Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

On Behalf of My Insecurities

June 2021

The other day I asked myself if I was responding to a situation from a place of confidence or insecurity. In that moment, I realized it was the former but I also realized that sometimes it’s the latter. The word insecurity has always felt like a bad word to me. Something I know exist but I feel like it shouldn’t. So much so, sometimes I dress it up as something else. Pride, ignorance, uninterested, and the list goes on. To embrace, “not knowing” and “uncertainty” is a scary feeling, but it’s necessary.


It’s not about being wrong as much as it’s about being wrong about something I “should” already know. That carries with it a level of shame and embarrassment that I really don’t like feeling. But sometimes people know more than us. Sometimes our ideas are not the best ideas. Those truths do not make what we bring to any table with sit at, any less valuable. I am learning to be open to being challenged without feeling like I am being threatened or that I’m inferior or deficient.


For me, sometimes it goes beyond what I “should” already know; sometimes my insecurities are rooted in being unsure of how others may respond to what I know or what I believe or who I am. I can recall a time when my friends told me a group of people didn’t like me. My friends were joking but because I strived to be liked by everyone and couldn’t bear the thought of someone not liking me, I pressed them for more details. In the pouring rain, I refused to let them inside my car until they told me who these people were and what exactly they said. I shudder with embarrassment thinking about how I responded that day. However, I am pleased to say that if I were faced with that same situation today, I would be okay with finding out someone didn’t like me. I understand now that I may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that doesn’t make me a failure or unlikeable, it makes me who I am and I like her, which is what’s most important.


I have made great gains in this area of my life but there is still a lot of work to do. Too often, I’ve allowed my insecurities to speak for me. I respond to what I’ve heard, instead of what was said. And don’t get me wrong; sometimes people say things and there is more to it than what was said but we should ask about “the more,” instead of assuming what “the more” is. Our insecurities force us to look at ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge the not so pretty parts that we thought we were hiding well. Why are we triggered by the things we’re triggered by? What does my response say about me? What am I afraid will happen if I consider another’s perspective?


As comfortable and familiar as our insecurities can feel, they are not very good security blankets. I work really hard to allow my confidence to rest in God and not my insecurities. I am intentional about questioning my doubts instead of accepting them as truths. I am surprised that after all this time, I still struggle with this but I’m convinced practice makes perfect. So I’ve given myself permission to fall and trust God to help me get back up and I can say that I’ve created a lot more distance between falls.


Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. (NLT)

God’s Work

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed working with children. When I had to get community service hours in high school, I volunteered at daycares and a children’s shelter. When my cousin had her first son, I was only fifteen years old but treated him like my very own; changing diapers, feeding him, rocking him to sleep, dressing him, etc. I am slightly obsessed with my goddaughter and her sisters. My father figure asked me what I was passionate about in life and the only two things I could think of was loving Jesus and helping children. I always knew I would work with children in some capacity.

I tell people children under five are my favorite age group to work with because there is something magical about witnessing the simple things in life bring one joy and the feeling I get while observing little humans make connections in this big world can’t be described. Not much gets me excited, but to be able to play a role in how children see themselves and the world is one of the many things I’m most proud of about myself. I am grateful I was able to do it as a therapist and a special education teacher, but to be able to play this role as a Pre-K teacher makes my heart smile. I am truly living my dream.

I was exhausted after the first day; I mean if I sat long enough I knew I was going to sleep but I couldn’t wait to do it all over again the next day. I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to going to work. I told my fiancé that this is the feeling I have been longing for in regards to the work I do. I am sure I helped some children along the way and made an impact and whatnot, but to feel like this is why God put breath in my body is such a blessing. My first principal used to say teachers do the Lord’s work. Although I knew that to be true, it didn’t feel like it until now. I am sure hard days will come but I will know I am pursuing God’s will for my life. I am grateful for my previous jobs and all the people I have met that have led me to this place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My Pre-K babies will get to benefit from all that God has blessed me with.  

It may not be a job for you. It may be a hobby or a particular person. Whatever it is God is pushing you towards, don’t stop pursuing it. I applied to daycares after I graduated with my therapy degree to get income until I found a therapy job. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live on my own working as a daycare teacher but I knew it would be work I enjoyed. I almost started to believe I could not do work I enjoyed and afford to live, but God showed me otherwise. And if you remain faithful over the opportunities He gives you along the way, He’ll show you too.

Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ

August 2021

And to read more about me figuring things out and waiting on God, click here, here, and here.

Rest

I have been on vacation for a couple of days and I still have a few more days to go. Not summer break vacation but vacation, vacation. People who know me well will tell you that I’m always going to make time to do nothing. It doesn’t matter where I am or how many deadlines are approaching or what needs to be graded or what needs to be cleaned, at some point during the course of my day, I’m going to enjoy the company of myself and Jesus and allow the time to pass by. I tell people this is a response to a childhood filled with activities and not much downtime (which I’m grateful for), and what some may call a luxury, I see as necessary.

