Shifted Energy

I started off 2015 with a very sound routine.  I would wake up early, use my prayer beads to meditate and pray, listen to NPR or a podcast and absorb some new information.  Then I would do a quick social media scan and start my day.  When I started my mornings this way, my life and day seemed to go a lot better.  I was balanced and focused on the task ahead.  I found a morning ritual that would work for me and I loved it.

When I started this routine, I did not have my son here at the time.  It was very easy to do when I was alone, but once I brought him home I slept less, woke up later, and could never find a rhythm.  I did not try hard enough to get back focused and disciplined, so my ritual fell to the wayside.  I allowed myself to be swept away from the very thing I knew that I needed, a morning ritual. Discipline.  Structure.  Consistency.   As I started to get off kilter, things at work began to also veer far from where I wanted it to be and I could barely handle it.  My patient care never suffered, but my professional interpersonal relationships did.

I usually voice my opinion face to face and allow the other person an opportunity to reconcile at that moment, but this particular time I decided to send an email in the heat of my fury and waged war on a few people.  This very direct discussion spread quickly to those who were not directly involved, and a phone call was made to me that solidified my desires to part ways with this company.  Although I made the decision to find employment elsewhere, I did not let go of how that person made me feel.  I carried that weight around with me, and that on top of recurring issues in the workplace shifted my energy negatively.

I have not been centered since receiving that phone call.  The unbalanced way in which I operated meant that I was easily thrown off even when I thought I was prepared for battle.  Small issues became major issues because my vision was skewed towards this negative energy that I allowed into my life.  I never released that moment to then reflect, grow, or correct the other party involved.  I received the negativity and held on to it for too long.

I was so focused on that moment that I could not see the bigger picture.  I had to be forced by God to take a step back and understand that our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts.  Although I thought I was going to be in a place for a longer season, He has a plan that is greater than the eye can see.  I am able to be so open and reflective, because God is not allowing me to wallow in my mess but forcing me to go through it and step out of it without any traces of residue or damage to who I am and where I am going.

This was simply a pit stop to a higher place, but I almost missed out on my blessing because my energy was jacked up.  I was walking along the balance beam and faltering, but I never got off.  When life has hit me time and again, I have stumbled, fallen, and been hurt in the process, but I never got off.  The road to success is not wide, it is not straight, and it is not easy.  You have to believe that everything will work together for your good.

I know that everything is working together because in a matter of days I have been blessed beyond anything I could have ever asked for or imagined.  You have to walk along your own path, centered and balanced as you move towards your goal.  Your energy is what attracts your blessing.  Never allow a moment or man to shift your energy so far that you are off balanced and distracted from your path ahead.

Stay focused. Be grateful.  Positive energy.  Balanced.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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Do Not Feed the Fear

I am sure this has been said by many great thinkers and a few books have probably been written on this topic alone, but for me this statement is personal.  I have used this as my personal mantra to step into the unknown and believe that everything will work out.  At every major turning point in my life where I had to make a major decision, I was afraid and feared what I did not know.  Despite the fear that I had or that others had for me, I was able to focus on my dreams and not feed into my fear.

When I got accepted into college and did not have a plan in place to get me from one year to the next, I focused on graduation, making my family proud, and completing what I started.  When I studied for my nursing boards while working full-time, I focused on passing, making more money, and making the past 5 years of my life worth every moment.  When I decided to leave nursing and pursue a legal career, I focused on gaining knowledge, expanding my network, and having access to different opportunities.  You have to have a focus and it cannot be your fear.

As I countdown the days to embarking on a new journey, I naturally have fears that run through my mind as I pack, but I only allow them to rest for a moment.  I think about it and push it out by thinking of all of the great things that I know are coming and can come from this next opportunity.  Many times we begin to discuss our fears with others and allow that negative seed to plant and grow roots in our minds and spirit.  That fear keeps you awake at night, it keeps you from making sound decisions, and it keeps you from stepping into your destiny.

Someone recently told me, “You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”  Although I initially thought that I hate being uncomfortable, I realized it is only when I am uncomfortable that I actually take the risks that yield great returns.  I have been in DC for 11 years and had plans on staying for at least 2 or 3 more. I had to be broken down and detached from my place of comfort, so that my heart would be open for this opportunity.  If I would have been presented with this opportunity months ago, I would have turned it down because I would have been waiting for my ideal job.  My brokenness, my desire to get back working, and my openness to my personal definition of “ideal” is what allowed me to interview for this position and move my entire family there knowing that this was the right decision for us.

