Saturday, January 2, 2016

The War Within (Throwback 2010)


How many times have you had the following conversation(s) with yourself: I can’t handle that kind of responsibility. What if I mess up? I don’t deserve this. That is too good to be true. What if I get rejected? Conversations like this are what I call “dream killers”. At times I find myself entertaining such rhetoric and chances are some of you do to. This negative inner dialogue often leads to unconscious self sabotaging behaviors that are driven by fear.

Have you ever desired a promotion but never took the necessary steps to become a candidate? Or even worse have you ever been up for review for a promotion but then did something to cause your dream to slip away? For instance showing up to work late or not completing assignments on time. If this has ever happened to you just think back to what your deep seated feelings surrounding that promotion really were. Did you have the thought that the position was a bit too much for you? Did you feel undeserving?

Another area in life in which self sabotaging behavior occurs is in relationships. Have you ever desired to be in a long term committed relationship and when the opportunity presented itself you started finding fault with your partner and started doing things to tear down the relationship so that a break up was inevitable. Looking back, I must admit that I am guilty of this. My actions were definitely driven by fear. Fear that my love interests were too good to be true and I refused to be hurt again. So I would end things with them before it was too late. As a result I let some good people slip out of my life.

Recently I have realized that my inner saboteur has been at work in my home ownership endeavors. I have always desired to be a home owner. My excuse for years was that I didn’t know where I wanted to live. A year ago I decided that Columbia was the place and I still have not taken the steps to buying a home. Why? Because I am afraid. Plain and simple. My newest excuse is I have one income and a child. A lot of people are losing their homes these days and it’s frightening. Also when I hear the horror stories of costly plumbing expenses, A/C or heating repair costs, etc I tuck my tail and place my dream on the back burner. The fears that plague my mind are manifesting themselves in the following ways: I am dragging my feet as far as pulling my credit reports, missing out on going to first time home owner seminars, whenever I see my down payment savings growing I tell myself I work hard and I deserve a vacation. I engage in sure fire behaviors that are not going to get me into a home. All because of fear. What if I don’t get approved for the loan? Can I manage a mortgage and all the responsibility that comes with home ownership? I really don’t want my dream as bad I as I say I do.

God did not give us the spirit of fear (See 2 Timothy 1:7). This is something that we must remember in all areas of our lives. He gives us desires for good things and he wants us to achieve them. It is the enemy’s job to discourage us so that we do not reach our maximum potential. Your inner saboteur are just tricks of Satan. And it is easy to silence him. How? Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones and watch your behaviors change. A few weeks ago in The Zone and Harbor Town we learned that we must think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).
Is it your desire to lose weight but you are fearful that you may gain it all back? Don’t let that stop you from trying. Is it your desire to go back to school but you are afraid that you will not get accepted? Don’t let that stop you either. You do not know what you can do until you try. Remember that we can do all things through Jesus who gives us the strength (Philippians 4:13).

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Marathon of Life

The other day a friend of mine sent me an encouraging e-mail and it was right on time. The e-mail stated that life is not a 50-yard dash but a marathon. It did not go into detail as how life is like a marathon. I am glad that it didn’t because it gave me something to think about all week. I have never ran a marathon before and I really have no interest in doing so. I am more of a sprinter. I am a let’s get ‘er done person. When I ran track in high school I was usually the fourth leg/runner in the 4 X 100 meter relays. In order to be selected for this position the following qualities are most desirable: 1st or 2nd fastest runner on the team, disciplined in the exchange zone because the excitement and tension will be at its peak (can’t afford to mess up), mentally tough, competitive, and loves to run people down. I am proud to say that I am thankful for the abilities God has given me. I may not be that high school runner but I still have the frame of mind. However, when it comes to doing life, let's just say speed is not a helpful attribute. At least for me it isn’t.

