Unfamiliar Territory

There is freedom in admitting that you don’t know something as that allows for a new learning experience to emerge. The responsibility of orchestrating ambiance and perfected moments can be daunting; sometimes overwhelming. Letting things flow naturally, though uncomfortable for those who need to know, is one of the keys to unlocking miracles in our lives. We cling to what we know and aim for what appears familiar because of societal conditioning.    

Each new day is an unfamiliar walk despite some routines we may have established. Planning our day and activities does not guarantee the outcomes we plan. Looking at recent debates on the lives lost in Paris does not negate the fact that at least 215 terrorist attacks have occurred within this year. In addition to the 776 reported lives gone at the hands of police brutality. Plus, let’s not forget the more than 9k lives lost in Nepal’s earthquake in April. So much has happened but we’re resting on the reaction of a few things blinding us to the necessary response of the bigger picture. We are in unfamiliar territory. It stirs up fear.

Our day to day concerns may seem minute in comparison to global affairs yet each impacts the other. We’ve become so familiar with being disconnected that we can’t recognize the threads that keep us seamed together.  Our groceries, our clothes, our resources are intertwined with each other yet we forget this for it would highlight our vulnerability. And, being vulnerable is not an option. Especially, in a society filled with winners. However, we live vulnerably daily. We trust our day to day operations to strangers and build walls around those we are comfortable with. The conductor who directs the train or the driver who drives the bus might not have all their senses intact on any given day. Doctors aren’t always accurate in their diagnosing of ailments, Teachers make errors in grading papers, and Spiritual leaders make mistakes in discerning and so on and so on. Often the “expected perfection” we seek in others is to compensate for the self- perceived short comings we possess. Why not hold someone else to a set of standards we’re unwilling to follow.

Walking in faith can also be a vulnerable task. It’s an unfamiliar walk with a spiritual power. It’s a daily action that will be tested and sometimes affirmed. It’s a decision of stepping into an unknown arena simply on a belief. It’s an unfamiliar walk in a very familiar place of pain, distrust, fear, insecurities and trials. It is trusting there’s a plan in your tomorrow which cannot be discarded by what you do today. It’s boldly walking in an unfamiliar way with a presence that is greatly familiar to many.  And, in doing so, you become stronger because you dared to be different. You dare to be an advocate when others wouldn’t. You dared to step in when others stepped out. You dared to take risks when running away was easier. You dared to walk the walk while others just offered emptiness in talk

Red bottoms in water is definitely Unfamiliar Territory
Red bottoms in water is definitely Unfamiliar Territory

Soundproof

Noise is defined as unwanted or unpleasant sound. It doesn’t normally spring to mind as a disease causer, but noise can actually produce a host of adverse effects on physical health and overall psychological well-being. Many aspects of our lives are affected including our sleep, concentration, communication, and recreation. Because it has become part of our norm, we overlook its effects on our day to day living.

upload.jpg

When things become the norm in our lives it's a sign of adjustment. We no longer see the harm they cause because we've learned how to cope. With noise however, we know there are ways to soundproof our space in order to reduce noise pollution. For example, adding rugs to hardwood floors dampen sound. Hanging heavy window curtains in addition to installing better windows, helps in minimizing the noise that enters our space from the outside. In addition, putting furniture towards a wall where neighbors may be extremely noisy absorbs the impact of the noise coming through. 

The thought of making unwanted or unpleasant sound in our lives as mute as possible is such a luxury. Even Pietro Cicognani, a highly sought after architect indicated, "silence is as luxurious as a beautifully wood-paneled room." To those of us adjusting to noise and/or making do with the external discomforts that disrupts our lives be mindful of the fact that you are depriving yourself of accessible luxury. Walking around like everything is okay knowing the "noises" in our lives can affect our sleep, health, concentration and even our recreation is not a sound (I couldn't resist the pun) move. We have to be willing to soundproof our lives just as much as we are willing to soundproof our space.

