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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Perfectly Imperfect!

img_2167-editSo many times we think that because we made some bad choices or since we made some horrible mistakes, we can’t be used in certain areas. Sometimes we think that our past is so horrible until we have disqualified ourselves from speaking out against certain things and helping others. We have to remember that we’ve faced challenges and overcome obstacles just to be used! That means, YOU ARE NOT DISQUALIFIED BECAUSE OF YOUR SHORTCOMINGS! Your past failures and hang-ups actually makes it even better! Why? Because you can identify now! You understand better and you can relate to the issues of people. Never feel like you’re too much because of your past mistakes and failures or never feel like you’re not enough because of what you didn’t live up to. You’re perfectly imperfect, which makes you the perfect person for the job! We don’t get it right all the time. We don’t always say or do the right things at the right moments. We don’t even think the right thoughts sometimes, whether its admitted or not! But those imperfections qualify you to reach another imperfectly striving individual. I used to think that I couldn’t talk to people about God because I hadn’t reached perfection yet. Not knowing that I never would! But just as I was, God wanted to use me- to inspire others, to give hope, to spread love, to give the Gospel. Why? Because I was useable, I was willing to grow because I knew I didn’t know it all- or maybe it was because I was imperfect and He knew I would stumble across another imperfect person and I didn’t mind sharing my testimony- or maybe it was because I was willing to be used. Your imperfections can be used to tell a story of hope! Someone needs to hear about you!

If we are to be the hands and feet of God in this realm, we have to be able to reach and walk not only in the clean places, but in the most grimy and even desolate places of the earth. Which means that while we are walking in the coolness and the enjoyment of our destiny, we also have a mandate to visit and heal the dirty places. And what better person for the job than one who has first hand experience! You’re still useable!

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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Prime Before You Paint

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As I was preparing to paint my patio furniture, I went to Home Depot. I went directly to the paint section. In my mind, I could just get the paint and start painting. When I was picking up the can of paint, which was the wrong one anyway, the associate stopped me and asked if I needed help. I said “no, I got it.” He wanted to know why I was buying paint so I told him. He said, “So you’ve already primed it?” I responded, “Uh…no. I figured I would just skip that step and start painting it.” He told me, “Ok, well that’s fine if that’s what you want to do but can I explain something to you?” I told him that he could. He went on to say, “Your primer is your base, it prepares the surface for the paint. You can paint the surface without the primer and it’ll still look good but when the rain comes, you’ll notice that your paint will fade and start looking old. That happens because you didn’t properly prepare for the paint.” He went on to say, “Ma’am, you cant just make the outside look good without the preparation. When you prime before you paint, you secure the outer layer. The rain and outside conditions wont strip or fade the paint.”

So I began to think, its just like life. When we properly prepare, we won’t be stripped of our blessing or our outer coat. Sometimes we jump straight to paint level without priming- so we don’t have anything holding our paint together. I wanted to skip the priming stage because it was tedious and I felt like it was a waste of time! I was just ready to see the finished product. I know the process seems tedious sometimes and we are so ready to see the results until we tend to skip some VERY IMPORTANT steps. But if I could just encourage you for one minute…When you’ve had to work hard and toil to get something that you’ve wanted so bad, you’ll appreciate it more and not only that, you will do whatever you have to do to protect it. That’s because you’ve been through the preparation stage, you’ve been primed, and now you’re equipped to keep what you’ve been blessed with. Even though the primer can’t be seen in the end result, it still serves as the gravity for the blessing.

We are all called to be great but we must prepare for greatness! The priming is necessary! Don’t skip it!

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!