Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#WriterRevelations: Adopting a Servant's Mentality

My dear friends, I do hope this post finds you happy and healthy nearly three months into 2018....this new year has been treating me well thus far. Without further ado, it's time I share something new I've learned.

As you all know from the last time I wrote a post, I got a new job. It's such a blessing and I am very grateful to have it but when I first started it, I don't know if it was from the autonomy of my writing/freelance writing career but I was a bit arrogant and self-absorbed when I started my job.

It was something I realized because as soon as the holidays were over, I really took a step back and suddenly felt like the same girl who was insecure and inadequate in the fourth grade who's legs were literally shaking delivering my yearly Tropicana Speech (in Florida grade schools, they require you to give a speech in grades 3-6 in order for you to learn the art of public speaking and speech writing). I was overcome with this intense feeling of "I Can't Do This" and just an overall theme of wanting to quit.

Am I proud of it? Absolutely not. I mean as a writer, I've always felt like I could adapt quickly because I pretend I'm just taking on a role of a new character for a novel, and I'm living their story. Right now that role requires a job of working as a hostess in one of America's most popular breakfast based restaurants.

Once I was overcome with all these feelings, I sought God with my shaky hands and weak knees.

He reminded me that he gives out assignments not based on qualification but as part of the overall process of refining us for our great God-given purpose. It was then that I realized that this job was not about me at all. That I was playing a role and I was working out someone else's story.

God called me there to that particular restaurant at this particular time because he wanted me to light up the dark corners of it until it shown brightly with his glory, honor, and favor.

He would provide the grace and the strength but I would have to trust that he would be doing the job each shift.

So each shift, I pray the night before work: God, give me your favor, your grace, and your strength to not only get through this shift but let them see you in me.

I mean, it's nice to have a small paycheck but for the most part, I just remember as long as that name badge is displayed above my shirt pocket, my name is no longer Chelsea but Jesus. It is him in me I want to showcase. He lifts the high chairs, he helps the servers bus their tables, he speaks kindly with an irritated customer, he takes the to-go orders.

Yet, sometimes, I forget that I am Jesus for those 6 hours and I get in my own head. For example, this past Sunday. A server I work with came in and spoke unkindly about me to the manager and I heard what they said. I got in my head and got upset because I was thinking with my flesh instead of the spirit, and I thought, How dare they say that about me? Do they know who I am? Then, I mentally checked off a list of why what they said wasn't true. I even started saying something to another server but like the good-hearted person she is, she talked me down and said, "Don't worry about it. I'm sure that's not what they meant."

And just like that, I saw her face but I felt Jesus speaking to me with her words. And I remembered his famous last words hanging from the cross, his body nearly giving up life, and blood dripping from his thorn-crowned head, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

And I remembered who I work for. Not my manager. Not the company. I am there as a servant of Jesus Christ. And it is him this world desperately needs. And I got myself together, and ended up having a very hell-bent shift but I grinned and bared it. Why? Because Jesus was there with me. 

And the best part was, I was going to clock out 30 minutes early and just as I was heading over to the computer to do so, a little old lady came in to place a to-go order so I had to take it. Yet, she was the sweetest. And she ended up giving me a tip so I felt as though God ended my shift on a positive note despite the persecution I faced early on.

And I take my days off to do the things that make me happy, with the knowledge that I showed up for the assignment the Lord Jesus gave me. As for the hard work of the shift, that's all him. I am owed no credit. Anytime the servers or my manager tells me I did a great job, I just smile and thank them, then look up and whisper, Thank you Jesus.

Lastly, this was my unconventional Valentine's Day post about how God's love can empower you to do anything even when you are dead set on thinking you cannot. And, an even better reminder of the truest nature of love is that it is unconditional, quick to forgive, and is always ready to lay down it's life for the sake of his or her friends.

Yet, one thing I'm embracing this Valentine's Day is how much I've learned to love myself by seeing myself through God's eyes and thanking him for all forms of love in my life even though romance still hasn't happened yet. (I still believe it will. With God, ALL THINGS are possible!)

