All posts by Love Joy

Actions Matter

In my world, when the phone rings at 3 AM, sorrow is guaranteed to be on the other side of the call.  So when my phone startled me awake one October morning, I was hesitant to answer.  But, I am glad I did.  I could barely understand the words coming out of my friend, Sharon’s, mouth.  Her sobs were heavy and I could sense the depth of her sorrow through the phone.  Sharon tried her best to tell me her husband had betrayed her…he had been unfaithful.  I told her I was on my way to her house but she insisted on coming to mine.  She needed to be away.

Through her sobs, Sharon shared with me that for a long time she felt her husband didn’t TRULY love her.  But, she didn’t want to believe it because he was always loving.  After a few hours of reminiscing, Sharon realized that her husband’s actions spoke louder than his words.  While he always had kind words for her, his actions spoke something different.

After Sharon left, my mind fell on my own hypocrisy (my words didn’t align with my actions) and of those around me.  I could see how easy it would be to put more weight on people’s words than their actions.  I once had a manager that was so kind to me in words but he would undermine me and ridicule me in front of others and he never truly supported me.  But, I was convinced he was a friend.  It was hard for me to reconcile that his words didn’t match his actions.  After all, scripture tells us that “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34) and that “death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

But those words are meaningless if they don’t match up with action.  Love, true love, are seen in our actions. Here is what God says on the matter:

  • Action speaks louder than words:
    • My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  (1 John 3:18-19). 
    • But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22).
  • Actions matter:
    • Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:17)
    • Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)

So who we are and what we are TRULY about is more in our action and the fruits (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control) our actions yield.  Both Sharon and I know that living in God’s truth and abiding in His word is where we are safe.  In fact, Sharon began dating again and was re-married a few years later.  She harbors no ill will to her ex-husband.  For a while, she was ashamed that she allowed herself to be deceived but eventually allowed that moment in her life to be a blessing and a lesson.

Towed Off:What’s A Testimony Without A Test

Tow truck towing a car broken down on the streetYesterday, the day I was scheduled to release the #HeartMatters video, my faith was tested. If you read my “From Fear to Faith” blog, you know that I’m currently job hunting. Yesterday, I had an interview at 3:00 PM. So, I used the small amount of funding I had access to and put a little bit of gas in my tank, just to make it to this interview and back home.

I took off for my interview a few minutes after 2:00 PM, just in time to have to rush to make it according to my GPS. As I approached the exit to get off, there was a split in the road and I heard nothing, no direction to go right or left. My GPS had turned off right before I reached the exit. So, I continued in the left lane as to not panic and cause an accident. In the meantime, I fumbled with my phone to get the GPS back on and hoped that I didn’t make a mistake. I did. A mistake that cost me 15 minutes and 9 miles of traffic to get back on the right course. I was late for an interview with the CEO of the company. That was a blow.

When I arrived at my destination, I parked in the same place that I parked earlier that week for a previous interview with the same company. I hurriedly grabbed my purse and my blazer and set off for the building. I called fifteen minutes before I was officially late to inform the hiring manager of my tardiness and situation. By the tone of the conversation, I felt the interview was redeemable. Thank God! I walked to the lobby and called the hiring manager about my arrival. By the end of that 30 second call, the receptionist asked me, “Do you drive a Mercedes?” I said, “No, I drive a Nissan.” She repeated what I told her to a person she was talking to on the phone. Then, she asked me, “Did you park across the street?” I told her I had and she informed me that I wasn’t permitted to park there because it was 30 minute parking and that I was in danger of being towed. By this time, the hiring manager had arrived to the lobby. I explained to her that my car was in danger of being towed, excused myself and went out to move my car. To my amazement, I came out to an empty space where my car had been. MY CAR WAS TOWED!

I experienced two unfortunate events which had the potential to derail the interview before it even started. But, I put on a good face and went into the interview with my best foot forward. I put aside my feelings and convinced myself, “This is an opportunity to show your resiliency. Use this experience to reply to the question of, ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ This is your time to shine!!” I went.  I saw.  I conquered. I left that interview feeling like it was a success. Now it was time to deal with the damage. Time to get my car back.

So, what the hiring manager and CEO didn’t know was that I was secretly LIVID. I was in the building for less than two minutes before they towed my car. To make matters worse, the receptionist told me that the towing company is infamous for watching people as they leave their car to see what building they go into. So, as I walked that mile to the towing company, I reflected and attempted to calm myself and restore my peace.

