Someone once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans,” but I was taught that in order to succeed you must have a plan and stick to it. If I pursued my passions, completed college and stayed on the grind, success would be knocking down my door. I journeyed cross-country at 21 to attend UCLA for graduate school. At a time when I was eating, sleeping and breathing acting, HE called me, y’all! The Lord called me to minister the Gospel. I’ve admittedly felt like a fish out of water ever since. The juxtaposition of being an Artist and Minister has challenged the very root of my self-identity. Did this call mean I was to abandon the very career I’d sacrificed everything for? My plans became thwarted by the hand of God on my life. The good news is: No matter how great the plan we have in mind, His ways are higher than ours!

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9

I wasted a lot of time grinding for the pursuit of the craft, fame and happiness wondering why I wasn’t getting results.

You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive; because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:3

When you are grinding on purpose, you have a greater sense of clarity and self-identity. Grinding to satisfy my plans while simultaneously carrying out God’s purpose put me in a vicious cycle of double mindedness and depression. I learned the hard way, attempting to fit into a box you aren’t created for can cause emotional bruises and comparing your path to others results in unnecessary bitterness and envy. God’s purpose outweighs personal ambition. For the ambitious person, instincts say grinding hard means grabbing life by the horns, holding on tight, and taking control of one’s destiny. In the Kingdom, grinding smarter requires us to do just the opposite: relinquish control. When one accepts Christ, he or she is surrendering one’s self-will for the divine will of God.

 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

Up until very recently, this act of surrender has been a daily struggle. Walking a path that doesn’t look like the one I’d envisioned for the purpose of obeying an unseen God is no easy feat. When we surrender our own plans to carry out the Lord’s, we realize there is a cost to following Christ.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27

There isn’t anything we should put above or before Christ. There is a purpose for the desires of our heart and God will honor those desires in due season. In the meantime, there are some things we may be required to give up, put on hold or pursue differently in order to be in God’s perfect will. Now is the time to grind on PURPOSE. While no one said it would be easy, when you’re grinding on purpose, you’ll have peace in knowing you are on the correct path. This year is about grinding smarter, not harder. Get out of the rat race and step into God’s master plan for your life.

Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3

“Although it may not be easy being an orange, when you grind on purpose, at least you’ll have the peace of knowing you aren’t an apple.” – Rev. Shea Edwards 🙂