This past week I spent time pondering the ways life is like a marathon and this is what I came up with. A marathon is 26.2 miles so you know when it will be over. However a person’s life span on Earth is variable. Just like a marathon is ran one step at time, we live life one day at a time and this is the perspective we must strive to keep so that we do not get overwhelmed. In order to run a marathon preparation has to be done. Training is very important and it is not easy. Then again neither is life. You have to motivate yourself, prioritize, keep a good pace (did I mention I am a sprinter), set reasonable goals, and have patience (my coach used to say this is a virtue I needed to posses). As I continue to grow I see how God is causing circumstances in my life to produce the desired characteristics of a marathon runner. Training days are not always fun and sometimes it seems easier to sit on the sidelines…but I don’t want to miss out on the victory dance! I refuse to give up and give out.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 says the race is not to the swift  so that let's me know that life is truly a marathon. What type of runner are you? Do you find yourself trying to sprint to the finish line of life? Or are you taking your time, pacing yourself, and enjoying the scenery along the way?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Draw Near

The most recent discussion on Right To R.E.A.L Love Radio is titled "The RIGHT Way to Pursue a Woman". Jay, Isaiah, and Jamie really paint an accurate picture of God's purpose for men, women, and relationships. While listening I thought about a blog post I wrote back in 2011. Enjoy!

I used to love watching Dukes of Hazard when I was younger. My favorite character was Rosco P. Coltrane. It tickled my soul when he would shout that he was in “hot pursuit” and the chase would be on. As I grew older and became interested in dating I lost interest for Sheriff Coltrane’s type of pursuit. Isn’t it every woman’s desire to be pursued? It’s one of the things that makes us feel desirable and pretty. Lately, I’ve noticed that I am being pursued by God. That’s right. I am being pursued by God and I like it.

Last month I was telling one of my best friends about a situation that I had been dealing with. As I talked about the issue God revealed to me that I still harbored ill feelings towards the person who wronged me. I looked at my friend and said, “I don’t think I have forgiven them. If so I would not keep bringing it up.” I went on to say that I was owed an apology in order for things to ever be right again. Those were my feelings and I was going to stick to them no matter what. I felt justified because I was not angry with the individual and did not want payback. All I wanted was an apology. Was that too much to ask for? My friend and I got into the car and I turned on the radio in search of a good sermon. I found one! It was about forgiveness and coming to realization that it is not for the other person but for you and that an apology may never be received. I looked at my friend and said, “I think God is speaking to me.” Her jaw dropped.

For the past month I’ve noticed God has been pursuing me through my car radio. He knows that I spend 6 hours of my day riding in my car. It’s as if he wants to be sure I receive his Word. When I listen to the sermons on the radio they all seem to relate to whatever I am struggling with in my life. When it first started happening I thought it was a coincidence. But I had to remember there are no coincidences nor accidents with God. These sermons were purposeful communication from The Father to me. I realized this one afternoon as I was finishing up my work day. There was yet another sermon just for me. It was then God spoke to my heart, “I am pursuing you and I will never stop.“ I was overwhelmed and began to cry. I thought, who I am that God would actually take the time to chase after me. Out of all of the people He has created, the Most High is concerned with what is going on in my life at this very moment. I felt desired, loved, and treasured. Now whenever I get into the car and God has a sermon for me (which is 3 out of 5 days) I smile and say “God’s on the radio again.” And I ride with Him all day.

Have you ever thought about what it is like to be pursued by the Lord? He wants your attention and will show up in the most unlikely places to get it. James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Prosperity...It's Not What You Think

Last weekend Hosanna Hospice Consultants, LLC had the blessed opportunity to provide services for the first time. It was an unexpected call but then again it wasn't. When I woke up I was physically tired. It was a long work week. I started talking to God, I told Him that I was tired but I didn't want to spend the whole day in bed. I wanted to get out and do something but not just any ole thing. Shortly thereafter I received a call asking me to come out and support a family whose father was dying. Death was imminent and they were alone. It was surely something to do and I couldn't wait.

Once there I was able to help the family along the emotional journey as their father, whom they called "the best dad in the world", transitioned into eternal life. With God I was able to give them the comfort of knowing it was alright for them to leave his bedside while I sit with him so he did not die alone. It had been years since I last provided end of life support and it felt good to back.

A few days after this experience I was listening to Jay Mayo and Sly Young on Right To Real Love Radio. In the episode "Recommit To God" Sly gave his definition of prosperity and I surely shouted with joy when I heard it. He said prosperity was being able to get a man to open up and show vulnerability in front of his peers. I was truly blown away when Sly said that was a prosperous moment for him. I couldn't help but think that's exactly how I feel while helping families whose loved ones are dying. For so long prosperity meant a world of wealth and good health for me and mine. Since God has given me the blessing of Hosanna it means so much more.

I listened to the Sly's episode again. You can hear in his voice how thankful he is and how intentional he is about living his life to the fullest. He truly desires to give and because of this I am so thankful Sly did not take his life. We need more selfless people like him in this world. We need more people who are going to make a difference and think outside of themselves.

