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!

Casting VS Carrying

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Ever took a minute to think about what happens to our body when we worry and stress ourselves out? It breaks down and develops some form of sickness. Think about it. We become stressed out and our head starts aching. We worry and our blood pressure rises. We over work and overwhelm ourselves and out of no where, here comes a stroke. These thoughts and worry’s interfere with the functioning of our anatomy. Being worried does more than cause emotional stress, it causes physical stress.

Now I know it’s easier said than done but we have got to stop worrying and start casting, especially those situations that we can do absolutely nothing about. As a believer, it’s like you’re telling God, “I want to handle my own problems. I would rather carry the load instead of trusting You.” He has specifically instructed us to cast our cares on Him. Simply put, throw him everything that concerns you! To cast means to throw. To me, throwing signifies that you have no desire for the thrown item to be in your possession. So you do not carefully place the item beside you but you throw it because you have no desire for it to be in your presence. I’m convinced, we were not built to carry stress.

I am very guilty of carrying unnecessary loads. For some reason, I had convinced myself that I was strong enough to handle it all. Over time, I learned that I was sooo wrong! As strong as I may be, my strength, alone, is nothing compared to the cares and troubles of life; especially when I’m attempting to carry mine and other folks’ too! One day I started noticing the reactions my body were giving me because I was stressed out. When I become stressed and upset, my abdominal area starts aching because my body becomes very tense. But when I’m happy and stress free, my skin looks clear and my limbs tend to feel loose and free!

Listen to me!!! YOU ARE NOT SUPERHUMAN! You were never meant to carry the extra. He tells us to CAST not CARRY! See the difference? One places the weight and the other releases the weight. I’ve made the decision to release. One reason is because my physical body can not handle the stress and another reason is because that was never my job from the beginning. And it’s not your job either! Your family needs you around. Stop stressing and causing sickness because you’re carrying unnecessary weight. You were not built for stress.

Start casting!

The Temporary Place

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I have a question. How long are you going to prepare? How long are you going to stay on the practice field? How long will it take you to actually be ready for the permanent?

You got stuck in the temporary. The temporary was only the testing grounds for patience. The temporary was only the growing place. You were supposed to pass thru, not dwell there. The temporary was meant to bring out that which you didn’t even know was inside of you. And in all of that, the temporary was still only meant to prepare you for that which is eternal and permanent.

Too often we get caught up in the temporary. Maybe it’s because we get comfortable and stop pushing towards greater or maybe it’s because we fail to recognize that this is only a temporary place. You must always be able to distinguish the temporary from the permanent. If not, you’ll always find yourself veering off course or missing your permanent season. As I stated before, the temporary place produces patience. It also builds character. There are tests and trials that you have to pass in the temporary stage before the permanent can be released to you. Why? Because if you don’t master the temporary, you won’t be able to handle the permanent. But just because the temporary stage is for the building and making, does not mean you’re supposed to stay there. That’s like always having practice but never actually playing the real game. You live on the practice field but you never experience real victory because you’re stuck in practice mode. Master the temporary and keep moving! Don’t get stuck in the temporary.

Don’t get stuck practicing and always preparing just to stay in the same place! Permanent is waiting for you!

One In Ten

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This month, all of my blogs, one way or another, will be related to PCOS. As September is PCOS Awareness Month, I thought it would be a good idea to write about it.

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. PCOS is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can affect a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance. PCOS is a hormonal issue that is common among women of reproductive age, according to Mayo Clinic. According to the PCOS Awareness Association, Symptoms of PCOS may begin shortly after puberty, but can also develop later in the teenage and young adult years.

One in every ten women have PCOS. I am one in ten. Although I have only been medically diagnosed for a little over a year, I’ve been self-diagnosed for a few years. I have always been in-tuned with my body and a few years ago, I noticed some things changing and I was experiencing some things that were abnormal. I started researching and comparing my symptoms to my research and it all came together. Sometimes its as simple as educating yourself and researching your issues.

