Discover more from Naked and Exposed ® Journal by Janae Carlee
The conversation everyone is too quiet about
Twenty-two points of reflection
Are you sitting down? You will want to be seated as you read because we have some things to discuss for the new year that are weighty and necessary for what’s ahead. Also lengthy. If you’re an email reader, open this up in your browser. Plus, I encourage you to read it all the way through.
Before we start, I must thank you for allowing me to take up space digitally in your email inbox or computer browser. However, you decide to read the words I write—you’re presence does not go unnoticed! I am a better writer because of your willingness to stick around, read, and interact.
As we enter twenty-twenty-three, we can no longer wallow in the self-pity of what happened or what so and so did or didn’t do. It’s time to acknowledge our decisions to create a plan with God to move forward and upward.
Okay, let’s begin:
You must remember these two things—you are blessed and highly favored. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even though life handed us various lessons on an endurance platter for the TOTALITY of twenty-twenty-two—we endured.
How do I know?
You are reading this, and I am writing it.
Life is hard.
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We can acknowledge this simple truth honestly.
HOWEVER, it's where we draw our strength that empowers forward movement, patience, and healing.
LET’S BREAK THIS DOWN:
Where = Who
Who = Christ
God's strength is made perfect in OUR weakness (surrender, self-awareness, frustration, obedience, flaws).
Our weakness = God's strength.
God's strength requires endurance.
To endure = suffer patiently.
To suffer patiently = James 1:2-4 ~ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 5:3-5 ~ Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Count it all joy when trials arise?
Endurance produces character?
Hope doesn't put us to shame?
The SAME spirit that rose Christ from the grave on the 3rd day, winning back the keys of authority for us, giving us eternal life, is greater in us than he that is in this world.
THE SAME SPIRIT.
Life is hard, but where you draw your strength to endure matters most. It's better to live with Christ than live without him.
Why stop now?
We are to count it all JOY when faced with trials of various kinds because suffering creates endurance. Endurance provides space for our character to transform. All in all, we develop new hope, new trust, and new fortitude.
In the end, we will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
God can pivot us at any time.
It takes time for a seed to sprout. Often we consume information with the intent to apply, but application occurs over time. Similar to transformation. God can do instant work, but he’s also a God of long-suffering.
Twenty-twenty-two taught me—
The art of privacy.
In 2020, I read “The Art of Being Private” by Dephne Madyara. It convicted me. As influencer marketing rises, social proof does too. Many people share everything they have done across social media—carefully curating content for brand deals, clout, or their intent.
Innately, we want to be seen and heard.
It’s human nature, but what does God say? His word in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says:
To aspire to live quietly—calm, silent, in moderation, discretely, in stillness, with little to no noise. This allows us to hear God the way we need to as he speaks.
To mind our own affairs—the phrase “drink water and mind your business” comes to mind. However, God is asking us to walk out our salvation with fear and trembling. We must focus on what he has set before us, living our lives out loud, in righteousness, and seeking God’s kingdom. Minding our own affairs is not an excuse to isolate ourselves. Community is necessary! It means don’t go around meddling, gossiping, or starting drama. Be a place of refugee, not a place to flee. “There is a great difference between the Christian duty of putting the interests of others first and the busybody’s compulsive itch to put other people right.” (Bruce; Enduring Word)
And to work with our hands—God never called us idle or to “retire early.” The plan was always to subdue, have dominion, and multiply (people, gifts, talents). Don’t believe the lies of social media. What has God given you? Whatever it is, it requires cultivation. Things are not supposed to come easy. Easy needs a perspective shift. We are to be dependent on God. Often, he will give us the grace to endure, but easy was never a part of the plan or instruction. Replace easy with intentional or hopeful. Life is to be deliberate and hopeful with God.
If God isn’t going, I’m not either.
At this point, you should have your Bible with you, your journal open, and your pen ready because these points will be foundational for the years ahead. The Bible is a cheat sheet for this test called life—aerial view.
In Exodus 33:15, we overhear a conversation Moses is having with God. He says, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”
We do not want to be anywhere God is not.
Often what we think we need, we don’t. We don’t know what’s best for us. God does! As we trust him and lean not unto our own understanding by acknowledging him in all our ways, God will continue to set our path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The SON shines even when it’s cloudy. For this reflection point, listen to season four, episode four of Overtime We Evolve. It’s only 11 minutes and 12 seconds. The beginning of this episode starts with a spoken-word poem:
Over time we evolve. We stop resembling our childhood homes. Our exteriors age, renovations take place, and we relocate, desiring to root into stable grounds for seasonal storms do blow through, and unexpected fires burn away what was. We are left to face the ashes of what's next? What have I learned? How can I be better? Pain is all that remains until we decide to make art out of a new day. Over time we evolve, Sitting here in admiration for the person we are becoming, Full of wonder and hope.
It’s been a couple of years since we went all in, surrendering our will for His. It shows. We look more at peace now. The internal wages war With an all too powerful force, Taking thoughts captive Without entertaining them. We realize it was never about being the best; It was about giving our best. At all times. Minus the striving. We see The son did rise; The sun keeps shining On this morning.
