Let’s Be Free

Today, it seems like being offended is the new trend. Don’t get me wrong, we all feel and experience hurt but I’m referring to the voluntary action of remaining offended, just because you feel as if you have “right” to. It seems as if people are preparing themselves to be offended. Think about it this way….

How many times have you convinced yourself that you have a “right” live in offense? How many times have you made a decision based on your offense? Now think about how many minutes, hours, days, or even years you’ve spent living in offense…crazy, huh?! As “right” as you may think you are, the truth is, you’re only creating a 6×8 frame for someone to live in. And guess who the prisoner is? Its YOU!

Living in offense keeps you captivated. Your decision making is not as stable as it should be. Your moods and emotions shift with the wind. Your drive and stride is fueled by irrelevant matters, such as haters and revenge. You lose focus of your goals. And the things that should really matter begins to fade into the backgrounds of insignificant time wasters.

Life is too precious to not live free. It’s time to free yourself. Go on and forgive that person. Let go of the guilt. Accept the apology that you may never hear. Set up the meeting to talk it out. Reconcile. Do what ever you have to do. But what you CAN NOT afford to do is live another day in offense. It doesn’t matter what kind of “right” you feel entitled to, stop hurting yourself because you have a “right” to. Is it really worth holding up your own progress? Is it really worth wasting more minutes, hours, days, or even years?

Lets decide to be free!

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!

It’s Hard to Walk Forward While Looking Back

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I remember praying constantly to God and asking Him to help me to release a certain stronghold in my life. It seemed as if the harder I prayed, the stronger the hold would get. Many times I made up my mind that I was letting it go and everything that came with it but I always found myself creeping back to it one way or another. Then He showed me, my heart was trying to move forward but my feet were walking backwards! I was praying one thing but my actions were contradicting my prayer. God was trying to honor my request but because He gives us free will and I was pulling in the opposite direction.

I could see my future ahead of me and I knew that the situation I was in would only prolong my journey. I knew that if I could only release myself and be free from my stronghold, my life would take off and productivity would take place. But I was in so deep until some days I would convince myself that I didn’t have to release my stronghold, I could just adjust my life to it! I couldn’t have been further from the truth. When we compromise our freedom to stay bound we are basically saying our future can wait. We allow our struggles and our circumstances to overpower our purpose.

Make a conscious decision to not waste anymore time by looking back. If you want to walk forward, pick up your feet and make the biggest step you’ve ever made! Not only is it a step towards your freedom, you’re making a step out of your situation! Once you make that first step, you’ll notice the weight on your ankles will become lighter and it’ll become easier to put one foot in front of the other! And just like that, you’re walking in the same direction as your prayers!

It’s time to leave it all behind and face forward! It’s time to line your feet up with your words!

No More Excuses

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There should be a point where you say enough is enough and I’ve run out of excuses! There is absolutely no reason to still be in the same position you were in last year! There is absolutely no reason why you’re still contemplating the same decisions based on the exact same situation from years ago! Seeking God for guidance and direction is one thing but being lazy and making excuses is another!

When will we realize that our excuses and laziness only holds us back from the future? We tend to blame others or our circumstances when we feel like our life isn’t moving fast enough. However, this is not the reality of the situation. The reality is this, it sounds good to pray for an open door or a golden opportunity but it’s hard to back up the prayer for the impossible with action! It’s easy to make excuses and say “I’m waiting on God or my time is coming” and all the time, we just sit back and let blessing after blessing pass us by. Why? Because we are lazy and we make excuses just to make us feel better about still being stuck in the same place! It’s almost like going to a restaurant and the waiter takes your order at your request. The waiter delivers the food to your table and places your silverware directly beside your order. He verifies that your order is correct and it is exactly what you asked for. You check your plate and confirm that it is correct. The waiter then walks away from your table and leaves you to eat your food. While you’re starving, you sit there and look at the food, as if you’re waiting for the waiter to return and feed it to you. Even though it’s as simple as picking up the fork and eating what’s placed directly in front of you, you find every excuse to not pick up your fork and feed yourself. When will it become a reality that if you don’t pick up the fork, you won’t eat? You asked for food and it was provided. You were even given utensils to make it easier but you decide to not eat because no one is sitting at the table cheering you own while you pick up the fork on YOUR plate to feed YOUR OWN SELF! Maybe you didn’t pick up the fork because you felt like someone should fix your plate and feed it to you too. Either way is unacceptable! No one has to feed you! No one has to boost you up! Does it feel good to have that type of encouragement? Of course it does! People that push you are a blessing! But the reality is, it’s not going to happen everyday. Some days you will have to encourage and push yourself! Does that mean you should stop or slow down? Certainly not! It just means you have to hold up your own sign, wave your own pom poms, yell out your own name, and still go up to bat all at the same time!

