Year 4: It’s Time to Work

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For the past three years, on February 3rd, I’ve written a blog post or created an IG video acknowledging another year as a resident of Los Angeles. This year, I wasn’t going to do one because I felt like it was dramatic and unnecessary. I mean it’s just my fourth year, not as significant as year one or year three (a number associated with completion and wholeness). Instead in the wee hours of February 2nd, I decided to look up the meaning of the number 4. Prophet Google gave me a word I couldn’t keep to myself:

4 is the number of being, it is the number that connects mind~body~spirit with the physical world of structure and organization. Four symbolizes the safety and security of home, the need for stability and strength on a solid foundation of values and beliefs.  –Source

I’ve moved around a lot during my time in Los Angeles. I’m talking at least seven moves in the last four years; whether it was to be closer to work or a sudden change in my household, I’ve found myself packing up boxes and trash bags and reserving a $19.99 (+mileage) U-Haul and heading across town (if you need any moving tips I’m ya girl). That being said, you can understand that seeing the words stability, security, and home connected to the number 4 really drew me in.

This past year, more than ever, I’ve just wanted to be settled; to establish my roots in a place that I could call home. God has shown me that home is wherever He places me, but I just wanted to have the stability to unpack without fear of getting too comfortable, only to have to pick up and move again.

Then, I researched 4’s biblical meaning. Genesis 1:14-19 was referenced describing the fourth day of creation.

:14 And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so…

:19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

One of the mantras God gave me entering 2019 is, “it is time.” This scripture confirms that God is separating me from former seasons and guiding me into the new. He is marking this as a new time and not just because it’s the beginning of the year.

I wasn’t excited about the New Year this go ’round. I believe God’s measurement of time is so different from ours that we can’t put all of our hope and resolutions into a 12-month period. However, I do believe there is relevance in the changing of seasons and from day to night. God is very detailed and uses every aspect of this grand universe we live in to steer us.

Last year, I wondered what the number 3 meant in my life. Was it time to relocate again? Would I finally be finished developing independently and gain a soul/purpose mate? But I get it now; it was the completion of an era. There were certain struggles that the enemy held over my head that I had to be set free from. I had to get to a point where I could conquer the things that once held me bound. The season of defeat was done with; I had started a new time. A brand new time like never before in my life.

The 4 is pragmatic and focused with specific goals, and it is highly likely to achieve them. To achieve the goals, real goals that build a foundation of security for the future — to achieve those goals requires work. Work and dedication. Goals aren’t reached without doing the work to achieve them.

The deep down basic essence of the numerology number 4 is focus — a focus on doing the actions it takes to accomplish goals related to building a secure foundation for the future.  –Source

I truly, truly believe that security is in this next chapter for me, but knowing how God works, I’m sure it won’t be in the traditional sense. I don’t know if I’ll ever be someone to live in the same place for multiple years. The idea sounds nice but I don’t know that that is what God has for me. Now, more than ever, I’m understanding the importance of connecting with people. Our purpose is to bring new believers into the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why we still tell stories today of Paul and Ruth and Moses and Joshua. These were selfless individuals who sacrificed the familiarity of home to focus on their Father’s business. And that is what God wants from me and you, but we have to do the work.

Kevin Hart and his Plastic Cup Boyz often say a phrase that resonates with me, “Everybody wants to be famous, nobody wants to do the work.” As Christians, we should want to make God famous, but realize that there is great work involved. You’re on a job that you dread? How are you going to commit to your work to inspire someone else and ultimately bless yourself in return? How are you going to shift the trajectory of your position?

I notice that my short-term relationships are often quick assignments to stir something in me that I was lacking. Recently, there was an individual in my life sent to ignite work ethic in me. I was wondering why things weren’t happening the way I’d hoped– why my finances weren’t greater despite new business endeavors, why I was still working a basic job considering my education and talent. God showed me that I was being lazy. On my off days, I found myself doing nothing. I had opportunities to make more money that laziness kept me from. This assigned person helped me change my attitude and actually work for the things I want, and I’ve immediately noticed a shift.

Year 4 for me is about establishing a strong foundation. I am building principles that are the standard to seeing real fruit in my life. These principles will allow me to create a legacy that will last well after I leave this earth. All of these things are the result of focus. I mentioned earlier that God gave me the words, “It’s time.” What He was saying is it’s time to get to work.

2018 Reflection

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I always look forward to looking forward. At the start of each new year, I list my goals, maybe create a physical or virtual vision board, and completely ignore anything that has taken place in the past 365 days. Very seldom, do I take the time to digest everything that has occurred in the past, determined to focus on tomorrow. However, nearing the end of 2018, I completed a 21-day Daniel fast, choosing to end the year out with a bang rather than wait for January 1st to have a fresh start. During that time, God charged me to reflect over my past year in order to process what He is doing in me in this upcoming season.

I started by looking over my 2018 journal entries. I am by no means a consistent journal writer, as is very evident by this blog site (I promise to do better). However, whenever a pivotal “aha” moment occurs, I tend to document it to sort out my thoughts and God’s intention behind the event. Reading over those journal entries led me to my knees in gratitude. I had forgotten many of the milestones I hit that year. I quit my job and shortly after landed a new one, worked as a contractor, started a small yet successful AirbnB, moved my younger brother in with me, moved two or three times (I’ve lost count) due to the growth in my household and business, joined a writer’s group, and made a couple handfuls of new friends and built new networks expanding my little community here in LaLa land.