A rug on the floor dampens the sound because it serves as a buffer, therefore find the buffers in your life. A genuine friend is a buffer. Uplifting music is a buffer. Comedy is a buffer. They help distract you from the situations and/or causing the chatter that robs you of your concentration. For example, I found myself offering a listening ear to a friend who simply wanted to vent. In the midst of her venting, she stopped midway and said, "My life is messy but miracles are still happening in my life." (huh) What happened was she needed a safe space to simply share and in the sharing, it clicked - Her feelings are valid and she owns them. She recognized owning her feelings doesn't mean owning the facts. There were good things still occurring in the midst of her mess. Instead of listening to the noisiness that would discourage her, she chose to tap into the resources that wouldn't allow her to drown in despair.  

Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you. – Walt Whitman

Faith is also a tool for soundproofing. It is the acoustic vehicle of spiritual vibrations which helps you stop the transmission of unwanted sound from one area to another. Blocking the noise preventing you from fully experiencing the journey of the days we have.  It will block doubt from interfering with your determination. It will block shame from interfering with testimonies that can aid someone else's test. Faith will echo the affirmations of your comrades and drown out the smear campaigns of your competitors.   

Perishables

 "Where there is no vision, the people shall perish" - proverbs 29:18.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are perishable items. They are likely to decay or go bad quickly because they have a limited shelf life. We are perishables too! Our relationships, our homes, our careers have a limited life shelf unless we do like our fore bearers and learn the skills necessary to preserve the fruits (ie: time, health, finances, relationships) we have.

upload.jpg

More than the decaying of our physical selves,lack of vision for our relationships, activities, health and so forth expedites this fact. We can kick and scream all we want; walking around aimlessly doesn’t yield much results. Surrounding ourselves with affirmations doesn't achieve results. "Being Intentional " as Lucinda Cross has drilled in my head lately is what moves us from point A to point B. How many do you know have achieved successes without a map? Even those who were redirected from their initial route, were focused on a plan. You need vision!

upload.gif

"What if I don't know what to "vision" so I don't perish?" I hear you asking. I've been there and in some instances am still there... lol. The first thing to do is to not complicate it. Every one wasn't sent to save the world. Bill Gates, Shonda Rhimes, Barack Obama did not wake up with plans to have the level of influence they have now. (One is a high school drop out for goodness sake). Each of them however were motivated to extend their "shelf life." All things always start with self. Remember building begins with the tools you have. Shonda Rhimes wanted to be the next big author not the most talked about tv writer, business owner and creator of Shonda Land. With her degree she pursued "in the meantime" employment which lead her to become one of the greatest "in the meantime" employers. Start with you!!! Okay???

Repeat: It begins with me. 

Repeat: It begins with me. 

Just as in building you need tools such as a hammer, nails, glue gun, wood, metals, etc... An architect will let you know the layout/vision was created before the building started.

upload.gif

Wherever you see building know a vision has been activated!!! Of course, I can no longer mention vision and activated in a same sentence without thinking of Miss Activate herself, the vision board-ish queen, friend in my head, Lucinda Cross. She doesn’t come in your life or circle to help create vision boards. She comes to increase your shelf life!! The gems she shares help you evaluate and become intentional on raising the preserving qualities of friendships, families, finances, fun and faith. She helps you identify the perishables and triggers the thought process on what needs to be canned and/or frozen to enhance your living. Spending time with this activating queen reminds you activating your Faith is one of those major keys in our lives.. 

             This is Lucinda Cross, friend in my head, currently planning a major conference 9/19-09/21/16 in Washington DC because she believes You are worth preserving.      www.activateconference.com

             This is Lucinda Cross, friend in my head, currently planning a major conference 9/19-09/21/16 in Washington DC because she believes You are worth preserving.      www.activateconference.com

Perishables are attractive for a quick second. But, the minute you think your fruit/vegetable is going bad your response is abort, trash, discard!!! Be honest, the minute you smell the sourness of a pineapple or see the dents and brown spots in apples, you no longer want it. It is the same reaction we have in relationships, careers and fitness just to name a few. "He doesn't court me anymore", "She doesn't dress up for me anymore", "I'm too tired today.", "This sale won't come again." Whatever narrative we are telling ourselves to avoid having vision... to avoid having a game plan... to avoid being intentional with the people in our lives as we are with the products in our lives, decide to stop. Be firm and acknowledge Perishables can be preserved. Fruits and vegetables have their process, vision is yours. Have a vision in faith for your life, your relationships, your finances and even your fun

Are you the one?

