At the beginning of every year I get a new word that sort of becomes my mantra for the year. In 2020, the word was “re-evaluate.” In 2021, the word was (actually two words) “rest” and “restoration.” In 2022, the word was “new.” And for 2023, the word is “unshakeable.” (Often when I think about the word “unshakeable,” I think about the song “Firm Foundation (He Won’t)” by Maverick City Music.)

We’re only two months into 2023 and it has proven to be a challenging year for me already; there have many situations to prove why the word “unshakeable” is the best word to use as a mantra this year.

Coming into the 2023 spring semester at Evangel, I had a plan that allowed me to pay my school bill within the first week of classes. However, the plan fell through and I started the semester out being behind in my assignments because I didn’t have access to my assignments, but after many discussions and negotiations, I was given an additional student loan from Evangel that paid the remainder of my bill. I have only told a snippet of story, but throughout this process I kept saying to myself with a little bit of doubt in my mind, “Unshakeable.” When the situation was over and everything was on the right track, I said to myself with great confidence (as if I was being interviewed in press conference after a championship win), “Unshakeable!” (Mic drop.)

I thought that if that was any indication of the problems that I would face this year, that this year was going to be a breeze. I was wrong.

Literally, within two weeks of my school bill problem being solved, my car broke down. At first this didn’t seem like a major problem because I have a warranty on my car, at least that’s what I thought. After I took my car to the Volkswagen dealership for repairs and they diagnosed the problems, it was revealed that the most expensive part was not covered in my warranty. I just had struggle to figure how I was going to pay my school bill, and here I am having to figure how I was going to pay for $1,000 in repairs. (Alongside with the communication problems that I had to solve about the rental car I had.) During this entire situation, I kept saying to myself with a bit of doubt, “Unshakeable.” Luckily, I was able to secure a loan through Affirm which would allow me to pay for the repairs in smaller amounts for 4-6 months. Finally, the problem was over and I got my car back! Again, as if I was being interviewed after a championship win, I said to myself, “Unshakeable!” (Mic drop.)

Two major financial problems back-to-back solved and it’s only January. Things can only get better from here, right? WRONG!

On February 16, after suffering from major sinus congestion/drainage and having a headache that I couldn’t get rid of, I decided to go to the ER to get some relieve from the headache pain. Well, they tested me for the flu and COVID-19 (I bet you can guess where this is going). I tested positive for COVID-19. Luckily, most of my symptoms were minor and the major symptoms only lasted for a day. Here’s a moment of deep vulnerability… when they told that I tested positive for COVID-19, I — for a brief moment — went back to an unhealthy, dark mental state; however, I was able to quickly recover from that state of thinking. Knowing that I would have isolate and being someone who hates isolation, I told myself with confidence, “This is going to be tough but I’m unshakeable.”

Even as I write this post I’m near the end of my isolation period (if my symptoms don’t get worse). But I remember thinking to myself halfway through my isolation period, “All of this feels like my Job moment.” After I had this thought, I realized the I have squander my moments. Instead of taking time in God’s presence throughout each of these problems, I persisted to figure the problems out, then I spent time in God’s presence. I have always been someone to pray about a problem before and after the solution, but I haven’t always prayed during the time it takes find a solution. And as I reflect back on Job, he prayed and had faith before the problem, he prayed and had faith during the problem, and he prayed and had faith after the problem. I believe that this is what all these back-to-back problems have been about… me learning to not only pray and have faith before and after the problem, but also during the problem.

But in the end, one thing remains true… Braylon Williams is UNSHAKEABLE!

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