Knowing you and Embracing you

Becoming a person of authenticity and purpose isn’t easy to do, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work, deliberate effort and patience…lots of patience. To become a person of purpose, it’s almost like you’re training for the run of your life or for the fight of a lifetime.

Purpose follows persistence and persistence follows passion.

PASSION –> PERSISTENCE –> PURPOSE

Sometime, you will walk along life’s path and not really have a clue as to what your purpose is, and if you’re seeking that answer, this season of unknowing can be incredibly frustrating!! But, just as I’ve heard Pastor T.D. Jakes preach,

You’ve got to figure out what your passions are. When you figure that out, you’re half way there to finding your purpose! Just continue in that passion. Fine tune your strengths. Figure out your weaknesses and work to improve those areas needed. Get a coach who can challenge you and “get in your grill,” someone who will cheer you and not take “No” or “I quit” as answers. Keep pushing forward until you realize you’re working in your purpose.

Just as a boxer finally knocks out his opponent when he stays persistent in the fight, always looking for the weakness of his foe, and just as a runner finally crosses the finish line when she stays persistent even when her legs scream “just quit,” you will become an authentic person of purpose when you keep on keepin’ on!! 😉

Find You. Know YOU. Embrace you. Become who you were meant to be! You can do this! I believe in you!! 💕

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What Do You Do In The Pit?

The story of Beniah, son of Jehoida, that is found in 2 Samuel, is always a challenging one for me. It’s not like he went looking for that pit, and it doesn’t appear he was expecting to find a lion when he fell in. Yet, when the adversity came against him, he was ready. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t back up, and he didn’t cower in despair. He fought, and he fought valiantly, and only onlybecause of this response, he won!

This is really how we should approach life and adversity that comes our way. We are built internally with a natural “fight or flight” mentality; yet, if we approach every situation with a flight response, we will never learn how to persevere under pressure. We will never learn to excel despite the odds. We will never learn the depth of our strength and ability, because true character is produced through our perseverance in trials.

If Beniah had run in fear that day while in the pit, he would be dead, and his story could never be an inspiration to us today.

Something to think about… 😉

To Make A Dream Come True

Inspiration + Perspiration   =  

A Dream Come True

Okay, can we just get REAL for a moment? Dreams don’t just happen because we dream them. Dreams don’t become realities simply because we wish them so. Yeah, I know the world of Disney and Hollywood would like to have you think so. (No offense to both!)  No matter who tries to tell you otherwise, dreams take a lot of planning, hard work along with your inspiration to make a dream come to reality!
An Olympic runner doesn’t cross that finish line in first place simply because he dreamt about it when he was eight years old. A CEO doesn’t become a multimillionaire, because he lives his life in indecisiveness. A government official, small business owner, military officer, author or even an NFL player doesn’t become who they are just because they wished it into existence. No, a dream has to be inspired, first, but then, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to bring it into existence.
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I think we rob this next generation, sometimes, by giving them all the materialistic things they desire, skip them through grades like their playing hopscotch and loan out credit to them like it’s water, because when you become an entitled people, you become selfish in your ethics, self-centered in your approach to community and demanding of all those around you to provide for your every whim and desire. You believe the world owes you something, rather than, believing you owe the world something. In turn, you kill the very abilities to dream and aspire plans and strategies to make those goals happen.
dream2America was founded upon people who had a dream. It has survived by having people who aspired to be great. However, it only become a great nation by being nurtured and pioneered by those who were willing to toil, sweat and even die for the dream they held within their hearts. So many gave up so much to make the great nation America has always been known as.
I know that in recent years, this vision of our country has been fought hard against, and there are many who would try to debate this notion of America being great. However, I will contend if America isn’t so great, then, why on earth are so many who don’t live here still desperately longing to come here, even by illegal methods? If America isn’t so great, then, why do so many despise the freedom, justice and pursuit of happiness that we enjoy here? But, I digress. That argument is for another post for another day…
The fact is simple, and it remains to be true: if you have a dream, and you want it to come true, apply some hard work, and you can make it happen! You may have to make some changes. You may have to acquire a great leader in your life, and you may have to overcome some incredible obstacles along the way, but if you dream it, AND you work hard to achieve it, you CAN make all your dream(s) come true!
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What’s Your Talk When They Walk?