I mentally talked to God and asked Him to give me the words to say to convince the towing company of their error and get my car back without giving up $135 that I didn’t have. I started to feel down about the situation, that I yet again have created a burden on myself and my family. “I don’t have any money to give them…I refuse to ask my mom to help me again…I’m tired of being such a burden…why isn’t anything working out for me?”, I thought. So, instead of calling my family, I decided to handle the situation on my own. I was going to convince them to hand over my car. They were wrong for taking it in the first place. So, I went in with that mindset. I was still livid, still stubborn, still depressed, and still not hearing the directions.

So, I arrived at the towing company tucked away in a corner behind a Mercedes car dealership. I saw my car parked in the open unattended lot and thought, “Maybe this is God’s way of giving me my car back. I mean, why would they just leave it here unattended?” I unlocked the door and attempted to get inside when a lady called out, “Hey! You have to come over to this side.” I knew I was wrong, but I was truly in my feelings still. That was the first time it was clearly revealed to me.

I went to the window the lady called from and she asked me for my license. That’s when I attempted to explain that I believe that I was towed in error. She replied very apathetically,”It’s a 30 minute, retail parking spot. We have a video of you going into the building across the street.” That’s when the receptionist’s words rang in my ears, “Yeah, they’re vultures. They just hide away, sit, and wait for people to park and watch where they go.” I was heated. My body tightened, my voice raised, and my words got sharper and tighter. Then, a man that I suppose is one of the tow truck drivers got involved in the conversation and his words where even sharper than mine. I felt like he used his deep masculine voice to talk over me and stop me in my tracks.

I felt angry at what I believed was an injustice. Instead of continuing the conversation, I stopped, turned around, walked down the steps toward the parking lot, took out my keys, got in my car and drove off. Before I reached the gate, another tow truck driver drove his tow truck across the gate (which I believe was broken) and blocked me in the parking lot. They called the police.

Within 5 minutes, two police cars showed up with four officers dressed in bullet proof vests and one with green military-like attire. As I watched the officer walk up to my car, my spirit was stirred. I felt God telling me, “Let this go. Give it to Me.” The officer knocked on my window and asked about what happened. I explained to him the circumstances and that I believed I was wrongfully towed. He went over to the couple that ran the towing company and reviewed their evidence. He returned to the car and explained that I had to pay the fee or leave the car. “Just pay the $135 and file a suit in Civil Claims Court. Hopefully, you’ll get your money back”, he said. That was my breaking point. I broke down and explained to the officer that I didn’t have the money to pay the fine and I felt that it was unjustifiable. I was also still upset because I felt the officer had automatically taken the side of the towing company. After many tears and being told that I absolutely had to pay the fine, I exited the car and called my family. The police officers left and the towing family returned to their trailer and snacks.

As I waited for my sister and brother to arrive, I sat on the stairs to the window and texted a friend to pray for me. I explained to her the situation and waited for a reply. As I sat and waited, I heard the Spirit tell me to apologize for my actions. I resisted at first. I thought, “NO!! I’m not doing it. They were completely wrong. They stole my car, called the police on me, laughed at my tears and ate popcorn while they watched the disarray that they caused.” So, I waited outside in the 90 degree weather and I reflected on what just transpired. Then, my mom, whose phone was malfunctioning when I called her during the incident, called in a panic and asked what happened. I explained to her the situation and reassured her that I was okay and safe. She responded inquisitively, “Why is your sister going up there? She doesn’t have any money with her.” Then she said, “Do they accept MasterCard? I can just transfer the money now.” Thank you, God! So, she transferred the money. As I handed the lady my license, I offered a sincere apology for my wrongful behavior. With all of the lumps in my throat and hesitation in my voice, I apologized because God told me to.

Although everything ended with an apology, it still hurt. It burned my flesh to have to apologize, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. As affirmation, as I left the parking lot I looked down at my phone to a reply from my friend saying, “I feel like in this moment God is telling me to tell you to go to those people and apologize…I know it’s not easy to do but do it anyways and watch GOD work!”

|Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.| Gal 5:24

I still cried, heavy, breathless cries after, completely submitting my will to Him and completely handing over my inequities.  As I made my 45 minute journey back home, I thought about the ways in which we as human beings may hurt God everyday if He was like us. How our shortcomings would cause Him to be unforgiving…how we could never be saved if He was more like us.

I also reflected on how God gives us purpose through the pain. I learned a hard lesson about humility, forgiveness, and repentance that day. As I listened to KB’s Undefeated, I gave glory to God and His magnificent plan. Then, I came to a slow down. There was an accident and I thought, “It could’ve been me.”