Often times people think because you’re unmarried and have no kids, you have no life. It can be assumed you’re always available and lonely, so you’re always looking forward to hanging out with others. Somehow people believe you’re never really THAT busy. I assure you, all those things are false; I have plenty to do, all the time. My busy may look different than your busy, but it isn’t any less important or fulfilling. No matter what our everyday lives look like, we all need a break.

Self-care. Unplugging. Decompressing. People call it different things, but whatever you call it, I encourage you to do it. Even if it’s just for ten minutes a day. At this point in my life, I can lay on my couch and watch TV for hours and eat Cheetos for dinner. That’s my form of self-care. Maybe you can take an extra ten minutes in the shower. Or take the long way home. Maybe you can go to dinner by yourself. Or if you’re blessed and highly favored, you may be able to take a whole trip by yourself. And you don’t always have to be alone (that’s just my preference). Have a girls night out with your friends. Go on a double date with your favorite couple or just a date with your favorite person. Some of you with kids, really like your kids, take them out for ice cream on a random Tuesday. We make time for everything else; make time to rest.

Sometimes (not often), I feel guilty for resting. I know I have a million and one things to do and it can feel like life will fall apart if I don’t get it all done in that very moment. I’ve learned to ask myself a few questions to quiet that voice in my head. Will somebody die if I don’t do *insert thing* now? Will I lose my job if *insert thing* doesn’t get done today? Will God feel some kind of way if I don’t do *insert thing*? If the answer is no, it’s highly likely that I’m going to make myself comfy on my couch.

All of us have responsibilities and there are times when we literally cannot afford to take a break. Sometimes the answers to those questions I asked are yes and I have to push through but that doesn’t have to be life as I know it. I’m a master procrastinator because I know whatever needs to get done, will get done… eventually. Although I’m working to procrastinate less, I’m highly committed to living the life God intended me to live which includes resting. Sometimes we cannot afford to not take a break. Read that again then schedule your time of rest.

Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

What rest looks like (June 2021)

Before the Resurrection

“You got up so I could get up again.”
He is risen and I’m glad about it! Resurrection Sunday could not have come at a better time. The past month or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been running in place, not really getting anywhere. Work has been annoying, my allergies have been trying to take me out, and I’ve been having hard conversations with myself. Although there have been multiple bright spots, as a whole it still felt like blah.

Today reminded me that after Jesus was crucified, Saturday (or whatever day came before He rose) came and went. The day before Jesus rose, people were still sad and scared; they thought that’s where the story ended. Even though Jesus had already said what He said, Jesus’ disciples and followers, had no idea Resurrection Sunday was going to happen. They thought they’d just have to adapt to their new normal. But the waiting was all a part of the plan.

So perhaps this running in place does feel like Resurrection Eve, the longest Saturday ever, but I’ll trust God because the same power that got Jesus up from the grave, is the same power that lives in me. I’ll be like Noah and keeping building with no rain in the forecast. I’ll be like Mary and carry what God gave me. I’ll be like the woman with the issue of blood, pushing through the crowd to touch the helm of His garment. I’ll rise with victory. Happy Resurrection Day!

Luke 24:6‭-‬8 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this. (NLT)

Bright spot (March 2021)

Walking Down Stairs

I was walking behind a little girl and her mother the other day. The little girl was holding a cup in one hand and her wallet in the other, and as she glided along this breezeway, she hummed along with the song that was playing overhead. When we got to a set of stairs, her humming stopped. Her glide became careful steps, one foot placed delicately in front of the other as she balanced her cup and wallet. Eventually, she called out to her mom to wait for her. Her mom seeing her struggle, grabbed the cup and held on to the little girl’s hand and off they went. The apprehension the little girl appeared to be holding on to was replaced by her mother’s hand. Walking down the stairs became as easy as walking down the breezeway.

Sometimes we’re juggling a million and one things and we’re juggling them well. We’re handling all our work responsibilities, our church commitments, our family obligations, all of it. But then we find ourselves faced with a staircase we must walk down. The very things we were able to do with ease, now appear to be a challenge. The ideas aren’t flowing like they once were, events are starting to overlap, sticking to the routine feels impossible. You’re still putting one foot in front of the other, but you’re scared you’re going to fall. I encourage you to let someone hold your cup for you; let them grab you by the hand and help lead you down the stairs.

