Tag Archives: life lessons

WHEN GOD LETS YOU “SKIP THE LINE”

I’ve heard many variations of the assurance uttered: “All in God’s timing.  God’s timing is perfect.  When God annoints it, it will make up for lost time.  God’s favor is a multiplier.”  Various phrases designed to offer the same assurance: that it’s ok if you’re still waiting on something.  Have peace and know that He will work it all out. I never quite understood, however, how exactly that was going to play out in real life – until just recently.  And here’s how it works.  You don’t worry about the timing.  You stay faithful and diligent.  You keep working on your craft and you keep walking with God.  These two principles practiced concurrently ensure that you are happy and at peace no matter where and no matter what.  Years may pass in between dreams that may seem like “lost time” in the natural way of thinking.  However, in the supernatural, God moves mountains for you, essentially “making up” for the lost time – lettin’ you “skip da line!”  At least that’s exactly how it happened for me, clear as day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Several years, ago, I got the comedy itch.  I knew I was funny and I knew I loved standup comedy – so why not do it?!  I took a standup class, performed at a few open mics, performed as part of a paid show, earned  street cred in the comedy circle, and altogether had a great run as a standup comic under my belt! This time also taught me, however, that making it in this world was brutal: hours spent on the open mic circuit night after night, exploiting friends and mailing lists to bring enough guests to “earn” your time on stage, and of course, the tens of hours of constant generating, writing, & perfecting jokes 24/7.  I knew that I was done.  I had scratched the itch and was not about to begin a comedy career.  Sure, I could do it…I just didn’t want to put in all that time.  And so I happily returned to acting and spin instructing, now legitimately adding “comedienne” to my resume! Fast forward 3 years and I’m at church one Sunday hearing that our church is sponsoring a Christian Comedy Show!  I immediately meet the producer and chat with her, leaving her with our shared comedy background because I did it for two months several years ago!  I emailed her the link to said performance, bought tickets to the show, and set out to support the cause!  The day of the show, she calls me and asks that I perform.  I was completely caught off guard – I don’t know if I’ve ever been more surprised, actually – and stammered that I was in absolutely no position to perform.  She proceeded to insist, saying that it was “ordained by God” and lo and behold, I performed that night and HERE is what God did for me!
  • I had an incredible performance, surprising my church (pastors included), when I appeared on stage.
  • A producer of another comedy show scouted me at that show.
  • The headliner’s manager sought me out after the show as well.
  • I was invited to join the the Christmas show lineup for Artistic New Directions, winning over the whole room.
  • I performed and hosted with the same Christian Comedy Show two months later (both times at Comic Strip Live).
  • I performed in the 6th annual Gospel Comedy Show at Long Island University’s Kumble Theatre the day after Christmas, with my sister, niece, & brother-in-law in the audience.
Here is the miracle:  I received 10 minutes of stage time at 3 paid shows at reputable venues without ever having to pound the comedy circuit!  The average comedian starting out gets 5 minutes at an open mic where he has to wait for his turn to perform and then only performs for a lackluster audience comprised of other comedians waiting for their turn.  This average comedian eventually, by working this circuit long enough, gains enough traction, reputation, and networking to begin performing at bringer shows: paid shows with real audiences that you are required to bring a certain number of people to.  Think of those people who “bark” at you on the street: “free comedy!” “do you want to laugh tonight?” – those are bringers.  Then, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally just perform.  Again, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally get paid to perform.  In this industry, like any other, dues must be paid and you should enjoy your craft enough to tough it out for what can be years or decades of working the circuit. Well, if you can tell, I skipped over all the dues-paying as God connected me with the perfect people at the perfect time so that I could simply work on my craft and then showcase my craft – how efficient of God, huh?!  I think I dig God’s style! When it dawned on me, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and encouraged beyond measure.  In that moment, I understood that God saved me time!  I am the same comedian that I would have been had I put in all those years, except that I didn’tInstead, I spent that time working on my acting, my modeling, my hosting, my nonprofit, my spin instructing, and all of the other things I was busy doing.  And most importantly, I spent that time growing in God, walking with God, and becoming more steadfast, more righteous, and more of the woman of God that I am now. And the ultimate take-away here, the biggest encouragement – is that this is how God works.  Trust the process – just like any other process – and see it work for you.  I pray to never again be plagued by anxiety, comparison, and worry.
I pray to rest in peace and assurance that my job is to simply work hard and walk hard [with the Lord] and my path can never be wrong.
My path will be intact, my steps will be ordered, and I will always be OK! I want this to encourage you to do the same.  God’s promise in the Bible is that He has good and prosperous plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11).  Living like this means that you live without worry or anxiety, just like all of God’s other creatures, knowing that worry will not add a single hour to your life. (Matthew 6:25-34).  Living like this means that your priority is putting God first, knowing that this most critical step paves the way for all other things to take care of themselves…ie: all other things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).  You will get your dream(s)…and instead of battling for them, they will be gifted to you!  You will get the dream career, the dream man, the dream apartment, the dream french bulldog, the dream body.  You should insert your own dreams here 😉 Here’s the funny way in which it works sometimes: by walking with God, you have insurance that things will work out, that He will work things out for our good  (Romans 8:28).  God will either realize this through granting us our very wish as we envision it or by adjusting our vision so that our wish is closer to where we already are.  The beauty of this?  Contentment, either way.  It’s the only way to live in true contentment and thus, the only way to live for me. Follow God’s lead and believe that there is no better way!

