Will the real you please stand up….

Will the real you please stand up….

Will the real you please stand up?!!….. Wait you don’t know who that is do you? It’s okay, I didn’t either. It took a process of healing and unpacking all the hurt, pain, and frustrations that had shaped who I was over the course of over 10 years in order to uncover and realize who I TRULY was. 

Often we settle into who we think we are rather than actually living who we really are. Many of us have experienced personal trials, tribulations, and traumas. From every life event, we experience we develop a response to. Often our responses are birthed in an effort to self protect which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, when we do not heal from the things that shatter our perception of the different aspects of our world, we begin to view life through those broken pieces. Such broken perspectives will shape how we act, respond and show up in life. 

Typically when you believe something that pertains to your identity(who you think you are), you begin to display mannerisms and actions of who that person is. For example, I used to say that I was shy, that’s who I am. The truth was that I was afraid of conflict or situations that I would feel uncomfortable in. This caused me to try and be the quietest one in the room, or avoid people and situations that would bring too much attention to me.

The funny part is by nature I am a talker. I LOVE to converse, but I would only converse with those I was comfortable with. 

The keyword in the last sentence is COMFORTABLE. Comfortable lies within our comfort zones. I believe our comfort zones are built in an effort to self protect, the problem is that you can only GROW but so much within a confined space. 

How long will you stay in your confined space?

The confinement is hindering your greatness. The time is now to make a choice to grow beyond where you’ve allowed yourself to be limited. Where do you desire to be in your life? What has hindered you thus far? What is something about yourself that you want to change, or you think has hindered your growth thus far?

Whatever it is, I want to help you move past the place of hindrance. This week I kick off my FREE, “Who Am I Really” challenge. This will be a seven day challenge where during the challenge you will:

  • Tackle what has you stuck and how it has affected your identity.
  • Equip you with the 5 Steps to get you unstuck and walk in your true identity.
  • Implement new strategy with clarity

Don’t wait any longer, sign up here today and walk in the freedom and greatness God has called you to.

Hey family! I’ve been a bit MIA because, well, LIFE.,

 

It’s just literally been overwhelming and frustrating. There’s a lot of things that I’ve been facing that have really been stretching me these past few weeks and 2021 JUST started. 

God most certainly is NOT playing when it comes to growth and His children in this hour. I’m going to be transparent. I’m one of those children right now who has their arms folded across their chest and shaking their head “NO!” 

 

Mamas, y’all know those kids!

 

The ones who are either willingly being defiant or the ones who are extremely overwhelmed and because they do not know how to respond to the situation, they do what they can, and that’s to assert their feelings. They’re saying no because they really do not want to, or they’re unsure of how to do something or what may come next if they actually do what is asked of them.

 

Which one am I? Honestly, I don’t know… 

 

Maybe a mixture of both.

 

Coping in my own way has been my go-to, albeit unproductive; I have come to this place where I know what to do but don’t know what to do. Sounds a bit confusing but let me explain. I know what to do as far as drawing near to the Lord; however, I don’t know what to do as far as taking the first steps. Really I’ve been wallowing in checking out. 

 

Operating in autopilot 

 

It’s not the most productive thing to do, but the amount of stretching I’ve been facing these last few days have been wildly uncomfortable. There’s nowhere to retreat, and there’s everything to avoid; as comforting as it has been, it is very dangerous for two reasons.

 

  1. The more you sit in your feelings, the more you lose sight of the truth that God cares about every little detail of your life, no matter how small.
  2. The spirit of condemnation begins to comfort you. Condemnation begins to speak to you reminding you of the “bad” job you are currently doing. Reminding you of all you could have accomplished but haven’t. 

Over the past five days, I’ve gotten two essential reminders. 

 

  1. Grace is something that we must give to ourselves the same way we give to others. Remind ourselves that God gives us grace even in our brokenness or rebellion. Grace is defined as free and undeserved love that never quits. God gives us the grace to be able to say, “Yeah, I messed up, but I’m not cast away. I’m still loved, and it’s not because of anything I did, but because of who God is.”
  2. God cares for us. Even when we want a turkey sandwich.

1 Peter 5:7 AMP

 

7 casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].

 

Now you’re probably wondering what in the world does a turkey sandwich have to do with anything. Well, storytime!

 

When I was in the hospital in 2017 after giving birth, the nurses would bring these food boxes with juice, snack, and a sandwich. Although I had explicitly asked for turkey, one of the nurses brought me ham even though I do not eat pork. Well, one night I requested a box but forgot to specifically asked for turkey. In my mind, I quietly hoped for a turkey sandwich. I was too tired to bother the nurses again to get me anything specific. Well, do you know that when my box finally came, it was the turkey? At that moment, the Lord reminded me that I care about every little thing….even quiet wants of a turkey sandwich.