"Are you the one? " is a reality dating game with a twist. Couples are gathered in a beautiful home in Hawaii to mix and mingle hoping to find their perfect match. Though the production team already knows who is perfectly paired with whom, they allow these people to figure it out on their own. 

upload.jpg

Watching some of these episodes are intriguing in that the power of group dynamics are clear yet, rarely addressed. The "house" have rooted for couples insisting "they are the perfect pair" based on external visuals. Plainly put "the house" says, "they look like they get along"....they fit "MY" definition of what perfect is and are acting accordingly so, they must be a match! Until these couples are voted to go in the "truth" booth learning, "the house" is wrong. Everyone is willing to go through the experiences of entertaining each other in the likelihood of finding "THE ONE" whom the producers deemed are their perfect companion.  Of course, I  start to ask myself (because I believe God is the ultimate comedian/mastermind) What if...? What if God is playing "Are you the one?"

upload.gif

What if our lives are set up to go through a variety of experiences, relationships, opportunities, etc... in order for us to discover our perfect match in regards to our lives. Whether we are seeking careers, partners and/or the meaning to life as a whole, our willingness to be engaged participants still doesn’t appear as engaged as these individuals on this show. 

Why not???  Our physical bodies aren't built for eternity. Too often we operate in life the way some of us operate with social media- choosing to peek in lives instead of being present; skimming through what we see rather than genuinely engaging ourselves. What if the public had to vote on sending you to the "truth booth" with faith? Would you be the one? Would the results show you respond with a faith filled mindset when fear is setting up shop? Could discouragement testify that your determination overpowered it? Would you be the one that's a perfect match as being God's visual-aid of Mercy?

Hand Me Downs

Hurt individuals have a knack for finding the most sassy responses. It is only when you sit and give it further thought do you realize the teachings in their pain. Some of the responses I've heard have been my go to as encouragement and/or motivation to move forward in some of my own trials. They have also been the fuel to ignite my faith when fear backs me in a corner.

Though I'd love to share most of the brassiness I've heard, I'll simply share one I borrowed from my niece. "Recently, I saw my ex with his new girl and I remembered mom told me to always be nice and pass down my toys." I wasn't ready for it but it made me laugh and definitely retrieve it when I have issues letting go of anything. 

 

We live in a society where we allow language to dictate our feelings and sometimes our facts. Exes are technically "hand me downs" if you really look at it. Unless, you are the first girl/boy in elementary to have found your life partner- you too are a hand me down. Also, why do we choose those terms with people and clothing. Rarely do I hear a fourth grader tell a third grader, "You can have my hand me down class and teacher and assignments and lessons..." lol! Nope, instead, we choose to label what should matter most to us with the least favorable titles simply because they didn't work in our favor. Because our feelings are hurt we negate the facts of our experiences.  

These are the things we don't want to face yet they are the ingredients that strengthen us. Life will give you whatever experiences that are necessary for your evolution; including "hand me downs." What may have been trash for you can be treasure for someone else. And vice versa- You may have been trash to someone and are the perfect treasure for someone else. The deciding factor is always setting. Being in the right hands bring out the best features. Therefore, if you find yourself with a set of hand me downs, turn them into an "outfit" the original owner couldn't even imagine. 

What are you standing on?

There's this passage in the bible where Peter is walking on water towards Jesus who is standing on water. I've heard many sermons on how Peter began to sink when He took his focus off Jesus with the message being as long as your focus was on Jesus many feats could be accomplished. Yet, somehow I remained curious on what kept Jesus on the water. What relationship did He master? He stood on the water, called Peter and calmed the storm as well(supernatural multitasking at its best)

Often we are asked to believe in what seems like the impossible. We are charged to trust in situations we can't relate to. There are sons who are filling a hole in the earth leaving mothers and fathers with a hole in their heart that can't be filled and we are still charged to stand on faith regardless of the circumstances before us. When fleeing seems smarter than fighting, we are still told "faithing" is the answer.