You have to make a personal choice to eat regardless! Meaning, your self-will must outweigh your excuses! It’s a great thing to be talented but it’s even greater to use it! It’s awesome to have a dream but it’s even more awesome to act on it! It’s good to have faith- we are not pleasing to God without it- but our faith is void without works to back it up! I’m just saying, we spend countless hours, years and decades asking and praying. We seem to have that part down packed. But we tend to fail when it’s time to move our own feet and walk towards our request! Stop waiting for something to fall in your lap when all you have to do is reach up above your head and grab it!

Privacy Settings

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How many people have you deprived because of your privacy settings? How many times have you selected the audience to help and left out certain ones for unacceptable reasons? I understand discretion fully and I realize that we have to be careful. However, that is not what I am referring to. For my literal thinkers, this goes beyond a Facebook setting, think deeper. If the objective is to minister and witness to the loss or the broken or the whole world, why do we only stay within our circle? Why don’t we expand? I used to have a private fb page because I didn’t want certain people to see what I posted. Even though there were still ways that people could see, I felt better knowing that they had to send me a request in order to see my page or go through someone else to see it. But I started thinking, if I know that God has called me to give hope, I can not be selective as to who I chose to help or give hope to. It makes no since for me to distribute hope to the same people everyday and they’re getting stronger and stronger but there is someone out there that actually needs a word of hope but they can’t run across it because of my privacy settings! I challenge you to check your privacy settings. Are you limiting your reach because of personal issues with a hand full of people instead of giving hope to the masses? We can’t choose who we want to minister to, we can’t choose the people that we think deserve help. We form circles that are so strong and encouraged but we won’t share it with others.

Think about your bible classes, your prayer groups, your encouragement sessions, or even your testimonies. We have to stop thinking about the hand full of people and remember the masses that are thirsty for your word of hope! Just this week, I was messaged and contacted by several people that are NOT my friends on Facebook. They all had similar stories, they were inspired and encouraged by the hope they found on my page. All though I was not connected to these people personally, their words warmed my heart and through their words, my decision was confirmed to leave my page public. I realized that if my privacy settings had still been set to private, they may not have ever seen my posts or read my word of hope.

My goal is to inspire others to inspire others. And I feel that if someone was inspired by me, they will inspire another and so on! As children are using their blocks to build something, they don’t just pick the blue blocks, they use them all! We should do the same. Let’s not just pick those who fit our liking but reach all! Expand to the masses! They need to hear from you!

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Being a Barrier Breaker

Barrier: a fence or other obstacle that prevents movement or access; a circumstance or obstacle that keeps people or things apart or prevents communication or progress; a starting point for a racecourse
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IMG_0209What if you knew you had the ability to go 10 miles but there was a fence in the middle of the road at 8 miles? What if you could actually see something that you’ve been chasing for so long and the only thing standing in between you and the object is a 3 foot wall? What if you desired so badly to cross from one side of the yard to the other side but there were bushes and hedges in the way? Would you let those things stop you? Would you get to the point of being that close and turn around because of a fence or a wall that’s shorter than you or some bushes? What type of barrier would have to be put into place for you to stop and turn around? How do you identify which barriers to penetrate and which ones are guardrails?

Ask yourself a question, am I being held back by barriers? What will it take for me to break out of my barriers? Do I even know what my barriers are? We can’t break out of what we don’t know. In order to be a barrier breaker, we must be able to identify the barriers. We have to recognize what’s holding us back and what’s limiting us. Take a minute to think about your barriers. Not the effects or the emotions that are attached to it but the actual barrier itself. Often times we address the wrong issue.

