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

Confession: I don’t know

This post was originally published on March 14, 2018. As I was looking for something for Throwback Thursday, I saw that this exactly describes how I feel right now. I definitely feel like everything God has had me learn over the past year I am being tested on right now. It feels scary but that is a good thing because if I am being tested, then he thinks I’m ready for the next step.

Not knowing things is not something I’m comfortable with. I like to have a clear plan outlined with action steps. Things don’t always happen that way in a growing season. You only can do some much planting and then you have to sit back and let it grow.

I’m in a growing season right now and growing hurts. The term growing pains is definitely real. It hurts to be stretched more than you thought you could handle. It hurts to let things go that you thought would always be there.

Growing requires more faith than planting. I believe that because you don’t know how the seeds you planted are going to develop. You can’t see on the the outside how the seed is doing or if any growth is happening. You have to trust the process.

I don’t feel like I have been in a real season of growth in my life in a long time. I have had seasons of change but nothing to this extreme. I feel like I’m going through a metamorphosis. I feel like God is working on me about a lot of things. Sometimes I feel like it’s too much. Why do I have to go through all of is?

I feel like everything in my life is in transition and I am questioning a lot of things that I thought I knew for certain. I thought I was on a solid career path but where I see myself headed is different that what I originally envisioned. I am afraid. Am I ready for where God is leading me? I don’t know. I do take comfort in knowing that he won’t leave me on this journey and will give me what I need to be successful.

God is working on me to take me someplace but I don’t know where that is. I have to just walk beside him one step at a time. I am not going to run out in front of him or move to fast. I have done that before and the results were not great. I know I sound sad or down but I’m not. I’m restless. I sense something coming but I don’t know what is. I’m going to continue to keep the junk out so I can hear Gods voice and know it’s him. I’m going to pray and I’m going to wait. I’m going to continue to do meet God half way and I know he will make up the rest. I will have to just continue to be patient and trust the process.

Until next time,

Dominique

How to get close to God

As you are thinking about your goals and intentions you set for 2021, I want you to also think about where you are in your relationship with God. Is he your friend? Do you talk on a regular basis? Do you spend quality time together?

Even if you do all those things your relationship might not be as close as you want it to be. One of the intentions I set for 2021 was abundance. I’m not talking about abundance in material things or even in followers (although that would be nice lol) I want an abundance of peace, joy, wisdom. I want my cup to be so full its overflowing.

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I can’t get those things unless I am closer to God. The closer I get to God, the more my life is transformed. If I’m not close to God then I can’t make the changes I am trying to make.

My pastor preached the last Sunday of 2020 about getting closer to God. He said there were 4 things you needed to do. You can watch his sermon here but I will give you the cliff notes.

Luke 15:11-24 This is the story of the prodigal son. Read it when you get some time, it provides the background for the sermon.

1.Get fed up with your current condition. Being unsatisfied with your current condition is God knocking at your door.

2.Own up to your sin. Sin separates us from God. I am going to do a separate post about this because I have some additional thoughts. The sin that is separating you from God could be something small. It doesn’t have to be something major.

3.Offer yourself up. Give God permission to change you. Give yourself permission to be changed. You are allowed to change your mind, your thought process, your agenda, if you think it will make you better.

4.Give God praise. Father I thank you for your grace, mercy, goodness.

You may be thinking I don’t need to do all of this. God and I are fine. I’ve just been busy, in a rut. However, do you have an itch you can’t scratch? Do you just feel off? This might be the issue. You may have wandered away from God and you didn’t even realize it.

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Being close to God is about making sure he is your first option not your last resort. When you are upset, do you run towards him? Do you read your bible? Do you immediately pray or journal? Do you listen to inspirational music?

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Do you call your best friend to vent? Or do you grab junk food and Netflix? Down a glass of wine? I’m not saying those things are bad but they can delay your healing process. Whatever issue you are having has to eventually be addressed and numbing it or stuffing it isn’t going to help. We’ll talk more later about identifying and feeling your feelings.

