Monday Reflection: Change Your Location
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
September 24, 2012
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
I love when I get an Aha Moment about something at the least expected time. That's what happens when you are open to the unexpected. Yesterday, my Pastor L. Bernard Jakes was preaching from a familiar scripture; Habakkuk 2:1-3. I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch what he will say unto me. Pastor J wasn't preaching about God's answer to Habakkuk's prayer about the condition of his people, but about what Habakkuk did in the waiting process.
Key to Pastor J's point was location and posture and that thang hit me hard. Oftentimes we want something for our lives, but we don't create the best environment to receive that thing. Pastor J said that the spiritual and the physical must line up with God when you are seeking from God.
But the same thing applies in our daily living from dating to careers. Let's take careers first. I remember when my BFF Luke was working at MTV as a production coordinator. He kept saying that he wanted to move into producing and hard news, which was actually the center of his college education. Everyone in news knows it's a hard field to crack. Moving into hard news was especially difficult because he had spent the last 7 years at MTV doing production, he was paid well and it became comfortable.
The older he got, the more he talked about making that change, but he stayed stuck and did nothing to advance his future. He would start complaining and I would ask, "But Boo, when you gonna start looking?" and he would say, "Yeah, well, you're right," and with that dismissal he stayed in the same place with the same complaint. That is until Viacom had to crunch their numbers and laid off hundreds of people a few years back; Luke was a part of the layoff.
That was a difficult period for Luke, but being laid off from MTV was the best thing that could have happened to him. That moment when he was forced to change his location, he began to change how he saw his future. He finally completed his news reel after 3 years of complaining. It took a year for his dream to come true, but with hard work he did it. He is now the News Manager for BET.
In this last year, with a wonderful new team in the news department, they are changing the face of news for BET. With the special on Whitney Houston, and especially the news coverage around the Republican and Democratic Conventions, we can see BET News creating a new era. Luke is a part of that team. In fact, James Blue, the executive producer, and David Scott, the New VP, are all a part of this team. The change of location for them all helped to create a new vision. I can't wait to see what they will do on Election Night Coverage. Side Bar: For those of you who continue to complain about BET, why not watch the good stuff they are doing and help the ratings so they can do even more relevant programming, instead of watching reality TV in other places and talking crap. Just change the channel and be a part of the solution... #JustSayin That's what Luke did. From the start he told me that he wanted to go to BET and help the news department be the best it could be. Even in those long conversations while at MTV he had that vision, but that vision could not manifest, stuck in another location.
For growth, you have to be willing to change your location. You can't hear from God, bumping and grinding in a club. You can't see the end of the tunnel if you don't keep walking toward the light. You must be willing to move. You can't lose weight talking about how much you need to lose, but you can if you move. Even if it's one step at a time, 15 minutes at a time. You must start somewhere. Growth can only come when you change your location.
I know that moving is hard. Yes, moving means that you will have to leave some people behind, but you can always say hello to them on Facebook. For Real. You can't expect life to change for you, if you are not willing to make some changes in your life first. The Bible says, "Knock and the door will open" (Matthew 7:7). You have to be willing to do something to get something.
But typically people are not willing to take chances. We tend to cling to what's comfortable. We keep waiting on the right conditions, when in fact, sometimes we have to create the right conditions. We have to be a part of the solution. This is the 21st century and Manna is not going to fall out of the freaking sky people. You reap what you sow, but for sure, God can bless your crop. But you must first be willing to plant in order to grow. That's what Habakkuk did; he planted his seed in prayer and changed his location to hear best from the Lord.
Some of us want deliverance but we stay in the very same sex pool we praying to be set free from. Some of us want a different life but are not willing to put in the work to get it. When I first started speaking, I quit my well paying job in politics, with no speaking engagements set up, no brochure, no direction on how to go about getting another speaking engagement beyond my one free gig I had 3 weeks earlier and I was two paychecks from homelessness because I used to over spend. But God planted that seed in my spirit and I knew the only way that it would grow was to shift my location, both physically and mentally.
A year later, I became the first Black Woman to tell my story of living with AIDS on the cover of a magazine. But be clear, it was hard and that very same month I couldn't afford to pay my rent. I got paid nothing for being on the cover of Essence, but I was walking in the vision that God had purposed for my life. Change is not easy, but it will place you on a path of wholeness.
Yes, sometimes we have to change our physical location, but also sometimes, we have to change our thinking. The change of mind will change your behavior. That's a fact! The Bible says, "As a Man thinketh so is he" (Proverbs 23:7).
But ummm for you carnal thinkers out there, like my first love used to say, "Free your mind and your ass will follow!"
You can't think clearly about your situation, when the people in that situation has more space in your head, then you do. They say in AA and A-Al-anon, "Don't let people take up rent in your head, evict they ass!" My Al-anon sponsor said to me once, "The one you think most about is your God." That thang hit me hard. I was so busy trying to keep my ex clean from drugs, that I had stop living for me. Instead, I was living for his sobriety.
Changing my thinking was hardddddd, mainly because if I changed my thinking, I knew eventually I would have to change my location and I couldn't imagine life without that man. But I had to change my thinking, because I had become sicker than the addict. I had to accept that his sobriety was his issue not mine and in that shift I began to live for and in my purpose again. For sure, I had stop doing me because I was doing him.
What am I saying? My bottom line is this, You must be willing to make the changes in your life to get to that next level. Just like Habakkuk, you must be willing to change your location and your posture. You cannot continue to live in the sameness and expect newness. Albert Einstein put it this way, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Stop living in insanity and change your location both physically and mentally.
Post Script: Part Two Coming Tomorrow.... Yes I'm going their, dating and relationships....
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
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