God – the Magnificent Orchestrator

I’ve heard and retold many a story of how “God’s timing is perfect.”  Of these, there are countless.  From how my pastor’s wife waited until forty for marriage to how she miscarried several times to how now, she is the mother of two adopted newborn twin girls with the man of her dreams is one very real example.  There is an often-cited anecdote that people use to demonstrate how God may often be “saving you” from something when seemingly causing a delay in your life.  ie: that traffic jam that you’re in could be saving you from that accident up ahead.  The final idea is-which is something that I’ve really clung to recently-is the idea that you don’t “define God based on  your circumstances; you define your circumstances based on God.”  One you’ve decided that “God is good all the time; all the time, God is good,” your circumstances are simply an exercise in faith. This is all easy to say, but I know it’s hard and I’ve been through the bleak moments when I’ve wondered myself.  But the breakthroughs will come and when they do, you go ahead and record them and blog about them and keep them around because breakthroughs are testimonies.  And now I’mma share mine! I just got out of a very bleak time where I felt, in the most scientific of terms, in a schlump.  On the heels of heartbreak, my feelings began to snowball to include loneliness, depression, and an overall absence of joy, energy, and purpose.  It was bad, ya’ll.  I would put on a happy face and happy energy for just long enough to get through teaching a class or completing an audition – and then I would default to sad clown face.  Through this time, I prayed, I read, and I learned a lot.  But I was still there, in the winter, emotionally.  I started to question my career, city of living – everything went under the microscope for examination during this time of unhappiness as I tried to “get to the root.” Some important pieces of background information:
  • I’ve always been a commercial actor with no intention of pursuing tv or film acting.
  • I’ve always taught fitness classes as a “side hustle” to my commercial acting.
  • After my heartbreak, I was shaken enough to receive a friend’s referral  to her therapist and have been working with her  since.
From the book "time in a bottle" - this passage is on "perfecting the past"
From the book “time in a bottle” – this passage is on “perfecting the past”
Here is the turnaround in my story – where the winter gives way to spring – where the score crescendos – where all the pieces of God’s magnificent plan seamlessly and perfectly align for the good of you – get ready! I text my therapist in the midst of my emptiness – desperate to shake this state.  She gets on the phone with me for 30 minutes, during which I’m crying silent throughout.  At the end of that call, I feel empowered to call my Dad and make plans for Christmas and as I look at all the other areas of my life I was questioning, I suddenly feel contentment in them again.  My energy and motivation to be a contribution to this world return and I get busy doing things for others again. During this time, I was also being asked to act in a dramatic scene and despite the fact that this was not my “acting lane” as a commercial actress, I said “yes.”  As I was studying movie clips to pull from, I felt compelled to write my own scene, inspired by my heartbreak.  And right then and there, I penned my first scene as a writer!  And it was good, ya’ll!  Suddenly, the idea of being an actress – a legit actress – in tv and film – became desirable to me. I wrote the scene in under an hour and later on that day, had a conversation with an old college friend that solidified for me this decision to become a full-time actress.  By the end of that day, I was busting at the seams with excitement over my promising acting career!  The desire, placed within me for the first time, was suddenly so magnetic and so attractive, that it felt like I was going from 0 – 60mph!  Over the next two days I decided who my muse was going to be, made a vision board for my acting career, applied to an acting school, studied a monologue for that audition, started studying movies, and fully saw myself and my life through this lens of acting. And I used to say that I didn’t want to act, just do commercials and host.  And I used to specifically correct people when they called me an actress, clarifying that I was only a commercial actress.  And I had never taken one acting class. Also, at this time, it seemed like my fitness instructing career was crumbling.  My class attendance was dwindling and my gyms were actually taking me OFF the schedule.  I knew that it wasn’t me because I would get great feedback that let me know that the style that used to pack my class was the same style that suddenly was bringing in less then ten people at times.  I fought the temptation of offense and forced myself to stay still to see what God had in store in this circumstance.  And now, I see – He was freeing me to act!  Without the hours spent preparing, traveling, and teaching a class, I really would gain so much more time to pour into acting! Here’s what I believe:  God wasn’t going to let me be an actress and make it big and have the fame and fortune and platform that a successful actor has until I fixed some things.  There were some things that were in dire need of address in my way of being in relationships.  I needed to be humbled and broken – there was no way around it.  It took two consecutive heartbreaks in the same year to shake me to the point of looking outside of myself for help.  And then it was like the scales were removed from my eyes and I started to choose another way to think and behave that God finally saw as good and appropriate and fitting.  And once that started happening, God wasted no time in planting the desire and the resources around me to allow me to pursue this career at warp speed.  I believe that these years of commercial acting have prepared me with knowledge and resources to make up for this later start in my acting career.  And I believe that He loves me, has never stopped loving me, and has been guiding me all this time, even during the winters when I was too numb to feel His presence. God is good and I’m going to be a movie star! And if you don’t believe me, hear it from Oprah – her message: “there are no mistakes,” and I add to that an “Amen, because God’s plan is perfect.  He will work it out for you.”