In the meantime even if you don’t want to feel your feelings you can still talk to God. The Holy Spirit intervenes on your behalf. If you don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will advocate for you.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

Think about it! It can only help you if you run to God first and not temporary things. After you talk to him you may not even want to do the other things you were going to do.

Until next time,

Dominique

Have you noticed?

If you have been paying attention you would have noticed that I haven’t been doing my post on Fridays in quite a while. I used to feel very guilty about that. I don’t anymore. Times change and that isn’t a realistic goal right now. I still want to make sure I post every month. That’s not something I have accomplished yet in my years of blogging. We are almost half way through the year and I have continued to meet that goal so I feel good about that.

I have been focusing a lot on my mental health over the last year. It has been good. I have made a lot of strides. However as we have often talked about growth is not a straight line and it certainly doesn’t happen on our own time. Over the past few months, I feel like everything I have learned has been put to the test and I can’t say I necessarily passed each test with flying colors.

I will say that I have tried my best. I do recognize that I need to give myself grace. I need to have patience with my own process. Its hard though. My old perfectionist ways just refuse to die!

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I had a lot of mental health stuff I wanted to discuss in April but it didn’t really happen. That’s ok. May is mental health awareness month so I will do it now.

It was hard for me to talk about mental health when I know I was sometimes running to my old coping mechanisms. There is space for that though. April was a good reminder that I am not a constant self improvement project. I don’t have to keep striving to the next thing. I can sit in this space and be satisfied with where I am right now.

I am enough, just because, I don’t have to be producing anything, I can just be.

I just want to remind you that, while you are growing and evolving, take time to celebrate that you aren’t what you used to be. Remember that God put everything inside you of that you need to be the best version of you. You are just peeling back the layers so it can be released. You are just fertilizing the soil so the seed inside of you can blossom.

Until next time,

Dominique

Being intentional

We have talked before about being intentional, about how we use our time, how we take care of ourselves, how we talk to our signifcant others. Intentionality is important. I set my phone on DO NOT DISTURB for the first time ever last Friday. I had never done that before. It was very freeing.

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While I was figuring out how to put my phone on do not distrub, I noticed how many notifications I get from different apps. I get 44 notifications a day from Google. 44! That is insane. McCaffe Security sends me 41 per day, about what, I have no idea.

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I didn’t even know that I could stop this. I never looked into, never even thought about.

I feel that’s how people go about their day. Just dealing with situations as they arise vs setting aside time to map out how they want their day to look. Are you living out of habit or intention?

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How do you start your day? Are you waking up everyday checking social media or the news? Are you asking God to lead you as you move through out the day? Are you praying or meditating?Are you eating breakfast? Drinking water?

I think a lot about balance and try to be intentional about the choices that I’m making but sometimes I don’t do it. Its harder to be intentional when you are tired, stressed, hungry or bored. What are your triggers? What keeps you making the best choices all the time? Identifying what keeps you from making good choices can help you in the long run.

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I like this list because if you try you can do these things despite your circumstances. If wake up everyday and decide that nothing is going to disturb your peace you are going to make decisions to ensure that your peace isn’t disturbed. You can do that with anything in your life.

Intentional living is letting God know that you are ready and available for what he needs you to do. Being intentional helps you grow and not be stagnant. It helps you stop for a moment and reflect on how and why things are happening.

Being intentional is waking up everyday and deciding to live on purpose. Not just letting life happen to you but you impacting your life.What choices are you making today that your future self will thank you for?

Until next time,

Dominique

Its blooming season

Happy April and Spring to you!

New seasons are for new beginnings and new outlooks.

I’m extra excited for this spring because last spring was so rough. I feel like this spring will be different. I have been planting seeds, (doing the work) fertilizing the soil, (affirming myself) pulling weeds and pruning my garden (letting go of things that don’t serve me).

I’m excited to discuss how to bloom where your planted in this new season of life. Stay tuned in April as we talk about growth work and how to do it.

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Happy blooming,

Dominique