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!

Environmental Growth

cropped-mychandrak.jpgI remember having a conversation with someone and they explained to me why they chose to remain in the same environment that they were complaining about being “stuck” in. So my question was simple, “why are you still there?” Their response was, “Because I feel like I’d be running away from my problems if I leave.” While, I sort of understood what they may have meant, I still couldn’t quite understand how a person would subject themselves to “dry places” just to say, “at least I didn’t run away.” Then I thought about it, we do it all the time! We will remain in a toxic situation for months and sometimes years, holding on to hopes of something changing. But maybe the thing that needs to change is us! Have you ever thought that may be these things have happened in “this place” because it’s time for me to move to the “next place?” Maybe this season is complete but I’m forcing myself to remain in it just to satisfy my ego of not “running.” Which could, in turn, be foolishness! Especially if “this place” is no longer helping you to grow. How long are you willing to hold up your growth just for the sake of saying “I stayed?”

The fact still remains that you are responsible for your own growth…and if the environment isn’t conducive for what you are carrying, why wouldn’t you migrate to a more fertile ground? Even though flowers are designed to grow from the ground, they can still be stunted if the ground doesn’t produce the necessary nutrients. The flower doesn’t have the ability to dig itself up and pick a more fertile area. It has no choice but to die. Why? Because it lacked proper nutrients needed for growth. But you have a choice. You can change your surroundings. You can migrate to a more sustainable environment. Or…you can be a flower and remain planted in dry ground and eventually, just die.

Why is it that we as people feel bound to the opinions of others concerning our well-being, in regards to change? Don’t get me wrong. I am not referring to those who offer wise counsel. I’m referring to those who disagree with your want of change because of their familiarity of you being in the same place. Don’t let this be your hold back. Remember, it is you who is responsible for your growth. Yes, we have teachers, pastors, mentors, leaders and etc., but ultimately, you decide if you grow or remain stagnant.

Seasons change so that atmospheres can change. Certain things can’t grow in certain seasons. We know this from science. So just think, what if winter remained for 12 months? How many plants, trees, crops, and other things would never exist? Simply because winter is not their atmosphere! Spring brings those things. So the sunlight and the warm weather is necessary for their growth. Now say these plants, trees, and crops grew in the spring time and now it’s time for summer….but the summer remains for the next 12 months. Yes, they benefit from the sunlight and the warm weather but the constant summer heat may be too extreme to continue the cycle of growth needed. The seasons have to change because the atmosphere has to change. Our life works the same way. We have to continue to remain in the atmosphere that nourishes what we carry. And sometimes this involves finding the next well that provides the water that you need.

 

 

Surviving The Storm

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I think we could all agree that storms are uncomfortable. Not only are they uncomfortable, they are also an inconvenience, especially when you are trying to get somewhere. The torrential rain, the boisterous winds, and the loud thunder can sometimes be a deciding factor in if we choose to move or stand still. This can easily be related to life. When we experience the storms of life, we tend to let that particular storm be the deciding factor of if we will continue to move forward or not. This should not be.

God has equipped us with everything necessary to not only withstand but to also keep moving during a storm. Think about your car. Your car doesn’t have the option to say, “I only drive when its sunny.” The car was made to drive through any weather conditions. The body of the car can take the impact of rain and hail without falling apart. Not only can the car continue to move during these conditions, it also protects what’s on the inside. The riders or contents on the inside of the car is shielded from the storm that’s going on outside. This can also be related to life. We must protect the purpose and the contents that have been placed on the inside of us. Don’t allow the situations to drown out your gifts and ideas. Don’t allow the winds to blow away your passions.

One area the enemy specializes in is blurred vision. He makes the path look cloudy and dark because he knows that instead of walking by faith as we should, we often times walk by sight. And if we can’t see, we become discouraged because our human senses are limited. When we become discouraged, we tend to stand still. Now think about the car again. What are windshield wipers? They clean the windshield from things that blur your vision. Your windshield wipers have the capability to perform faster or slower, depending on the level or storm you’re facing. You also have a defrost feature in your car. This function controls the humidity and the visibility on the inside of the car. Without this feature, the windows would be foggy and visibility would be limited. But when you pair the defrost and the windshield wipers, you’re able to continue driving through the storm without fear of crashing into the unseen or the unknown. This is how God is with us! When we acknowledge Him, He directs the pathway for us. Not only does He direct it, He also clears it. He shows us why our faith in Him is so much more important than our human sight. He is waiting to direct your path, even in the stormy conditions. But you have to acknowledge Him in all of your ways. Your 5 senses are not able to give you the navigation that you need. Let Him direct you.