What I have learned over this part of my journey is to Fear NOT.  I do not fear because God is with me.  I do not fear because my steps are ordered.  I do not fear because everything is working together for my good.  My faith has sustained me even when my mind could not rationalize my reality.  You have to grow through every season, especially the ones that are tough to get through.  Many people talk about having tunnel vision but never discuss how hard it is to get through the tunnel to the light. As you walk through the tunnel you have to stay focused on the light and not fear the darkness that surrounds you or your situation.

Do not feed the fear.  Let your faith sustain you.  Greater has to come.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Redefining My Relationship With Religion

I have been very vocal about my disappointment and craggy relationship with religion and the concept of church over the past few years.  My generation is one of the first to take organized religion and church off of a pedestal and examine the structure and concept against what it has always stood for.    Many of us are struggling to reconcile the idealism that we grew up believing and the realization discovered from the critical analysis of an institution that has done so much damage to so many people.  This struggle has caused many within my generation to detach from religion, church, or any type of organized thinking that may be oppressive or controlling.  This generation refuses to simply accept the church for all of its good without discussing all of the bad.

Although I felt like I had found my dream church, I decided that I was not ready to be apart of that congregation because I needed to redefine my relationship with religion, or I would eventually be let down again.  So I stopped attending church and started working on my relationship with God.  I have always had a strong relationship with God and I learned to pray very early on in life.  I pray often, I pray hard, and I pray for myself, my family and many others.  I have read the Bible from front to back and have a good handle of the well used verses that preachers use to engage his/her parishioners with on a Sunday morning.  Despite all of this, I could not understand why I struggled with the things that were being yelled from the pulpit and the things that God was laying on my heart.  This is where my relationship needed more definition.

I have discussed this struggle with a few friends and received many different reactions and commentary.  I have a few friends who are just like me and would rather stay away because church is “not what it used to be.”  I have a few friends who are still into church and are able to separate those expectations from their relationship with that church.  Then there are the friends who go for the good and leave the bad right where it needs to be, with the person who brought that mess in.  I tried to decide if I was okay with being away from church forever and raising my son as a spiritualist or become more like one of the last two examples of friends I discussed.  This is what I have been contemplating gently over the past few months and strongly over the past few weeks.

I do not know how to become apart of something, yet be detached enough to not allow any mess within the church to bother me.  I do not know how to appreciate the good things of a church and leave the bad with the person that brought it to the table.  But my lesson was God saying that He wanted me to be myself and myself only.  If my desire is to be emotionally involved with a church, then that should be how I engage and involve myself in that ministry. But before he allowed my heart to desire being in fellowship in that environment, I had more redefinition of my relationship with religion and my relationship to go.

Growing up in a very religious household with my grandparents, my life revolved around church.  Everything we did and everywhere we went centered around what was going on at church.  All of my close friends were in church and we did everything together.  Church was our life.  Religion filled our ears and heads with rules to abide by and consequences that would follow if any of these rules were broken. Most of the consequences ended in going to hell, simply put.  So we did not pierce our ears, celebrate pagan holidays, wear pants to church, not wear stockings when wearing a dress, cut our hair, sit on the front row with our legs uncovered or any of the other rules that dominated our sect of Pentecostalism.  Now that I am free from the bondage of expectation, I realize that these words were a way to create normalcy but the issue was the attitude that came against anyone who violated these rules.

I look back at how my grandfather operated and I do not feel as if he was preaching condemnation but simply setting a standard.  Although I was young, I would listen to the sermons and try to comprehend what was being said.  I helped him with his sermons after he lost his sight and even heard one recently and yearned for his wisdom.  But many of the things that went on in that church while my grandfather pastored that church and even after he got sick and later passed, I learned of as an adult and that is what broke my spirit.  I was so angry that my eyes began to see many of the other terrible things that were going on in churches around the country.