Yes!!! Walk in Faith👠 That might be the best 🗝 to unlock the crises attempting to cripple you. Even if you have to apply Faith via proxy (leaning on someone else's) Remy Ma did it!! 👀 Remy Ma? YEP! She was at a peak in her career when she committed a crime out of "uncontrollable" anger. She served time as a consequence of her actions. Yet, her current husband/then fiancé believed in her and encouraged her during her time. He had the Faith she needed for her own self. Remy, came out of prison focused. She took constructive risks in terms of reality TV and resumed her rapping career. 

What she lacked as a standing ground, was supplied from her support system. Remy like Peter had to forego the thoughts keeping her from standing on water or she would sink. The choice was to focus on someone who believed in her when she wasn't fully equipped to believe in herself. Her then fiancé/now husband was standing on the metaphorical water multi-tasking; encouraging her, managing the storms he faced and maintain his own sanity. Whatever they were standing on definitely triggered a change in behavior. Remy's decision to refocus herself wholeheartedly on her career sparked new behaviors. The willingness in walking away from the chains that bound us can be the greatest gift of faith we offer ourselves. 

upload.gif

Walk away from the familiar to find the Blessings waiting for you in your future. Stand on the thoughts that guide you through the storms you face not the ones that drown you in them. 

No Backsies

Friends have a way of getting you in jams you can't get out of. Some we welcome with open arms, others we ride along with for the sake of girl code/guy code. By the way, has anyone ever seen these official manuals ??? Moving on... lol Recently, a sister-friend convinced me to sign up with her for an upcoming 5K. Being that I completed a half marathon before, this was surely a great way to support my girl and get motivated to work out again (🙈I was on a fitness hiatus).

At first, I felt like I was a veteran and I didn't need to put in so much work. After all, it's only a 5K. Right? 

upload.gif

Wrong!!! My first day in the park was a quick reminder on the effects of going on a hiatus. The muscles in my body called a quick meeting and got a memo to my brain at lightning speed. The memo read, "We know you're happy about what we can produce but ummmm you have to join us for the process." I quickly attained the memo as it reminded me of the many times people were drawn and moved by a testimony yet distant and critical during the tests and trials. 

 It is good to be celebrated and encouraged at many of our achieved destinations. Yet whyyyyy are we so quick to look down on the developing stages. Rarely are the falls and fails obtained during the development stages of our Faith given much credit. That mom who had to find bail money for her son, or the single dad who had to work with cancer to raise his daughter were more likely met with criticism instead of compassion. Yet, they pushed through managing the pain to obtain the results necessary for a better outcome. 

Faith is having to become your own cheering crowd in crucial dark moments. It is believing when others are bashing. 

Applaud your trials w/the same energy the world will use to applause your triumphs 

Applaud your trials w/the same energy the world will use to applause your triumphs 

This past weekend during the VMAs Drake gave such a beautiful& heartwarming speech about Rihanna as a recipient of the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award. His accolade and admiration of her drew the commentary "You have to go through your Chris Brown before you can find your Drake." Though many said it in jest, the message is one of honesty and clarity. 

1. You can't let your past deprive you of what the future holds.  

2. Perhaps "bad" things occur to build appreciation for the "good" things. 

3. Don't allow doubts to derail you from destined places. 

4. Looking Back and forward can't be done simultaneously. 

Even though I completed a half marathon before, looking back isn't useful during my current training. Getting caught up in the negative talk of it's not the same, it's not as intense is not conducive to preparing for what lies in front of me. In Faith, I choose to not look back. In Faith, I choose to strengthen my endurance for this race that lies before me. Tomorrow starts a new month, and a new day...in Faith let God start a new thing with, in, through and from you. Don't look back to those things that are holding you. 

Rituals

A couple of years back in wrote a piece on rituals highlighting the practices we cling to because let's face it we love routines. Regardless of the many complaints of its "mundane-ness" of its expectant behaviors, routines give us the comfort of familiarity. 

upload.jpg

Routines give us the platform to complain about the simple things in life such as going home daily to the same family under the same roof. Better yet, routine helps you complain on going to the same office to deal with the same people we don't truly care for. We call those routines because they are our daily practices that if need be, we could perform with our eyes closed. 

