Julia T. Williams | Release the Oars
Julia T. Williams is a storyteller on a mission to help better lives through storytelling. She writes about all the things that go wrong and how people fight to make them right. Telling stories that matter while helping others cultivate theirs.
soul, storytelling, stories that matter, storyteller on a mission, stories to better lives,
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Release the Oars

It’s not even noon yet, and I must say today has been the perfect day.

Usually I begin my day with a workout. As soon as the alarm goes off, I lay in bed to “wake up” by checking the last couple of hours worth of tweets, check Facebook, emails, and whatever else can keep my thumbs busy until I either get out the bed or fall back asleep. Once I’m officially up, I throw on workout clothes and proceed. My cool down consists of daily devotion time: Bible reading, maybe a little journaling, and a warm shower w/Pandora set to worship music. I do this every morning minus the workouts. Those are only Monday through Friday.

For some reason, I awoke on Monday with different plans. Yes, I worked out. Planned to walk seven miles, but when my toes went numb after three I decided to call it quits. What was different was my lacking desire to check up on social networking sites. Sometimes I make plans to take a break from their priority in my life, but this time, they took a break from me. I think it was all brought on by my visit to a church I hadn’t planned to attend.

Saturday evening I got online to check around for non-denominational churches in my area. I found one that had a service starting at 10am. Only problem was when I got there that church wasn’t. Another church was there instead. Outside in cars were a few people waiting. After 10:01am without any movement from them, I decided to find another church. I found one 1.9 miles away; I just didn’t know their start time. The church was in an office complex next to another storefront church. I noticed the other church had a 10:30 start time. My time was 10:11. I made a mistake of giving all of my black heels to Goodwill (what was I thinking?), and found myself uncomfortable with the loafers I had on. They made a sloshing sound when I walked, so I drove to Target down the street to get a pair of platforms I had my eyes on. Got back to the church at 10:38. Guess what? I chose not to wear the shoes. Went through all of that (mind you, this was the 2nd store going to that morning; the other store didn’t have my size) for what? *sigh*

But on my way from the 2nd Target back to the church a thought crossed my mind. What you need is in you. You just have to hone what you have; make use of it. I was going to post that on Twitter once I parked. Since I was running late, I made a mental note to do so later. (So much for mental notes when you end up forgetting.)

The church was small. Twelve of us total, including the pastor and his wife, and four attendees under the age of 15. A few of us were visiting for the first time. During offering, we put the visitor cards we filled out in the offering basket which ended up being read after prayer by the pastor. He had each of us stand as he called our names. I checked the box for being new to the area. Once he began preaching, he looked directly at me and said, “God is moving you around. He is taking you from one area to another. He’s shaking things up for you.” Now, I didn’t necessarily receive it as prophetic because I had noted on the visitor card that I was new in town. I took the word for what it was and kept it moving. There was an overseer of the church who came with his wife to show their face for support. (Oh yeah, this church ended up not being non-denominational and Church of God In Christ which is what I was brought up in.) After alter call, this superintendent interrupted to say God was speaking to him that someone was going through a storm and needed some “touching and agreeing” in their situation. I knew this wasn’t me because I felt I had moved past my storm. Another woman went up with her daughter. As they were finishing, the superintendent called me to come up. “Yes, you,” he said when I pointed at my chest. I went up with my guard up. For some reason I approached slightly defensive and I think he sensed it. He prefaced how “the Spirit of the Lord” was speaking to him about me as if that would make me feel better. He looked me straight in the eyes and spoke, “What you need to succeed is already in you. You just have to use what is in you.” I looked at him straight in the eye back, nodded my head and he said, “Let me say it again,…”

Had this man said the very thing that was said to me on my way there? Give or take a word or two and I’d say we’d have a word-by-word match. I took that word home and marinated on it. I had been dealing with my lack of writing for some time now. Not because I have nothing to write about, but because I have been lazy. Lazy and wondering when “things” are going to happen for me. How can I expect things to happen, how can I expect the Universe to open up and give me what I request when I’m not giving It more to work with? At that moment I said it was time to get to work. Mind you, I had already began working on my 2nd novel again just a few days before and received an unexpected email from my agent with good news. Seemed to me, in a way, the Universe was already acting off of my future efforts.

Which brings me to a wonderful book I just finished: The Astonishing Power of Emotions. This book gives several examples of how our emotions and feelings send us upstream, taking us away from the place of all things good. We need to coast downstream where our dreams and truest desires come alive for us. What happens when you try to paddle up a stream? Picture in your mind you’re paddling up a turbulent river. No matter how hard you paddle, you go nowhere. You fight against the water’s direction and feel stuck, hapless. Now let your paddles go. What happens? You begin to flow down the river. No more fight, no more struggle. You’re flowing, you’re moving. You’re giving up the power of you and allowing something greater than you to take course.

Spiritual Jewel: When we release the oars of life, only then can we allow God to be our guide and direct us in the stream of peace.

This morning when I awoke, I released the oars. I dressed to workout, but ended up on the couch watching two movies back to back. Finished a movie I started the other day, and then watched another. Julie & Julia, with a perfectly-made cup of chai tea with hazelnut creamer were exactly what I needed today. I had an epiphany after watching it, marinating on the words from Sunday, and writing in my journal. I am truly in a good place. My life is as perfect as perfect is. And what is perfect? Whatever you want perfect to be.

I leave you with the words to a song that truly touches me. It’s called Rescue from the Bishop Paul S. Morton presents Praise & Worship CD.

You are the source of life; I can’t be left behind / No one else will do; I will take hold of you / I need you Jesus; Come to my rescue / Tell me where else can I go; There’s no other name by
Which I am saved
/ Capture me with grace; I will follow you

This is Jewells signing out…

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