For example, I had a friend who went to school and graduated with the dream of being a daycare owner. She found a building to start the daycare and she even got a grant to open it. One day, someone mentioned something to her about her dream being to big for a beginner and they told my friend that she should start off in someone else’s daycare as a helper before she opens her own. My friend has yet to open her own daycare because she thinks that she is ill-equipped to own her own so she settles for helping at someone else’s daycare. My friend mentioned that if that person hadn’t ever said that to her, she would be a daycare owner. Now, she’s held back by the opinion of someone else. Even if that were true, the fact still remains that the barrier is not the person that came and shared their opinion with my friend. The barrier itself is fear! If we can directly address the barrier itself, we can then conquer the opinions and insecurities that are brought to us by others. Because we are so afraid to recognize and address the real barrier, we prolong valuable time and we live within the standard.

Think about what’s limiting you. When you decide to become a barrier breaker, standards are changed, bars are raised and limits expand further than the sky! Be the one that breaks out…you’re to great to be restricted!

Now that we’ve identified our barriers, ask yourself one last question. In reference to the above definition, is my barrier a restriction or a starting point?

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Healing The Real You!

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God doesn’t want to heal the fake you, the one you show people, the one that puts on a facade in front of a crowd, He wants to heal the real you! Not the false strength you show out of pride, but He wants the brokenness and the insecurities. Not the cover-ups and concealers, but the real you! Not the superficial person that doesn’t have bad days in public or the person that always holds it together no matter what, but the real you! He wants to heal the person that doubts, the one that’s timid and afraid, the one that appears to be functioning but is actually lost in the shuffle, He wants the real you. He can’t heal the person behind the mask because that person shows no flaws or need of assistance. That person has it all together. We rehearse being ok, we practice covering up, and we become so accustomed to “appearing to be” when we actually forget that, THAT IS NOT THE REAL US!!! Could it be that we are not healed from past hurts because we keep giving God a person that doesn’t even exist and we expect Him to “perfect the fake?” Or, could it be because we’ve been “filtered” so long until we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that we don’t really need to be healed? Either way is NOT okay! What good is it to have a healer if you don’t want to acknowledge the hurt?

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God is not a plastic surgeon, He’s the GREAT PHYSICIAN! Be real with Him so He can heal you!

Get Finished!

IMG_0143Ask yourself this, what am I waiting on to finish? Why am I not pursuing? When I have an idea, I am so vigorous until i can’t sleep. I’m constantly planning and writing in pursuit of my idea! The idea becomes my topic in every conversation and it becomes a major focus for me. I chase it hard! I educate myself about it! I even communicate with people that may be able to help me bring the idea to life! But somewhere down the line, I would always veer in a different direction. My drive would be short lived and I would eventually stop pursuing.

My mentor, Pastor Deona Benson, has written a book entitled, “Get Finished.” -GO ORDER IT!- Thinking about the title of the book, I’ve asked myself how many tasks have I left undone…how many projects have I picked up but placed them back down, UNFINISHED? I’ve learned that the problem is not getting started, its getting finished. We have so much motivation in the beginning but as time goes on, we find ourselves slowing down more and more. Ultimately, we just stop all together. Our motivation fades, discouragement kicks in, and our big idea becomes a distant memory. We have a bad habit of starting but never finishing. I need you to keep pursuing. It’s not too late for that idea. What do you want to do? What’s your goal? What’s your dream? Have you stopped pursuing? Pick it back up and run with it!! Stay motivated. Stay confident. Stay in motion. Get finished!

To order your copy of “Get Finished,” visit : www.deonabenson.com

You’ve Come Too Far To Only Come This Far

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Take a minute to look back. Think about where you were and how you were this time last year. Hopefully, you can see some kind of progress. Hopefully, you can say that things have changed for the better and this year is better than last year. But all in all, when we reminisce on the past and where God has brought us from, we should be grateful! Not only should we be grateful but we should be hopeful for the future.

Seeing how God so graciously kept us over time, it should show us that this is not the end! Obviously, He is still keeping you and He has a plan for your life! So tell yourself, “I’ve come too far to only come this far!” Maybe there hasn’t been as much progress as you wanted but the fact is, there has been some progress! Maybe you’re not where you thought you would be at this point but you’re still here and that means you have another day to work towards it!! Be motivated to go further! You’ve come too far to only come this far! The future is still bright and the impossible is still possible! Don’t diminish your current because you’re not where you want to be. Remember where you once were and move to the place you’re desiring to get to! You’ve done so well with pushing and pressing. Don’t stop now! You’ve come sooo far! As a matter of fact, you’ve come too far to only come this far!

Push Forward, Trailblazer!