I Hate Commitment, (or is it Failure I Fear)

I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failing to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting Jeff Goins’s 30 day #My500Words writing challenge for the month of January, because I figured if I waited long enough, it would be too late to commit and then I couldn’t fail. One way to avoid being a failure is to not commit—just don’t take the risk. Right? Wrong.

The Bible admonishes us to count the cost, to consider if we are able to complete a task before we begin and to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. We should have  reverence for commitment, but there’s a difference between responsibly considering decisions and living in neutral. Neutral often slides into reverse motion

Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Rachael_M-Colby_Neutral

You can choose to live a reactive or proactive life. God calls us to action and faithful stewardship of our talents and abilities. Passivity is an action. We are responsible for the results of our indecision. We either pursue God and His call for our lives or neglect it. Inaction is an action; indecision is a decision. No risk, no gain. Guaranteed.

In an effort to feel more secure and protect myself from failure, I wrote my first 500 words before typing, “I’m in,” and accepting the challenge—at the last minute. So how did I do? I failed. I missed three days and many days I fell short of the 500 words, but on others, I exceeded it. But there is a difference between failing at something and being a failure. Failing doesn’t necessarily identify you as a failure. It could just mean you tried and as Thomas Edison said, figured out many ways how not to do something, which is often the route to finally achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle.

So, what really is the battle here? Am I afraid of commitment, or failure? Or am I just a control freak? The answer is yes. If I stay in my comfort zone I don’t need faith. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, or don’t need a miracle, or if I can do it in my own strength, or have all the answers up front. I like the sure thing, the guarantee. But if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I will miss the chance to see God work with me, through me and move on my behalf. My mess yielded to Jesus is a chance for God’s miracles. My obstacles are God’s opportunities.

I’m often hard on myself when I feel I’ve let myself, others and most importantly, God, down. Even though I want and need input to grow, sometimes it’s so hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up already. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.

Unspoken- Miracle

Let your trials and failures refine you and let God define you.

Sometimes it’s the process of the struggle that builds the strength to accomplish the task. The only real failures are those who do nothing or quit at their calling.

Sometimes what we think of as failure is God’s strength and endurance training, equipping us to help others.

Sometimes that good thing for us is failure, or setback, or discipline, or faith stretched until the midnight hour—and then the victory. Pray; wait on God, and when He says it’s time to move—move.

Tattoo-It_On_Your_Heart_CFM_Pastor_Chip_Ganiear_Potential_Miracle

When I depend on myself and my own abilities I fall short. The only sure thing is the Gospel. The only guarantee of success is to obey God and hitch our hearts, our hope, our destiny and eternity on Jesus. What matters is not my own or the world’s definition of success or failure, but God’s. God defines us by our identity with Him. I am His.

If God is asking you for something you can’t do then it’s God’s turn to do whatever it takes to accomplish His will and destiny for your life. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

And all that really matters is the will of God.

I’m going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fail sometimes. We will lose some battles, but I read the end of the story, and those who walk with Jesus win the war.

Pray. Persist. Prevail.

“I AM THAT I AM” beats “it is what it is” every time. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

We were made for Christ, to follow Him, to obey His Word and calling, to lean on His strength and grow in His grace.

He has called me to write for Him, and so, I write.

What about you?

Carrollton- Made for This

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Dear reader,

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

gofundme_aleks_battle_against-lymes

See, Stand, Speak

It’s loud out there. Much of the voices are of those in error, who sow division, stir up strife, and spew hate, and doctrines of loose living. They seek to cast off the restraints and Biblical principles our Nation was founded on which secured our freedom and bound us to the blessings of the Almighty, our Creator.

Too often those who believe in righteousness choose to remain silent or are not given the platform to stand and speak. Or sometimes when they do, others do not support them. There is no neutral ground. If we say nothing and do nothing when we are called to stand and speak we become part of the problem. Speak the truth in love, because that’s what love does. 

I write to make Truth Himself, Jesus Christ known, so lost ones can find Home. I write to shed light and hope and truth abroad, through His Word, the words He gives me, and sometimes through the words of others. I write to encourage and inspire the well doing and weary ones to hold on and carry on.

So, what are you doing? What has God called you to do? Better find out if you don’t know. Tick-tock-tick-tock—

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

Truth must speak more loudly than lies. Those who walk with wisdom must lead so others can follow and be saved from stumbling, foolishness and folly. Hope is not meant to be hidden in our hands but offered to the needy, the thirsty. 

Yes, light casts out darkness, but only if we hold our candles high. Encourage. Educate. Empower, inspire, motivate. See. Stand. Speak Truth. Speak life.

SONG: TobyMac, Speak Life

Some stories are worth repeating. Here’s a few:

LINK TO VIDEO: Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Graham and the Civil Rights Movement.

One Blood~ An American Civil Rights Story 

As told to me by Jean Taylor Colby and Sara Clay.                                              Originally Published: January 16th, 2017

It is my pleasure to feature this story in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and for all who stood and stand for freedom, justice, and righteous unity.