Rituals add flavor to your routine in that often they are performed at a select time such as birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, graduations; occasions that allow you to take a break from the norm and be intentional on that present moment either in joy or sorrow. Rituals are the space where we collectively gather to be on one accord. It's the intersection of compassion and creativity. The meeting place of homage and humility. 

upload.jpg

Faith too, is also a ritual! It is a practice of learning to apply compassion to situations that appear lifeless. It is also learning how to break away from routines that stagnate growth. It is the ritual of becoming comfortable with change. Faith is that space where you grasp the concept of using your innate power instead of using people to achieve outcomes. 

upload.gif

There is a difference of God bringing people in your life to work His things out rather than one acting like they are God and maneuvering people like chess pieces. I've been privy to both experiences. And, I'm eternally grateful for the friends who pushed me to step out of my comfort zone instead of babysitting my fears. Those are the people God "used" to break me away from the routines and ways that weren't fruitful. They were the ones who forced me to stop preaching on faith and start acting on faith. As far as being maneuvered, it was a lesson of worth; people can't use empty vessels.

upload.gif

Sooooo, don't let any rituals or routines bring you to a place of self-righteousness that you rule out the very essence of Faith which is being open to the possibilities👠👠 

The Faith Process

In this world you will have trouble!”(John 16:33b ICB). For those of us who won’t take heed to our parent’s advice, our friend’s advice or anyone else reminding us life is not a bed of roses, take note even Jesus indicated, trouble will come our way. And they all were right, weren’t they?

We all experience stress, household demands, deadlines, expectations and personal pressures ganging up on us. Sometimes, it's before we turn on the tv in the am or before stepping out of our homes and having to deal with racial biases, gender inequality, occupational demands and so forth. While taxes may have exemptions, it is clear, us humans aren’t afforded the exempt status from challenges and trials. NOT ONE! Yes, even the wealthy and/or the affluent have not managed to find a way to an exemption line of problems. Nope, they too can’t find answers in a pill, a possession, or a pleasure; maybe, a temporary distraction but not a total detour from trials. (Hmmm, even Jesus couldn't flip through trials& tests)

"In this world, you will have trouble!!" This is a divine warning. Just as those yellow hazardous signs pop up on the road as an indicator to use caution at certain junctures, "you will have trouble" is a memo to be prepared when trouble comes. Prepared??? Yes, Be Prepared (in my Scar voice from Lion King!!) Throwing a temper tantrum at the onsite of problems, blinds you to the solutions. ( sidebar: I'm currently working on my tantrums as soon as trials hit..lol)

Temper, Temper.gif

You ought to be up for some challenges as they either reveal where you are in terms of aptitude, attitude and altitude. You learn preparation is different than expectation. Expectation is planning for things, people or events. Preparation is having what you need if things, people or events occur. You plan menus and itineraries when you're having guests, parties and/or conferences. You prepare evacuation plans and exit strategies for fires, storms and natural disasters. 

  With, the Faith Process what you're being asked to prepare are your beliefs that trials will pass, they don't last and they're definitely a reference point for you in life's learning class. It really is learning to make the most of what you have. Many are in awe of Simone Biles right now, they are cheering her on and applauding her "Black Girl Magic". Yet, the crowd wasn't there to cheer her and her sister on when they were being removed from their drug addicted birth mom. The crowd wasn't there to even whisper, "You are Amazing Simone and are meant for great things." when she initially was sent to her grandfather's house and had to be acclimated to a new environment. At an early age, she was not exempt from trials. "In this world, you will have trouble." You will also have the option to have faith!

 The Faith process, unlike anything else that requires your all for improvement, asks that you find courage the size of a mustard seed and partner it with God. We weren't privy to a young girl's fears being taken away from her biological mom. However, we have the opportunity to see the results of Faith in her leaps, cartwheels, twists and turns. We have the opportunity of seeing what one step at time looks like after many steps. There may be some currently cheering you on and/or some jeering at you who are not privy to you laying your head each night in prayer...or your sacrificing corn for peas... or your pushing through pain in therapy just to get to wholeness. Take note, these are the very individuals being used to inspire you or motivate you to believe (mustard seed sized) as God, charged "You can tell the mountain to move and it will move" Your Faith Process requires believing and moving on that belief. It requires you placing an application for the job you BELIEVE you deserve. It is training for that race, you BELIEVE you can run. The Faith Process is about putting your actions where you are affirming.

