On Not Looking Like What You’re Going Through

Life can truly, honestly get the best of us -- throw us curveballs, press pause on what we THOUGHT was going to happen, and derail plans like nobody's business! Obstacles, challenges, trials and tribulations -- we expect them. However, every now and then we tend to look like the storm that life is taking us through. But this doesn't always have to be the case.

Let me be honest … the last three months of my life have been TUMULTUOUS. Career wise, financially, personally -- I'm exhausted. And I have a feeling this season is not yet over but I'm rejoicing that it's temporary. So how am I not looking like “who shot John and why”?

Prayer

There's no easier or quicker way to present my worries and stress to a Way Maker than through prayer. I will literally lay prostrate on my bedroom floor and cry, journal, worship to my favorite worship song (listen to Trust In You by Anthony Brown & group therapy!), or simply have a conversation with Him -- pouring out my heart and mind. If you believe in the power of prayer, you know the empowerment and energy it can provide, especially the reassurance, knowing He's a good, good Father that has His kid’s back.

Revisit my Vision Board

Now this can sometimes discourage me if I'm not exactly “checking boxes” or where I thought I'd be, but knowing that there ARE goals I've accomplished and bigger pictures I'm working towards helps! My back straightens, I clear my mind by writing daily or weekly goals, and I march on! Sometimes revisiting the “why” behind your journey is motive to press towards the mark!

Eat Healthy

How many of us emotionally eat or need comfort food every day? *raises both hands* I've had to discipline myself to not eat my emotions. And trust me -- I know it's harder said than done. I've gained 30lbs in the last 2 years and it doesn't feel great! But knowing that I can work on eliminating one stressor (health and weight concern) by simply eating healthier, fulfilling meals settles my heart and stomach! ;) Also, let's give it up to WATER! Whether it's flushing out the bad or clearing up stress acne, water is the #GOAT. I heard a quote once that suggested we should “eat until we're content, not stuffed full”. Whether it's contentment with our portion in life or with food, practice this balance.

Pamper Myself

#SelfCare right? LOL But honestly, having a bomb wash and go, giving myself a pedicure, or wearing a red lip to dinner can do something for the feminine woman in me! I really love a good face mask or exfoliating scrub for that optimum skin care, head to toe! When I feel I look my best on the outside, I feel better on the inside.

Selfies

How can a good selfie session with some bomb lighting and maybe a Snapchat filter or two not lighten the mood!? Feeling super confident: post it!

Music

The soundtrack to my life usually reflects the season or mood I'm in at the moment. Whether it's We’re Blessed by Fred Hammond or Bodak Yellow by Cardi B, No Fear by Dej Loaf or Broken Clocks by SZA -- change the record on the soundtrack of your life, change your perspective, change your mood.

Trust me, these tools and many others can keep us on track to reaching our goals and looking less like what we're going through. Don't fake the funk, change your narrative one self-care strategy at a time.

Journey Beautifully!


The Power of “No”

If you’d ask me to describe my 21-year-old self, I’d include “yes woman”. Whether a request from work, a new task at church, or a favor for family and friends, my answer was always “yes”. For me, feeling needed or specially requested was fulfilling -- I found validation and affirmation in providing myself and my gifts for others. Even to the point of saying “yes” to toxic relationships. I’ve learned that once you practice saying “yes” to everything, you’ll say “yes” to almost anything. And that’s where your “yes” loses it’s power.


Didn’t think I’d acknowledge “yes” as much in a post about the power of “no”, did you? Well, that’s where the power of “no” transfers. It’s in appropriately practicing your “no” that your “yes” regains  power. So, where’s it start? The ability to say no? Introspection. Reflect on the “yes” answers you may or may have not received growing up. Did you feel validated and affirmed growing up? Was your genuine self, exploring self, evolving self truly embraced or was there a space of accommodation you had to enter to feel accepted? It may seem cliche, but rejection can birth a void in all of us that causes the initial “yes” to turn into a lifelong drain. We feel the emptiness of rejection and seek the fullness of validation, so we compromise. Have you ever felt like you had to say “yes” to something you may not have been comfortable with just to be accepted by a group of friends in high school? What about saying “yes” to every new project or task at your job to dispel assumptions that you don’t value hard work? Want to keep it real? How many of us have said “yes” to a relationship with a partner we knew was toxic for us, but the loneliness without someone was too heavy to bear?

It’s in this compromise to fill a void that we begin to lose power and drain our energy. Our energy is our currency in life. Imagine every “yes” as a $20 bill. Can you imagine how quickly and painstakingly empty your bank account would become if you always said “yes” to every request? Don’t get me wrong -- there is ZERO issue with saying “yes” to a request or giving your time, gifts, and self to someone or something. However, the same way we budget our bank accounts, we must budget (boundary) our “yes”. Boundaries: understanding that everyone does not and cannot handle our best.

Once someone has access to you and your gifts, they will misuse and abuse them with your permission. Set boundaries! Developing the discernment to understand when to say “yes” and even more importantly, “no”, will empower you! Taking back the power of your “no” can breathe power into your “yes”.

So, how do we start the empowerment journey?

Reflect

What is causing you to almost always say “yes” to others? Are you seeking validation or affirmation? How can you affirm yourself to strengthen your inner validity?

Practice

Begin with self-affirming statements and routines. Then continue by saying “no” to something once a week. How do those around you respond? What do you notice about their respect for your “no”? Here you may begin to discern who and what deserves your best -- your “yes”.

Self-Care

Say “yes” to something positive for your wellness (emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, physical) and say “no” to something toxic. Take note of how your mind, body, and heart respond. Notice a difference?


It’s a complex balance -- knowing when to say “yes” or “no”. And the journey isn’t one traveled overnight. But you’re also not on this journey alone. There is a community of strong, empowered, and evolving women seeking to find, develop, and proudly say a resounding “no” when necessary. Channel you inner Congresswoman Maxine Waters (the G.O.A.T.) and proclaim your strength! It’s in the respect for your “no” that the gratitude for your “yes” is cultivated.

Journey beautifully!


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!