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,” Acts 17:26 (NKJV)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Despite the passage of civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, change was slow. James Meredith, the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi, set out to draw attention to the continuing racial oppression in the Mississippi Delta and to encourage voter registration by African Americans, in the face of great opposition and despite the fear it produced. He embarked on his solo mission, The March Against Fear, in June 1966, starting in Memphis Tennessee with the intent of ending at the State house in Jackson Mississippi, the state capital. On the second day of his march, Meredith was shot by a white sniper by the name of James Aubrey. Upon learning of the shooting, other Civil rights leaders, organizations and supporters, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., decided to continue the march.

Jean’s Story

In June, 1966 my husband, Roy, and I participated in the March Against Fear. The purpose of the march was to non violently support and encourage voter registration of the black population and to not be hindered by fear or from the hateful opposition they faced. We took our four children with us. Their ages were 5, 7, 9, and 12. The night before we marched, we stayed with families from neighboring black churches, my husband and son with one family, and myself and our daughters with another.

The next day was brutally hot, so our hosts gave us salt pills to prevent dehydration.There were about 200 of us, and as we marched through each town we kept picking up more people. We were among the few whites in the mostly black crowd. Angry faced locals lined the highway, some carrying rifles, harassing us as we walked by. Our oldest child, Sara, remembers the hate filled face of a woman riding in a truck, with guns on a rack in the back. The woman shouted obscenities in her face and spit on her. Immediately our 12 year old was swept into the middle of the marchers to keep her safe. A grandmotherly black woman right behind her said, “Don’t you fret about it honey, we’re just gonna sing.” And they did.

“This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.”

This is how you fight back. You sing.

Then the horrifying word came through that a black man had been lynched that same day outside the town we had just passed through.

As we walked along highway 51, we often saw poor black folks bending over in the cotton fields. As soon as they saw us they would rise up tall, wave and give the marchers huge smiles of encouragement.

After a few hours, we stopped at a small farmhouse. We all took drinks of water from the well out front. It was there that our Hartford Seminary classmate and good friend, Andy Young, a colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., discovered us. He said, “Wait right here just a minute.” He went inside the house where Dr. King was involved in a strategy meeting with other leaders. Dr. King stopped what he was doing, came out to the road, and greeted our family. He then blessed each of our children. It is forever a treasured memory. Then some printed handbills appeared and were passed among us with these encouraging words from Dr. King:

“We’re moving up the highway of Freedom toward the City of Equality. We can’t stop now.

In the evening we had supper in the school yard. Out of nowhere came enough food  for over 200 people, as in the Bible account where on the mountainside 5,000 were fed. Peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and piles of fried chicken prepared by women from local black churches, who could ill afford it. To protect us while we ate, Federal Marshals with machine guns sat on top of the roof of the school.

After supper, as we left to head back home to Chicago, there were no federal marshals, just an angry white crowd lining the highway, shouting and shaking their fists at us, some with rifles. My husband yelled at us to get down on the floor of the car as he drove quickly out of there.

We were never afraid while walking up that highway, because we were all together, over 200 of us. We kept on singing, and we kept on walking. What a privilege it was to be there.

