20 Lessons 2016 Has Taught Me.

1. There is no such thing as an overnight success. WORK for what you want.  

2. You deserve every great thing headed your way. 

3. Had to let go of something good? God will always provide a way for something greater. 

4. Never doubt yourself, and if you do, take a leap of faith and trust the God in you.  

5. Your heart is resilient and you are strong.

6. Be gentle and grateful for your journey's paths. 

7. It's ok to ask for help. Vulnerability does not equate to weakness. 

8. The universe has a way of removing toxins from your life.  

9. Every member of your tribe has their role and season -- honor that.  

10. Your body is yours to own and manage, but most of all, yours to love. 

11. The only person you have to prove yourself to is ... yourself.  

12. Opening your heart takes time; healing takes time.  

13. Healthy conflict is a nutrient to grow healthy relationships.  

14. Change is good; embrace it. Being a change agent is greater; radiate it.  

15. Even when you're uninspired, write. Let your thoughts breathe.  

16. Your tribe is reflection of the woman you are now and the woman you are growing to be.  

17. Be present -- time is fleeting.  

18. Don't ignore the red flags -- they often signal a way of escape from a person, place, or thing not meant for you.  

19. Save your money -- life happens.  

20. You are meant to lead, so don't shy away from the challenge.  

Life's lessons won't stop their teaching, so here's to 2017 ...

21. Write your vision for 2017, make it plain -- 2016 was just a taste of what destined for you.  


#HigherVibes

Source 

I was inspired by a conversation with Queen Mommy and an Instagram post by @cleowade.

 God's timing is perfect.

Check it: 

Life is a journey, imperfectly one of a kind, designed for me. I'm confidently lost in the wonder of His grace and blessings bestowed upon me. Vibing ... His Spirit vibrating higher within me ... Hallelujah! There's reciprocity in my praise; a mutual understanding in my tears. I got this. He's got this. We got this.

#SpectatorSports

Within the past year I have experienced a great amount of growth. Spiritual, emotional, physical, mental. Growing into and out of spaces and people, I've learned a lot about myself along the way. It's been a hard process, I won't lie, but the benefits outweigh the growing pains. Journeying a day at a time, I've had to learn to be gentle with myself, to trust His plans and promises, and to be ok with who am I in this exact moment.

 But I'm not alone. I have an amazing support system walking alongside me on this journey. They've participated in cleansing ceremonies, prayer circles, and even bootcamps with me  to promote this beautiful growing; this blooming. As my inner circle, their words of wisdom, advice, prayers, and even critique are welcomed because they understand my process; they have lived through the growth with me. There is an unwavering amount of respect reciprocated between them and I; true friendship

However, without fail and as expected, comments are made about what's perceived to be my life. I know that every decision I make, path I take, and plan I envision are not the norm and may not be easily accepted or digested by all. And that's ok and quite honestly, expected. But I am human. And any negative comment, often coming from a spectator sharing their piece, disturbs my peace. 

It's the internal and external commentary of comparison that threatens my contentment.

***

I was once a spectator ... sometimes I still am. Binge scrolling on social media, I'd often find myself commenting aloud on someone else's life, taking mental notes for comparison and contrast against my own; a menace to my own contentment. I'd closely watch someone else's life from the sidelines instead of focusing on remaining fully present and participating in mine.

Life is not a spectator sport. If watchin’ is all you’re going to do, you’re going to watch your life go by without ya.
— Hunchback of Notre Dame

It's an act of self-love to live life as a participant, and not a spectator. Yet it seems that some people live and post for an audience; forcing memories and life experiences to impress people that we don't like or even know. This sets unrealistic standards for competition, beauty, and happiness. We should work on turning comparison into motivation. Instead of commenting on the next person's life or comparing their highlight reel to our behind the scenes, we can begin to practice setting our own goals for our lives, embracing every individual stage of life that we journey through.

***

We are exactly where we need to be and the expectations of others are not ours to follow. Forget the negativity that we hear from others and sometimes think about ourselves! Speak life into the journey! And when you hear commentary from the sidelines, remember that the participants in your life are those that matter, not the spectators. 

