I came to Nashville with the hope that someone would recognize my talent and sign me to a publishing deal or a recording deal. That is not what happened. But, what happened was so much more miraculous.After being rejected when my voice betrayed me, I felt lost. I did not understand why I was at the conference. I was wandering around wondering what I was supposed to learn or do. In my state of brokenness and confusion, I realized what the phrase "die to self" means. I have read it over and over, and heard it repeatedly, but these last few days, I realized what that truly means.I had to come to the end of me, so I could fall at Jesus' feet and surrender. If things had gone my way, I would have been happy, but I would not have been fulfilled for long. I had to become weak, so that He could be strong for me. I had to die to self, so that He could live in me.Once I got to the end of what I wanted, I was open to what God desires for me. And, what He has for me is so much better than anything I could do for myself. My desire is to follow God's plan for my life for the uplifting of His Kingdom. He will help me find true joy, peace and fulfillment, at the end of me. Ms. EV
The other day, I was driving home from a football game with my second oldest nephew. He was upset because he felt like things had gone wrong from the first play of the game. He had some great plays and even a touchdown, but he couldn't get over the mistakes that were made. And, he realized that there would be three months before he could play again.I tried my best to stay positive and comfort him. But, the best advice I could come up with was a line from Hakuna Matata and Accentuate the Positive. If nothing else, I wanted him to laugh. He is a phenomenal athlete with a lot of potential, but he beats up on himself when things don't go how he envisions.Fast forward to yesterday, I am in Nashville at the GMA IMMERSE Conference and I was advanced into the semi-pro auditions for Female Vocalist. As a writer, I was disappointed with not making it into the auditions for the songwriting categories, but I wanted to make the most of the vocalist competition. I was almost last to go. I tried to hide the shaking, but people saw right through me. I had practiced and practiced. I stayed hydrated. I opened my mouth and I knew that I started too high, even though, I had practiced over and over again. I made it through the song, but I knew it was not the best it could have been. Like my nephew, I wanted that first phrase back, maybe even the first breath. But, it was over.I got some great feedback about the power of my voice and my ability to worship, but, I got cut. It hurt. And, suddenly, I knew how my nephew felt. I tried to listen to others' advice and encouragement, but I just felt like a failure. So many people believe in me and I have no idea what to do next.The good news is that I don't have to know. God knows what His call on my life is and I believe that He is true to His Word. I have two more days at this conference to learn and to network and who knows what will happen next. But, as of this moment, I will accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative because the enemy is obviously threatened by whatever God is doing in my life and I will not allow him to overtake my mind with doubt, fear and anxiety. All I can do is be obedient to tbe leading of the Holy Spirit and WATCH GOD WORK! Ms. EV
Please accept my sincerest apologies, but I will be taking a break from Ms. EV's blog for the next few weeks. I am preparing for a major conference for my music. Rather than continue to repost old posts, or to try to throw something together, I have found that it is best to take a break. My plan is to blog about my experiences while traveling to and experiencing this conference and the clarity and blessings that I know God has planned for me in this season. So, until I am back, please LIKE Elevated Values and/or Toni LaShaun Music on Facebook OR Follow @ElevatedValues and/or @TLaShaunMusic on Twitter for updates. I will miss you, but I am no good to anyone when I am spread too thin. Ms. EV
Today's featured song from Toni LaShaun Music is, "Dear God Just Be You." This song was inspired by the post below from last year. I have not recorded it yet, but just meditate on the words...
Dear God, Just Be You...11/29/2012
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had a problem, but you knew the solution was unlikely to happen? I have. In fact, I struggled with something just this week that fit into that category. I say all the time that God wants to hear all of our problems, big or small. Even if others might not think it an issue, if you are His and it is an issue to you, it is an issue to Him. So, I started praying about this problem. Stop being nosey; I am not going to say what the problem was (I keep SOME things to myself...LOL).
I knew what a great solution to the problem would be. I knew it was highly unlikely to get the outcome I envisioned, but God is able to do the impossible. So, I kept praying...the same prayer...over and over and over again. "Lord, let this happen so that my problem can go away. And, please let it happen soon." Days went by and I thought my head would explode because the problem persisted and I was pretty sure that God was saying "no" to my request for assistance.
Then, in the middle of praying the same prayer, "Lord, I just need You...," I paused. And, then I thought about it. That was the perfect place to stop. Instead of telling God how to fix my problem, I just needed to say, "Lord, I need You!" After praying that prayer, I started to feel some relief from the situation, but it still lingered. I knew that God was on it, so I added to the prayer, "Dear God, just be You for me."
