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And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

Acts 22:6-15

Our experiences are demonstrative evidence of our actions and serves as a measure bar as we move forward in flourishing to our expected end. Life’s experiences, your best instructor of that which works for your benefit and what does not, are lessons learned that is not focused on convincing others but instead serving as fuel for defining your way forward. As we honestly and candidly reflect on our experiences, we have the opportunity to deconstruct; stripping that which does not work or have had a negative impact in order to determine how we can reconstruct; gleaning from the experiences that which are valuable and works for our benefit and as a result construct our pathway forward in flourishing. Refusing to know and understand your past, with a critical and honest reflection, positions you to repeat which has been, thus maintaining the status quo. Remember, if you continue to do what you always have done you will Receive what you always have gotten. As Black people, we have faced challenges as a result of racism but we have also, amid the challenges of racism made significant strides toward our advancement, perhaps not as quick or as perfect as we intended and/or desired but powerful and impactful accomplishments. Thus, our lived-experiences, if we choose to learn from them, equips our ability to critically deconstruct and salvage that which has been life-changing, transforming experiences for the good and use them as building blocks to construct our pathway forward to flourishing even the more. Although people who may be well-meaning or not, can research and deduce from our experiences, they cannot adequately quantitive and/or translate our lived-experiences. The optimum analysis will come from within, those who have lived the experience, practically translating their experiences and defining a pathway forward. Paul, in one of his last addresses in Jerusalem, recalls his conversion from being a staunch opponent of Christ and His followers to being a follower of Christ not as a plea for them to affirm his transformation but instead a witness, testimony of his lived-experiences that brought about his transformation. Paul understood that your experiences are not my experiences and my experiences cannot serve as a substitute for an authentic lived experience with Jesus which will not only transform your life but also give you life, igniting the Spirit of God within that makes you alive. There is absolutely no substitute for lived-experiences, including an intimate and personal relationship with Christ, they are necessary to stir the wind, Spirit of God in you, which leads and guides you to your pathway forward to flourish in the promises of God. Catch The Wind of God’s Spirit within you and allow it to lead and guide you along the pathway God has beforehand prepared for you in which you will have the life and life more abundantly promised for you!

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