In about three weeks, I will have been a Los Angeles resident for four years, thus making this my longest place of residence as an adult outside of my home state of Maryland. My, how time flies! This year marks 10 years out of college, two years in my thirties, and one year as a faux flexitarian (aka a wannabe vegan). It’s easy to remember the lows when reminiscing over the past year because we are so determined to turn them into highs in the next. But we must process everything, good and bad, in order to understand where we are going.

Many of us possess suppressed issues of our past that we don’t even recognize we haven’t overcome until some familiar event or person triggers them within us. This was my 2018! Two mini anxiety attacks later, I decided I wanted to seek counsel; an unbiased third party who could help me place all of my past on a table and organize my feelings like a deck of cards. But finding the right therapist is like finding the right man; hard as hell! I finally decided to stop searching and let the right fit come to me (in more ways than just therapy) and truly listen to what God was telling me. He had me go through my journal which is a beautiful notebook gifted me by my friend Atavia before my move here. And, yes, four years later, the pages are finally almost full.

I learned that I’ve experienced, like all of us, a series of ups and downs over the past few years. But there is one common theme in much of my writing; I made it. God has provided provision. However, it’s one thing to survive and another to rise and conquer. This season is all about rising and conquering. Learning from my past, and applying the tools I’ve gained to create a better situation. And then sharing these experiences with others so that they don’t encounter the same hiccups.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my alma mater’s Alumni West Chapter Brunch. It was amazing to connect with other Towson University alums over french toast and mimosas about our journeys from the east to west coast. I was able to gain invaluable advice from seasoned graduates with tenure in the entertainment writing industry. But the highlight of my day was speaking to a 2017 graduate. Her story felt just like mine. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and relocated to L.A. to work as an Admissions Counselor at a university.

She, too, accepted a job, outside of her field, in hopes of getting her foot in the door of the workforce but with aspirations of becoming a screenwriter. I advised her not to waste too much time; to take the tools she’d learn in her current position, the resources and network and move on to the field that would fulfill her and give her excitement about waking each morning. These were simple words I wish I’d heard in 2009 as a confused 22-year-old unsure of her path in life. I had an open mind but just didn’t know where to begin. 10 years later I know the answer; just begin.

This was the first year that I didn’t set a bunch of expectations. Instead, I felt led to reflect over the prior year and thank God for it all; the highs, the lows, the valleys, the mountains, the brokenness and mended relationships. My greatest achievement in 2018 was obtaining a new outlook on life. I learned to face my insecurities head on and appreciate myself as the person that God created. While I may be flawed, He is not, and did not make a mistake in any dimple, hair follicle or fingernail. He created an individual willing to serve and ready to listen and that to me is the greatest vision ever told.

GOOD MUSIC: TORI KELLY, JOR’DAN ARMSTRONG, KORYN HAWTHORNE, ERICA & WARRYN CAMPBELL & MORE

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It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done one of these but a lot of good music has been blessing my Spotify that I had to share it with ya’ll. I know you’ve been struggling to find tunes that you can bop and worship to at the same time. I got you!

Creating good purpose music that the young folk don’t consider “corny” can be a hard combo to come by, but every artist on this list has proven that you can be sanctified and lit. I’ve got a lot of new fire for ya’ll today so let’s hop into it!

First up, straight outta “the boot-shaped state,” is my boy Jor’Dan Armstrong. Any time Jor’Dan drops a new record, I’m downloading. He recently released a Deluxe version of his Blsd EP and as usual it does not disappoint. His single “Tomorrow” has been on repeat all summer, but his new track “Lose My Number” is also a banger!

I shook the devil off, shook him up off me/ I know he really mad, I know he salty/ Lose my number, don’t call me/ I’m living godly/ I reminisce of how far He brought me

Erica and Warryn Campbell dropped some real gospel Bey and Jay heat with their first duet “All of My Life.” I know the saints is mad but in the words of OT Genasis when you getting to the money, everybody mad. Just kidding.

I just wanna show you that it’s certain/ With my hands up, I call it worship/ Yeah I know it’s real, yeah I know it’s real/ And I ain’t gotta question how I feel/ Gimme gimme gimme purpose/ No I never ever nervous/ Everything you say, believe Him/ No I never ever leave Him/ I ain’t steppin down off this word/ Imma keep this thang clear that’s for sure

We’ve known since “Dear No One” that Tori Kelly’s voice was anointed. But now she’s released a worship album, “Hiding Place,” that is releasing that anointing to the world. This track, Psalm 42 is like pure spring water on a hot summer day. Listen and be blessed.

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As the deer pants for the water/ So my soul needs you, Lord/ We’re thirsty Lord, you’re the living water/ And my soul needs you Lord/ It needs you Lord

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My only disappointment with Aaron Cole’s music is not being introduced to it sooner. His record with the beautiful songbird, Koryn Hawthorne is fire! Aaron hails from Bristol, VA and get this…he’s only 19! Look out for this young man; he is going to have heavy impact in the burgeoning industry of Christian hip-hop.

I knew I was built for this thing/ I ain’t been a saint/ He show me love anyway/ I hear you talking a way/ Get out of my face/ He knew His plans for me/ This for my family, family
You living a fantasy if you think you can handle me/ 705 Chester street where it all started in a condo/ All we had was the ray and john got me feeling like Rondo/ 14 years I been in this thing and I still ain’t even reached my peak/ Everything that I need already living up inside up of me/ Just a Walmart mic and a dream/ Using hip hop ej 4 feeling mean/ Sleeping on church floors in the summer 14/ Fam stayed together like young Al Green