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We had three shoots scheduled for the end of September and it was a rough summer. All except for one attempt I made to make money was successful. My mother took an unexpected pay cut. Every reason to give up and wash my hands of the show flooded my mind. I wanted to open up and talk to someone besides my fellow Producers about it. But I felt that those that I even considered speaking to would never understand. So I kept my mouth shut. I kept things between my fellow Producers and God. I began to question why I was even putting myself through this kind of stress. Overwhelmed, one day I opened my bible to Matthew 27.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God,’” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Here Jesus was on the cross suffering physically. Then people began to insult Him and ridicule Him which caused him to suffer emotionally. On top of that they made it clear that they didn’t believe in Him which only added to the emotional hurt. On the outside looking in one might believe that it just would have been easier for Him to come down off the cross to put an end to His humiliation, His hurt and their doubt. He was fully capable of doing so. Yet He remained on the cross because He knew it was absolutely necessary. He was the ultimate sacrifice.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
If He didn’t sacrifice Himself we would be lost forever. He was motivated by love. His strength motivated me to surge forward. This was God’s plan for my life and I knew it would be successful. I’m happy to say that we taped the three shows and we are now halfway through the season. There will be times where it seems like it would be easier to just give up. When that happens ask yourself what motivates you. Remember if God made this kind of sacrifice and endured such suffering for you, there should be no reason why you shouldn’t do what He asks of you.
So here I was unemployed. In addition to my daily job search, I tried to get more coverage for Ayana Productions. I went back to my old routine and started praying first thing in the morning. Things were going pretty well but then my boredom got the best of me. Praying every day, looking for jobs and searching for media coverage somehow didn’t satisfy me especially since I still didn’t see a significant change in the websites’ traffic.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.
Eventually my boredom led me right back to my selfish ambition. I was spending more and more time taking online courses to make my resume look more appealing in order to get a job that had nothing to do with what God wanted me to do. Again I was headed in a direction that God didn’t want me to go in. Then my selfish ambition got the best of me. My mother, who is now the Executive Director and Host of Ayana Productions, wrote a feature film script in two composition notebooks. I could feel God tug at my heart, telling me to type the script. Still not used to God’s voice, I brushed it off because we had an online news and entertainment show. In my mind, we had no business fooling up with a feature film when we couldn’t even get the show off the ground. So I put it off. I certainly wish I would’ve listened to God because what comes next, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Eventually I got another job. But God has a way of chastising you when you’ve been disobedient. I landed a gig at an eCommerce company as a customer service representative. In retrospect, the job was pretty simple. All I had to do was assist customers with their orders via email. At this job we were allowed to wear our headphones and listen to music. But at a reasonable volume of course just in case one of the supervisors was trying to get our attention. Simple enough right? Not really. Because we were allowed to listen to music, the supervisors’ sitting in the front office would speak negatively about the staff. There were times I heard them speak negatively about me, which made for a very uncomfortable working condition. One day I guess I couldn’t suppress their comments any longer because I started gasping for air and my heart started racing. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. So I got up, went to the restroom, took a couple of deep breaths and tried to calm myself down. But the relief was only temporary. When I got back to my desk, it started up again. This feeling just wouldn’t let up. It was becoming increasingly worse with each passing day. I did some research on my symptoms and apparently I was suffering from anxiety attacks. To make matters’ worse I was beginning to have night terrors during my sleeping hours. The job was really wearing on me. I prayed and asked God to get me out of the situation. My desire became so great that I vehemently started working on Ayana Productions coverage. While I was employed there I covered the Queens Peace Keepers March, a Fathers Alive In The Hood event and the Dumbo Arts Festival. My mother also interviewed Ralph McDaniels (Uncle Ralph) and the Mis B’havin Misfits. Sometimes God allows trouble to come to get your attention and get you back in line. But take my advice; things are always easier when you listen to God the first time.
Eventually my bills and worries got the best of me. So I decided to get another job to help supplement the income I was getting from the Amsterdam News. I needed money and fast, so I applied to a number of jobs on Craigslist. I found a gig as a telemarketer at a company that was a little less than trustworthy. Who am kidding? The company was flat out shady. At this particular job I had to do a lot of cold calling selling subscriptions to a social network. And as if that wasn’t nerve racking enough, I had to build up enough rapport, so that by the end of the conversation, the client would trust me with their credit card information. Needless to say, the turnover rate there was a high one. People would come and go so much that it created a deep anxiety within me. I constantly wondered if I would be the next to get laid off. The job also conflicted with the stories I had to cover at the Amsterdam News. There were many times where I couldn’t even arrange over the phone interviews. My schedule just didn’t coincide. Slowly but surely my writing for the Amsterdam News decreased. Then my editor stopped contacting me. I guess she assumed I was too busy with my new job. I got accustomed to getting a steady pay check so I never followed up with her either. But I made a long lasting relationship with two publicists. They constantly invited me to their events and I covered them when I could. I tried offering the stories to the Amsterdam News, but I got no response. By this time, the work that needed to be done for Ayana Productions had completely fallen off and I hardly prayed anymore. I was too busy trying to get by lines into Amsterdam News and keep my job at this shady company. One day I got called into the conference room about the sales I was making. You guessed it. I wasn’t making enough. Instead of taking it to God in prayer, I grew more and more worried. My blood pressure increased tremendously. I started selling Avon products as a back up to my back up job just in case they decided to lay me off.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.
Sometimes Satan can influence people and get them to influence you to get you off the track that God originally wanted you on.
As previously stated people were being fired left and right. One day a co-worker of mine started talking to me about a network marketing company that he was involved with. The sales I was getting at Avon weren’t all that great, so I went to a few meetings with him and before I knew it I was an independent business owner at this company I had to pay weekly dues to. While I believe my co-worker meant well in what he was doing, I don’t think that was the direction God wanted me to go into. So here I was with four different jobs. My focus was completely taken off of Ayana Productions all because I let my fear dictate my actions.
Then I got laid off. I had to let Avon and the network marketing business go. You want to know what was left? Ayana Productions and the relationships that I developed with the two publicists’ I met through Amsterdam News. God always has a way of getting you back on the right track.