Elephant Sized

Because my friend is a Leo like my grandma and she loves elephants like my grandma, I'm sharing this story I found on the Internet 👀... Yes, the Internet! Do not discount any one or anything (that's a 🗝)! I always say a even a broken clock is right twice a day😜...

upload.jpg

Back to the story(shhh: I added extra for dramatic purposes)- "An elephant and a dog became pregnant at the same time. Three months down the line, the dog gave birth to six puppies. Six months later the dog became pregnant again and nine months on, it gave birth to a dozen more puppies. The pattern continued!

On the 18th month the dog approached the elephant asking, "Are you sure you're pregnant? 1. We became pregnant on the same date 2. I have given birth THREE times to a DOZEN puppies and 3. They are now grown getting ready to have puppies of their own." 

upload.gif

The elephant taken aback at the dog's question and comments, took a moment and then replied, " There is something I want you to grasp. What I am carrying is not a puppy but an elephant!!! I only give birth to 1 in two years. When my baby hits the ground, the Earth feels it. When my baby crosses the road, human beings stop and watch in admiration. What I carry draws attention. So, what I am carrying is mighty and great. I applauded you on each of your births and continued on my journey maybe you should do the same."

upload.gif

As, I mentioned earlier, do not discount anyone or anything. Just because their journey doesn't appear to produce like yours doesn't mean you won't be a source of production. People will taunt you because they don't quite get It! Many people will tell you it's not for them to get and ignore it (👀easier said then done). What I suggest is keep a picture of your goal around you. Remind yourself, yours is on the way. The challenges you are facing are meant to build you not break you. 

upload.gif

 🗝 The elephant applauded the dog despite the taunting. It chose to not return the ignorance because the elephant recognized what she was carrying was purposed, took time and contained greatness.

🗝 What you are currently believing within you to manifest has purpose, takes times and contains greatness. Pause and P.U.S.H through until you deliver👠👠👠

upload.jpg

Monkey Bars

While some of us are finding ways to enjoy the last weeks of summer, others are already starting classes or getting children ready for back to school mode. No more playground laughter or high pitched screams from tag or hide and go seek. Dwindling are the fights for the swings and the monkey bar hang time. Summer, as hot as she was is slowly caressing us with moderate breezes and early morning sun rises before she leaves us in the hands of fall.

Though her piercing temperature may cause you to long for colder days, memory fails to remind us that colder days last much longer than the heat. And, the "relief" we seek is harsher than the heat we're running from (excluding the winter lovers which for them it would be the reverse) Anywhooooo... we must learn to be mindful of wanting to rush through one experience because it's uncomfortable in order to get to another which might not be a better one. Just as we can go to the beach, pool, park and/or air conditioned malls (👀 malls?  Yes, whatever works.), we can find support or mechanisms to sustain us as we grow through changes. 

Take a deep breath during a crisis. Oxygen is great for your "mentals" as much as it is great for your body. Go for a walk even slow steps help pump blood to your heart. Find something to laugh at better yet find something about yourself to laugh it. See what you thought was so serious as actually comical such as a you thought you'd be a doctor and now you're a dancer. Laughter is an outlet we often overlook. It's free medicine to many of our ailments. 

Follow the method of the children on monkey bars; grabbing on and letting go in order to reach the other side. Watch children at a playground. It is the only place where many skill sets are learned yet left right there. You take reading skills with you. You take writing skills with you. The skills you grasp at home is also taken with you in your daily journey. Yet, those skills we apply at a playground we leave in the playground. Aside from the monkey bars, look at the children on swings. If one is stuck and can't tilt back...kick up their legs and go higher, another one will come behind them and push helping them get their bearings. They will argue at whose turn is it to go down a slide and make amends quickly so both can enjoy the ride. Some kids actually find alone time playing with sticks and writing in the ground being totally okay in that solitary space while others are running laughing and enjoying the moment. 