 

So let me encourage you all today even when you don’t have the words to pray, even if you’ve felt you have strayed, even when you can’t encourage yourself, just know it doesn’t matter what you have or have not done; give yourself grace, the way God gives you grace every single day. Every single day is an opportunity to go back to God and allow Him to heal the broken places. Every single day is a new opportunity for the Lord to handle every care you have. Every single day is an opportunity for God to be Lord in your life. 

 

John 3:16-18

16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because [b]he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him].

 

Boundaries

Boundaries

You ever thought a lack of boundaries could put you in a position where you’d miss out on something amazing?! Well, neither did I. I always looked at boundaries as something you set in place for children, so they know what is expected of them… you know what they can’t do from what they can. Boundaries are so much more than that. Boundaries set the stage for your needs to be met. Boundaries cultivate better relationships. Boundaries teach you how to put yourself first. Ultimately, boundaries create an atmosphere for safety and for you to feel safe.

For over seven years, I gave away my peace. I said yes to things when I really wanted to say no. Situation after situation; I devalued my feelings to maintain peace. As much as it made other people happy, it built blocks of frustration that I would diminish and tuck away, downplaying the magnitude of a mounting pattern, particularly in my marriage.  

Shrinking and compromise.

The more I dimmed my light to appease others, the more I compromised who I was and what I could do. Walking through a place of invalidation and insecurity with the hopes that everyone’s needs will be met is called people-pleasing. The danger in people-pleasing is that you’ll become so comfortable doing it that you don’t realize there’s anything wrong with your behavior. Although people may praise you for being “kind” or “nice,” they’ll inadvertently or possibly even intentionally walk all over you like a doormat.

When I wrote “Power Of A Made Up Mind,” the Lord had been dealing with me with setting boundaries and maintaining them even when it made other people upset. I was uncomfortable, but I knew that I was even more uncomfortable settling for the person I thought I was rather than the person God called me to be. Past traumas had opened the door for a spirit of fear to come in through wounds. As I walk through this place of healing through motherhood, God has been showing me how vital walking in a made-up mind and firmly maintaining boundaries opens the door for the blessings He’s promised me. On the other hand, He has also highlighted how a lack of boundaries will position you to forfeit your blessings.

For example, Three ways you forfeit your blessings when you don’t set boundaries with people are:

  1. Giving away your peace. God said He gives you peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). When you lack healthy boundaries, essentially, you’re giving away your peace, which is also your guard. People will do whatever you let them do to you, resulting in frustration and feelings of confusion.
  2. You forfeit your freedom. The bible tells us whom the Son set free is free, indeed (John 8:36). Freedom means that nothing holds you down or keeps you bound; however, you often walk in people bondage when you lack boundaries with people. You become focused on what they might say or do to you if they don’t get their way. Sadly, you fail to realize that their needs are met at your expense.
  3. You walk in instability. James 1:7-8 speaks of the double-minded man being unstable in all of his ways. When you are harboring hurt on the inside, you operate from a place of brokenness. Our actions stemming from this brokenness is an indication that healing needs to occur. We are often unaware of the need to be healed, so we think that our actions toward people and situations are normal.

Just to recap, peace is a blessing; freedom is a blessing, and stability is a blessing! All of these blessings are promised to us in God’s word, meaning that they are true and available to all who want them. 

The next time someone tries to bully, manipulate, or take advantage of you and you start to justify their reasoning over your valid feelings as yourself, this question:

Am I willing to forfeit my blessings for their peace?

New Year, New Mind

New Year, New Mind

Last year I wrote a piece entitled, “New year, New you? Nah, Same You” needless to say, many people make a New Year resolution to change and, well, stay the same. We continue year after year, screaming the upcoming year is our year, but then end the year with lessons learned and almost in the same place the previous year. What happened? To be honest, life happens. Things you couldn’t possibly have imagined nor planned for happened, and what did you do? Rolled with the punches. You bobbed and weaved and rolled with the punches of life so you wouldn’t get knocked on your butt. Undoubtedly we cannot plan for the unexpected things in life, but we can make adjustments to the things in life we can control. The two common things many of us deal with in life are money and relationships. 

Year after year, we settle in jobs, avoid taking chances in our businesses, or complain about positions that bring us no joy. If we can be honest, some of us could be in many different positions if we would make some adjustments in how we move. For example, you could train to move up in positions for the company you work for, thus eliminating the need to complain about your job. For entrepreneurs, you can discipline yourself to operate your business more efficiently to start seeing the results you desire. Lastly, quitting the dead-end job, you’ve been afraid to leave. Still, you’ve allowed fear to hold you back in a constant black hole of “what if.” Well, what if you have something better waiting for you on the other side of your decision?

Furthermore, many of you have been unhappy and unsatisfied in terms of relationships but have been waiting for things to change. Change requires actions. What actions are you taking? For those of you who hear God, what is He saying concerning your situation? Sometimes we will stay in or do nothing to fix unfruitful relationships because we are too afraid or too comfortable in dysfunction.

