A Conversation with an Angel
Recently I went to St. Louis, Missouri to visit some close friends, as well as to see Washington University. I had just completed undergrad, and I had been praying about God’s direction for my life. I waned to ensure that I was making the best decisions for myself. One of the big things on my prayer list was the decision about graduate school. I knew that whatever school I decided to attend, would be the school where I was supposed to be. I also knew that my presence there would have a greater purpose —one beyond myself. I wanted God to make the choice vividly clear and that was EXACTLY what He did.
Upon visiting St. Louis, I fell in love with the city, the culture, and more importantly, the people. By the time my visit ended, I was 85% sure that I would be attending Washington University. I felt sad when I left to head back home to Dallas, but I knew I would be back. I felt that God had reassured me that I would be back.
I departed St. Louis for Dallas on Sunday night. We boarded the plane, took off, and I was headed back home. 30 minutes into the flight, I began to read a book entitled, Never Eat Alone (The Keys: Never Eat Alone). As, I read, I made personal notations in the margin. I noticed this big, light brown beard, blue-eyed man peaking over my shoulder from the seat next to me. Judging his appearance, he could have been homeless. Although I noticed him staring at me, I didn’t say anything. Finally, he tapped my shoulder and asked, “Are you correcting the grammar in the book?” I thought to myself, “That’s a dumb question, why would I be correcting the book?” I politely responded, “No, I’m just taking notes and highlighting what is important to me.” From this point, we began to talk about various things that were happening in our lives. He expanded on how he had taken the GED at the age of 16. He missed 0 out of 1200 questions, and graduated high school early because He was “bored” in his classes. After being advised by his professors to leave college because he found education boring, he dropped out of school his first year of college, even though he was majoring in a field that dealt with real world science, which could have guaranteed a profitable future. All of his peers thought he was stupid because he walked away from obtaining a degree (that would have been easy for him) as well as possible career opportunities where he could have easily made $200,000 a year. However, for him, happiness (and not money) was the answer to life. Throughout our conversation, he put emphasis on being happy. He had chosen a life as a truck driver delivering meat all around the world, and guess what? He was happy. He said he was able to see his beautiful son and help his mother regularly. We spoke for about an hour and a half, until we landed back in Dallas. I spoke to him about INVADE (an organization I founded), Social Work, and about the many things that God was doing in my life. I didn’t know whether he was a Christian or not, but I didn’t care about that. We were building a relationship.
The flight finally landed and it was time for me to go home. We finished our last conversation as we were walking through the small isle of the plane. However, the strangest thing happened. As I exited the plane, I looked behind me to say goodbye, but he was not there. He had been walking behind me and suddenly he was nowhere to be found. I waited at the gate for him. I wanted to thank him for the conversation, but he never got off the plane. I waited for a while, but he never came. I waited until everyone had deplaned and you can read it again —He never got off the plane! As I walked through the tunnel of the airport toward baggage claim, I saw all the other passengers who had been on the plane with us, but I didn’t see him. I couldn’t help but raise the question, “Did I just meet an angel?”
I believe that we unknowingly encounter angels all the time. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:12, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” The experience that I had with this individual was real and it was relational. I could have chosen not to have the conversation with this man, but I did. The two of us were very different, but we were able to relate to each other in more ways than one. There are several things that I gleaned from this experience and conversation:
1.Happiness is a choice. You make decisions every day that impact our happiness. Make choices for yourself and not others, especially if it relates to God. I’ve learned that many things that God tells us to do, doesn’t make sense to others. You must choose that which is best for you and your life. Many times those decisions will challenge you to stretch and grow.
2. Be relational. Relationships can often grow in the weirdest ways. You can also be surprised how impactful they can be. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Talk to a random stranger and watch how God can rock your world. In my opinion, healthy and positive relationships are God’s love in the purest form.
3. Angels exist. Yes, they are beautiful and magical and they provide the calmest and purest presence. However, they can take human form as well. Be careful how you respond and treat people throughout your day. You just might be entertaining an angel. Usually, it is a test from God to see if you’re willing to go out on a limb and represent Him through an act of kindness and love.
Take a chance – make the choice to be happy, even when others think you’re crazy; be relational, even if it stretches you out of your comfort zone; and be kind to others because you just might be having a conversation with an angel.
Don’t flunk your test.
You’ve Been Here Before: The Feelings of Inadequacy
We have all been in this place.
The place that clutters your mind, pounces on your ability to create, and follow in your purpose. The feelings of inadequacy. It usually comes in times where you’re supposed to be developing and growing, ultimately fearing what you KNOW you’re supposed to be doing or called to do.
You may be shocked, but INVADE. is a product in inadequacy. I started INVADE in 2013, at a young age. Not knowing what God was truly asking me to do. When we first started having events, I was shocked, surprised, and overwhelmed, that a simple vision had came into fruition. Every time someone asked, “How did you do this?” or “Where did INVADE. come from?”, the only simple answer that clearly made sense was “God”. As seasons changed in my life, I went off to college and I was not in the same environment as I once was. There weren’t many resources where I was and I couldn’t find the right place to plug in to grow spiritually. Ultimately, I began to struggle with what God had trusted me with. I was not having events at school, as planned. I was walking my walk, but not as strong as I should have been. I felt as if I had not followed through on my visions, goals, and truths about INVADE. I questioned myself on if I was supposed to even continue INVADE, because there had been such a big break with the events and community. Many people asked, “When is the next INVADE event?”, and honestly I simply could not answer, because I truly didn’t know.
As I look back, those feelings were fear. Nothing but fear. These moments were pushing blocks to the place of where I am now. I knew God wanted to propel me to another place and I knew it required more. He was ready to make INVADE bigger. I’ve never been a person to be afraid, but with this aspect of life, it weighed on me.
Your story may not be like mine. But you’ve been in this place before. You dream big and see where you want to be, but you question yourself daily on if you can make it to that place or if you’re even worth trying to make it to your dreams or the vision God has given you. Or maybe you’ve tried, and what you thought would thrive has not produced your true vision. Through these times, you push.
Fear constantly holds us back into being all that we were created to be. It puts us in a box of being stagnant. Your dreams should be big, but your mindset and your faith has to be bigger. People often say, “If you’re dreams don’t scare you, then they’re not big enough”, and I couldn’t agree with the statement more. Your dreams SHOULD scare you, because it helps you to know you can’t make them come to life on your own. Whether that means connecting with other people, building relationships, relying on God, or a dope combination of all three.
Whether you believe in God or not, fear can sometimes consume us, as people. But I know, as you can too, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV). You will be stretched, you will have to get out of your comfort zone, and you will be scared, but guess what? You can do it. God created you and He knows your dreams, visions, and aspirations. So if He knows your truest desires, don’t you think He would equip you and develop you to make them come to life?
I think so.
Don’t be afraid to look at the bigger picture and admit that you’re afraid. Have the willingness to be vulnerable in these moments. Take time to pray and talk to God about your fears and pressures. He’ll listen.