Faith asks you to apply the playground principles. Let go of what you know and grab on to where you're going. Encourage/assist someone else that needs a help you can offer. Take time to invest in yourself whether it's a class, a trip or a retreat it pays the best interest. Tell yourself daily you are an asset and not a liability. Let that thought marinate within you and soon you'll discover it's okay to say no... Soon you'll discover saying no brings value to your yes👠👠👠

upload.jpg

“Restless, irritable, and discontent”

Because I truly believe in Faith all things work together, after writing my post reasons I received this post on restlessness and being irritable. Please enjoy👠👠👠⤵

"In Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve-step program those seeking recovery are taught that when they become “restless, irritable, and discontent” they’re in danger of going back to their drug of choice. And that doesn’t work! Why? Because inside each of us there’s a God-shaped blank that only He can fill. Some of us try to fill the blank with human relationships. Jesus met a woman who’d been divorced five times and was now living with her boyfriend. The conversation went like this: “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty’” (vv. 13-15 NIV). Your body tells you when it’s hungry and thirsty. So does your soul—and if you’re wise you’ll listen. The only “safe” addiction is total surrender and dependency on God! We all have a tendency to respond to what our flesh craves instead of what our spirit needs. So we turn to things like work, sex, and entertainment. Now we’ve added a new one—the Internet. Psychologists are actually treating people with “Internet addiction.” Honestly! King David had it all: power, popularity, pleasure, and possessions. But it left him empty, so he wrote, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Ps 42:1 NIV). Learn to recognize when you are “restless, irritable, and discontent,” and reach for God" - Bob Degass

style-me-friday-inspired-by-olivia-palermo-jean-skirt-007.jpg

Reasons

There are times when reasons are not available..when no matter how much we desire them, they won't show up or be provided. Am I saying there isn't a reason for my hiatus? NO, NOT AT ALL!!! It has been a while since I've blogged and you deserve a reason. Yes, I remained consistent with the social media posts however, sitting down to write was a whole different story. My schedule became hectic and the only free time I found was to breathe for at least a few minutes. And, even as I share now I see my reason looking more like an excuse because I am attempting to justify not intentionally creating a time and space to simply write... I am justifying why I chose to give in to the routines rather than turning to God to assist me... to keep me on track. You deserve a reason because as humans we often look to process sudden changes whether it is a break up, a death, an active friendship gone "ghost"...whatever it is, we look for the "why's" in order to make sense of the "what's"

My reason ->  In my mind, there was nothing to give. I'm grateful for my friends who reached out asking, "what's up? " , "where's your post." But, I knew I couldn't give you anything short of myself. I was stuck and didn't know how to move. I refused to apply what I knew because it was easier giving into what I was feeling. I fell into the dangerous "F" word (feeling) instead of the powerful "F" word (Faith). Despite the friendly check in from some of my friends asking, "What's up?', "What's going on?", "I'm looking forward to your post", I chose to get in my own way.

Does it mean my feelings weren't valid? No It simply means I had to grow through my feelings and decipher it all in faith. It was a reminder that in life reasons won't be available. Bad things will happen. Disappointments will surface. Unfairness will occur. This journey of walking in Faith will be tested periodically. It has to be! Jesus himself was tested, who am I to be exempt? He knew the ultimate reason of his journey yet, I'm sure bumping into ingrates and/or the day to day challenges weren't supplied with reasons. Even though, I gave a reason for my "sabbatical", there are times when we won't receive any and we have to learn to be okay with that. We have yet to know why racism has so much power... We have yet to know why cancer is so rampant... We have yet to know many things but what we do know are the things we must address and embrace.

We do know we are here today!

We do know we have a capacity to bring our best self forward!

We do know we have choices and it is up to us to exercise them how we choose!

We do know "REASON" is the why behind our presence and what we make of it is the manifestation of what we believe.

Does Faith Win?

