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Move At Your Own Pace

IMG_0214Where did all of this pressure come from? It seems as if out of nowhere, there became this extreme weight to “become.” Well regardless as to what we think, “becoming” takes time. It’s truly a process. And being that it is a process, we shouldn’t rush it to finish prematurely. There is a reason for the timing and each step is necessary. There is more to being “great” than just being able to say it.

Could we feel rushed because of society? Maybe it’s the status changes and excitement of the constantly updating timelines of social media. What about becoming distracted by the success of mentors? Instead of being inspired by their endeavors, are you becoming envious that yours have not flourished yet? After all, they are your mentor for a reason. Or maybe it’s the common questions posed by family members such as, “You’re not married yet?” “You’re still going to school?” “You’re still living in an apartment?” “How long are you planning to wait to have children?”

No matter the reason, you can not allow this pressure to deter you. If you’re not careful, being driven by the pressures of life will cause jealousy to take root inside of your heart. This is mainly because your focus is now on what someone else has in comparison to what you feel you’re lacking. So you work in vain just to gain the life of someone else in order to feel “updated.” This shouldn’t be. Don’t conform and become another person because you feel behind a few steps. It’s okay. Move at your own pace. Who knows how miserable those people may be behind closed doors or even what they had to go through to get what they have. There is no age limit on success and there is no standard of when it should begin. Take your time. Grow and mature. This way, you’ll know how to keep what you’ve waited for, for so long.

 

Live Through It!

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The definition of live is simply to stay alive. Often times, we plan our own demise. We go through tough times and in the midst of it, instead of seeing ourselves living through it, we slowly die while we’re in it. The situation itself could not kill you but your mindset and your reaction to the situation is usually the deal breaker. Of course I am not speaking about dying a physical death but death to your dreams, your purpose, your future. It’s hard to have a positive outlook on going through something if you can not see yourself coming out of it. So what is the solution? I’m glad you asked. The solution is this, change your perspective and see yourself coming out alive! Just think about it. What if someone said “I want you to go through a house made of wood while it’s on fire and when you come out alive, you will be given $1 million.” Your task is to walk in the house through the front door, navigate through the house while its on fire, and come out through the back door. Sounds crazy right. But what if they added, you will be wearing a fireproof suit, a smoke mask, and the house is only a 350 sq ft. cottage home? Considering it under those circumstances, you would reconsider. Why? Because you could actually see yourself surviving that and coming out alive. Not only coming out alive, but coming out alive, $1 million richer!. Your perspective of the “burning house challenge” has changed. It’s the same thing with life. Of course you don’t have $1 million waiting on you at the end but you will come out alive with something. You’ll come out alive with a stronger will to live and hopefully a determined mindset to build from your experiences.

Just like the burning house scenario, we have been given everything we need to live and survive the flames of life. But instead of strapping up our boots and walking through the fire, we stand in the middle of the fire and subject ourselves to being burned. Sometimes we even settle in the fire and remove the very things that we have been given to protect us.

All I’m saying is, choose to live through it. Dying from it is a decision you don’t have to make. The fire can only consume you if you stand in too long. Don’t commit suicide by not choosing to live. You have way too many reasons to remain alive.

Start With Me; One Year Later

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This is more of an informal blog. More like a journal.

Today makes one year that my blog has been published. Looking back over the last 365 days, it hasn’t been easy. I know some people may say “You’re just writing a blog. It’s not a complex study.” This may be true. But the difficult part for me has been discipline. Some days I don’t feel like writing, some days what I write doesn’t make much sense to me, and some days I just can’t think of anything to write about. The main thing I’ve learned about myself during this journey is I have a long way to go with being disciplined but I have proven to myself that I can do it.