And my own picture inspired the following micropoem I wrote. I call it Angel In Red.

God asked me to write this post with that in mind, to remind you that he loves you enough to give you the ability to overcome the obstacles, the challenges, the persecution, the hateful comments, the mundane parts of life, and allow his love to make the world around you to become vibrant with his beautiful lovingkindness and relentless mercy.

Until next time, remember:

With Christ-Like Love and Confidence, 


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What I Learned From Reading People by Anne Bogel

Tomorrow The Smart Cookie Philes turns two. Celebrate all day with donations and by checking out the origin story and all the new changes to the site. God Bless!


Monday, December 25, 2017

#WriterRevelations: The Great Christmas Miracle and What I Learned in 2017

     There I sat upside down and the blood rushing to my head, as they pried and prodded my teeth, recommending high quality but less than affordable dental treatments. I would love to get everything fixed within my mouth and have the perfectly aligned teeth, my wisdom teeth out and teeth free of plaque build up. Yet, the reality is you can't always get what you want, and it isn't a priority right now to have all this extraneous dental work.

Plus, even worse was that my dental insurance expires like Cinderella's pumpkin carriage at midnight on January 1, 2018, and to top it all of, as I sat in the dental chair, I was still between jobs. I have actually successfully gotten two seasonal jobs this holiday season but they left a lot to be desired and were temporary so I moved on to find a better opportunity.

I have been praying and praying for a financial miracle since I lost my job in September. Then, by God's great grace, on October 17, I was hired for the first job, and used that paycheck from one day's work as a tithe to show God that I was faithful in believing his great grace could provide the job for me.

Then, on November 13, 2017, I was hired for the second job and again used my paychecks as seeds to sow to continue in faith toward the job that was meant for me.

In the meantime, I just continued to be diligent toward the completion of my novel, Kickflip My Heart. And somehow, God not only gave me the words but the plot lines to complete it and it ended up after a good editing to be 40,655 words. I have never written that much in a fiction project in my life but with God's help, the impossible became possible.

Then, like God rewarding me for being obedient to him, I received a call Monday afternoon asking me to come in for an interview Friday for a hostess position for one of my favorite restaurants.

I arrived for the interview right on time and entered the building and introduced myself to the girl in the front, and it turned out that the manager I was supposed to meet wasn't in and the guy who called me for the interview would be interviewing me.

Before I even began the interview, he asked me if I wanted something to drink.

I was already impressed by his hospitality. I did the interview and although I felt my resume was lacking for the job position based on my experience, God made something out of nothing.

He asked me when I was available to start, "Whenever you need me," I eagerly stated.

Then, he said something that made me aware of God's glory in my life:

I can tell that you have the personality to deal well with people. Just the way you came into the restaurant and introduced yourself,  your patience, and you aren't even nervous sitting across from me now, that I believe you would make a great hostess!

So not only did I complete my novel after a year and a half of work, and never having written 40,000 words of fiction before, but I got a job out of the blue. My Christmas wish came true!

So no matter what your Christmas looks like right now, I pray that you get everything your heart desires this Christmas but even more so, I pray that everyone who reads this blog post comes face to face with Jesus this Christmas and is full to the brim with his peace that passes understanding and joy unspeakable.

Say this out loud right now: "Father, I thank You that I am furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation. You have fully supplied and completely decked out my life. I receive every need fully supplied, every debt totally wiped out, and I have more than enough to help others, in Jesus' Name!"

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

#WriterWednesday: New Poem Fresh Off The Press

            Out of the Woods

Tired of not seeing the forest for the trees
when it comes to you
I would cut down every tree to get to you 
but you would only call it wasted paper.

I tell everyone you are my world,
the sun, the moon 
all while diminishing my own star
in order to keep you shining.

Why do I hold on 
when you leave me
standing in the cold
with nothing to cover me
but a single feather.