"May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears" - Nelson Mandela

In light of the horrific news events (Orlando massacre, Christina Grimmie from the voice murder, other violent crimes not publicized) this past weekend,  one might question does good really conquer evil, does love really win, does it make sense to have faith when it all seems bleak? As I scroll through my timeline though there are graduations, rites of passages, proms and pics of more people coming together than apart. For me, it feeds why Faith does triumph over fear. It confirms that we choose to highlight the bad more than the better.  Scrolling through my time line, I notice "Nominated Change Maker" Lauren's pass to the state of women event at the white house. I remember her heels and her story. I see how her hopes and her faith is reflected more than her fears

Does Faith Win? I say yes. Don't get stuck on Friday when Saturday and Sunday must come⤵

March 17 — Faith Heels

Her Story Her Heels - Lauren

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans not to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

My faith sustains me. When I feel like the world around me is crumbling, I repeat Jeremiah 29:11 over and over until I am fully reminded of who I amand more importantly whose I am.

 

Two years ago, I felt like I went through one of the roughest times in my life. I lost friends, my business was shaky, I was waitlisted at my first choice law school, I simply thought that my dreams were no longer attainable. But then it dawned me, I needed to get out of my own way, to allow God's plans to come to fruition.

 

In June of 2014, I began writing my first book (it’s still in progress because law school has now become my husband, my priority, and the blocker of all things lol). The title of this book is appropriately named, I Give Myself Permission. This is an assignment timely given by God in order for me to learn how to get out of my own way. I've learned how to relinquish control over my life so that God can do a good work through me.

 

The moment I gave my permission to release fear, to release doubt, to release everything that I thought wasn't amazing or spectacular about myself, and allowed all that is good and Godly to shine through, my life shifted. My waitlist turned into an acceptance into Howard University School of Law. A place where after my first semester I thought my legal goals were unattainable because I didn't place at the top of my class. A place where if I put my faith in man, I wouldn't have landed a federal judicial internship, a placement at a firm, and an internship with a prominent civil rights organizations, all because I was told my transcript wouldn't open these doors. But God.

 

I gave myself permission to release failed friendships, accepting what I could have done better and simultaneously making space for God to bless me with some of the best sisters I could have ever asked for here in DC. I was also strengthened my relationships with those who have been in my corner during all my challenges and triumphs. My business was put on hiatus but God has blessed me with mentors and sponsors who are there to help me reorganize and re-launch the organization into something bigger than what I first envisioned.

 

Deciding to truly live a faith lifestyle has sustained me. It has healed many holes in my life. My name is Lauren Renee Jackson and my Faith Heels is about full submission to God's plan for my life 👠👠👠

Lauren R. Jackson, M.P.A. Howard University School of Law Candidate for Juris Doctorate 2017 may be contacted at Lauren@imanee.org

 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Chosen

Stressed on finding content that’s relevant and authentic to what this journey of faith deems worthy, I read the post below from ucbmedia.com and decided this is a good share. Regardless of where we are in our journey, challenges do bring about moments of reflection on whether we are living day by day or living out our passion. Some say there’s a clear difference between career and calling. I say when you’re Chosen, which we all are, the stars align for you! Don’t worry about detours because the true GPS (God Purposed System) will direct you to your called destination.

A career is something you choose; a calling is something you receive. A career is something you do for yourself; a calling is something you do for God. A career promises status, money, and power; a calling generally promises difficulty, suffering, and the opportunity to be used by God. A career may end with retirement and lots of toys; a calling doesn’t end until you die. A career can be disrupted by any number of events, but God enables you to fulfill your calling even in the most difficult circumstances. For some people in Scripture, obeying the call of God meant living in slavery, being captured and sent into exile, or being put to death. Their career trajectories didn’t look promising, yet they fulfilled their calling in extraordinary ways. Chuck Colson had one of the highest profile careers in America. He had access to power and influence in the Nixon White House, yet he landed in prison. His career was over, but his calling was just beginning. He was called to reach others just like himself. He reflected: “The real legacy of my life was my biggest failure—that I was an ex-convict. My great humiliation—being sent to prison—was the beginning of God’s greatest use of my life; He chose the one experience in which I couldn’t glory [and used it] for His glory.” In the providence of God, the end of your career can be the beginning of your calling. So whatever God has called you to do, the Bible says, “Give yourselves fully to the work…because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 

 

upload.jpg