I began to ask questions about other preachers in the pulpit like, “How can a man preach in the pulpit when he cheated on his wife?” or “How can a woman be condemned for having a baby out-of-wedlock but not a man?” or “What is so wrong about wearing earrings when people spend hundreds on gaudy suits and hats” or “How in the world is everyone going to hell if we all sin and fall short of the glory, yet only certain sinners are definitely going to hell?”  These questions plus so many more had me torn because I saw the church and the leaders within the church as ones who lived by the word of God.  I saw the church as a safe place and not one in which people were raped or molested.  I saw the church as a place that built people up, not tore them down for every mistake that they may have made.  I saw the church as a Supreme Being and not one created by man.  That is where I was getting it wrong. 

God revealed to me that the Church is just a body of believers who are trying to hear my voice and follow my word.  The Church is a place to worship and lay your burdens at the altar but also a place to learn from your mistakes.  The Church is a place where you replenish your soul through the word, fellowship, and service.  The Church is greater than anything one man could destroy alone by his acts, words, or sin.  Within these revelations I began to see for myself that I allowed others to make me believe that the church was equal to God.  That I wrongly believed that the Church was the only way to get to God even though I knew I knew him for myself and had a strong relationship with God outside of church.

I know that if something is for you, it is for you and you alone, but if you are not prepared to receive it or use it for the right purposes, that individualized blessing will pass you and be given to someone else.  Missed opportunities.  And NOW for me going to church is simply an opportunity to affirm what God has already spoken to me.  It is not the only opportunity, but one that is organized and built around this convoluted concept of religion.  The purity of my relationship does not depend on the purity of the leadership of a church.  But when I feel that I am not being fed, God’s word is not being affirmed, or I am too distracted by the darkness of a church leadership then that is not the place for me to worship.

Church is simply an opportunity.  If you do not seize the opportunity to fellowship, it does not mean that you do not know God, that you are any less of a Christian (insert any religion), or that you are missing out on what God has for you.  What is for you, is for you and God will get it to you through a pastor, a friend, an article, a song or by any means necessary.  That is how He works.  I have chosen to not be apart of any structure that does not build me up or support my current relationship with God.  I have chosen to take opportunities to affirm what God has already placed on my mind and heart.  I have chosen to be myself and when I can no longer be myself in that ministry, to search for another place of worship.

I know that God has a calling on my life.  I do not think it is to stand in a pulpit and preach a word but I know that it is to spread His word.  I understand that no matter how far I run from religion or church that I cannot run from God.  I believe that this generation will get back to the relationship and stray from the religion.  I want my son to experience the love and support of a church community that I have received over the years.  I promise to protect him from the evil within and to answer the questions that stir up some sort of doubt in his mind about what has been said to him from a religious leader or teacher.  I vow to approach this church thing differently so that no man can disappoint me and push me away from something I love.  I love to fellowship.  I love to worship.  I love to praise.  I am a church lady (as my friend often reminds me) and I can be that person without being caught up in who is delivering the word and more invested in what is being delivered through the word.

I am going to continue redefining my relationship with religion until I settle in a place where I am on a solid rock.  This is literally the beginning of a series of posts about my own struggles with my faith and reconciliation with what I have been taught and what I have learned or believe is truth.  I know many people won’t understand this post or agree and I can accept that, but for those who know that there has to be a change in the way we connect with those in this generation that seek God then I welcome your comments and opinions.

I will never stop walking this walk.  Who helps guide my walk may change but where I am going will not.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Walking Through the Word: Lessons From Proverbs

As I sit at my red desk grasping the fact that the end of bar preparation is coming near, I am trying not to hyperventilate because I do not know what is next.  So I challenged myself to stop a few times a week to walk through the Word to help ease my spirit and quell my anxiety.  I choose Proverbs because it always enriches my mind and reminds me of the important things that I need to focus on, instead of harping on the immediate chaos, fear or confusion.  Here is a short list of somethings that I have noted.  This list will grow as I continue Walking Through the Word.

The things that matter most:

  • Loyalty and Kindness
  • Trust
  • God first
  • Wisdom
  • Common Sense

Too Unworthy To Be Used

We are only limited by our imagination.  A statement that has been said in many ways by many different people.  If you can really think about the idea that is being conveyed through these words, then you will understand the power of you.  The only person that is holding you back from greatness and glory is you and the limitations you place on yourself.