And tomorrow brings its own puzzle pieces to compose. Today we dance freely, without care of stepping offbeat. We chose to show up. We learned it’s not about being The best but giving it all we got. And for three years, we’ve given all we got. We’ve transformed, transforming with a whole lot more to give, A whole lot more to become, A whole lot more. Quiet seasons require a new surrendered trust. Make a promise to God to keep going even when those we thought would stay stop. Stand your ground, be rooted. Most plants outgrow their pot.
Even in uncertainty, God is already there. We didn’t ask to be here. We were hand selected, called, formed in iniquity (due to sin), to be transformed and redeemed as an instrument for God’s goodness.
When I moved to Texas by faith, I did not know what lay ahead. Doubt crept in, and I missed my family. Transitions are ongoing and challenging. A friend and I ventured into HomeGoods on day two. God winked at me through a piece of wall art for purchase. The original gold frame broke. It’s found a new home on my desk. The first thing I see when I open my eyes.
The dark is an indication of God’s shadow.
Some of us are so close to God this season that all we can see is his shadow. There (in his shadow) we dwell. In His shadow, we are protected. Psalm 91:4 reads—He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. See prophetic words as assurance for a future God is recalibrating you to embrace at this latest stage of maturity and beyond. Your vision was not wrong—it’s immature.
The dark is a form of development. Walk in step with God—stop running ahead.
Count the cost.
Have you ever considered the cost of serving God versus not?
I make content about navigating life, showing up authentically, and candidly dialoguing about internal/external battles through a faith lens. As much as I joke and tell the truth, even when I struggle, I know my only option is to trust and serve God.
There is no separation!
To authentically be me means always to include God in everything. Listen, we must return to the original design—dependent upon God. And to think this is a part of the call, I often resist. To speak about God in a world that denies his existence is not an easy task. However, when we stand before God at the end of time (regardless if we believe or not), we still must give an account of all our days on earth. So my friends, count the cost!Tiktok failed to load.
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Either way, it’s a risk. It’s not black and white. It’s yes and amen. Instead, say, God, I’m not sure, but I will decide the place of relationship with you, trusting it will work out for my good.
Something is out of alignment when what you’re building isn’t growing after years of dedication. You’re frustrated because you’re trying to force your own will—when God said yield.
You didn’t make it to the league because that’s not God’s plan.
That job let you go because it was not God’s plan.
Your online influence isn’t growing because that’s not God’s plan.
Instead, serve and serve well. The plow will eventually create a path. For many of you, your toil comes from building when God said to do. You have a mindset to pioneer in a season where God is saying to get behind the vision of another and push it forward.
Why compare? Our callings are not the same.
If only you knew what went on behind the scenes of an individual’s life, you wouldn’t dare covet their perceived highlight reel. We don’t understand the cost of the crushing required to produce even a drop of oil.
Don’t be deceived. What looks like oil could also be sweat.
For some, their toil is NOT God-ordained.
A lack of surrender and obedience paved the way. God did not tell them to produce what they broadcasted or displayed. So before you covet, seek God for yourself. You are a solution to a unique problem only you can solve.
My only flex is confessing Jesus and believing. That’s all! That’s the message. It looks like nothing I envisioned and everything God intended.
Community and friendships become what you invest in them.
You’ll never hear me scream “no new friends” because friends are essential for growth and survival. No, everyone doesn't have to be within arms reach or perusing the inner courts of knowing all the intimate details of our life, but we can't keep claiming any new friends and wonder why depression is at an all-time high.
Don't be deceived!
Stop entertaining this lie of distrust and start opening up.
Yes, there are levels to friendship, but people don't know how to be what you don't allow them to evolve into. *
Use the wisdom of the Lord.*
We need people—life was NEVER meant to be done alone OR without God.
• Define the relationship.
• Assign the relationship.
• Remain within the boundaries
Allow God to lead you as you navigate the space of friendships, acquaintances, and community. Everyone doesn’t need access to every part of you. Not everyone is a friend, but everyone can make up your community. I'm grateful for those who see my humanity and stay.
Only what is of God will last.
"What we think" doesn't matter next to a perfect and holy creator.
Our feelings are valid because they happened, but they do not always reflect the true character of God's nature—though we are born into sin in iniquity because of rebellion, we must understand God desires none to perish.
Will you radically obey and recklessly abandon the idea of who you think you are for who God reveals you to be?
It takes more faith to stay in the boat than to walk on water.Tiktok failed to load.
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The original instruction in Matthew 14 was to "get in the boat and cross to the other side of the lake." Due to fear, Peter cried out, asking GOD to prove it was him. The boat was a place of safety, and Jesus walking on water demonstrated God's presence even amid storms. Jesus says to the disciples—"Don't be afraid...Take courage. I am here!" God KNEW the winds would provide the disciples’ trouble—just like us.
Life is not void of struggle.
God, however, desires our obedience, trust, and faith.
When the storms arise, don't be afraid when you stay inside the boat of obedience, trust, and faith because God is with you.
You will get to the other side!
Silence the doubt!
Silence the fear!
Partner with who GOD says HE IS.
Remember: God is faithful to complete what he started (Phillipians 1:6).