Loving you is tough
lust and leather
that doesn't withstand
the weather;
my skin sweats 
and sticks to you

Cubic zirconium
when I wanted
a diamond ring
on my left hand.
A green remnant
reminds me that 
all that glitters isn't gold.

To have and to hold
Nothing holding me
but fear and unbelief

Not even
a prayer and sacrifice 
can save me
Religious ritual;
no faith.

I hold your picture in my hands
so hard I bleed
but you have no interest in phlebotomy.

Or me.

It's you I idolize yet
all you ever do is cut me down to size
Loving you is no prize
And frankly my dear

I'm tired of all the wasted time.

~Chelsea DeVries~

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#WriterRevelations: What Are You Worth? (Self-Worth)

I know I'm not the only one who has days where you start to lose control of the thoughts and the things that bombard you and your mind. They come in waves and they are creepy crawlies in that you don't detect them at first. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, you are insanely happy about something in your life. Maybe you just lost 15 pounds, you finally conquered a massive fear (this year I conquered driving and riding roller coasters), you just started dating someone, or you just published a book. These are all made up scenarios but it seems like the instant life is going good, the bad thoughts creep in to shake things up from the inside out. And then one day, you look in the mirror and you are confused with how things have gotten so off-course.

Truth is: A true sense of identity and/or self-worth must come from within the inner workings of your spirit being.

Before getting serious, let me give you an actual anecdote from my real life. As you may or may not know, I recently became jobless and recently, my family and I had a very huge falling out. Things were said back and forth that were negative, belittling, shameful, and aimed at cutting me down to size according to the perspective of the person who was saying it.

It made me feel hopeless and broken but I chose to forgive anyway because one truth life has made abundantly clear is that oftentimes, someone cuts you down to size because somewhere along the line, something they dealt with, had to go through, or even a wrong thought pattern made them feel hurt they couldn't bear alone and people handle or hurdle the pain that presents itself to them along the journey of their life.

That's why I chose to forgive because I knew the person or persons words and actions were done out of this handling of pain. They feel like they were unfairly shamed, made to feel small, or even worthless. Yet, they aren't even aware that this isn't the entire truth at all. It's not even partially true because your feelings matter but they don't have any basis in truth.

People work long hours and sacrifice their families to gain the approval of an employer and feel valuable at the office. They get in debt buying clothes, cars and houses hoping somehow those things will make them feel more important.

If you trust in Jesus and made Him your Lord, you've been made the righteousness of God. 
Tweet: But have you ever let his sacrifice settle the nagging question of your self worth? #WriterRevelations: What Are You Worth?

A grandson of a preacher I consider to be my spiritual father says it best:

Tweet: The price paid determines the value. The price paid determines your value. #WriterRevelations What Are You Worth?

Until next time, remember, the price paid determines your value. Forget everything except Jesus!

In Christ Like Love and Confidence,

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

#WriterRevelations: How and Why Discontentment sets In

September 25, 2017 I decided that I was willing to lose the job I've had for two years. This year alone working this particular job was like trying to live in a house that was situated on an area highly-prone to weekly earthquakes. Some weeks you would only feel tremors, other weeks the 8.1 or higher magnitude waves would shake the ground you were standing on, and you didn't know if this would be the death of you. Financially, some weeks were harder than others but somehow God took care of me throughout this year alone following the signing on of a new client as of the end of January 2017. Before this, this job was as stable as any other freelance gig. You do the work; you follow the instructions of what the client wants in terms of writing or social media management and you get paid. Sounds simple, right? Yes, it was. And I was grateful to be paid for my writing, no matter if it wasn't exactly enough to live on.

 Yet, I never recall a time since graduating from college that my financial resources were completely depleted. God always found a channel to give me exactly what I needed even if it wasn't enough to move out of my parent's house, and be completely free of the impossible expectations I feel I have to meet in order to be loved and accepted by my family, or anyone for that matter. This was where the discontentment seed planted itself in my heart, and as long as things were not changing for me, job-wise, I let it fester. Then, just when I blogged that everything was secure again, I was going to be paid for my 3 weeks of work, plus work a few weeks in October, the client canceled the contract with us, and decided to move on. No explanation as to why but for about a day, I was a little hopeless. Although, I remembered how I felt like a clean slate would be the best place to begin again from. So I accepted the client's decision, despite not at all knowing where I was going to get money to pay my monthly bills let alone buy beauty aids, Christmas presents, and some treats for myself.