You can’t change someone else, their brand of crazy, their attitude, or even their perspective or opinions. They are who they are, and you are who you are. Only God does the changing when we yield to His hand. Expecting change and then getting angry when it doesn’t happen is simply a recipe for disaster and misery.

 

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Yet, we all do it, don’t we? If you’re in leadership, I can almost guarantee you do this, unless, you’ve mastered the art of waiting patiently for God to “do His thing.” It’s tough to work alongside someone day in and day out, see their flaws, be convinced of what they need to change, suggest needed change, and then fail to see any successful change, isn’t it? Honestly, it can be downright aggravating, frustrating, really! Although, it can be quite a challenge to pour into someone all that you have within and still watch them walk away, we must remember Christ went through this very thing.

Jesus spent hours, days, weeks and even years with Judas Iscariot. Judas stayed with him, ate meals with him, visited the sick with him and even watched him heal and deliver the bound. Yet, in the end, Judas still chose to betray Him and walk away. He chose to walk away from Jesus’ love, forgiveness and promise of hope.

Jesus, also, spent the same amount of time, and more, with Peter. Peter stayed close by His side. He was one of the three who went to the Garden of Gethsemane with Christ. Yet, when it came to down to the heat of the moment after Christ’s arrest, Peter denied even knowing the very man who had saved him. Thankfully, there was a moment of clarity later on for Peter, and he returned to Christ.

Let us never believe we are better than our Master, our Lord and Savior. If He had people walk away, we will, too. It’s how we handle these moments that will determine our success or failure in leadership. Do we let them walk away without a word, or do we confront? Do we confront with love or cruelty and hatred? Do we pray for them after they leave, or do we simply bash and gossip about the wrong choices they obviously have made?

 

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Let us always trust God is still in control even in the midst of our disappointments. Let us always turn to Him in the middle of our hurt and anger over someone walking away, and let us always follow in His footsteps of loving confrontation followed by prayerful concern for that one who left.

We never know who might be spurring us toward our destiny or who will, eventually, come back to join us in the journey.

 

What Are We To Do?

So, we find ourselves in this dilemma.

The dilemma of moving forward to the unknown, the uncomfortable, the unfamiliar or remaining here in the regretful, comfortable, familiar present. Neither place is easy. For, the beyond makes us confront, stretch and change, yet, the present seems like an old jacket which we used to love but has shrunk so much over the years that it doesn’t “fit like a glove” anymore…really, it doesn’t fit at all. So, what are we to do?

If we remain, we will conform. We will grow complacent. We will become okay with mediocre, and we will say goodbye to the hopes and dreams we’ve held so dear.

If we step forward, we will be challenged. We will doubt. We will question our talents and our skills. We might even find that our abilities weren’t what we thought they were.

So, what are we to do?

If we are to grow, if we to succeed, we move toward the mark. If we are to fulfill the dreams that burn so deep within our hearts that it takes our breath, we step up and take the chance. It may not come again. This door to the great beyond may slam shut, never to open like this again.

As we look forward, holding dear to heart all that was past, we begin a new tomorrow. We will find hardships. We will find challenges. We might even find an alternate path, but we will not go back. We will not quit.

For tomorrow is gone, and if the dream is to be grasped, we must proceed to what’s ahead. We must shift from what was and change our perspective. You never know, instead of falling, we might just FLY!