Over a year ago, I remember God telling me that I needed to start with myself. Meaning, before I could correct or encourage anyone else, I needed to do a self check to make sure I was taking my own advice. Not only that, but before I pointed out anyone else’s short comings, I needed to make sure I was upholding the standard myself. Even if we don’t admit it, self-checks don’t feel good. Mainly because, we like to feel as if we are okay. Not that we are perfect, but to us, our issues are minute, or very small. This was my mindset, as well as some of yours I’m sure. However, God wanted me to see that just as others are a work in progress, so am I! As I began to grasp this concept, not only did this help me to show love differently, it also helped me to see God differently. He showed me, me! No, I didn’t like it because there was so much in my life that was not pleasing to Him but He showed me so I could change it! I realized at that moment that God loved me so much that He gave me a mirror! And in this mirror, I had the ability to see only me! I couldn’t see through the mirror and look at others, I could only see me and my reflection! He loved me so much that instead of killing me, He gave me a tool to correct my flaws! As I was correcting my flaws, I found it easier to show compassion to those around me. I found it easier to practice patience and forgiveness because the mirror showed me areas that required the patience and forgiveness of others towards me! The mirror saved my life and it kept me from hurting others. As I stated, the use of a mirror for some may be difficult to accept and acknowledge but the mirror is much needed.

I am excited about my journey as a writer and I am anxious to see where this takes me! My mission and my purpose is to spread hope to all that I can reach. Hopefully within this past year, I’ve written something to encourage my readers and spread hope!

My prayer is that my writing never magnifies my struggles but my strength to overcome them, as well as the same for my readers.

 

 

Learning to Love

Learning to love has been a battle for me. Mainly because I didn’t know enough about it. It’s hard to genuinely give what you don’t know. Once I learned that God is love and love comes from Him, I was able to display it more genuinely. I had to learn how to love! I mean really love. Before we get too far into this, I’m not talking about love that goes from a woman to a man, but love that goes from brother to sister. Not eros love.

I have learned that I can’t only love those that love me. I must love everybody! Mainly because God first loved me and that’s the way He wants us to be! Not only that but based on Romans 13:8…

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

‭‭ Romans‬ ‭13:8‬

…we are in debt to our neighbors and the unending balance is love and more love! We are to owe our brothers and sister in Christ love! This does not say that we are in debt to those who have loved us but to all! We have a mandate to love!

I’ll admit, I struggled with loving those who wronged me. I would withdraw any and all connections to them, including my love. Then one day, I heard someone preach about how God still loves me through my ugly truth! So I thought about it. My truth ain’t pretty at all! I’ve hurt people, I’ve talked about people, I’ve misused people, and I’ve even sought revenge on people. And I did all of this because I thought I had a “reason” to. But in reality, what I did to those people, I also did to God! This hurt me more than words could ever describe! I would never call God ugly but I called His child ugly. I would never curse God out but I cursed His child! These things I done thinking that I would be hurting the person but I was only hurting myself and God. So the truth became that I had several issues that were ugly and should not have been in the life of a believer but in all of that, God still loved me! And once I caught the revelation of how He loved me back to life in Him, I was able to love his children better.

Sometimes we still may struggle with it because our flesh will tell us that someone doesn’t deserve our love. But the truth is, it’s not us, it’s Him! He teaches us how to love and give love because He is love! And in doing so, the law is fulfilled! Simply by loving His way! When we share Him and when we display His characteristics, we show His love to others! We must learn love and we must learn how to love!

Influences Speak

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How good or bad are your influences? The things that you are under the influence of tend to speak louder than your voice sometimes. I’ve learned that before we can release words from our mouths, our influences have the ability to express our involvements and attachments. So my question is, what is your influence saying on your behalf?

Someone I know was recently pulled over for driving under the influence. The arresting police officer wrote in a statement that when he arrested this person, he could smell the alcohol in the vehicle before the driver even started speaking. The officer also stated that when the driver began to speak, his breath smelled like alcohol and his speech indicated that he was impaired. Basically, the alcohol spoke louder than the words of the driver. There was no need to ask the driver if they had been drinking because it was evident that the driver had been involved with alcohol.

Have you ever met someone who tends to conform to the people around them just like a chameleon conforms to the color of a tree? I’m talking about people who may have their own opinion about something but they take on the opinions of those they are surrounded by. These are the people who are easily influenced by other people. When I was younger, I remember one of my friends speaking very proper because she was from a different city. One summer she came to visit some of her older cousins and they didn’t speak as proper as she did. They had somewhat of a southern accent and they sounded very different from her. Well she called me one afternoon and I noticed that she purposely enunciated every word in a heavy southern accent. She was attempting to take on the personality and the characteristics of her older cousins instead of just being herself. We’ve all done it at one point or another in our lives. Maybe it was unconsciously done, but we’ve all done it. We’ve all been influenced by something; alcohol, drugs, or even people.