 The slate was completely wiped clean. And I've never felt better. It turns out my discontentment wasn't due to the fact that I have to live with my parents or my interferring sisters who care more about my mediocre life than they do about me living my destiny and just being happy with my current life, no matter how unstable it is. My discontentment began to grow leaves and sprout up when I started working for this client. Without going into too much detail, I can honestly feel a weight has been lifted off my chest and I am content to see what God has in store for me next now that my only source is Him, and Him alone.

If left unchecked, this dissatisfaction will infect every area of my life. So for today, I plan to keep my focus on all the blessings I have in Jesus. I will thank Him for who he is, for what He has done, and for what He will do in the future. And I hope that will bring me one step closer to learning the secret of being content in any circumstance...and keep me from my own fall.

Some examples of those blessings I have in Jesus:
1. Joint Heir in Christ
2. Forever Forgiven for any and all sin
3 Righteousness of God in Christ
4. Healing of my body, mind, and emotions
5. All things richly to enjoy
6. A roof over my head
7. A bed to sleep on
8. A/C
9. Running water that is safe to drink
10. Never Knowing Hunger that isn't satisfied by proper nutrition
11. Wi-fi
12. A Smartphone
13. My laptops
14. My ipod
15. Gym equipmet
16. Paper and pens to write
17. A printer
18. DVDs
19. Clothes
20. My dogs
21. Extra time with my parents despite being in my mid-twenties
22. Pandora
23. Coffee 
24. Hulu
25. Netflix
26. Laundry Detergent
27. Soap
28. Deodorant
29. Razor
30. Shampoo/Conditioner

I could go on because I could even go further to name all my friends, all my friends via social media, or this blog, or even The Smart Cookie Philes, and all the celebrities I've met.

So really discontent is a lie from the pits of hell and now that I've seen it in the garden of my life, I've pulled that weed up from the roots and not allowed it to destroy all that Jesus died to give me.

   So no matter what happens next, my trust and all I dream is in the hands of my God, at the feet of Jesus, and I refuse to take a thought or care about it.

Now I am not trying to be political here but there has been some recent division regarding whether one should stand during the national anthem. Now I tend to lean one way but for the purpose of the various people reading this post, I will not air my views about this issue but I want each of us to get quiet and join me in the #TakeAKneeChallenge:

Make a list of all the things in your life in this moment that are holding you captive, things you need to see with new eyes. Then claim the promise of Jesus over those things, and rip up the list. He has come- you are FREE!
So in this somewhat uncertain season of my life, I choose Jesus every single time because I would rather be content in Him than discontent in the pleasures and promises of this world. If, like me, you are in a severe drought season, your slate is completely clean, and you are in immediate need of provision of some kind (healing, deliverance, or even monetary provision), please know this is your direct confirmation from the throne room of heaven that the promise is about to manifest in your life. Get ready for your YES to come raining down!

Until next time, 

In Christ-Like Love and Confidence,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

#WriterRevelations: Rely On the Source (Manna From Heaven)

Boy, it always amazes me how much God uses my life to preach and teach to my readers. After two months of very few updates, I am back with three new posts over the next month!

It's been almost a year since I got fired from Wal-mart. And ten months since I quit working seasonally for UPS. Yet, I've managed to work as a freelance writer for the span of two years. And no matter the client, I've always done my best work because that's how I am when it comes to writing, it's my best work, or I step back and wait for it.

The same goes with these blog posts. I pray, pray, and pray for a word for you guys and then magically the happenings in my life seem to mirror the overall theme I receive during my Bible study and then I sit down to write. You can bet I pray about plots and subplots for my novel as well. If I am going to write it, I always bring it to the throne room for the final anointing so God can use it to minister and encourage his children.