 

DAILY PROMPT:Dilemma

Desperate Living

Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our successes of today or our failures of yesterday that we accept the notion “all eyes are on us,” and that our success or failure will determine the destiny of those around us. Can I tell you, this is so far from truth! Yet, so many get caught up with this misconception from time to time.

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Truth be told, this mindset actually stems from a source of PRIDE! To have the belief that our actions, or lack thereof, can determine the destiny of someone else is placing ourselves in the position of God Himself, and He doesn’t give us that kind of authority. Sure, our actions can effect someone else, and they can bring pain and difficulty, or joy and freedom, into a part of that person’s life; however, God is the only One who holds the key to someone’s destiny! What we do, does matter; please don’t get me wrong. Yet, over the years, I have watched too many people who believe their actions can make or break another person’s future. To allow ourselves the privilege of this kind of thinking is to simply think too highly of ourselves and our impact on other people.

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We are all just living desperate lives of survival here, and we are all simply called to love God and to love our fellow man. We are instructed to reach others for His Kingdom by showing them His love and goodness. When we lay down our pride and work together to this end, we become a unified front against the desperation of this earthly life. We become the Body of Christ to fulfill His purpose and His glory and to put the enemy to shame!

So, let us never think too highly of our successes nor too lowly of our failures. Let us always encourage each other to see the greatness of our God rather than the greatness of ourselves. Let us lend a helping hand to lift up those who might have fallen a little lower, and pray without ceasing for those who have risen a little higher. Let’s put our hands into the hands of the Father as we keep traveling on together, one step at a time, toward our promise land.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:3-5

What Do You See?

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see

-D.H.Thoreau

Sometimes, your vision is everything…

What do you see when you look at people? What do you see when you are in the middle of chaos? What do you see when you are surrounded by those who have less than you or, maybe, who have more? What do you look at? What do you envision?

What you see makes up who you are. If you always see negative, you will tend to be a negative person. If you see hopelessness and despair, you are, most likely, a fearful person and you will have a tendency to either run away from problems or avoid anything that might appear a challenge. Yet, if you see hope and strength, you will have a tendency to be a fighter, a person who doesn’t give up too easily. If you see love and prosperity, you will tend to seek out those with whom you have camaraderie and with whom you can succeed.

What you see will determine where you end up in life. If you don’t see success, you’ll never achieve it. If you don’t see possibilities, you’ll never try. If you don’t see faith and integrity  in others, you’ll never learn to trust and open up to another person. In order to have a dream realized, you must first see the goals needed to get to the dream. In order to have a goal achieved, you must first see the first step that is needed. In order to start on that path, you must be able to see those around you who can help you and guide you learn to walk.

You can look at people all day every day, but if you don’t see them, you’ll never be able to reach them, and you’ll never be able to learn from them. You can look at the places people go, or the successes they have and wish you were there; however, if you don’t see the sacrifices they made to get there, you will never know the cost you’ll need to pay. You’ll never see how many steps it will take, whom you will need to help and how long it may take to arrive.

What do you see?

Daily Prompt: VISION

Vision

Get Back Up Again

“Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.” – Oswald Chambers

Toddlers toddle along, walking, falling, holding on, letting go, falling, and getting up again. Constantly, all day, until they finally master the walking. I think we have a lot to learn from these little guys. 
  How often do we let mistakes and missed opportunities impede us from moving forward? How many times do we look back to past failures and let them hinder us from trying new things? I’d venture to guess it’s quite often. It’s human nature to say, “Well, I messed that up. Great. I’ll never get another chance.” Or “I’ve always been bad at this, why should I try again?” 

We get so consumed on those past things, and I believe, often times, that’s why we get tripped up this time. When you’re learning to walk, you can’t look back the entire time. You can’t stay focused on what’s behind you, because you’ll miss out on the very things which are in front of you! Stop believing just because you have a shattered, damaged or imperfect past that your future is destined to be the same. 

