiplying them so when Satan is done with his futile attack, we can turn around and turn those stones into immediate rewards for our ability to stand. 

WHOA. That was good! 

So don’t be discouraged when the tough times come. When things are hitting you, one after another, know that Satan is only doing them with a limited view. He can’t see that his antics turn into rewards behind you on the hill… 

Ay yo, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, L-O-S-E-R… get some Lasik. 

We’re not looking at you, we’re looking paaaaaassst you… 

On the Chase, 

Alisha L. 

“But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” Genesis 50:20 NKJV