God has given us every thing needed to survive the storm. Even if it looks scary and it seems unending, you have to know that storms must pass over. But while you’re in it, don’t fret. Don’t stop driving. Don’t stop moving. You’re protected. You’re covered. And your direction is clear. Sitting in the storm waiting for it to pass only prolongs the rain in your life. Make a decision to move out of the storm. Just like the car, you were built to withstand the conditions. True, it may bang up the shell a little but what’s on the inside of you will still remain protected and the manufacturer can repair any and every piece of damage.

Storms eventually die and you were not made to die in it. You were made to outlive it!!

Hello, December!

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December! The last month of the year! There are many great things to look forward to this month. Many are preparing to celebrate Christmas. People are preparing to give as well as receive for the holidays. Many are traveling to see loved ones that have been separated by distance all year. While, some are just looking forward to ending the year and bringing in a new one. Whatever the celebration is, no one can deny that the happiest month of the year is definitely December. In the month of December, love and joy is almost tangible!

We’ve watched the leaves transform to their fall colors and cover the grass that has now turned brown. We’ve watched the trees go from being fully dressed to now being partially covered, all in preparation for the new layer to develop. We now have to dress in boots and sweaters instead of sandals and shorts. Clouds are preparing to bring in snow and the heat from the sun seems to be diminishing. As I said in Hello November, when you understand how important it is for seasons to change, you’ll embrace transformation. So as nature prepares for the next season, we should follow suit and prepare too! Its time to embrace the end of one year and prepare for the next one to come in.

December is the month that represents the end but presents the opportunity to prepare for the next beginning. What better month to perform an evaluation than December?!December is the only month in the year where you can equally evaluate and visualize two years at the same time. Think about it. There are no more months to come in this particular year but there are 12 open months of opportunities lying ahead! So as you reflect back on the past 12 months, you should begin to write the vision for your next 12 months. As we embrace this last month of the year, I challenge you to use it as your month of planning. So often we jump in to the new year with superficial goals and sometimes this causes us to set ourselves up for 12 months of disappointments. Instead of first counting the cost and planning, we dive in head first as if we go through metamorphosis from December 31 to January 1.  We have to be realistic. Give your mind time to develop and embrace what is to come. Let the plan sink in so that the execution will be precise. Properly planning can sometimes prevent those frustrations that causes us to quit.

So as you celebrate giving and receiving, as you decorate your houses and trees, as you change your wardrobe, I encourage you to use the upcoming days to plan. A resolution is only as good and stable as the plan that holds it up.

 

Past To Purpose

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I will start off by saying, when we are trying to step into our purpose, initially you may struggle with who you currently are versus the person that purpose is calling you to become. One reason for this struggle is because we constantly question ourselves because of our past experiences and the person we once were. When purpose calls, pressure rises. There is this inward standard that seems bigger and greater than we have the capability of being. Our mindsets second guess the calling and we search through the history of our lives and find our short comings and failures, all so we can convince ourselves that we are not worthy of our purpose. At that point, you may even find yourself thinking that maybe it would be easier to walk into your purpose if you had not have done certain things in your past. Not only that, you may even find yourself thinking that you would be walking in your purpose now if you had not have lived a certain life style. While some of these things may be true, the fact still remains that the past is the past. We learned from it and we lived through it! We have to stop spending so much time living in regrets. What has happened, has happened and there is nothing you can do to go back and change it. When you spend time reminiscing and regretting the past, you actually lose time that could be used for working towards the future!

One key scripture that relates to this directly is Romans 8:28. It says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This means that no matter what, all things will work together for your good! The criteria is this, you must love God and you must be called according to HIS purpose. Being called according to HIS purpose means that we are not walking according to our own knowledge and we are not establishing our own way but we are abiding in HIM and allowing HIM to be the conductor of our lives. When we fall in love with God and surrender our lives to HIM, at that moment HIS purpose becomes our purpose! So actually what we think is our idea, has been HIS plan for our lives the whole time! When we abide in HIM, we find ourselves being enlightened on stuff that we never knew existed! We find ourselves being interested in things and discovering talents that we never knew we had. While some may have already discovered their talents and passions prior to falling in love with HIM, when we find ourselves abiding in HIM, those talents and passions become stronger and we discover it to be our purpose! Allowing your love to meet HIS love for you and allowing your life to abide in HIM, births FULL purpose! This has been HIS plan for you all along, to be PURPOSE-FULL!

 

Protect Your Surroundings

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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.

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.

What’s holding you back?

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Sometimes we have to just face the fact that they only thing that’s holding us back is us! What if I told you that you could really move forward if you wanted to and that thing you keep waiting on to happen may never happen? So will you keep waiting? Is it an apology you’re waiting on? Is it closure that you’re seeking? What’s holding you back from moving forward with your life?