Good Influence Example: I was having a conversation with one of my friends recently and she rebuked me, as she does so willingly. But when she rebuked me, I didn’t get upset. As a matter of fact, her correction caused me to be convicted and I grew from it. But, anyway, when she corrected me, she sounded just like our Pastor. And all I could do was smile and obey. Because I knew she was right! But more importantly, I could see what and who was influencing her! The reason I can say that is because at one point in her life, she wouldn’t have corrected me, she would have agreed with me! She showed great growth and she showed positive influence.

What’s influencing you? Or a better question may be, what are you allowing to speak for you? Who or what are you allowing to speak in the absence of your words? Be watchful! Better yet, be the opposite. Be the good influence. Can you be the one that people desire to follow to a better place? Evaluate your influences.

Becoming A Better You

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There should always be a desire to be better. What good is it to go through hardships and struggles but not grow from them? Don’t go through in vain. Why would you want to go through a trial just to stay the same? Apply what you learned. Become a better you. Allow the old things to pass away so you can be better. When old things die, the opportunity for new and better is presented.

Even snakes become better. After they go through a period of being stretched, they shed and grow. Reason being, their skin can only stretch so far and once that point is reached, the snake comes out of the old and embraces the better. I know no one wants to be compared to a snake but there is something to learn here. Don’t be stretched just to stay in the same skin. Allow your stretching to bring you into a better place.

There are people who are waiting to watch you evolve into a better you and there is someone who needs the better you. The old you has officially reached maximum capacity. Its time to grow. Its time to become! Transformation and evolution should always take place in the life of the believer. Faith to faith should be goal. Constant growth indicates that you’re learning from life. This brings further confirmation to James 1:2-4 that states “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” This scripture clearly shows you that trials and tests are our opportunities to become a better us! As I stated before, don’t go through the struggle in vain. Grow through it! Become a better you!

Stick With The Vision

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I can not begin to tell you how many projects I’ve started on but failed to finish. I was having a conversation with one of my girls the other day and she was explaining to me about how she wanted to let her business go because she felt like she was not getting the support she needed from people. I will be the first to say, yes, it can be disheartening and discouraging when you don’t get the support you desire especially from those that seem to be closest to you. However, just because your close friends and family members don’t support you in the manner that you think they should, does not mean they don’t support you at all. And it definitely doesn’t mean you should quit!

The reality is, you will never have 100% support from everybody! Never! Simply because we are different people and we don’t all like the same thing. Not only that but we don’t all have the same resources to support as someone else may have. But even bigger than that, who did God give the vision to? YOU! He gave YOU the vision, not your supporters! You have to stick to the vision that was given to you! If it is God-given, He will send the support and help that you need to walk it out. Do your ground work and put your all into it! Because it’s YOUR vision!

Not having the desired support is no excuse to stop. Thank God for those who do support and keep it moving. Maybe you’ll have to alter the plan a little, maybe you’ll have to network harder, or maybe you’ll have to tweak it a little but no matter what you have to do, stick with it! Even if I have no shares and no likes on my blog, I can’t stop writing.

Listen, I’ve learned that some people are not ignoring you. Some are just watching from afar and are observing you. Maybe they’re telling people about you and sending you referrals that you know nothing about. Maybe they’re just waiting for the right moment to fund your vision or be your next supporter but they had to see how long it would last before they got on board. What happens if you quit just before they decide to jump on? No matter what, stick with the vision! Carry it like it’s your baby. Nurture it, care for it, build it, and cover it. Once you stick it out, you’ll be glad you did!

What’s holding you back?

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Sometimes we have to just face the fact that they only thing that’s holding us back is us! What if I told you that you could really move forward if you wanted to and that thing you keep waiting on to happen may never happen? So will you keep waiting? Is it an apology you’re waiting on? Is it closure that you’re seeking? What’s holding you back from moving forward with your life?

We waste entirely too much time waiting on other people. We wait on someone to validate our ideas. We wait on someone to fund our dreams. We wait on someone to push us to the next level. We even wait on people to get on board with us before we decide to move. You can not afford to wait anymore! We don’t have time to waste. You don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like you or who doesn’t support or who doesn’t wanna be a part. When you use your time for things like that, you lose time for the important stuff.