What's your definition of prosperity? Is it all about you and yours? Well, it's not. It's about what you are allowing God to do through you. How is your life advancing God's kingdom? I would like to invite you to check out the show. It is truly an amazing discussion. Sly's openness and appreciation for life are felt in every word he speaks.  Please click the link and be sure to show Jay and Sly some R.E.A.L love.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Best Days Are Ahead

What do you think of when you hear the word "balance"? Some of you may think of a scale. While others may think of an acrobat on a high wire. For me life in general comes to mind. When you're a parent, especially a single one, there are so many hats to wear. I am a cook, a therapist, a nurse, a playmate, the tooth fairy...the list can go on and on. I'm not going to lie, I really don't miss my childless days. However, I am looking forward to an empty nest. I bet you're thinking I'm just saying that because I'm tired of having to do it alone. You may feel that way yourself. Let me reassure that couldn't be further from the truth. Having Sienna  causes me to keep building a relationship with God and mature in many ways. This helps me to live a balanced life. As a result I am a much better parent.

Why am so I'm enthused about the future? I am excited because I can't wait to see what Sienna is going to grow to be. She was baptized a few Sundays ago. It was her choice and she completely understands the meaning. Sienna is so loving, creative, and talented. Her plans are to be a teacher, get married and have 4 children. I'm pretty sure all of that will change a thousand times before she turns 18. I am also aware that they are her plans and The Lord may say otherwise. We really have no idea what the future holds but it's nice to dream. I actually pray for her husband regularly. I hope he's a man of God who will lead and protect her.

Being that Sienna is only nine, I know we  have a long way to go. It's just that time passes so fast. It really does feel like yesterday that I could fit all 6lbs 8oz of her on my chest. I look at her baby pictures sometimes just as a reminder of how far we've come. It's been a hard, fun, scary, and amazing journey. Each day we press on trying to make the next day better than the previous one even if it's something small.

Are you dreading your child growing up? Are you agonizing over the day they move out or start dating?  Please don't. As parents we should encourage them to grow. Allow them to take healthy risks. Let them make mistakes. They need to learn to trust their own judgement. We won't be around forever and we can't stop Father Time. Besides why would you want to? So get excited. Start making some plans and set them before The Lord and see what He has in store. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

WPOV-Is Chilvary Dead?

All too often I hear women say, "Chilvary is dead and men aren't what they used to be." Well the ladies and I explored the topic and it would bring me great joy if you listened to it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Are You Choosing Your Own Adventure

          How many times have you said the following: "I shoulda_____, I coulda____I woulda____." I used to say this a lot. Often times we realize a number of options we could have or should have taken instead of the action that we actually took. As I was going over some recent events in my mind James 1:2-4 interrupted my thoughts. It says to be thankful for the trials you go through because the testing of your faith develops perseverance and in order for you to be mature and complete and not lacking in anything because perseverance is needed to get you to that point. I must admit I thought, Who in their right mind would be thankful for a problem? But as I pondered the rest of the verse I realized that every trial I have been through has been worth it in the end. I have always come out of the situation better than I went in and I would not change it for the world!

           When things get uncomfortable in life especially due to decisions we have made we spend so much time playing back the tape in our minds trying to predict a different outcome. We wish life was one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. For those of you who do not know what those are let me hip you to something good. A Choose Your Own Adventure book was my absolute favorite when I was in the 5th grade. It  was like having three books in one because you are able choose the way the story unfolds from middle to end. For instance if it's an action adventure book and the main character gets captured by his nemesis you could A) have him escape B) have him imprisoned or C) have him rescued. The story then continued based upon the option you chose. Ha! I knew you would like it. Unfortunately life is not a choose your own adventure book. We can make choices but we don't  always know what the outcome will be and there are definitely no alternate endings once the decision has been made.

          "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." (See Jeremiah 1:5). When I read this verse I am reminded of how well my Father knows me. He knows what I am going to do and what my reactions will be in every situation I face. How grateful we should be that God knows us so well. When we are stumbling along this life choosing our own adventures instead of allowing him to guide us; He makes provisions for us to grow from our mistakes. How awesome is that?

        So it is with sincerity I ask that you turn off your minds to your past mistakes and poor decisions. We should forget what is behind and press toward the future (See Philippians 3:13). I once heard someone say that today is a gift...that's why it is called the "present". Be blessed.