***

The word you trust determines the life you live.
— Pastor Daniel, Lifepoint Church

#CreatedForThis

"Cautionary tales of a heart once broken beat against the cadence of an anticipative voice. Her tone engorged with

Resilience. Is it naiveté or minimized strength? There's beauty in the bounce-back, but with every return, a piece of her

Escapes; good + bad. Lessons leap from heart to page to experience as do the tears to cheek to smiles.

Apathy; dangerously cold, almost solid against the hardened ground, mirroring this stage of her life ... but with renewed seasons, warmth rises in her heart once more.

Timing is everything when it's your own. Such a valuable currency that is no longer in her possession, but His. How is she experiencing serenity? Her analog clock reads

Ephesians 1:10. Every lesson, every tear, every smile, every thrill, every experience is preparation for something greater. Her

DESTINY. When life is a reflection of the story of Job, or her pain paints her purpose, the sum of this confirms ...

She was CREATED for this."


Can I be honest? Some days, I feel like breaking down and giving up. Life is a journey, but sometimes that journey is TOUGH! My heart has experienced so much that I find myself frustrated and confused with what God has planned for me. I believe His promises are unfailingly true in Jeremiah 29:11, but I also impatiently crave a sneak-peak at the greatness God has planned. Will this ever get better?!

I'm not alone in feeling this way, huh?

Well, here is some encouragement for us!

Life can sometimes leave us crying out to God, "Why me?!", right? Did you know that we were created for this very moment? We have been weaved together and hemmed (Psalm 139:5) perfectly in His image. The trials and tribulations we experience can place us on the path to refinement, but we will never become undone in this journey. God has such great purpose for our lives and becoming more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18) is part of the process. Days like these may seem hard and almost unfair, like God singled us out to go through the trials, but we're not alone. Every day has been written (Psalm 139:16) before we were even created. In the end, WE WIN!

So let's pray, seek strength in Him and His promises to us, stay encouraged, and remember: WE WERE CREATED FOR THIS!

#ElusiveAnswers

I was greeted with sun rays and tears the other day. Salt water waves warmed by light baptized my face on what was supposed to be my Sabbath. Nothing could rest, though. Especially not my heart -- broken. Pieces tinkering inside my chest as I compassionately encouraged my limbs to move -- I couldn't stay home. So, I was sanctuary bound, routinely.

I was mid-process, mid-thought, mid-sorting out everything that's transpired over the past two weeks. How I went from a delusional optimist to painful realist about my relationships with others.

I am identifying, admitting, owning, forgiving, and releasing my contribution to my emotions' current state. Eventually learning from my guilt, hoping to avoid shame. Remaining attune with my anger, hoping to solicit my own prayers for myself, as well as the antagonists of this 2-week novella. Life's dramatic ... I know.

I'll christen this experience "VIVA" because honestly, I've lived and learned and loved ...

so hard ...

... that it's taught me about life itself. All of the choices about/for myself that I have already and will inevitably make.


Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.
— Luke 6:28 (NLT)

Within those choices, rests the arduous decision to pray for those that have directly and indirectly broken my heart ... including myself. Former friends, ex-lovers, even my father/sperm donor (yeah, "daddy issues") have broken my heart. Giving my heart in any relationship is the most intimate and invaluable thing I can offer, in addition to my time. So can you imagine how devastating it is to essentially be shown that your heart is not enough? That your heart isn't appreciated? It's hard ... it effects my self-esteem ... it effects my future relationships. And that's not me; I don't want a hardened heart.

So I pray.

It is physically, emotionally, and mentally impossible to harbor anger towards someone you are intentionally praying for. Have compassion for those who hurt you; offering them the other cheek. 


Life, love ... they're complicated, but don't always have to be. 

Life's not a living lesson if all the answers were inviting. So, I'm embracing the occasional elusiveness, praying for those who teach life's lessons, and praying for the journeyer, me.