We don’t have to do it all, all of the time, all by ourselves. God has someone there who is more than willing to help you.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

November 2020

Destinations and Journeys

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn your hobby into your hustle.
Do the work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

It’s what I keep repeating to myself, but I don’t seem to be measuring up to the expectation. Starting to second guess myself, every move I make drenched in hesitation. If what’s for me is for me, why do I have to work so hard? Why am I constantly having to pick myself up off the ground and lick my own wounds? No one said it would be easy, I just didn’t think it would feel like cruel and unusual punishment. That is until I suffer a win and my labor doesn’t quite feel like it was in vain. Long nights seem worth it. It’s only then that I embrace disappointment and failure no longer seems like an option. And I tell myself…

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn my hobby into my hustle.
Do the work I love and I’ll never work a day in my life.

So even when I grow tired and weary, God help me remember this is who You called me to be. Head bowed under an open sky, trying not to cry, help me remember I was made for this and I’d be remiss if I let it pass me by. Remind me stop signs aren’t dead ends, there’s plenty of road ahead. So pedal to the metal, I can’t give up now. Keep me in the fast lane, I don’t want to slow down. There is no destination, this is the journey with plenty of sights to see. Help me take it all in as I…

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn my hobby into my hustle.
Do the work I love and I’ll never work a day in my life.

 

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible

 

June 2020

 

To read more about overcoming obstacles, click here.

Broken Things Work

December 2019

Yep, those are my car keys. I was attempting to open a package and without much force, the silver part went flying across the room. My spare key was in Florida (blame my parents) so my mom overnighted it to me, but I still had to go to my second job. How was I supposed to drive my car? I figured I’d try to use the broken key. It took a couple of tries and required a lot more effort than usual, but the car cranked! Over the course of the next 24 hours, I was able to turn my car on and off several times using the broken key. It took longer than usual, I had to watch what I was doing, I had to be careful (the black part came completely apart one of the times), but it worked. When my spare key finally arrived, it felt so good to turn the key in the ignition without worrying about steadying my hand so the silver part wouldn’t fall out. The broken key worked, but a key that wasn’t broken was better.

After my dad died, I took a week off, maybe less from school. I got all my assignments done and managed to graduate with a fairly decent grade point average and hopefully helped a few people along the way. I made it through, but I certainly wasn’t whole. I was my broken car key. I worked, I turned on and I turned off but I did not do it with the ease I once knew. It took longer to get things done and I found myself being more careful, afraid my emotions would get the best of me. Too often, we settle for broken keys. We think because we made it through the day, we did good enough. Family and friends check in with us and we list all these things we’ve accomplished, not willing to admit how much of a struggle it was. Or if we do admit it, we’ve accepted it as our life. We’ve decided there is no spare key coming to make life easier.

What if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? I’ve said this a lot of times in one way or another and I’ll keep saying it: God wants you to live a happy, whole life. Bad times come, but it doesn’t have to be life as you know it. You don’t have to settle for a broken key barely getting the job done. You are deserving of a fully functioning key that doesn’t require much effort. Upgrade your life and get a push start! Just because something is working, doesn’t mean it can’t work better. Pray, go to church, go to therapy, read your bible, take that trip, read that book, take time off, turn off your phone, meet a friend for lunch. Whatever it takes, live life whole.

Luke 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

 

 

Signed Up

As a child I never knew teachers were just as excited as students for breaks. And as a teacher, I’m still understanding that students sense a break coming just as much as we do. It’s like they want to make sure we deserve the break. After the last two weeks I’ve experienced, I can say I deserve it.

I’ve been hit, talked to crazy, yelled at, picked up crying 9 year old’s, broken up fights before 7:30am, had to ride the school bus so my student would get on, failed to get another on the school bus who simply refused, stayed way past 5pm to get done what didn’t get done, remained calm as my student experienced what felt like 35 different emotions in the span of an hour, and I kept showing up. Unfortunately, this is not a unique experience. Teachers and administrators who work in environments similar to mine will echo similar stories, if not worse. And on top of everything we’ve had to deal with, we’re still faced with the responsibility to teach.

Someone asked my principal how he was doing because of all the craziness we had been dealing with and his response was, “I’m good. This is what I signed up for.” Back in May I discussed what it took to teach at my school and how I chose to work where I work and I’ve had to remind myself of this choice these past two weeks. I’ve had to tell myself these students still need to learn to add and subtract and sound out unfamiliar words and write a sentence. They still need me to do my job in spite of having to do a million and one other things that aren’t in the job description. I’ll never get paid enough or receive the recognition others may think I’m worthy of, but I assure you no one goes into this profession for the money or fame. You do it because you think you can help a child be better than they are today. It literally brings tears to my eyes knowing I won’t be able to help them all but it won’t be because I didn’t try.

I would prefer not to endure more weeks similar to the last two, but I’m committed to showing up and trying even if they are. I’m also committed to self-care and making sure I’m well so I can show up as the best version of myself which means enjoying every moment of this break. After all, like my principal said, this is what I signed up for.