Long days, short nights…

On Set for Xfinity
…a cab driver said this to me the other day in explanation to “how he was doing.” I thought it quite clever of a saying and quite enjoyed it, as morose as the meaning of it actually is! After the last two days of my life, however, I must say that I can commiserate with him. I’m attempting to do the whole “look for the lessons” thing, so here it goes: Humility & Love. I am not “all that.” On set for a fitting the other day, I pranced in expecting the “Jeanette treatment”..to be accommodated, to be complimented…by golly, to be treated nicely!  Instead, I was minimally acknowledged, borderline reprimanded, and just treated plain rudely! Furious, frustrated, and confused, I couldn’t wait to get out of there…to salvage my spirit as well as my schedule. I realize now, however, that I was being checked for my pride. Yes, I am talent and yes, I do get my hair and my makeup done, but I am just as much a part of the production as the guy who picks the chips up off the floor. I cannot walk around with a “holier than thou” attitude. Just as much as people will sense my humility and take to it will they sense my conceit and attack it. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” -James 4:10 Grace & Joy. Go easy on myself. On sets, there is ample opportunity for cast, especially those in your scene, to get to know one another.  A camaraderie helps the day go by quicker and is sometimes essential to creating chemistry on camera.  On this particular day, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and kept beating myself up for not being “on”…not being “the best that I could be”…part of me honestly wanted to hide away and put myself out of my misery.  I allowed myself to accept all this negative self-talk.  Looking back, however, I realized that in lieu, I really need to accept myself in these moments.  I’m not always gonna feel like those Jirmack bounce back beautiful hair commercials (remember those!?) or any commercial, for that matter, in which the woman is prancing down the street with all the world at her fingertips.  I have my “Jirmack” moments, but my value and love for myself should have no contingencies.  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well”(Psalm 139:14)  God don’t make no junk so I gotta love me! Patience & Faithfulness. I cannot control others. After an emotionally trying experience on set, I was ready to go running with some ladies I had organized a run with.  The idea of releasing my stress into the fresh air and absorbing the advice and companionship of some female friends was so delicious to me.  I was so looking forward to it!  And lo and behold, no one showed up.  Great.  Just what I needed.  Another disappointment.  Another frustration.  Another question to God as to “Why?!”  Well, I ran on my own.  And enjoyed it still.  I decided from this experience that whether I run on my own or with another woman or twenty other women, that it’s time dedicated to God and has no attendance requirement.  And it’s not my place to impose it.  My job is to make sure Jeanette shows up and beyond that, it’s up to God.  “Let go and let God!” There were so many other things that I learned during these past two days, but I’ll keep it at this for yours and my sake!  Onward to a better, brighter, and more edifying day.  Thank you for all the blessings that I have and the lessons that I’m learning.  Peace and hair grease!