As a female, it is very important to be in-tuned with your body and its functioning. It’s very important that you be able to realize something out of the normal. I say this because some illnesses can actually be treated if it’s detected early. While PCOS has no cure, there are methods that could help to control the symptoms. As one who has been affected by this syndrome, I will say as simple as it may sound to some, it can be really frustrating and discouraging at times. It goes beyond cysts on the ovaries, it affects your moods and your appearance.

This blog is not for any sympathy or pity. This month is not to make anyone feel sorry for those who have been diagnosed with PCOS. This month is simply to bring awareness to those who are uninformed and misinformed; in addition to encouraging and celebrating those who have been diagnosed!

Impact Strength

img_2137-editIt all boils down to one thing, you have what it takes to survive!

This past week, I was blessed to sit under the teachings of Pastor T.L. Taylor of Memphis, TN. While he said many things that caught my attention, one thing really stuck with me though. He gave an analogy about a basketball and a bowling ball. He stated that if a basketball and a bowling ball were to be dropped simultaneously, at the same time, the basketball would bounce back up while the bowling ball would remain on the ground. The conclusion is, the basketball was just built out of the right material to handle the impact and bounce back while the bowling ball was not.

We could easily use this analogy and apply it to our lives. Let this be hope to you! Ever wondered how you were still going when life has hit you with so many blows? Maybe you’ve questioned why you’re able to bounce back and not quit after so many failed attempts. Or maybe you’re unsure how you’re able to handle the pressure and endure so much adversity. It’s simple. You’re made out of the right stuff! There may be times where you want to quit but your inner man keeps pushing forward.

Do we get tired sometimes? Yes. Do we want to quit? Yes. Does it feel good all the time? No. Definitely not. Truth be told, sometimes it may not seem worth it but because you have Impact Strength, you withstand and press on! Impact Strength keeps you from being broken when you’re dropped. Impact Strength keeps you from being destroyed when you’re mishandled. Impact Strength causes you to be able to smile when you’ve been wounded. Impact Strength keeps you focused in a world of confusion and disorder! You have impact Strength! How do I know? Because you’re still here! You haven’t given up! And you won’t! Because you’re built out of the right stuff!

You’re clothed in strength and grace! Your make up is unique! So, no matter the situation, you’ve been dressed for impact! Even when you think you’re not prepared, your strength shows you other wise! Don’t underestimate your ability to bounce back! The ground can’t kill you and the walls won’t destroy you! You were built for it!

Not Like The Last Time

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Every experience is not like the last experience. Often times, we treat new opportunities like our old experiences. In reality, we should treat every new opportunity as just that. Just because the last time was a disaster does not mean it has to be this time. Think about how many times we miss great opportunities because we are applying the old mindset and the old experience. Instead, we should embrace the new opportunity with a new mindset. You can not automatically assume that this time will be a replay of last time. That could be the reason you don’t see progress.

Do you even see an opportunity for better or do you only see the same results? If this is the case, the problem may not be that the opportunities are not being presented, the problem could be that you are addressing the opportunities wrong and you’re destroying your door before it even opens. Some people have gotten so used to rejection until it becomes difficult for them to receive acceptance.

Change your mindset. Change your approach. Think different. Expect different. Be brave. Plan wisely. React accordingly. See better!

Every situation is different. This means, every situation should be handled different. Remember, there is always a chance that this time could be different so don’t kill it before it even comes to life.

Empower Yourself

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If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you’ll see that self empowerment is a big deal to me! I’m a firm believer of self empowerment! I truly believe that if we would take as much time to empower ourselves as we do looking for someone else to empower us, our lives would be much easier. We spend a great deal of time waiting for someone to tell us who we are and what our purpose for living is. Instead, we should be pushing ourselves to be better and to grow more. It’s not because we are being selfish or diminishing others, it’s because SELF MATTERS!