Around 5 years ago I really got in tune with God.  I heard the voice of God very clearly but every time I would start to get close to breaking through a threshold where I was tapping into something so deep and so meaningful, I would retreat back to my cave of fear.  I would come back to my man-made created darkness and go through all of the reasons why I was unworthy of greatness.

Me? You want to use me? Why me? I don’t come from a perfect background.  I have struggled through the hell of poverty, been homeless, been shamed and ashamed, been too black, too fat, too stupid or just plain wrong.  Why would you choose someone as broken, as crazy, as loud, as emotional, as weak as me God.  I am not worthy enough to be used.

After years of arguing and playing tug of war with my destiny, I stopped complaining and making so much noise and listened again to God.  And He said, “Because you have been through poverty, homelessness, been shamed and ashamed, too black, too fat, too stupid or just plain wrong.  For all of these reasons I choose you to go forth and be a light to those just like you.  A light to those who want to give up and retreat back to their manmade cave of darkness.  There are many more like you than there are unlike you.”

So many of us have gone through the trials of life and survived and that is a truth that has to be shared.  Especially in a day and age where perfection is just a click away, a commercial away, a reality show away.  In a time where some of our girls are racing to pack on make-up, afford the highest designer fashions by any means necessary, and even willing to risk their lives with illegal or improper surgical enhancements.  Where some our young men glorify violence, rob, steal and kill their own and are dying to wear designers.  Where our intelligent young girls and boys are not getting the proper resources and support they need to succeed.  Where our children are marked in Kindergarten for a path to college or to jail.  The TRUTH has to begin to speak louder than the lies of Hollywood, the stories of reality tv, and the rhetoric of the news.  We have to begin to define and create the identity of beauty, unity, of greatness.

This is for everyone who can’t get past that certain point of greatness.  The one who keeps stopping or retreating back to that place of comfort.  For the broken young girl who is growing through those pains.  For the young boy who is vowing to be greater.  This is for the TRUTH.  This is for everyone who was told or ever thought that they were too unworthy to be used.  You are where you are so that you can help someone else.  You have gone through what you have gone through so you can save someone else.  Our lives are not our own.  Our stories are not our own.  Our truth is not our own.

My blog was never supposed to be spiritual or preaching any type of gospel.  It was an avenue for me to get out many of the things that I am supposed to share.  But my TRUTH is that God has a plan for my life greater than I can even imagine.  I may never hold a title, stand in a pulpit or be on the Word channel, but every opportunity I get, I have to share what He has put in my spirit.

It is my story.  It is my destiny.  It is my truth.  You are worthy to be used.  Let Him use you.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Do not be anxio…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phillippians 4:6

When things seem to be spiraling out of control, take a step back from it all and have a quiet moment with God.  Make your desires and needs known to Him and let Him transform a seemingly large problem into effective solutions.  In the quiet of that moment, your sincerity and honesty is what God wants to see.  He wants to see you vulnerable and submitting to the great things He has in store for you. People can make suggestions but God is the only problem solver.  He can use those who you would never reach out to, to turn your problems around.  Don’t be anxious.  Pray.  Be thankful.  Make your requests known.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Why Me?

This is the question I used to scream in the darkness of the night as I endured abuse, neglect and hunger.  The question I asked God right after my father would tell me that I would never be anything when I grew up or that I was fat, stupid or dumb.  A question that lingered every birthday, Christmas or major event my mother was never present at.  I used to ask this question time and again but I would only hear silence in response.  I never received an answer until I stopped asking.

I asked Why Me while in pain and many times while experiencing joy.  I never felt that I should be where I was, good or bad.  I felt that I should be somewhere else, that this life was not my own, that I should not have to be going through this or too unworthy to be experiencing that.  But then one day I woke and stopped asking Why Me and started to live in the moment.  I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I stopped apologizing for my past, present or future and I stopped feeling worthless.  I was supposed to endure and survive, I was supposed to excel and succeed, I was supposed to be an example to others.  Asking questions is great but your questions may prevent you from hearing the answer.

