S-U-N vs S-O-N

I was on a road trip with my best friend a while ago and we were driving in the direction of the sun. My best friend loves taking pictures. So as you can guess, she was attempting to take a selfie on Snapchat while I was driving. Quite naturally, being that the sun is the best natural filter, she held out her iPhone and positioned it perfectly in front of her face. As the sun offered her the perfect amount of light, I heard her phone click multiple times in a row. She captured one photo after another, deleting each one directly after capturing it. I asked her, “sooo how many are you going to take?” She laughed and said, “The sun is showing every imperfection that I have! You know I have to get a good angle.” She went on to say, “Its different trying to take pictures in the sun because the sun exposes certain spots that you can’t see in the bathroom mirror; mainly because the lighting is dimmer inside the house. The lighting from the sun makes beautiful pictures but it also exposes blemishes.”

How does this apply to our life?

We know that light exposes everything it comes in contact with. However, instead of thinking about the S-U-N, consider the S-O-N. If Jesus is the Light and He is our point of direction, doesn’t this mean that our blemishes are uncovered, if we are drawing closer to Him? The S-O-N drives out darkness and brings light to those dark hidden places where unhealthy things like to fester. We’ve been programmed to think this is a bad thing. However, this is actually what saves us! The light that He gives, shows us the areas that may not be as “clean” as we think they are and this heightens our awareness to certain areas that need our attention. Not for us to conceal them but to actually fix them. We find ways to hide our imperfections by using filters, masks, make-up, and even dark atmospheres but true light reveals it all. No MAC or Fenty (make-up) can conceal a filthy life.

The Light makes us “See-Through.” We talk a lot about transparency and being “real” but in all honesty, the thought of our “flaws” being exposed, scares us. So we tend to pretend that either they don’t exist, or we cover them up. When we draw closer to the S-O-N, He makes us transparent. His righteousness shows us our mess and gives us the true realness. Being honest and dealing with YOURSELF may be a tough task but it’s necessary. Our walk with Christ should cause us to constantly evolve internally; mainly because as we follow Him we also draw closer to Him. And as we draw closer to Him, we become more like Him and less like ourselves. And just like metamorphosis, stages of transformation must take place. Once we allow His light to transform us, we will not find ourselves hiding from the light but rather walking in it!

Note To Self

When people say “note to self,” they’re usually referring to making a reminder to do something important. This is their way of relaying a message, to their future self, that important actions need to be taken. Regardless if it’s an appointment that can not be missed, a meeting that needs to be rescheduled, a message that needs to be conveyed, a job that needs to be completed, or just a thought that needs to be remembered, the “note to self” is an indication that ‘IT’ is of great importance.

Question: When was the last time you made a note to your future-self? Or have you ever even considered your future-self? As simple as it may sound, it makes a bold statement. When you make a “note to self,” you’re stating this:

“Future me, (INSERT YOUR NAME), in 12 daysyou have a meeting with Mr. Johnson concerning your next endeavor.”

Now, this may seem elementary but when you consider perspective, it changes from just an appointment to preparation. Meaning, I have 12 days to prepare and equip myself for my upcoming meeting. I have 12 days to plan and execute. This note to myself prepares me today to be the best version of me in the future. 

Sometimes, the best notes aren’t the ones we make to ourselves, but the ones that are addressed to us from others. Biblically, Jeremiah 29:11 is a note to your future-self from your Father. This note is laced with hope and promises for your “unseen.” Center your plans and notes around His note written to you. His note guarantees to give you a future!

Lastly, consider your goals and make a note to yourself for the next 30 days. Speak to your future-self about the important things that are to take place on that particular day and prepare your current self for what’s to come in the future. When you speak to and evaluate the future, you give yourself time to prepare. When you’re prepared, the best version of you always shows up!

The Other Side of Fear

Have you ever wondered what could possibly be on the other side of fear? Think about it. What could be on the other side of the thing that has you paralyzed?

When we allow ourselves to be gripped by fear, we limit our opportunities. Our decision making process becomes cloudy and our determining factor becomes “comfort.” When we operate in fear, we tend to choose whatever makes us comfortable. Instead of overcoming the fear and seizing the opportunity, we settle for whatever feels safe. It’s time to do it; even if you have to do it afraid. You can not afford to keep missing opportunities because of fear. And what’s really bad is the fact that there is nothing identifiable to be afraid of. So it becomes the fear of the unknown.