The solution is this: accept and move! Accept whatever happened and move forward towards what’s waiting for you. Don’t spend time focusing and pondering on the past, you don’t live there anymore! The future is much greater and it’s waiting for you! But you must decide to stop waiting and go for it. Catapult into it! Once you move yourself out of the way, you’ll realize how unstoppable you are! You’ll realize how awesome and amazing your dreams are! You’ll see how much potential you have! Stop waiting. No more holding back! Face forward like you have a chip on your shoulder and go for it!

Relief Valve

Question: Are you experiencing failure in an area in your life? Do you find yourself lashing out or exploding on people? How is your temper? How is your attitude? Last question, how is your character? Now ask yourself could my lashing out or exploding or bad attitude be an expression of my built up pressure?

According to Wikipedia, yes I said Wikipedia because I love this definition, a relief valve or pressure relief valve is a type of safety valve used to control or limit the pressure in a system; pressure might otherwise build up and create a process upset, instrument or equipment failure, or fire. Pretty much self explanatory so we can cut straight to the point.

We all know what happens when pressure builds up and has no way of releasing. It eventually turns into some sort of disaster. Okay, as a person, we may not have pipes that will burst or body parts that will pop off but we do have actions that will express our pressure! We also have organs and fluid levels that will be affected by our pressure. Based on the definition, pressure could cause a process upset, failures, or fire! In short, WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO HAVE A PROCESS UPSET. Look, the process is already tough enough by itself. Don’t add unnecessary stress to it. You must find a valve and quick! You were not meant to carry that level of pressure and you do not have o subject yourself to it. Don’t upset your process by holding on to the unnecessary!

Find a relief valve and utilize it! You do not have time for the upset or the malfunction. There has already been too much time wasted and moving forward is our only option at this point. Have you ever slammed your finger in the door? As time goes on, that finger builds up pressure and my grandmother told me to take a needle and put a small pinhole in my finger. Once I did, some of the pressure was released and my finger felt better. Sticking my finger with the needle was uncomfortable but in the end I could tell the difference. So by any means necessary, you have to keep moving. Push the button, pull the lever, unscrew the top, puncture the surface, do whatever it takes! But you MUST release the pressure before you explode. At this point, exploding would cause you to lose time, cause regrets, and damage relationships. This can not happen. Think about it. Would you rather cause a delay or simply release it and keep moving? Everybody’s valve is different. Some people use prayer, some use music, some people may write, and some people may express theirs verbally. No matter what, find you a relief valve before you cause a process upset! Pair your valve with prayer and release it!

Growing The Right Way

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In life we have many choices. We can choose to go to work or stay at home. We can choose to save our money or spend it. We can choose to relocate or remain in the same place. We can choose to advance ourself or we can choose to settle for where we are now. We can choose to grow in one direction or the other but one thing for sure is we can not choose to not grow. That’s just not a choice that we have. Let me explain.

One way or another, you will continue to grow. Either you’ll grow in the right direction or you’ll grow in the wrong direction. But no matter what, you will continue to grow. I used to think that growth automatically meant that I was doing good but as I grew older, I discovered how wrong I was. It is possible to grow in the wrong direction. Have you ever met someone who was rich in complacency? Or someone who is abundant in laziness? Or maybe they were walking in the overflow of negativity. I’m talking about someone who wants absolutely nothing more than what they have now. Someone who has no will to advance themselves. Someone who doesn’t care to get better at anything. The person who has tons of potential but settles for whatever is given to them. The person that may applaud everybody else for advancing but makes no effort to find their own or establish themselves. That level of complacency wasn’t obtained overnight, it took some downward growing to get there. Even if you are this person, make a conscious effort to make a u-turn!

You’ve spent enough time growing in the wrong direction. It’s time to grow right! You have absolutely nothing to lose and so much more to gain! Choose the right growth. Doors are opened when the door knob is turned. You have to do something! Growth in the right direction simply starts with doing something! But you have to do the right something. You can do it! Just get started!

We can choose to grow towards the wrong things or we can gravitate to what’s good and grow there. In this new year, let’s choose to grow in the right direction. Make connections that help you to grow in the right direction. Disconnect from those situations that either hinder your growth or that encourages you to grow in the wrong direction. Small challenge: Take a minute and think about the direction of growth your closest friends are walking in. Are you walking in the same direction? I asked because sometimes we tend to grow in the same direction of those that surround us. Our influences are so important. Evaluate and make your decision. Make it count, grow the right way!