That’s not what Christ promised for us! He said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11) He also said, “Nothing is impossible for God.” Here’s the cool part… When we start leaning on Him, rather than ourselves, when we start allowing Him To do the work within and through us, there is NOTHING we can’t do, because He’s doing the work. 

So what, if we fall down, trip up; we’re just like those little kiddos learning to walk! It doesn’t matter how many times you feel like you’ve failed yesterday. The important part of failing is getting up today! So, get back up again! Dust yourself off. Ask for a little assistance from Him and those spiritual leaders He’s placed in your life, and try again! You’ll be amazed how fast you’ll run and achieve! 

Falling Forward…

Falling makes us wiser. Falling makes us stronger. It makes us more aware of what needs to happen differently the next time. It makes us more conscious of the change that must come, most of the time within, for us to succeed.

Yet, too often, we will resist falling. We run away from failures, and we hide from imperfections and mistakes. We believe everything must be picture perfect the first time around. We believe if there are any mistakes involved in our first try, then we are destined for a lifetime of misery, a lifetime of failure. 

Maybe I’m just talking to myself here. Maybe it’s just me who struggles at times with wanting everything to be pristine perfect. Have you been there? Do you ever wrestle with these truths? 

Can I tell you? There is HOPE! There is a promise we can hold onto! The Word says, “There is nothing impossible with God.” (Emphasis, mine) That Scripture isn’t there simply as a “feel good” word. He didn’t include it just to taunt you and make you think He was kidding. No, God means what He says, and He keeps the promises He gives us. 

So, the next time things don’t go exactly as planned, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Sometimes, you might have needed a little more preparation. Other times, you need a little more practice, and often times, you just need a lot more patience! 

There are other factors that may contribute, but these can give you a great start. When you’re struggling to succeed, and you’re tempted to quit, I encourage you to look at a toddler learning to walk, or a teenager learning to drive, or maybe even, a more seasoned folk learning a new trade. Do they always succeed on the very first try? I venture to guess that answer is a big, fat, “NO!” So, why don’t you give yourself a little more breathing room, a lot more grace and take that situation to God, and let Him help you try one more time. 😉

The Crossroads

I think I have been relearning a lesson lately…

When we are seeking for inner change, and we are faced with our moment of exponential growth, we are faced with two choices. What we choose in that moment will determine if we move forward or start moving backwards, and sometimes, our choice will determine our ultimate success or failure. There is a crossroads set before us, and the road we choose will make all the difference.

Have you ever been there?

crossroads-660x400When we are seeking to be better, whether it be in weight training, ballet, education, acting, playing golf or even eating and health issues, there will always come a time, many times, actually, when the learning and the growth becomes almost painful to continue. It feels as if the choice to continue will surely be the death of our current state of being, and in actuality, it is kind of a death. It is at that moment when we must realize that our choice to “bow out” or to turn back to the more comfortable places will actually be detrimental to our overall growth, and in some cases, it can mean death to the dream or goal we have set.

When I, personally, come to this crossroad, this fork in the road, I am reminded of the poem written by Robert Frost many many years ago, “The Road Not Taken.*” This is one of my all time favorites, and I’ve referred to it often in my life experiences. He says, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.*” No matter which road you choose, each path leads you forward to a new place, or you can attempt to turn back from whence you came, and you may cripple the person you are to become. Just as a child, once grown, can never truly return to the little boy he once was, I cannot return to my former self without losing the strength, faith and understanding I have come to find in walking through these crossroads.

So, I choose to walk forward, to take this crossroad set before me, no matter the challenge it presents or the obstacles I may face tomorrow. The crossroad signifies a demarkation from what and who I was to what and whom I will become. I will keep moving forward, keep exploring and continuing to discover this new world, these new experiences and this new me to find who it is I am to become and to whom I will leave it all when my day has come.

 

*Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/road-not-taken

Photo: I do not possess nor do I own this photo. Simply found on Google Images from http://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/how-to-create-career-clarity-at-a-crossroad