I used to blog about my daily occurrences but this year, God asked me to start a new series called Writer Revelations: A writer chick using the Bible to explain and challenge people to live their best life. So anything I want to be silly about or less than serious gets posted elsewhere (mostly Twitter), and here is where I present what God wants you to know.

You don't have to be a Christian to receive these messages. Whatever faith or denomination you subscribe to, as long as you believe in a higher power, these words of encouragement will work to make a difference in your life.

And if you don't believe me, that's fine. I will just preach this to myself. LOL.

Since the beginning of the year, I've been planning a short trip to Disney in order to give myself some hands-on experience in the parks so that my novel reads authentically. Plus, I figured it was a grad trip I could give myself for getting past 20,000 words in my WIP.

Come the end of August, things were looking like I may or may not go. Then, my mom happened to write to her cousin via social media and ask if she could get us $79 tickets for our trip. Yet, she asked when we were planning to come out, and it turned out she was off that day, and because she is a Disney World Castmember, she could get us in absolutely free.

God-wink #1.

Then, came the news of Hurricane Irma, and people everywhere started to panic. Prior to this news, Panera Bread notified me that I was chosen to receive a free Daily Bagel From Panera.  

 I bet you are thinking, "Ok, what does that have to do with anything?" As you may remember, I was kicked off food stamps back in May, and have struggled with that for the past four months, so God provided manna for the month of September so I would remember who the source of all things really is.

Yet, since the Hurricane was heading for my home state, Panera was closed for a week, and my trip truly looked like it wasn't going to happen. There was nothing that I could do except one: it doesn't get enough credit but it's probably the most vital thing we can do at anytime in this life.
Yet, Irma came and left without my house suffering severe damage other than our front fence falling down. We never lost power, got flooded or even evacuated because we have faith in the Source.

My faith was high and I was floating like a leaf in the blistery, hurricane force winds. Yet, the day following the aftermath, my boss of two years wrote me saying he did not know when he was going to be able to pay me. I got a little concerned. Here I was heading to Orlando, about to spend every dime I had managed to save starting with my tax refund at the beginning of the year, and my boss was making me rethink this whole trip.

To make a long story short, I ended up choosing to trust in God despite the fear of lack and poverty that besought me, and God rewarded me for it.

I went on my trip and had a killer time. For a full 25 minute video of the whole experience, please check out my #WaltLife VLOG.

This trip proved so many things to me but basically #1 is that

If God cares about the number of hairs on your head, what makes you think whether you go on vacation or not does not matter to him? So, whatever you perceive as fun, God cares about that.

God showed me that with my trip because every little detail of it was taken care of and I was able to just enjoy being in the moment for the first time in a while. Plus, he cares about the fate of my novel which boggles my mind because it's just this glorified Ryan Sheckler Disney fanfiction that I started when I was 14 but he has turned it into best-selling material that will speak to people from all walks of life which I can further praise him for.

I came back from my trip to find out that not only did I still have a job but my boss is going to pay me the full amount he owes me for 3 weeks of work, plus he even agreed to let me work two weeks in October after originally thinking he would need me to take a month off.

Thank God for his infinite love!

Sometimes I feel that ever since I started working when I was in college, it is easy to start to look at your self and your efforts and think of your job as your only source of income, provision, or prosperity but God has proven this year alone, that he still is REIGNING as the Source of all every time he rains his love, favor, and blessings on me.

My next post will go into this further but there has never been a month since being fired and prior to working at Wal-mart where I lacked for food, shelter, or a bed to sleep on. And even more amazing is when during those really hard months God will give me extra manna to buy that whatever I have my heart set on: whether it be a gift for my family member or dogs (I love to spoil my dogs in case that wasn't clear) or my favorite artists new album, or even a new athletic outfit to workout in.

MY God is so AMAZING to me because he CARES about it all.

The Lord is inviting you and I to trust Him and live in both the adventure and security of a life of faith.

Until next time remember,

In Christ Like Love and Confidence,