I Need a Break!

Earlier this week, I received an urgent message from a student asking me to call her ASAP. A number of concerns came to mind as I pondered what may have been her state of emergency.

As soon as I was able to call the student back, she immediately asked if it was too late to drop her current class. Before I answered, I grew eager to know why she needed to drop her class, especially considering this was her very last class and she was scheduled to graduate in a few weeks. If she dropped this course, it would change her completion date. All I kept pondering was: “What was going on with her?”

When I asked the student what was wrong, she said: “This class is too much and I am tired and need a break.” She recognized that dropping the class would mean she no longer qualified for December’s graduation, but in that moment, she did not care. She wanted and needed to take a break.

Because I once found myself feeling the same way when I was taking classes, my response to her was quite clear. To her I said: “You are burned out. That is what is wrong with you. I know what exhaustion feels and looks like, because almost four years ago, I was in the same position. I was in my very last graduate class and just could not find the strength to see the end through. As your fellow sister in Christ, I cannot and will not let you drop this class. You have come too far to give up now. You will be fine. You WILL finish this class and finish strong. After you are done, then you can take all the time you need.”

This situation reminded me of when my brother ran track in high school. As I watched him run long-distance, I noticed that most of the runners began the race further back than others. This was interesting to me. As the race continued, my brother would move up a little towards the middle lanes. Then as time went by and he realized that he only had a few more laps to run, my brother would suddenly take off and sprint as he took the lead over the other runners. Nervously, I sat in uncertainty wondering if he would win the race or would someone beat him. To my disappointment, as he made his last few laps, my brother seemed to have just lost wind and given up, because before I realized it, the other runners had bypassed him and he eventually gave out, coming in last place. What started out promising ended in conquest.

Oftentimes, we as believers find ourselves right at the end of a race, but then, we quit. God wants us to understand that the Christian race is one that has to be run until the end.  Paul, in 1 Corinthians, writes, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24). This was Paul’s farewell address to the Church at Ephesus and he said, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy . . . ” (Acts 20:24).

So, just as I attempted to convey to the student the other day, as God’s children, we must keep running the race to win the prize. The iniquity is not in getting tired while running the race; rather, it is in giving up.


My Brother’s Keeper

From our friend Sandra Kelly, Director of Student Services at Belhaven’s Jackson LeFleur Campus:

Dear beloved, as you read this blog, I want you to know one important thing, “You are my brother and sister in Christ and I am yours…” According to society, we are supposed to be in competition with one another, down-talking, jealous of and hating each other. However, as men and women of God and fellow members of the Belhaven University Family, a Christian principled institution, instead of operating the way the world expects, we are to walk in love towards one another and keep each other uplifted. We are our brothers’ keepers.

Today I prayed for you, my brother and sister! I prayed for those who lost sleep last night as you paced the floor wondering how your bills are going to get paid. 

I prayed for you, my brother and sister, as you battle anxiety, insecurities and loneliness, not only from a personal perspective, but educationally. It is so easy to become frustrated and stressed-out when all of our efforts at achieving greatness seem to falter. Situations like that seem problematic to us, but are just right for God. After all, our Abba is the “Problem Solver!”

Finally, I prayed for you, my brother and sister,  as you deal with past hurts, pains, and perhaps forgiveness, I prayed for you to be released, and for you to release those hurts, that pain, those who transgressed against you. 

By now I know you’re thinking…..“But, you don’t even know me!” And you are right. I do not; however, I prayed for you, my brother and sister without calling your name….Why? Because I am your keeper! Isn’t that what I am supposed to do? That’s how things are supposed to be, right? Shouldn’t I be your keeper? As you being a spouse, parent, friend, church/community leader, and student, I should be there to encourage you when you need it.

After you have studied countless hours and still end up failing your test, shouldn’t I pick you up when you falter? Should not I be able to speak life into your situation? As a child of God, I have that obligation to do these things. As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

As Christian brothers and sisters, we of all people must be keepers of one another. When you lean, know that I will be there standing beside you to lift you up. When you struggle in your classes, I will be there to encourage you every step of the way. When you cry, I will offer my sleeve to wipe your tears. When you talk, I will offer my ears to listen. When you need a comforting word, I will offer my voice as a vessel of God’s Word. When you are going through rough times, I will be standing in front of you to offer my arms for a hug. And when you need me to just be there, I will do that too. You will hear me saying, “Don’t give up on God, because He will not give up on you!” I will do all of these things….Why? Because I am my brother and sister’s keeper!



“Mama, I want to be like you when I get bigger.” These words were spoken by my five-year-old daughter who was watching me in the mirror as I finished getting dressed for work. Though these words warmed my heart, these same words made me slightly uncomfortable. At the time, I was in a mad rush to head out the door because I had overslept. I was preoccupied sorting through my mental to-do list for the day and became completely overwhelmed just hours into a brand new day. I thought to myself, “This is not how I want her to be”. It was in that moment I knew I needed to take time for self-reflection. How can I self-improve especially since my little girl wants to be like me? Am I really the person that she sees on the outside? Have I done everything possible to set an example that shows who I truly am?
Self-reflection involves asking yourself thought-provoking questions so that you can develop a deeper level of understanding about yourself. The key to a successful self-evaluation is to be honest with yourself. I find it necessary to warn you that self-reflections can be uncomfortable and downright painful, but it is essential to change. Here are just a few questions I used to perform my self-evaluation.
• Are you at peace with yourself?
• Are you making the same mistakes over and over again?
• What habits would you like to quit? Why don’t you start today?
• Do you live for others or for yourself?
• How important is social approval for you?
• What is true happiness for you?
• If you could free yourself from one burden in your life, what would it be?
In this New Year, instead of making unattainable New Year resolutions, I encourage you to take a minute to self-reflect so you can become a better you because there may be someone who wants to be just like you!