I thought I knew the solution to the problem; an improbable solution, but one that would change the circumstances surrounding me. God is showing me that my circumstances don't need to change. I just need to trust Him to change me and how I view the circumstance and how I view what He is capable of doing. He knows everything. And, He knows everything we need. So, I continue to pray and I invite you to pray, "Lord, I just need You. Dear God, just be You." Ms. EV
Dear God Just Be You
Copyright © 2012 Toni Wortherly
Lord, I need You
Dear God, just be You
‘Cause I don’t know what to do
But I know You have it all in control
Lord, I need You
Dear God, just be You
Even when the storm is raging
You can still bring such peace to my soul
You are the only One
Who knows just what I need
So, dear God, just be You for me
Have you ever noticed that some of the smartest people in the world have no common sense? My honors students would flat out tell me that sometimes. And, I know that when I was younger, although book smarts came to me easily, street smarts were not my forte. I was very naïve and somewhat gullible, but I could make honor roll, so I figured that I would be alright in this world. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that it doesn’t matter if you get degree after degree from and Ivy League school or the school of hard knocks, true wisdom does not come from books or experience.
Please do not misinterpret what I am saying because there is no one more pro-education than I am. I am a teacher and I continued my education until I reached my goal of obtaining a law degree. But, more than anything you learn in school, at work, or at home, our lives are shaped by the lessons we learn. And, all of the education in the world cannot prevent us from acting like fools. Sadly, as beneficial as an education can be, some people educate themselves out of believing in God.
Whether, you are a really book smart person who lacks some common sense or you possess common sense, but not a lot of education or expertise, thank God for the great equalizer: wisdom. Wisdom is not common sense; wisdom is God-sense. Wisdom doesn’t come from degrees or experience; wisdom comes from knowing, understanding and reverently fearing the Lord.
When God asked Solomon to make any request, Solomon asked for wisdom to rule the people. Because of this unselfish request, God blessed Solomon with everything that he would ever need. Solomon was known as a great ruler and a fair judge all over the world, unfortunately, while he used his wisdom to help others, he did not use wisdom in staying faithful to God. Perhaps, that is why some of Ecclesiastes seems so depressing. I know that in my life, when I have realized that I was operating out of what made sense to me rather than seeking God’s wisdom, those realizations carried daunting and depressing weight.
If we will always seek God’s wisdom, we will never be led astray. When we do not know what we should do, there is no harm in waiting on an answer from God; there is no harm in the desire to act with His wisdom. How can the Father of time run out of time? He will never run out of time or knowledge, yet we sometimes try to box God into the limits of our time and knowledge. We will never be smarter than God. However, no matter what level of education, experience, or common sense we have, if we seek after the wisdom of God, our lives can be lived on a whole other level. Ms. EV
Why do people say, “When all else fails, try God?” I was listening to the radio and I heard a song that said something to the effect of, “When everything you have tried has failed, try God.” I mean, if you do not know God, I can understand this logic. For someone who doesn’t know God, complete and utter failure may drive her to her knees in repentance and confession. However, for a Christian (and this was a gospel song), God should be the first option, not the last resort.
I understand that I might sound preachy, but I promise that I am writing this to remind myself. There have been many times in my life that I have been faced with a situation and I tried to handle it myself. This sometimes resulted in victories that helped me to believe that I can make it on my own, which is a dangerous mindset for a child of God. Other times, I have tried to handle situations on my own and it resulted in utter failure, which led me to cry out to God to help me fix the mess I made.
I am not saying that we should not attempt to do things that we are capable of accomplishing. I am just reminding myself and you that rather than forgetting about God until we need Him, we need to factor Him in to every part of our lives. God wants us to depend on Him and turn to Him before there is some catastrophe that we cannot overcome alone. And, when someone comes to us with a problem, rather than feeling defeated and thinking, “The only thing I can do is pray,” we should victoriously claim, “The best thing I can do for you is to pray” (not my original thought, I think it was Oswald Chambers). So, rather than saying, “When all else fails, try God,” we should say, “God never fails, I will choose His way.” Ms. EV
About Ms. EV
When you have elevated values, it is not about being snobby; it is about living victoriously!
© Toni L. Wortherly and Ms. EV's Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Toni Wortherly and Ms. EV's Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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