Think about how much of your life has been wasted on waiting. How much time have you spent preparing for a “shift” or a “movement” to happen? There is nothing wrong with expecting your “change to come” but the problem comes when we expect other people to cause the change to come. Let’s think about that…what if the other person is also waiting on their change? What if they are not assigned to you? Or better yet, what if they are assigned to you but they don’t feel like dealing with you? Now guess who’s being deprived? You are! And what’s even worse than that is, you’re being deprived because of your own personal choice! It’s because you choose to sit and wait on something from other people instead of empowering your own self!

Sometimes it’s as simple as educating yourself, or putting forth the effort to try, or stepping outside of the box, or just deciding to defeat laziness and complacency. One thing I always tell people is, “I do not promote division or separation, I promote self-empowerment!” We have too many people that are dependent on another person. Having support from others is good but please know that you may not always have the support you want. And when this happens, because you have empowered yourself, you will still remain in motion!

In my opinion, we would not have as many addictions and failed dreams if more people would empower themselves. Why is this my opinion? I’m glad you asked! This is my opinion because addictions and failed dreams often times stem from things like disappointments, hurt, fear, and temptations. But if we empower ourselves and build up our faith and confidence in God first and then build confidence in who He created us to be, those disappointments and hurts and fears and temptations would not rob us of our life! Our inner strength wouldn’t allow it! So I say, life is too short to wait on another person to talk you up or to reveal to you who you are. Be the person that you need! Then, count the extra as a bonus!

Finding Me in Him

IMG_0279There are no words to describe how I felt when I came in contact with Jesus for the first time! All I knew was, there was a connection established that I could not afford to lose! At the time, I was searching but I didn’t quite know what I was searching for. I remember being baptized at the age of 7 and confessing that I believed, but I had never had a conscious experience with Him!

As I was growing up, I made my life much harder than it had to be. I was born into a great family, we were not rich but we were not poor either, I was a fairly bright student, and I was raised in the church. However, as time passed, curiosity began to grow, as it would with any other child. I took a lot of wrong paths, I made horrible decisions, and failed countless times. And after all of my bad decision making, around the age of 21, I found my self lost in a world full of mixed emotions and turmoil. Yet in all of this, I was searching for something. At the time, I didn’t know what I was searching for, I just knew I was searching. In retrospect, I see that I was searching for a way, The Way. And this Way would lead me to the exit of all of my self-inflicted pain!

I was very gullible and easily persuaded, so I believed most of what people were saying to me, even the wrong things. In my world of confusion, lies seemed to be the truth and the truth seemed to be a lie. I trusted so easily until it backfired. I had given out all of my trust but just to get nothing but lies in return. So I stopped believing all together. Everything and everybody was a liar to me. Yet, in all of this, I was still searching for something. At the time, I didn’t know what I was searching for but I knew something was missing. In retrospect, I was searching for The Truth, My Truth, His Truth.

Another issue I had was death. Not physically, of course, but in every area of my life. My dreams were dead, I had no hope, nothing I put my hand to would prosper, and all I seemed to be doing was existing. There was no life around me! Nothing was growing and the little that I had earned was quickly fading away! It was a place of no vegetation! Yet, in all of this, I was searching for something. I was searching for something to give me life, something to make me feel like I had a reason to exist. In retrospect, I was searching for Him the whole time!

It was like I knew that I had found the Truth. And once I discovered that He was The Truth, I knew that I had found the Way and through that He had given me Life! Maybe you feel like you’re lost without direction, or its hard for you to trust and believe what you hear, or maybe you’re just in a place of little to no vegetation. The truth is, at some point or another, we’ve all experienced this! So I’ll leave you with this, Jesus has the ability to be your Way out of the darkest and toughest times. He also has the ability to show you the Truth again, the truth about yourself and your life. And He’s able to give you a Life that you can’t even imagine!

When I found Him, I found Me! The search was over!

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6

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!