Relationships expose broken areas.
Some parts of us are not brought to the service until we start walking with people in close proximity. Who you do life with matters, but be the person who will fight for the friendships and relationships after you catch the revelation from God on who they are to you and the importance of their presence on your journey to becoming.
Silence does not mean inactivity.
You’re not behind. You’re being prepared. It’s not a pause. It’s perseverance. When you find yourself back at the bottom of the mountain, don’t be afraid to climb up again. God cares more about the becoming than the destination.
Success is the journey. Everything else is a bonus.
I'm learning that if I keep walking in the direction God is leading, I'll end up wherever he needs me. My life looks like a written vision in pencil to correct the mistakes my flesh attempts to tell God what's next as if He hasn't already factored the opening paragraph down to the conclusion.
God desires us to make decisions from the place of our relationship with him. Success has never been a destination, connection, influence, or open doors—it's always been intimacy and encounters with whom our soul longs.
We can’t receive what we aren’t willing to give or become. Be what others lack, so you can be what you are vital at to them. Your life, and actions, will always speak louder than any words spoken. Showing up is half the battle.
Grit isn’t a physical weight—it’s surrender. Have you ever been so overwhelmed your body starts to speak what your words fail to articulate as the pressure of this season continues to increase?
God desires to carry our burdens.
However, our bodies often missed the memo—mine did, and it found me unable to move my neck for several months.
⚠️When the enemy can't attack your mind, he'll often try your body before advancing to those around you.
Keep your eyes on God still.
RESIST the urge to succumb to manipulation and perceived defeat by opening your mouth and speaking from God's power assigned to his words in scripture.
We're born into a sinful and evil world where God's plan is advanced through vessels, willing or not. He used the hardened heart of Pharoah to free his people from Egypt and the junk in Joseph's brothers' hearts to catapult him into the future ahead of a famine.
Regardless, God's will WILL BE done—willing or not.
As the season intensifies, God calls us higher in maturity and emotional wholeness—surrender.
🎯If God calls you to do a thing, even if it's crazy, do it.
🎯If God tells you to make amends with past shadows, do it.
🎯If God tells you to switch careers, do it.
🎯If God tells you to stop watching, listening, or eating something, do it.
🚨In a season of acceleration and suddenly—make haste.🚨
As long as there is breath in your body, there is time.
Please don't waste it!
You won’t know if the door is unlocked if you don't move.
New seasons require closed doors. NEW indicates OLD has passed away. Question to reflect upon: If the past is still present, where are you lacking contentment with focusing on the NOW instead of living in a tomorrow that hasn't happened? Or holding onto a yesterday you can't reclaim?
Tomorrow is based on the decisions we make today.
The idea of making money is cute, but…
• Do you manage your current finances well?
• Do you have systems, structures, and automation in place?
• How do you use your money under stress?
• How do you deal with anger? Emotions?
• Do you have good communication skills?
• Do you tithe consistently now?
By no means do I doubt one’s ability to see millions of dollars. It's possible. God will, and God can!
However, asking ourselves, "do I have the capacity to handle millions now? Or is there more processing required so I don't stray away from you, Father, when I receive this financial increase?" is the best question to ask.
How did we get here?
These days, it seems that the focus is on financial success and less on character.
Interestingly, this verse in Proverbs 30 reveals the writer asking God to give them just enough. We want more, but for what?
What are we doing with what we have?
Is what we have advancing God's kingdom, or are we remaining closed-handed?
Have you considered if you'll stay with God or stray from God considering an increased tax bracket (Serious question)?
I often wonder who the rich young ruler would have become had he surrendered his wealth for eternal salvation. The ability to get wealth was upon his life, and GOD knows what's needed to advance his kingdom.
God also knows who will serve him with or without money—and I can't be so confident that I'll do what is necessary with a lot of spare change in the bank.
In scripture, these are the daily wrestlings I must contend against with God. I never want the world's influence to dictate my view of God or create false expectations.
We sometimes live so future-minded that we neglect the present. Lord, help us to be good stewards of the NOW.
We are clay molded by the potter’s hands.
Are we supposed to know what we're doing?
Great—just checking because every time I think, I know, God is like, "but you don't." And I find myself resting in the knowledge that He is God and knows—the beginning from the end—I'm merely a surrendered vessel used for HIS glory.
Contrary to popular belief, it's never been about our comfort and self-care. It's always been about our complete submission of weakness to the one who gives us strength.
It's the behind-the-scenes many don't know about.
Culture says to be strong, don't cry, and act like you know it all.
God's word says, make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
Have we become too opinionated and dependent on ourselves?
Are we willing to do introspective work all the time?
Instead of staggering in thought around doubt and trusting God, ask yourself can God trust YOU with His glory?
What if our daily struggles teach us to reveal God's nature amid worldly sorrow by rejoicing and remaining steadfast in God's strength?
What if writing the vision has nothing to do with what you think and everything to do with what God has said to trust in him with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Your accountability partner,
P.S. Everything comes back full circle. It’s not an exhaustive list, but some important points of reflection in twenty-twenty-two. Keep going! And Happy New Year!