February is here again, and as I do every year, I celebrate hard when it comes to my birthday. I usually try to play down what February 7 means to me, but the reality is, I love my birthday. I love adding another year to my life. Even though there are times when I ask myself where the years have gone, I love to celebrate because I realize how good God has been to me. To allow this kid from Ghana to see another year is cause to stop, celebrate and give thanks. My most vivid childhood memories usually involve time in the hospital, and even though I still have daily battles with Sickle Cell, I seem to get stronger, wiser and hungrier for success each passing year.
The one thing I also do every February is to look at my life and see how I have changed. This year, as I turn 28, I want to share something I’ve learned over years.
“The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us.” (Matthew 13:22).
As I reflect over the past few years, I realize how consumed I was with things of the world. I was worried about how much money was in my bank account, what I was going to wear (because you know my swag is through the roof), what I was going to eat, my status at work and other things that I had no business worrying about. I was quick to pray for blessings and slow to thank God even for the blessing of life each passing day.
See, it’s natural in this day and age to be consumed with the things I listed above. After all, I’ve overcome so much to settle for an average life, right? I have worked hard and beaten the odds—I should be able to have whatever I want, right? I’m a hard working man with dreams and aspirations—I have every right to focus on my status in life, right? It’s logical to be focused on making a better life for yourself and having the best-of-the-best if you work hard for it, right?
The answer is no. It took me almost 28 years to listen to what God says about this topic, but I finally did. God tells us not to worry about the things of the world. He tells us to be careful only about one thing—our relationship with Him. Our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says we must NOT!
The thought I had for many years was “Well, did God consider my circumstances before He said this?”
The funny thing is, God knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become our primary focus. We encounter troubles and tribulations when we focus on things of the world so much they take the place of God in our lives.
Here’s the deal: If God watches over the birds and the trees, how much more you who He created in His own image? The only way to receive this promise from God, however, is if you focus on Him and Him alone! We spend so many hours in the day worrying about things God has told us not to worry about. In fact, He has given us a super easy way to obtain the things we want, but we rather choose to obtain those things the hard way. He tells us to seek Him first and ALL OTHER THINGS will be added to our lives. How easy is that? So why are we so concerned and stressed about those other things?
As I turn 28 years old on Super Bowl Sunday, by biggest piece of advice and the lesson I’ve learned the most over the years is to just listen to God and stop stressing about things out of my control. I’d rather seek Him than have sleepless nights worrying about things He has already promised me.
What am I going to eat tomorrow? God will take care of it. What am I going to wear tomorrow? Trust me, I know how to dress to impress, but it’s not my focus. Gone are the days when I dressed up to look “better” than someone. How am I going to pay these medical bills? God already took care of it. How am I going to prove my worth? Who cares—God already took care of it. Should I keep going?
I can’t remember a time when God hasn’t provided for me. Why would He stop now? It’s just sad that the same God who provides the things we are worried about is the same God we put aside to focus on things He’s itching to give us.
I hope and pray I never lose sight of what is important. I hope this blog post also reminds you to stop worrying about the things you can’t control. Focus on the King, and all other things will come.
Happy birthday to me!