Shameless plug: If you are wanting to show a teacher you appreciate them and the work they do, consider donating to my project to help my students get laptops. Part of my job is to teach my students how to navigate in the world outside of the classroom which involves knowing how to interact with technology. Your donations will help me do this. Thanks in advance! https://www.donorschoose.org/project/the-world-at-our fingertips/4318295/?utm_source=dc&utm_medium=directlink&utm_campaign=teacherhub&utm_term=teacher_5173652&rf=directlink-dc-2019-11-teacherhub-teacher_5173652&challengeid=21140514

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me

October 2019

Tired and Faithful

So let me tell you all about my blessing a couple of weeks ago. I teach school full time and I also tutor and work as a behavior technician. It’s always a long week but I’m grateful because this past summer I asked God to create opportunities for me to make more money, and He did just that. With these new responsibilities, it’s easy to neglect the things I’ve been doing but I’ve done my best to remain faithful. Welp, that faithfulness was tested one Wednesday evening.

I was already tired from my full time job and then I had to drive almost an hour away to go tutor. I was about 98% sure I wasn’t going to bible study. I was going to be late anyway and I just didn’t want to be there. After getting through my tutoring session, I said “Jocee, we can just go home,” but as I got closer to my church’s exit, the Holy Ghost kept telling me to go to bible study. So I took my tired self to bible study.

I walked in and one of my favorite deacons was leading a discussion about winning souls for Christ and meeting people where they are. This is an area I struggle in and I walked away feeling better prepared to share my faith with others. If that wasn’t enough, one of my favorite family of cooks had some leftover food they were giving away. Lunch and dinner were taken care of for the next few days! I left both spiritually and naturally fed all because I pushed through my tiredness and remained faithful.

We pray for all types of things and when God gives them to us, we’re too tired to do any of the things we were doing before. We’re too tired to pray, too tired to read our Word, too tired to go to church, too tired to remain faithful in our positions at church. We’re just tired. Through our tiredness, we don’t realize God has more in store but we’re too tired to do what He’s already given us. If I had not gone to bible study that night, it may not have been the end of the world. Maybe I would have got into a car accident or maybe I would have gotten home safely and life go on. Our faithfulness isn’t always life or death, sometimes it’s just helpful. My faithfulness got me a good word and good food, something I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. There is a high chance I would have not found out about how good bible study was or that they were giving away food. It would have been a blessing I missed out on unknowingly. How many blessings are you willing to miss out on because you won’t be faithful?

And don’t get me wrong; it’s not a you do something for God and He’ll do something for you. We serve a good Father who gives good gifts, emphasis on gifts (Matthew 7:11). That same Father allows His Spirit to dwell in us and that indwelling should cause us to live a certain way and do certain things. My faithfulness doesn’t make me right with God, but because I am right with God, I am faithful. Don’t let your tiredness, cause you to miss what else God has for you.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

September 2019

Do Your Own Work

You all remember in school when the teacher allowed you to work in pairs but said everyone had to show their own work? If you had a good partner, you all collaborated, both contributed ideas, worked together to come up with an answer. If you had a not so good partner, either they waited for you to do all the work then copied your answer or they were unwilling to let you do any of the work and insisted you copy their answer. In both cases, both parties didn’t do their own work. Too many times in relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships, parent/child, coworkers, we’re unwilling to do our own work. It’s always someone else’s fault that we are the way we are. We take what others give us, and don’t contribute our own ideas and thoughts to the situation. We think we know it all, and won’t allow the other person to have a voice.

You may have had a rough childhood, but it doesn’t give you the right to be a rude adult. You have to do your own work and stop blaming mommy and daddy. This may mean going to therapy and figuring out how to break the cycles you’ve found yourself entrenched in. Maybe she cheated, but you made the choice to stay, so now you do the work of helping to mend the broken bridge and not look to her to fix it all. This may mean saying less and listening more or speaking up for yourself when you notice things getting off track.

As believers, we can’t have good relationships if we don’t have a good relationship with the Father. He’s already sent His son to do the work, it’s up to us to do our part. I don’t know about anyone else but when me and God aren’t on the best terms, I’m very difficult to be in a relationship with. I’m not as kind, as patient, or as understanding as I should be. I say mean things and I’m not sorry about it, I’m just not nice. Me, myself, and I have to not only make it right with God, I have to be accountable with the people here on earth that I call friends and family. That could mean praying more and reading my bible more often. It could also mean apologizing to my friends and family and not passing it off as, “they know how I am.” And part of this work, is taking steps to keep from making the same mistakes. This could come in the form of keeping that mean thought to myself or speaking up for myself when my needs aren’t being met.

I’m learning that I can’t look for other people to maintain good relationships with me. If I’m choosing to be in relationships, I’m choosing to do my own work. And I’m also learning that not everyone wants to do their own work and I’m unwilling to let them copy mine.

July 2019