Meredith recovered from his wounds and rejoined the march, walking on the frontlines next to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and other Civil Rights leaders. The marchers had grown in number to an estimated 1,500 participants. On June 26th, 1966, the 220 mile march ended with their arrival at the Statehouse in Jackson, Mississippi. Figures released by the US Justice department, showed that over 4,000 black people had been registered to vote during the march.

~~~~~*~~~~~

Sarah, you were only twelve years old. How did you feel about participating in the march?

I was never afraid. There were too many of us together to be afraid. I wasn’t even sure where my parents were. I think Mom was driving the First Aid car, and I didn’t know where Dad was, but we were all going to meet for dinner at the picnic place, so it was fine.

Tell me about the woman in the truck who spat at you.

I remember an ugly, angry face, hatred personified. She was screaming obscenities at me, a twelve year old girl- like, “Are you gonna sleep with that #?*# n—–?! You little  n—– lover!” She was probably a beautiful woman, but that day she was very ugly.

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”― Martin Luther King Jr.A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Suddenly, these big black men surrounded me and put themselves between me and the vehicles. And I remember this big black grandmotherly lady saying to me, “Don’t you pay them no mind. We’re just gonna keep on singing.” Then we sang, This Little Light of Mine.

How did that make you feel? What was going through your head?

I wasn’t shocked. I had encountered southern racism before when I was eight years old and our family moved from Chicago where I attended an integrated school, to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. On the ride to Oak Ridge, we stopped at a gas station and I went to go to the bathroom. One bathroom had a door with a sign over it that said, “Whites Only.” The other bathroom had a sign which read, “Coloreds Only” and had no door with just a hole in the ground for a toilet. It looked like it had never been cleaned. I refused to get the key for the white toilet, but instead went around the back and peed in the grass. I wasn’t using the White’s Only bathroom.

Sarah, were white, and only eight years old. That’s very young to have such conviction and make a stand. It would have been really easy for you to just go get the key and use the nice clean White’s Only bathroom.

If everyone couldn’t use it, then I wasn’t using it either. I wasn’t getting that key! I wasn’t any kind of hero; I just had the same gut reaction any decent person would have had.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Jean, if then was now, or a similar situation presented itself, knowing the dangers, would you participate? Would you bring your children or grandchildren to it?

Yes. Children need to know, to see and be with people who aren’t like them. And when you gotta stand up for justice, it’s what you gotta do.

“the time is always right to do the right thing”― Martin Luther King Jr.

Jean, did you expect the level of opposition you faced during the march?

I don’t know if I thought about it beforehand, but I knew there had always been opposition to the Civil Rights Movement in the past.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Why did you do it? If you faced the same situation today, would you take the risk again and bring your children with you, even being separated from your husband and son and staying with strangers?

We felt it was important, and yes, I would. When you feel strongly about a cause you know is right, you do something about it. You make a stand.

“The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Russ Taff, Alicia Williamson, We Will Stand, (Live)

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35 (NKJV)

(I am truly blessed to have  Jean as my mother-in-law, and Sara as my sister-in -law :)  )

 

Dear reader,

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

gofundme_aleks_battle_against-lymes

*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

© 2017, 2018 Rachael M Colby                 Tattoo It On Your Heart

#whyiteach

 

Rachael_M_Colby_blogs_capecodonline_Tattoo_it_On_Your_Heart_ Remind_me_#whyiteach

 

I received the following messages from a friend who is a teacher. She wishes to remain anonymous.

TEACHER:   Texting you this… Need people to help remind me why I teach when I’m having bad days.

Teaching is one of the hardest jobs. You rarely ever get kudos. You mostly hear what you are doing wrong.

So, in those rare moments when the smoke clears, and you see what truly matters, and you see the little things you do, and the impact they can have, that is the gold you have to hold unto- or you will quit.

So Far Today:

I comforted and prayed with a teacher who just had a miscarriage.

I’m standing in the hallway welcoming students, hustling the stragglers to class. Glancing in my classroom, I realize one of my boys is crying. I motion him to come into the hall and he tells me his aunt died from a stroke last night. We talk, I give him a hug, and help him grieve.  He gives me permission to share with the class. His friends quickly change seats and circle him; No talking or touching; they are middle school boys after all. They support him by just being there. They take out paper and write notes of encouragement- without any prompting. #proud #whyiteach

All before 9:30am.

11:20am Update

Another student running up and down the hallway screaming and crying. Counselor trying to help. He refuses… I step into the hallway, take his hands, have him take deep breaths with me to calm him down so he can talk to the counselor without screaming. #whyiteach

Teaching is never about the subject you are teaching. It’s about showing compassion, how to grieve, process anger, express joy. So much emptiness and anger in my students- they just don’t know how to handle life. Happy that I can be here to help them.

Remind me of this when I’m having a really bad day.

Anyone who becomes a teacher because they want kids to learn a subject is missing a huge piece of teaching. I went into teaching because I want to teach children how to successfully live their lives, process emotion, and become productive people. The subject I teach has so little to do with what I really do.

“When will I use this?” they say.  (Algebra, science, etc..)

The answer is: “Who really cares? Will you remember that I taught you compassion when your classmate’s aunt died, that I held your hands when you just couldn’t take another step, that I told you I care about you?”

And yes, of course, I’ll give you another chance when you screwed up, yet again, in my class, because this is #whyiteach

Update 1:00 pm

Two boys try to fight in my classroom. Calmed them down and talked to them. One of the boys tells me he’s not really mad at the other kid. He just watched his dad get arrested and he’s really upset… Sigh.  #whyIteach

At lunch, the boy whose aunt died comes up to me. “I’m doing better,” he says quietly, and dashes away.

Last Block:

The boy who was crying and screaming in the hallway comes to class. He’s smiling now, and we’re just figuring it all out. It’s a good day. #whyiteach

I know I could get a job in a better district. My family asks me why I stay, all the time.

“Who’s going to teach them if I don’t?” I reply.

“Someone will,” they say.

“But will they care about them? Will they pray over their desks? Will they cry over them? Will they love them?”

I can’t walk away from these kids. Many of them don’t have adults that truly care. They are used to being thrown away, adults not sticking with them. I can’t be one of those people. Teaching is a calling, not a job. I have to teach them how to be cared for and to care for one another, to create community in the classroom. Once I’ve done this, and only then, can I actually teach them any academic content with success. This usually takes a few months to establish.

I have to teach them, I don’t know if someone else will care for them like I do. #whyiteach

A Few Weeks Later:

TEACHER:   Why do I teach again? My head hurts, my neck aches…

RACHAEL:    Because it matters- maybe for eternity for some of your students. Even though you don’t see it now.

Because they need you even when they don’t want you.

Because you may be the only love, the only Jesus, some will see today and over the next few months

Because you have to. It’s your calling.  #makeadifference   #youmatter

Because it costs more to quit than to carry on. #whyyouteacTattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_Ush

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength
is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

 © 2017 Rachael M Colby       Tattoo It On your Heart