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Over the past few years, I made mistake after mistake after mistake. I’m talking about the period in my life I always refer to as the “Dark Ages.” I’m out of that and have entered a Renaissance period of sorts which has truly been a reawakening of my spirit. I’m not talking about a connection with God (although that’s included). Instead, it’s the true essence of JAZ getting her ass up and taking charge in her life.

God has been revealing things to me. At times it truly feels like my life pauses and I go with him to watch my game tapes. I get to see things I do well, areas that need improvement, and full on catastrophic failed moments. It’s amazing how God answers prayers. I asked for clarity and he gave it to me. It’s one thing to see a situation, but utilizing critical thinking skills to really analyze what just happened is something else.

Christians tend to follow God so blissfully. They figure he’ll save them and protect them from anything and everything in their path. They tend to stray away from Revelations, only taking time to memorize the part about streets being paved in gold. Well, I started to read that chapter of the Bible and find it to be scary as hell. I’ve learned that we encounter day-to-day spiritual battles leading up to a full on spiritual war. It’s fine and dandy to look at your Bible as a sword, because it is. What most Christians overlook is the strategy of war. In any battle, war, fight, tussle, or ghetto brawl…you’ve got to know your enemy.

Trust and believe…THE enemy knows you.

The Enemy likes to create traps of sorts. The first type takes the shape of Generational Curses. He figures, your granny did it….your mom did it…soooo you’re probably gonna do it too! The best representation of this was in the play “Madea Goes to Jail.” She snatched the phone away from the little girl she was watching & found a boy on the line. It went something like this: “How old is your mama?”…”30?”….”How old is your granny?”…..”45?”….”How old is your great grandma?”….”52?!?” In this example the great granny had her baby young, granny had her baby young, and the mom ended up having her baby young as well. The Enemy sets traps for you that your ancestors have fallen into. The cycle will continue until YOU break it.

The next trap The Enemy likes to set has to do with him being bitter that he wants to be God, but…..well…..falls drastically short. Only God can truly bless you. However, The Enemy can replicate of clone those blessings in a manner that ends up benefiting him in the end. His cloned blessings appear to be the real thing. They are exactly what you wanted, and you attain them in the easiest of ways. When you’re up…you’re up!…Then things start looking a lil funny but you can’t quite put your finger on what’s wrong. It seems that within a matter of moments, you’re back on your ass & in a worse situation that where you began. HE GOT YOU!

See, while The Enemy can’t bless you, he can play into the desires of your heart to lead you into a situation where he can use you as his puppet. Once he’s done with you, and has no more use for you, he’ll throws you away. If you can’t see that this was a trap set by The Enemy, you may end up mad at God.

[This JUST happened to me.]

THE BAIT: I moved into my favorite house in the world. For the first few months, I didn’t fool with the neighbors, I just did me. One neighbor always spoke to me, and tried starting conversations, but I’d merely speak and go on with my business. The problem was, I hadn’t seen him. One day I came home early from work, and saw him close up. He had dark brown skin, shiny black dreadlocks, and a football player build. Plus, he could hold a conversation and actually seemed intelligent. As time went on, I learned he was a street cat who was now running a record label. He wanted me as his head of Marketing.

THE FALSE BLESSING: Funny, just that easily I had exactly what I’ve always wanted… A dark skinned man with dreadlocks (or bald), with a football player build, car, house, money, street smarts, and a plan/future. Bonus: I get to expand my business doing what I love in an area I love…Music. JACKPOT!!!

LIVING THE BLESSING: Things moved quickly. I was accepted into his camp. Contracts were written up. I was suddenly a close advisor & knew everything that was going on within his business & personal life. I threw my support & resources behind his dream 100% and even put my own projects on hold. He had projects, plans, and seemed to have the resources behind him to make everything happen…..but something didn’t seem quite right.

THE SIGNS: I couldn’t google him. No one had heard of him. His only real proof of anything was an old billboard, an airbrushed backdrop, and a host of “dick riders” willing to tell his stories of grander. He would hit on me, but it felt uncomfortable. Everyone in his camp looked really busy, and the music was outstanding, but the more I got to looking at things….nothing was actually getting done besides music being recorded. This was a situation I needed out of.

THE DOWNFALL: The more aggressively I tried to separate from him, the more drama happened. It wasn’t normal drama, everything was completely over the top and made no sense at all. It seemed my life was going downhill in a snowball. Crazy situations happened between us, and ended up pulling totally non-connected people in. Old wounds were reopened. The drama spread out to every single inch of my life & reactivated almost every past battle I’d been fighting. It was all bad.

GOD PROVIDES THE REAL BLESSING: The night after our most heated confrontation, a guy (with the same name as my neighbor) hit me up out of the blue. He was interested in my story and wanted to interview me for his internet TV show. I googled him and his story immediately checked out (in fact, he had downplayed it). I met with him the the next day and did the interview. Everything was professional and you could feel the positive energy. Best of all, I was able to acknowledge God on his show that usually features hip hop artists. I don’t know where this will lead, but I know it’s of God because signs of success of are written all over it.

THE CONCLUSION: Thankfully God knows you too, and works with you how he knows you learn best. He knows I’m strong willed & hard headed. I have to learn by trial and error (even though you’ve already tried and have told me the result will end in error). After I’ve fallen flat on my face, God takes me by the hand and replays the tape so I can see the full picture & figure out what’s going on. We must never forget that we are in a spiritual war. Although you will have a second chance if you mess up, this is a game of life and the stakes are high. It’s best to remove yourself as completely as possible from a situation as quickly as possibly, learn what you need to learn from it, and apply the lesson to your life as you go foreword.

This post is much longer than what I usually write, but it’s a message that needed to be delivered. I am no way a holier than thou Bible slinger, but I am a child of God and a student. It’s only right to pass on my own lessons & epiphanies in hopes that it may help someone else. Luv ya!