If you are not happy where you are, do not ask why me, but instead watch, listen and learn.  You are there for a reason, you are there for a lesson, and you are there for someone else.  So many have sacrificed their lives, livelihood and their safety so that we may be where we are today.  It is not an easy concept to accept but it is a truth we have to live, own and use to empower.  Instead of asking the Creator Why Me, ask yourself Why Me and you will see you are the only person prepared for the job.

I am using my past, pain and purpose to change the world. That is why he chose me because He knew I wouldn’t give up, I wouldn’t back down, and that I would take this world by storm! I only heard the answer when I stopped asking the question.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

Grad 1

Written Words: Worries from 2009

This flood has given me the opportunity to go through some old journals, letters, cards and notes I have written to myself or received from others.  The timing is amazing because graduation always brings on a spirit of reminiscing.  Despite some of the damage that the flood has done, it has also brought a level of healing and elevation that was unexpected.  One of the boxes that was unsalvageable contained my 2008 graduation gifts from my family.  One of the items was a personalized keepsake box that I put a few pictures in, a $1.00 bill, my cords, and a note that contained all of my worries.  I listed out my worries which included making my student loan payments, my family and my future.  But at the end of that letter, this is what I wrote:

” My prayer: God I pray that you take all of my worries and work them out for my good.  May your will be done in my life.  Help me to be all that you want me to be, walking in my purpose and destiny.  Thank you in advance. Amen.”

Everything that I worried about in 2009, God WORKED IT OUT.  I always orally expressed that I never wanted to get married but in my writings to myself it consistently appears.  Five years ago no one could have paid me to believe that I would be where I am today, still with worries but not the ones I had 5 years ago.  But I took my worries and gave them to God and He worked every single one of them out.

I hope this post inspires someone to take all of their burdens off of themselves and release it through writing or verbalizing and then look back a few days, months or years from now and see how it has been worked out FOR YOUR GOOD.  Be blessed.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

The Day My Faith Wavered

While I was in school there was always a lot going on personally, financially and spiritually.  I went through a period where I was completely broken.  My spirit was torn to shreds.  I felt that because I paid my tithes, I went to church every Sunday and sometimes during the week, I volunteered that I should be blessed.  It was a very dark time.  I was in a very dark place.  I felt that God did not love me because so much bad was happening to me and I could not serve a God who did not care for me like the word said He did.  Had He not punished me enough by being born to parents who weren’t there for me growing up, or allowing me to live with a father who was unstable in every aspect or by making me poor and have to struggle through school.  He could not possibly think that I needed to endure more to learn MORE lessons.

 I felt that I had learned enough already.  I had endured enough pain.  I wanted my story to change and for it to change at that moment.  So, one day during the this dark era I gave up on God.  Although I grew up in a home full of abuse and was isolated from my family for months or even years at a time, I had never given up on God, but right then I couldn’t deal and I decided  that I was done.  I had enough and I couldn’t take any of it anymore.  So for a few weeks I began to tell myself that God wasn’t real.  Things went from bad to worse.  So, I continued telling myself that God wasn’t real.  He couldn’t be real.  If He was real then He wouldn’t do this to me.  I started to throw myself a pity party and lean onto my own understanding.  I cried a lot.  I didn’t pray.  I didn’t process my pain or anger, I just let it well up inside and hoped that it would all go away.

Then one day, Greater Mt. Calvary was having a service and Pastor Marvin Winans was preaching.  It was June 20th, 2006 (I looked up the sermon on their website).  The sermon was titled, Let My Son Go.  I did not intend to go but the Holy Spirit drew me in that night.  I remember sitting there stoic with no expectation but just present.  Everything he said that night spoke to my situation, to my heart, to my spirit.  There was a demonic spirit on me that had to be called out and removed.  I realized that I had not given up on God but I had given up on myself.  And if I wanted to get out of this Hell I was going to have to be the one to change that.  That one word literally saved my life.  I am not sure how far deep I would have gone but I am glad that I did not find out.

Whatever religion you believe in or state of enlightenment you live in, you have to believe in yourself, take charge of your life and never give up.  I had to give up to learn that I CAN NEVER GIVE UP.  We are all going through something even on our happiest days.  Embrace this physical season change and make a spiritual change to be better, become greater and inspire others.  My charge on this blog is to share my truth.  The one I live. But I want you to also live in your truth and share your truth with other.  Be you. Do you. Tell your story. On your own terms.