We waste entirely too much time waiting on other people. We wait on someone to validate our ideas. We wait on someone to fund our dreams. We wait on someone to push us to the next level. We even wait on people to get on board with us before we decide to move. You can not afford to wait anymore! We don’t have time to waste. You don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like you or who doesn’t support or who doesn’t wanna be a part. When you use your time for things like that, you lose time for the important stuff.

The solution is this: accept and move! Accept whatever happened and move forward towards what’s waiting for you. Don’t spend time focusing and pondering on the past, you don’t live there anymore! The future is much greater and it’s waiting for you! But you must decide to stop waiting and go for it. Catapult into it! Once you move yourself out of the way, you’ll realize how unstoppable you are! You’ll realize how awesome and amazing your dreams are! You’ll see how much potential you have! Stop waiting. No more holding back! Face forward like you have a chip on your shoulder and go for it!

Growing The Right Way

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In life we have many choices. We can choose to go to work or stay at home. We can choose to save our money or spend it. We can choose to relocate or remain in the same place. We can choose to advance ourself or we can choose to settle for where we are now. We can choose to grow in one direction or the other but one thing for sure is we can not choose to not grow. That’s just not a choice that we have. Let me explain.

One way or another, you will continue to grow. Either you’ll grow in the right direction or you’ll grow in the wrong direction. But no matter what, you will continue to grow. I used to think that growth automatically meant that I was doing good but as I grew older, I discovered how wrong I was. It is possible to grow in the wrong direction. Have you ever met someone who was rich in complacency? Or someone who is abundant in laziness? Or maybe they were walking in the overflow of negativity. I’m talking about someone who wants absolutely nothing more than what they have now. Someone who has no will to advance themselves. Someone who doesn’t care to get better at anything. The person who has tons of potential but settles for whatever is given to them. The person that may applaud everybody else for advancing but makes no effort to find their own or establish themselves. That level of complacency wasn’t obtained overnight, it took some downward growing to get there. Even if you are this person, make a conscious effort to make a u-turn!

You’ve spent enough time growing in the wrong direction. It’s time to grow right! You have absolutely nothing to lose and so much more to gain! Choose the right growth. Doors are opened when the door knob is turned. You have to do something! Growth in the right direction simply starts with doing something! But you have to do the right something. You can do it! Just get started!

We can choose to grow towards the wrong things or we can gravitate to what’s good and grow there. In this new year, let’s choose to grow in the right direction. Make connections that help you to grow in the right direction. Disconnect from those situations that either hinder your growth or that encourages you to grow in the wrong direction. Small challenge: Take a minute and think about the direction of growth your closest friends are walking in. Are you walking in the same direction? I asked because sometimes we tend to grow in the same direction of those that surround us. Our influences are so important. Evaluate and make your decision. Make it count, grow the right way!

The What. The When. The Why.

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As humans, we depend on a few things to make our daily decisions. We usually depend on the what, the when, and the why. We wake up everyday and get started based on what we have to accomplish, when it needs to be accomplished, and why it has to be accomplished. These things tend to push us to progress. When all three questions are answered, we feel secure in handling our business and doing what needs to be done. One thing I’ve noticed is that when we don’t have the answers to the what, when, and why, we tend to procrastinate or prioritize it much lower on our to-do list. Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation and maybe you felt like you didn’t know what was going on?  I have. I don’t like uncertainty and I hate to not know what’s coming next in my life. When I can’t answer the questions of why am I supposed to do this and what happened to change that and when will this take place, I tend to back off and not want to do anything because I can’t find reasoning. We find security in reasoning. Once we find out the reasons, we can operate effectively with confidence. But the question is what happens when you don’t know the reason? What happens when the why is not answered? Do you tend to slow down? Or do you do like me and just stop?

As believers, we are called to perform and continue no matter if we never know the what, the when, or the why because we are SUPPOSED to walk by faith at all times. Am I saying that information is not important? Of course not! The Bible tells us that we are supposed to seek an understanding in all of our seeking. I am simply saying that sometimes we won’t know the why. Sometimes we won’t understand the what. And many times we will not know the when. All we know is that our beliefs and our actions should always be based on faith. Especially in the moments when those questions are not answered!

In other words, blessed are those who continue to walk, continue to sow, continue to remain faithful, and continue to push, before you find out the why. I say this all the time, the situation doesn’t feel good. And the one thing we all would like to know is, “when will it end? When will it get better? Why am I going through this? What have I done wrong?” Just remember blessed are those who believe without seeing!

We know that no matter how dark and lonely the road is, He promised to ne a light unto our pathway! So, continue to walk, even when you can’t see because the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord!