36

Its my birthday! Well it was my birthday. My birthday is 9/13 so it’s been a few weeks. Turning 36 is not really exciting. I don’t get a Jesus year like I did at 33. 35 feels like woah! I’m really grown. 36 just feels like another year. It hasn’t been though. 35 was a crazy year and even though it was so challenging everything I learned was preparing me for this year.

Gods timing is always better than ours. It sucks when your in the moment but looking back I see his hand in every lesson I learned.

I’ve had many blessings to kick off this year of life. I renewed my vows in Jamaica, I got a promotion at work, my husband bought me a new car for my birthday, my brother and I will be going into business together. These are all good things. I wouldn’t be prepared to do any of them if I hadn’t started really doing the growth work that I needed to in 2020.

As reflect back on 35 it doesn’t look like what I thought it would. I was still trying to be in control of much of what happened that year and so much of it was out of my hands.

As I move into 36, I ask God to help me accept (sooner,lol) the things I don’t have control over. Be ready to embrace change and be ready to pivot when necessary. At work we talk all the time about the ability to pivot. No problem doing it there but in my personal life I like things to go according to my plan. God’s plan is ultimately best, no matter how we feel. No matter if we don’t understand. He wants to bless us beyond what we can ask for. That often requires pushing us into uncomfortable territory.

I’m praying that in 36 that I don’t shy away from the uncomfortable. That I stretch myself and take more risks. Being vulnerable, asking for help, admitting when wrong, trying new things… all these things are risky. Following God’s plan when you don’t know the next step is risky. I am going to remind myself that God always has my back and best interest in mind even when it hurts.

I’m excited to see where this year takes me. It has already started off pretty interesting.

See you in October,

Dominique

Things that keep you from seeing clearly

You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.
Isaiah 42:20 NLT

How often have we known the right thing to do but we didn’t do it? How often is our judgment cloudy because we aren’t seeing things clearly?

Are you stopping to pay attention? Perception is reality but often our reality is skewed. I found the image below on Pintrest. I know I have done a few of these things before.

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The biggest ones I dealt with were desperately holding on to my plans and self limiting beliefs. When you feel things just have to go a certain way you are really putting limits on yourself. This allows no room for innovation, to switch up or try new things. Sometimes pivoting can be the best thing for you but you can’t pivot it you aren’t paying attention.

Imposter syndrome is a self limiting belief. Perfectionism is a self limiting belief. Imposter syndrome makes you feel like you aren’t qualified for whatever it is you’re doing. You aren’t able to see yourself as other people see you. You wouldn’t be at the next level if you couldn’t do it. Trust the skills you’ve learned, the work you’ve done, the sacrifices you have made.

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We think these thought processes will help us. They are just trying to protect us from being hurt. However self limiting beliefs didn’t help me. Being afraid to take a risk or make a mistake was just holding me back from greatness.

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Another common one is the fear of uncertainty. Being afraid of the future can have you making bad decisions in the present. We don’t know what the future holds, good or bad. We have to trust that God has the best for us.

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Have you let the problem you are having make you forget what God can do?

Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
2 Kings 6:16‭-‬17 NLT

We have to pray to see things with his eyes, listen with his ears, so we can get the true perspective on things and not our skewed vision of a situation. We have to ask him to remove any hindrances that keep us from seeing a situation clearly.

Until next time,

Dominique

Doing the work

We talked before about doing the work and being intentional. What is doing the work?

I would say doing the work is being intentional about being the best version of yourself everyday. Its hard to do.

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Its hard to decide I’m going to make the best choice for me, not the choice that is easiest or the most comfortable. It is deciding that I am going to make decisions today that my future self will thank me for.

It’s planting seeds now that your future self with harvest later.

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I didn’t know I needed to do any work for a long time. We spend a lot of time in life just moving. Completing tasks, going to work, coming home, having a little fun, repeat. Covid is what made me stop and try to evaluate how I was feeling. I knew something was off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I decided to go see a therapist that helped me tremendously. Therapy is not for everyone, but it can be extremely helpful in assisting you in processing your stuff.

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Even though therapy is more common for people to talk about I still felt embarrassed to tell people I went to see one. I don’t see her anymore. I went every week starting last August until January. That was intense.

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I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that for everyone but I needed to get my moneys worth. I was going through Betterhelp and they charge you monthly, and it wasn’t cheap. The gains I got from it were priceless though. I learned how to set boundaries, how to put myself first, how to feel my feelings, how to say no, how not to take responsibility for other people’s choices or try to save folks.

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Stuffing your feelings or numbing yourself is easy. That doesn’t require anything of you. Doing the work, is not easy or for the faint of heart. When I started to do the work, I started noticing more work I needed to do. That wasn’t fun. I also had to remind myself to give myself, grace. I don’t have to have it all figured out.

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Its a process. I know I wanted to work on my baggage so I wouldn’t pass those issues down to my kid. I knew healing from old hurts would make me a better wife, better mom, better leader.

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I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be be the best version of myself if I didn’t open my eyes to what was going on inside of me. Its easier to not notice what is going on in you and just keep pushing. However you owe it to yourself to recognize what is going on and do the work to make it better.

We’ll talk next time about things that keep you from seeing what’s going on.

Until next time,

Dominique

Are your actions matching your prayers?

We talked this time last year about feeling like God left you on read. I was able to give you 10 reasons.

Just a few reasons:

1. Are you spending time with God? 2. Are your motives good? 3. Did He already answer and you didn’t like what he said?

As I have been praying for things this summer another one came to my attention.

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Have my actions aligned with what I’ve been praying for? When I was praying for a baby I was doing everything to show God I was ready.

My pastor says we have to show God we are serious. I wanted a baby but the babies room was my closet. I was partying every weekend and eating terribly. That’s not going to work. I needed to get some things in order.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 NIV

Do you want a new job and your applying a lot of places but no hits yet? Have you mentally checked out of your current position? Are you still doing your best or just going through the motions?

Your praying for a spouse but have you done your own work to be ready for them when God sends them your way?

You want to write a book but have you set time assign to make sure you get it done?

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Don’t read this as manipulation because it’s not. Its putting yourself in the best position possible. It goes back to bloom where you’re planted

Gods timing is always best but we can show him we are ready. Faith without works are dead. We play an active role in our lives. The choices we make big or small make are all impactful.

Until next time,

Dominique

5 months left

Happy August! Summer is almost over. Have you enjoyed it? Did you do all the things you thought you would?

As summer is ending it makes me think about the intentions and goals I set for 2021. A few of them I messed up. One being I wanted to post every month of the year. I missed June though. Its ok. I don’t plan on missing anymore.

One of my words for 2021 was intentional. I have been doing a better job with that. I’ve been saying no to things, I’ve been focusing on what’s important. I’m creating more time for myself. I’m giving myself more grace. I’m reading this book called Self Compassion by Kristen Neff. It has some really good stuff in it. Very helpful.

Where are you in what you wanted to accomplish in 2021? Have you had to modify your goal?

2021 doesn’t look anything like I thought it would. Covid is acting up again, student loan debt isnt cancelled, housing market is out of control

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Galatians 6:9 ESV And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

As we enter into the later part of the year remember there is still time. Time to step it up, pivot or adjust if needed.

You are not accomplishing these things on your own. God is walking beside you cheering you on.

You got this!

Until next time,

Dominique

Bloom where you are planted

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this saying. Tons of change has been happening in my life right now. Most of it I have no control over. My mom moved, my cousin that is like my big sister moved, we were trying to sell our house and buy a new one, I interviewed for a new job. So many things were happening at once.

I felt out of sorts. Nothing was working out for us. The houses we bid on we were constantly outbid, hadn’t heard anything about the position I interviewed for. I felt like I was in a standstill. So I decided to fast and ask God for clarity. Should we move or stay in our house? Should I start looking for jobs outside of our organization?

My answers came quickly. Stay. Bloom where I planted you.

What is bloom where your planted?

Bloom where your planted is doing the best you can where you are right now.

Its not looking to far into the future or the past but enjoying each moment as it happens.

Its making sure you have done everything you can in this place and time in your life before you move on to the next thing.

We worry so much about accomplishing the next thing we don’t stop and smell the roses where we are right now.

We talked years ago about the power of standing still. Standing still doesn’t mean the abscense of movement. Its the absence of fretting, worrying and being anxious.

Its being comfortable in the thought that God has you exactly where you are supposed to be. It’s not comparing yourself to where other people are or where you think you should be.

This takes growth. It’s choosing to be ok even if you don’t like where you’re at in the moment.

We don’t always bloom because we are often in a rush to get to the next thing. We haven’t learned everything we could learn or done everything we could do before we are ready to move on.

We are often chasing better. I know I was. Better is good. Its better than what I had before. However God wants best. You don’t always get best because we settled for better. We decided we were ready to move on from a space without checking in with God first.

Do the best you can, where you are, that’s all God is asking and when it’s time for you to move He will certainly tell you.

People aren’t just one thing

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 NLT

The first time I saw this verse it was in the NIV which says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, which is cool but what does that mean? I like wonderfully complex much better. Complex means consisting of many different and connected parts. I love that! God made us layered and multifaceted which is a good thing. The world doesn’t seem that way though. If we let social media tell it everyone has to look the same, like the same things, go to the same places.

As I’ve gotten older I have still been trying to squeeze myself in a box, a label. But I listened to this podcast recently and she talked about how people can be more than one thing. How two things can exist in the same space. It reminded me of that verse.

Am I church girl? Or churchy? I wouldn’t say so. I didn’t grow up in church. I wasn’t baptized until I was an adult, I wasn’t a virgin when I got married. 🙃 Its took me so long to start this blog because I was worried that people would see it or me as too churchy. Then I was worried that people wouldn’t see it as not churchy enough. What a box I put myself in.

As we talk about mental health, I feel like labeling yourself can cause a lot of mental anguish. Labeling is all about making comparisons. We already learned that comparison is the thief of joy. Trying to define who you are by the worlds standards is not only putting yourself in a box but its putting God in a box too. If say I’m just a X (insert whatever your thing is) then that is letting God know he can only do so much for me, and through me. How about instead we said I am who I am? No more, no less. I’m open to all possibilities.

Not anymore. As I learn to let things go that don’t serve me, shrinking myself to fit inside someone else’s image of me is something I’m no longer doing.

I’m just focusing on being me. Being 100% authentic, no labels, no boxes.

I used to get mad at myself for not being the best version of myself right now. Thats not a thing though. You can’t rush progress. I used to think that I was too old to be just figuring these things out. I would rather do it now in my 30s then be 60+ just starting to be my authentic self. I have a lot of life left to live. I don’t want to waste another minute not being 100% me.

God made you as exactly as you’re supposed to be. Don’t sell him or yourself short by being anything less.

5 more things I learned

6. Pay attention. We talk about growth a lot on this blog. I can recall times in my life, especially now where I have been so focused on my own growth that I didn’t notice my husbands growth. He was silently leveling up while I was caught up in work, our son, running our household, church activities, etc.

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7. Pray for your spouse. I make it a point to ask my husband what he wants to me to pray for him. That helps. However sometimes he doesn’t know. That’s when I try to make sure to ask about his day, his job, his hobbies. I also try to pray general prayers over him. I pray for God to increase his territory. One of my favorites is the Prayer of Jabez.

8. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. This one seems obvious but its not. Do you get mad and leave the room during an argument? Do you say your fine when you’re not? Are you ready to defend your way of thinking? Do you actively listen?

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9. Educate yourself

I read books, listen to podcasts and sermons about marriage. We went to a Sunday school class for couples. Premarital classes. I know a couple that goes to couples counseling just so they can stay in tune with each other. They don’t have any “problems”. They go as a preventive measure.

The books I have read have been super helpful to me. One of the best ones I have read and I read over and over again is the Power of a Praying Wife.

10. This one is controversial a bit but I like it. My pastor says why when we are praying for our spouses to change we really should be praying for ourselves. Praying for more patience, more understanding, more love. Have you looked at the ways YOU could be better or are you blaming it all on them? At the end of the day we are only responsible for ourselves. Praying for your spouse to change may not be the answer. You may have to change first and let your spouse see the power of God working in you.

P.S. God doesn’t want you to stay married in situations of abuse. You know your deal breakers. If your marriage is one you believe you should save you should but you also know when it’s over and that is ok too.

Good luck,

Dominique

5 things I’ve learned be married 10 years

My 10 year wedding anniversary was in May and I renewed my vows back in June.

People always talk about being able to grow with your partner that is what sustains a long term relationship and I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I think being with someone long term is more about being comfortable with how your partner grows and being able to pivot if need be. My husband and I have been together for 17 years. A lot about a person can change in that amount of time. Things you used to think were cute or funny now get on your nerves.

Here are 5 things I learned in being married for 10 years

1.You have to be willing to grow at different paces. I can recall when I felt like my spiritual walk was stronger than my husbands was and that was really hard. I wanted him to be the spiritual head of our household and he wasn’t. I also hadn’t laid out that expectation for him, I just assumed he knew to take on that role.

2. Managing expectations. This is a big one. People always expect themselves out of other people and that isn’t always the case. From what I’ve seen its rarely the case. Your spouse can not read your mind. Are you expecting you things out of your spouse that you haven’t mentioned to them?

Managing Expectations – is it ever too late to do so? | BRS

3. Be supportive. Are your spouses greatest cheerleader? When my husband decides that he wants to start eating healthier its much better for me to get on board with him then just let him eat healthy by himself. When I was more newly married I would sneak and have a burger and fries before he got home from work. He wanted to have salad and baked chicken and I wasn’t trying to have that. Binging in my car certainly wasn’t helping the cause.

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4. I’ve heard single people say that they hear is marriage is hard but nobody explains why. I think that marriage is hard for a few different reasons. The biggest one being that you have to constantly die to self. Marriage is about compromise and you are not always going to be able to get your way. Sometimes your marriage is hard for external factors that nothing to do with either of you. We had three hard things hit our marriage before we had even been married five years, my MIL was sick and passed away, my husband didn’t like his job and we couldn’t pregnant and there was no reason given as to why. The test of a long standing marriage is being able to get to the other side of these hard times. Are you willing to put in the work when times are tough? Can you be compassionate when your spouse is going through, even when it doesn’t have anything to do with you?

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5. Find other married friends. Our married friends have helped us so much. Its not even that they have said anything but just seeing their example has helped me a lot. Being inside of a marriage is different and while your single friends can certainly offer you advice, its nice to have a married person who may be able to potentially understand better what you are going through. My favorite are married moms. They are able to remind me that I am not doing as badly as I think. Is your friend group diverse? Are their people in a similar relationship space as you? Do you have people you can use as an example?

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Stay tuned I will give you another 5 tomorrow.

Until then,

Dominique

How to feel your feelings

Feelings can be tricky. I have always had a complicated relationship with my feelings. One of my favorite sayings is feelings lie. Calling someone a liar isn’t a great way to start off a relationship. In the last year though I have started to come around to the thought that feelings are useful. I was a classic stuffer. If something bothered me, I would just stuff it down and ignore it as long as possible. I would distract myself in books or sitcoms until I didn’t feel bad anymore. I used to be uncomfortable when other people expressed their emotions. You start crying around me and I was done! Done!

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This isn’t the healthiest way to deal with things for sure.

Feelings are not good or bad, they just are.

Feelings are just a signal alerting your body to something.

I could only identify with negative feelings, like anger. This I know how to express. Or sadness, like when someone dies. You having a bad day, ha! Suck it up.

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Someone gave me a feelings wheel last year that I found to be extremely helpful. I also use both of these methods that I found online this year.

@justgirlproject

I like this one for justgirlproject because writing things down is helpful for me. The talking to someone part is more tricky because that involves being vulnerable which I don’t always like. Now that I have been doing it more often, I noticed that being vulnerable isn’t all bad. When you are that transparent about your situation or feelings other people tend to be as well.

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I like this one too because its something my pastor says to do. He also says, questions your thoughts. Why do I feel this way? Is it true? Is it based on fact?

As much as I did not like feeling my feelings, I noticed that the more I did, the better I felt. The truth about feelings are if you don’t deal with them now, you will certainly have to deal with them later.

The bible has a whole book that talks about feelings…Psalms. The writers of that book were not afraid to talk to God about how they felt. They poured out their anguish, their devotion, their misery and God responded. Even if you have no one to talk to about your feelings, talk to God. He made our heart, so he understands how we feel.

Resources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/harnessing-principles-change/202010/the-key-skill-we-rarely-learn-how-feel-your-feelings

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/healthy-emotions_b_4856069

https://www.jointheprogressproject.com/podcast/138