There are doors set before you and there are rooms waiting to be occupied by your presence….but where are you? You’re somewhere in a safe zone; avoiding the unknown. There could be a room of endless opportunities waiting for you but because you’re afraid to face the other side of the door, you never get the chance to experience any of it. Ask yourself this question. What do I actually have to be afraid of? Is it failure? Is failure really the worse thing you can think of? Let’s say it is. You try and you fail. Guess what? You have just discovered a way that won’t work. So what’s the solution to that? Try another way.

Your ideas are actually great but the great idea never has a chance to come alive because of an unseen feeling, called fear. That great idea could be a game changer for the world….but on the other hand; your fear could, too.

So ask yourself…Is the world lacking something because you refuse to conquer fear and push forward?

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!

The Fear of Judgement

I had a conversation with someone recently and we discussed the reason why this person felt insecure and scared to take the next step in life. This person shared how excited they were about the path that God was taking them on and how they’ve long awaited to have the relationship with God that they have now. But there was one issue. This person stated that they sometimes resented talking to some people about the “great change” that has taken place in their life. The reason why was because they felt as if people would over shadow their new found life with the past mistakes and decisions they had made. This person even shared with me their passion for reaching out to younger women and men about the street life and ministering to those who have been involved in drugs and gang activities. But once again, the fear of being judged was determined to be the factor in holding them back. At first this didn’t make sense to me. I was thinking, if God had done such a tremendous thing with me and had blessed me with another chance at this thing called life, why would I even care about the opinions and judgements of others.

Then I asked myself….how many times have I backed out of an assignment or not showed up to an event because of the fear of the judgement of others? How many times have I started typing a Facebook post about something that God had given me but deleted it because I felt like someone wouldn’t receive it because they know who I once were?

Maybe it’s the thought of that one person or even that one group of people that won’t see the good in you but will magnify your “used to.” You know, those people that love to say “he used to steal” or “she used to lie all the time” or “he used to curse everybody out.” Those people. Yeah, they make change and decision making difficult but the reality is this, they’re not going anywhere! You’ll always have those people who point to your “used to’s” because that’s all they have on you, is the person you used to be! Which is a good thing for you because that’s not who you are anymore. So their judgement can only be based on who you once were, not who you are now! And if you know that all things have become new, the “used to’s” don’t bother you as much.

So I say, go for the gold! Chase your dreams. Activate your faith and step out on it! Speak to those people. Start the organization! Start the ministry! Follow the voice of God! Eventually, the “she used to be something serious” will turn into “I used to go to school with her” or “we used to live in the same neighborhood”…because now their proud to even know you! Even if it’s only based on a “used to.”

No one is saying they’re ashamed of the Gospel but simply not wanting to be reminded of their short comings. It can be quite embarrassing. And let’s not mention the unspoken pressure of trying to explain the transition. This can definitely make a person feel not qualified for a task. Especially if you’re young in Faith. But however……

It’s time to get passed the fear of judgement. After all, we’ll all be judged one day, anyway. Right? The main difference is, on that day, we’ll actually face the judgement that really matters.

It’s time to be the person that used to be afraid but is now going for it all!!!!

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!

The Wounded Warrior and Her Friends

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To all of my friends who refused to let me die in the struggle, I thank you! Transparency has always been key to me. So in order to share todays blog, allow me to paint a picture for you!

Just like a wounded soldier, I was shot on the battlefield, as many of us has been. The wound didn’t kill me but it disabled me. It kept me from functioning as a healthy soldier. I was still able to report to battle but because I was partially disabled, I wasn’t as effective as I once were. The smart thing for me to do would have been to take a leave in order to recover and then continue my battle.

I didn’t realize that I was holding up the progress of my fellow soldiers because instead of focusing on the battle itself, they were busy attending to me; one who should’ve been helping in the fight. But being me, I kept trying to fight. By now, my breastplate is hanging off and my armor isn’t properly secured because my injuries are preventing me from suiting up as I should. So instead of taking a leave, I’m still showing up crippled and half-functional. However, since I was still showing up to battle unarmed and unprepared, I suffered harder blows that only crippled me worse!

