August 11, 2020
This is a peculiar season. In May, I was hit by an incompetent driver. The driver made a left turn in front of me and totaled my BMW. Just like that, I was without a car. This happened on my son’s birthday, so I had to make sure that his birthday was not ruined because of this. On top of experiencing this hit that totaled my car with just over 55k miles, the driver did not have insurance and the officer who responded to the scene failed to verify it. You just said “whew, chile” didn’t you? I know you did, cause WHEW, CHILE! The wrecks kept coming!
My friends told me I was zoned out at the scene. I don’t remember them talking to me, but I remember asking my son and nephew if they were OK and telling my nephew to call his parents. I also remember hopping out of the car right after the impact and angrily walking over to the other driver’s car. The last thing I remember is shaking so hard that I could not dial numbers on my cell or push the SOS button on my car. Anger paralyzed and shook me all at once.
Days after accepting the fact that I would never drive my car again, having to begin shopping for something new, foot the bill for taxes, and all of the other things that go along with dealing with the repercussions of someone else’s ignorance, I dealt with firsthand racism by an unknown, white male. Are you telling me I’m being kicked while I am down?! [Ummm… Yes. Yes, you are!] Now, I had put on my strong hat and enjoyed a Mother’s Day dinner and time with my sister/friend and all, but forget that! I needed to cry, man! So, I did. I took off my strong hat and cried. It was needed. Maybe all of this was really right on time. I mean, we’re nearing two months into quarantining. This wreck could have thrown me into depression.
I likened this experience to having someone suddenly taken from your life. Now, don’t twist your lips up and say it was just a car. I know that and yes, I did just twist my lips up. Ha! BUT it felt like that. One minute I was laughing and singing and the next it was devastation and loss. I realized this was a permanent change for me. My car wasn’t coming back and maybe there was a blessing in it. THERE HAD TO BE! You see - after viewing the wreckage, calming down, and handling other odd business, I realized that the airbags in my BMW faulted. The impact was hard enough so that the side and front airbags should have deployed. They did not. This was yet another blessing in disguise. God specializes in those, you know.
Needless to say, this shift in my everyday life created anxiety. When I drove again, my anxiety level was very high behind the wheel. It took me a minute to drive in the same direction without the anxiety. But I was OK. But, what if? BUT. I. WAS. OK. But, what IF? I am OK!
God provided. God is good. One shift. Two shifts. Three shifts. Four. God is shifting things once more.
Quarantining afforded me some free time and forced me to look over my life and areas in which I had not shown much attention to in a hot little minute. Eventually, my to-do-list shrunk and my desire-to-list grew. Everything forced me to move differently, to think differently, to speak differently, and expect differently. The normal I knew was a memory. And then I heard God say, “SHIFT WRECKED.”
Huh? What’s that you say, God?
S. H. I. F. T. W. R. E. C. K. E. D. Shift wrecked.
Shift wrecked. OK. Gotcha. What it that? [Insert rewind sound here]
This is the time to exit if you thought this was all about a car... 😩😬
In 2019, many of us were looking forward to the new year. I’m not gonna lie, I entered this year ON FIRE! I know some of you did, as well, because you were right there with me. We marched into a new decade and looked with positive expectations of it. It is the year we get to elect new local and state leaders, and also get another chance to get it right in the White House. [Not going there…NOPE!] We witnessed what 2020 meant to different people and members of clergy. Some of us reminisced about the previous decade and how we have changed so much, yet may have remained the same.
Churchgoers heard every type of 2020 message they could possibly hear from the pews and social media posts. We were geeked and motivated for the new. We declared 2020 a year of clear vision and promised ourselves to get focused to do what we needed to do (again). This was the year to shift from this to that and there to here. And then…just like a cloud suddenly moving to block the sun… Like a ship that sails into a storm and hits a huge wave… Like an immature driver who makes an illegal left turn in front of you and slams into you (OK. That was personal), Corona – COVID 19 – “Rona” – “that stuff” showed up and wrecked us all. We were shift wrecked. Unknown territory surrounded us and we were left to either activate survival skills, swim, and build a flotation device until something else happened OR hold our breath, count on someone else to rescue us or accept going down with the ship or shift.
The meaning of shift is to transfer, exchange, move or cause to move from one place, person, position, direction, or tendency to another. A shift can be created or it can just be done. That’s the difference in the noun (thing) and verb (action). Shift wrecked is not a concept you’ll find on Google or in a dictionary, so (please) allow me to define it for you. To be shift wrecked is to be placed in a sudden, unforeseen but needed circumstance (created shift) that encourages you to change positions, directions, speed, beliefs, etc. or perish (action). It’s what 2020 did to us.
In this year, this season, this time, YOU ARE FORCED TO PICK A SIDE, CHOOSE A POSITION and LEADER, STAY OR GO, CLIMB OR SINK, HOLD ON OR LET GO, EVOLVE OR PERISH. It is either/or, not neither/and.
Which one have you chosen?
Some may say, “I was in the right position” and you may have been.
Some may say, “I follow the right leader” and that may be true.
Some may say, “I’m where God sent me” and He may have sent you there.
BUT, even if you were in the right position before the shift; even if you have been following the righteous leader, and even if God sent you there then, what is He telling you to do NOW? In order to get to new heights, we have to shift from one level or step to another. We have to speed up or slow down. In order for singers to reach the audience they are called to perform in front of, they have to raise their voice. In order for an aircraft to reach its scheduled destination, it has to shift from the ground to a higher altitude.
What has God told you to do?
Maybe you’ve also felt some of the feelings I felt after the wreck. Maybe you’ve suffered loss. Maybe your anxiety has gotten the best of you at times. Maybe you’ve gotten angry and felt like punching someone in the face… repeatedly… with brass knuckles. Oops! Sorry. I had a flash back! Forgive me! Buuuuuuuut I need you to feel your feelings. What I don’t need or want you to do is stay in them. Get back in alignment. You have things to do. WE have things to do.
Are you speaking up about the things God told you to speak up about so people can hear you? Have you completed your last assignment and readying for the next? Are you clearing your soul (mind, emotions, intellect) and spirit for take-off into the next area of your destiny?
Shift wrecks happen all of the time. The difference in the shift of present and some of the shifts of past is that everyone is now required to shift at the same time. The refusal to do so is choosing between life and death…life and death in a variety of forms.
Isaiah 43:16-19 in the Message Bible says:
This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”
BE ALERT! BE PRESENT! God is doing a new thing! Don’t you see the SHIFT? It is here! It is unavoidable. Change is inevitable. It is not should have, could have, would have season. It is will do, have to, evolve or perish season.
Where will you end up in this shift wreck season? Will you sink in the shift expecting what once worked, but is now broken to keep you afloat? Will you end up on the sunny shore of your destiny or will you be “lost at see?”
SEE this what I wanted to do.
SEE this is where I wanted to go.
SEE this is who I wanted to be.
SEE that is what God told me to do.
I want to celebrate with you on the shore. Meet me there