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Failures

mychandrak

A few days ago, my husband, Keven, asked me about my failures in life. In the conversation, he asked me if I would be willing to share some of my failures in my writing. Reason being, some people gain hope from hearing that they are not the only person experiencing failures. This is true but when I started thinking about it, my thoughts were drowned in so many failures, I had to ask him, “which one should I write about?” I recalled countless times that I had failed. I thought about it so much until I discouraged myself. Then I started thinking, “If I had gotten that right, my life would be so much different today” or “I shouldn’t have even attempted to do that.” Finally, I had to just tell myself to stop. Stop thinking about your what if’s and why’s. Look at where those failures have pushed you to! So, hopefully, as always, I can say something here to make you see where your failures have pushed you to!

I’ve always been a smart person and I’ve always liked to learn. Throughout school, I was always a straight “A” student. I didn’t make my first “B” until the 10th grade. One day, my focus diverted and grades were not as important to me anymore. Knowing that I could do better, I became lazy and sort of applied cruise control to the last few years of my high school career. I ended up graduating somewhere between number 30-40 in my class, which shouldn’t have been. But I made it. I refocused and went to college. My first semester, I finished with a 3.3 GPA, which wasn’t too bad for a first year freshman. But again, my focus diverted and it was all downhill from there. In the midst of my bad grades, I had become very promiscuous and my main focus was a boyfriend. I barely made it through my Sophomore year with a 2.0. I went into the second semester of my Junior year on academic probation and I eventually ended up on academic suspension. I was embarrassed and ashamed to move back home. Instead of just refocusing and trying to turn my life around, I made it worse. I found a job and got me an apartment in my college town. School had become a thing of the past. I had accepted that failure and moved on to something else. My promiscuity worsened and I found myself being opened to any and everybody that made me feel like somebody. Well, the job I had played out and I was laid off. So I eventually lost my apartment and had no choice but to move back home. My boyfriend at the time, which is now my husband, was a student at our local community college. He encouraged me to go back to school at the community college with him and finish my degree. I figured that would be impossible because I had exhausted all of my financial aid avenues and they wouldn’t pay for me to go to school anymore. I tried anyway. I enrolled and scheduled a meeting with a financial aid counselor. Her exact words were “I shouldn’t give you anything. You basically blew through $30,000 in 2 years.” My heart dropped and I did everything I could to not cry in her office. She allowed me to get financial aid for one semester but I had to see her again before I could continue after that semester was over. Eventually, I ended up finishing my degree at the community college in 1 year because most of my previous college courses transferred over. What should have been a celebratory moment ended up being ruined by my pride. I opted out of the graduation ceremony because I was embarrassed that I didn’t finish at the college of my first choice. Now, I have no pictures of a cap and gown moment with my college degree because I discounted that moment. I still regret it. Even though this all came back to me being at fault, I didn’t allow this situation to stop me from trying again. Now, I am just 33 hours away from finishing another degree!

This is just one of my many examples of failures. But all of that was said to say, there is still hope. As long as you can breathe, there will still be hope. As a little red country girl from a small town of Independence, Mississippi, I never thought I would be able to live the life God has blessed me with now, especially with as many failures as I have. From being dismissed from school, countless failed relationships, being careless with my body, being rejected, having a bad reputation, and coming from a place that does not have too much to offer, I can honestly tell you that failures do not have the power to stop you! Your failures only have as much power as you allow them to have! I own my failures. Are they pretty? No. And they’re not supposed to be. But the ugliness of it should remind you of what it COULD be if you don’t get up from it!

Last thing, Sammy Sosa is known for his outstanding baseball career. He finised his career with over 600 home runs. However, he also finished his career with over 2,000 strikeouts, more than twice the amount of homeruns. What can we learn from this? Sammy Sosa didn’t stop swinging just because he missed.

You shouldn’t either.

Protect Your Surroundings

chandrak

I remember writing a blog a few months ago about leeches. You know, leeches, the ones that just want to benefit from you and ride your wave and that’s their only way of surviving? Yea, those. But this is a little different. These are the friends that may be their own definition of a boss. They may have their own successful businesses or be book writers or even be in ministry but their character and personality are just not conducive to where you are or where you may be headed. Those friends. Does this make them less of a friend? Certainly not. They could very well be great friends but the atmosphere they create could be toxic to your purpose.

Case in point, if you hang around people who pride themselves in being rude, being disrespectful to others, and are trouble makers, chances are, some of their attributes will rub off on you. Before you know it, you’ll find your self-revenge or “clapping back” when you know you should just ignore and move on. So ask yourself a question, are my friends healthy for me? Of course a self-check is always in order. This means that we should always look at ourselves in the mirror and evaluate what we see. Honestly ask yourself, be it good or bad, am I displaying some of the attributes of my friends? Have I conformed to who they are? Have I become my friend?

This is very important in the life of a believer. Your surroundings are the breeding ground for whatever seed is being planted in your life! Maybe you heard a life changing word over the weekend and it pumped you up about your next level…but you got around that one friend that carries negative vibes and just like that, the word that had you so excited has been silenced. The word was planted but the environment did not carry the necessary items to help it grow and manifest. This may seem like a shallow point but it happens daily.

Watch your surroundings. Protect your atmosphere. I’m not saying cut anybody off or disconnect from anyone. I’m simply saying, learn the level of friendship and the limits that come with it. I heard a Pastor say “emotional immaturity causes us to think that cutting people off is the solution.” This is so true. But what if God has not told you to disconnect, rather to just step back and guard your environment? Maybe you’re still supposed to be connected but the space invasion is too much.

Your surroundings matter. Be sure to protect them.

Transparency

mychandrakAs you all know, I’m a transparent person. I believe that my experiences are meant to be shared at the appointed time to help someone else. I also believe that writing is not worth reading if it’s not inspiring or if there is nothing to be gained from it. So hopefully, something written here can be deemed worthy of remembering.

I went through a situation that I thought was impossible to overcome. I questioned my entire life and everyone in it. I became stagnant and ineffective in every way possible! I often hosted major pity parties that lasted for days at a time. I found myself being cynical and angry. I had become so consumed with being defensive, that I assumed everybody was an enemy and they could not be trusted. My whole life had become dedicated to correcting lies and addressing rumors. Simply put, I stayed there too long. My time should have never been wasted on such immaturity. I willingly surrendered to the captivity of others by allowing irrelevant opinions and assumptions to control my decisions.

I allowed the betrayal of a few people to change the person God created me to be. I lost focus of everything I once stood for because I was consumed with the thoughts and opinions of others concerning the life that God had entrusted me with. I knew that I was called to be bubbly and spread hope to those around me. However, circumstances made me think I was too “extra” because my desire was to be light to everyone. But that’s who I was. That’s who I am. Unapologetically positive! Unapologetically happy!

There is a meme floating around on social media that says “Everyone thought Noah was foolish until it started raining.” To me, this says, the weight of what I’m called to do is greater than the weight of the whispers around me. Noah knew who he was and what He was called to do in the Earth. So he did it! Unapologetically, he faced it head on and kept building!

So I say to you, be you! Be who you were created to be! Hurt is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Allow yourself time to heal and get back to the purpose. Nobody can make the same impact that you were created to make. The world is waiting for your thumb print to be impressed into it!

One question: What are you waiting for? For people to like you? For people to accept you? For persecution to stop? For opposition to cease? Ok….it’ll never happen! Living for people is too expensive and it costs too much! So my next question is this: What weighs the most? The pressure of people or the pressure of purpose?

 

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

chandrak

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!