Finally, I decided to take a leave, I had taken all I could take and my health was beginning to fail. I accepted the fact that I needed to rest up if I ever wanted to fight again. I needed to be healed and regain my strength. While I was resting, I had friends who not only continued the battle but they fought on my behalf as well! The enemy saw that I was weak so he attacked even harder, but my friends held up the shield and blocked the fiery darts for me. They prayed and sent encouragement constantly! Even though I wasn’t able to help them fight, they still pushed me to recover because they knew I would be back! They refused to let me die on the field. They carried me off to safety when my enemies were overpowering me. They nurtured the call. They pushed my purpose and they kept me covered. Now, that’s what friends are for!

Truth be told, there are plenty of wounded soldiers out there. Some have been left to die on the battlefield. And some were saved by friends and fellow soldiers. I am blessed enough to have people around me who genuinely care and they came to my aid! They didn’t let me die in the battle. They cared for me during the struggle.

What about your friends? Do you have any fellow soldiers that will refuse to let you die in your struggle? Are they willing to carry you to safety? Or will they stand by and watch you bleed to death?

Price Check

IMG_0278How do you measure your value? Do you measure it by your current status or by your past? Or are you measuring your value by your thoughts and dreams for your future? Either way is completely wrong! The only way you should measure your value is by the way God sees you! Not by the “miles on your tires” or by the “word on the street,” but by your Maker and Creator. He places so much value on you! Sometimes we need to do a price check! Think about your life and see if you can find any areas that you have discounted or devalued. Raise the price because you’re worth it!

Listen, people value you based on the way THEY see you. This is TOTALLY their opinion of you! THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT WHAT THEY SEE IS THE TRUTH! People decide how they want to see other people! That’s our choice, which is fine. But you CANNOT allow their opinions to persuade you to see yourself from their perspective! Stop allowing people to devalue you and put you on the “SALE” rack because of their perception of you. If you are not confident in yourself and who God has made you, these opinions will become your mindset for yourself. So you have to be confident in your being! You’re worth more than they give you credit for!

If God Almighty thought enough of you to give His ONLY Son, you must be worth much more than they think! Too many times we lower our standards or our worth for no reason! You should NEVER feel worthless or devalued for any reason! You’re worth it! You always have been and you always will be!

Mirrors Don’t Lie

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Let me start off by saying, all of my blogs are based on my life experiences and they are in no way intended to reveal anything, except the truth! My truth! And this is my truth…

My truth is that I’ve missed the mark…more than once! My truth is sometimes I make the wrong decisions in certain areas and I know better. My truth is that I’ve been hypocritical and I’ve been a bad friend. My truth is that some of the rumors and assumptions that people have about me may be true. My truth is that I am not always the best family member. My truth is that sometimes I have an attitude and I don’t want to be bothered. So with all of that being said, what’s your truth? Not the truth that you made up or the one you believed so long until you’ve convinced yourself that it’s true. I’m talking about your real truth?

This blog was laid on my heart over 2 years ago but every time I tried to move forward with it, I found myself dropping the ball. Now I understand why. I was creating a blog entitled “Start With Me” but I didn’t want to start with me. I wanted to start with someone else and blame them for MY truths. I had the knowledge. The gift for writing was there but the mindset was not. The accountability was missing. We are pros at holding others accountable but we change the standards on self-accountability. Some kind of way, gossip turns into “sharing information” or “warning” when it comes from our own lips but when it comes from the lips of another, it turns into “messy.” Why is this? It’s because we don’t keep the same standards. We fail to hold ourself accountable. We don’t want to start with the man in the mirror. Instead of fixing the man in the mirror, we would much rather call the mirror a lie! And although we know mirrors don’t lie, we would much rather believe that someone made an error with the mirror than to fix the reflection. Why is this? My truthful answer is, in my mind, I was ok. A little mistake here and there was nothing major. I would remind myself that I will never reach perfection so I really didn’t have to extend my arm that far in pursuit of it. As long as I did enough “good stuff” to get by, I was in good shape. Until I met someone who had the exact same mindset as me. The crazy part was, I couldn’t understand how they were comfortable living the life they were living. I didn’t understand how a person could know better but consciously do the opposite.

Then I walked past the mirror…

I share my truths here because I’ve realized that I can’t change people and I can’t change opinions but I can change me! And as long as He blesses me with breath, I’ll continue to pray daily that God will keep me humble and remind me to start with me.

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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