Change your mind. Hear me, CHANGE YOUR MIND. When you change your mindset, you’ll change your attitude concerning areas in your life that have been unfruitful and frustrating. A limiting mindset will stunt your growth and freedom in just about every area of your life. There are a lot of things you can not control in this life…2020 showed us that. The one thing I have accepted, I can undoubtedly control is how I view life and my actions stemming from those views. It may have taken me going through a divorce, laying down my marriage, leaving two good-paying jobs, and becoming a mom raising five children on her own to learn how to change my mind, but I have! 

The freedom, abundance, and love I desired to see in my life required me to take action. It required me to do things I’d never done. For me, the writing was a part of my process. God used writing and my voice, two areas of my life where I felt insecure, to move me into a place of fruitfulness in Him.

Do you want to know what the real blessing is? The real blessing is now I am in a position to help others. I have the privilege to serve and encourage those who are where I was. It all started with the decision to change my mind concerning how I viewed my life and actually doing what God instructed me to do, even when it didn’t make sense.

Now ask yourself, what’s holding me back from where I want to be and what I desire to see in my life.

James 1:23-25 AMP

23 For if anyone only listens to the word [a]without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets [b]what he looked like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but [c]an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].

Love: Emotion or Choice

Love: Emotion or Choice

Love is something all of us crave in some way, shape, or form. There have been events that have occurred in our lives where many of us have closed our hearts from receiving or giving love to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

Too often, people in our lives who were meant to teach us how to love by extending love to us sadly have failed in that department. Typically this starts in one of the most basic relationships we have, and that’s in the family, namely with our parents. If we could be honest, some of our parents lacked affection, rarely said they loved us or loved us with conditions while saying their love was unconditional. 

Really, what were we to do with that?!!

How were we supposed to learn how to effectively love when we never had a real example of what love looked like? 

 

As a millennial mom, I’ve realized that there are some things surrounding love that our parents had to try and figure out when they navigated parenthood. Unfortunately, many of the broken ways of the previous generation influenced how they moved when parenting us. As a mom, I’ve tried to be very intentional about how I parent, and that includes taking a self-inspection of how I teach, influence, and love on my children.

 

Have any of you noticed any mannerisms of your parents that you exhibit when parenting? Are they harmful or helpful? Do you act consciously or unconsciously?

 

Sometimes we do what they’ve done and don’t even notice. 

 

One of the most important things I wanted to do is show my children in terms of love is that love is not a feeling; it is a choice. Even when you do not feel like the other person deserves your love, you can still make a CHOICE to love them well. I wanted them also to understand that love, too, is not harmful. When people do things like hurt you but turn around and say that they love you, to know that that is not true love. What they’ve experienced is an emotional response to whatever that person’s trigger was.

 

 It’s important to teach our children the difference between love and emotion. Emotion is a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. In contrast, love is a bit more layered. Not all love is created equal. 

 

Some love is brotherly. 

Some romantic.

Some unconditional.

Some natural/familial.

The type of love we have toward our family is storge, which is a deep caring natural bond that we should walk in with our loved ones. This kind of love is protective, loyal, and can withstand many trials. However, the type of love we all should strive to walk in is agape. This form of love is the highest, being that it is sacrificial. It isn’t predicated on whether or not the other person loves you in return; it is everlasting.

 

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 TPT:

4 Love is large and incredibly patient.[f] Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous[g] when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. 5 Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated[h] or quick to take offense.[i] 6 Love joyfully celebrates honesty[j] and finds no delight in what is wrong.[k] 7 Love is a safe place of shelter,[l] for it never stops believing the best for others.[m] Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. 8 Love never stops loving.[n] It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away.[o] It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.

 

In my personal experience, I’ve found that although this form of love can be tough to walk in, it was much easier to do with my ex-husband than with my children. In “When the Bridge Breaks: Sacrificing a Perverted Promise,” I write about having to sacrifice a perverted form of love that I had settled for while learning and walking in agape love. Since my children were watching me walk out what love should look like, the Lord had me to dig deep in my relationship with them.

Why could I only show love and affection toward them to a certain extent and then shut down? Where was my patience in dealing with their wants, needs, brokenness, or pain? My parents. The answer partially lied in the relationship between my parents and me. How they were able to extend love to me shaped how I loved on my children. Also, it is interesting to note that our children are a lot like us! When you’re faced with parenting versions of yourself, it can be quite difficult considering all you want your children to do is respond how you feel you’d react in a situation. 

Crazy right?!

Often I have to go back to the basics, and that is looking at how Jesus loves. 

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The way God loves us is the most excellent example of what true love should indeed look like. There was never a thing we had to do to earn His love. He knows everything about us from the womb to our death and still loves us no matter what. We have the freedom just to be, which enables us to extend that same type of love for others. 

 

So I admonish you all to look at yourselves and inspect how you love your children and others. Is there anything from your childhood that has shaped how you love now? Is there anything you can change today to love better tomorrow? If so, do it, and I pray you have the strength to do so.