Letting go of what doesn’t serve me

I was listening to a podcast the other day, The Suga. Its a podcast for black moms but most of the conversations I think would be relevant for any woman. One of the thing the host said that really struck me was, “I’m letting go of things that don’t serve me.”

Yvonne Orji Word GIF by Insecure on HBO
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I felt that in my bones, but its easier said that done. I have been working really hard on making sure I am doing things because I want to and not out of some weird obligation that I put on myself. Some days I am successful at it and other days I am not.

I really wanted to dive deeper into this concept. I have talked about this process a little in the post Unlearning. Unlearning is all about letting go of thought processes go that no longer serve you. I feel like this is the next step in that process. Letting go of activities that no longer serve me. This to me is harder because in unlearning you can immediately see the benefit and it impacts nobody but yourself. I don’t want to appear selfish by saying no or not helping at some function or attending some event.

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giphy.com

I have to remind myself that self care is not selfish and letting go of things that don’t serve me is only going to help me feel better.

How do know that something no longer serves you?

How do you feel when you leave that event?

How do you feel when you complete that activity?

If you don’t feel like you gained anything then it may be time to do something else. By gained I mean, do you feel full? Fulfilled? Satisfied?

Or is it just something to check off your list?

Are these (whatever your thing/s is) pouring into you?

When I was dealing with FOMO, I said I was only going to pour into people who poured into me. It helped me a great deal in dealing with missing out on activities or feeling like I needed to be invited somewhere. I am going to start applying that same philosophy to my calendar as well.

Another good reminder that I got from the Joyce Meyer book I just finished was, just because this thing I am doing is great, doesn’t mean that it is great for me. I have to learn to let go.

Resources

This guided mediation was pretty cool. I didn’t use everything they said, but they were definitely some great takeaways.

How to live a blessed life

I just finished a study on Psalm 119. Every week I will give you a lesson on what I learned from this psalm. King David wrote Psalm 119 over a long period of his life. I like King David because God once called him a man after his own heart. I want God to describe me in that way. I also like King David because he wasn’t perfect. We see him make some pretty big mistakes in his life but God still blessed him and his children. It sounds like a good example to follow to me.

God wants to bless us, not only with material blessings, but with peace and love and strength.

Psalm 119:1-16

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
    do not utterly forsake me.How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word

What is a blessed life?

A happy, fulfilled, contented life. As you can see a blessed life doesn’t have anything to do with possessions, or job or where you live.

Characteristics of a blessed life

Maturing in my Christian walk

Knowing I can trust God

Remembering that everything happens for our good

God is always with me

I win, no matter what!

How to live a blessed life

Blameless, walk in the law

seek him with your whole heart

learn his righteous rules

praise with whole heart

Study his word

When we compare what is a blessed life vs what it takes to get a blessed life, it certainly seems more challenging. We should use this list to strive towards these things, its like our shoot for the starts, land on the moon scenario. If we are doing the best we can, we will achieve a blessed life. In our day to day pursuit of a blessed life, we are pointed towards God. We don’t have to do anything on our own, God is going to walk with us every step of the way.

You see living a blessed life doesn’t have as much to do with being a “good person” and more about your relationship with God. Reading this post could potentially lead to more questions. Don’t worry I got you.

You could be saying: Why do I have to praise him with my whole heart? How do I even do that? Come back. I will let you know.



Resources

I thought I had a better plan

By nature I am a planner. However when I get an idea in my head I jump.

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I immediately get into planner and execution mode. I pray but I don’t always wait for God to answer. I look for signs of what I want to do not necessarily what God wants me to do.

Earlier in quarantine I was feeling promptings from God but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it is. I thought I should start a podcast. So I immediately found a co-host.

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A girl at church that I know from leadership classes who is funny and smart, young but most definitely a bible scholar. We discussed names, themes, etc.  I even did research  on how to start a podcast but I wasn’t feeling quite right about but I didn’t know why.

In bible study we were studying Jonah and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought I knew better than God. If you are doing what God wants, there will be peace. God is not a God of confusion. 1 Corinthians 14:33   Jonah thought he knew better than God, that’s why he didn’t want to go Tarshish like God wanted him to. Jonah 1-2

Just like Saul in 1 Samuel 15. God told Saul to go kill everyone, leave nothing behind.  Saul thought he knew better and decided to save the king and all the best animals. He said he was going to give the best animals to God as a sacrifice. Sounds good, but that wasn’t his instruction from God.

I like this girl from church but I don’t know her that well. I didn’t know if we would vibe hosting a podcast.

Hip Hop Vibe GIF by FanmioDance Dancing GIF

I should have probably asked her to teach a Sunday school class with me first to see how we play off each other on a consistent basis. I should have done a lot of things differently but I wanted to start things right away. Its that microwave growth syndrome. I was supposed to call her a week later to discuss our research but I forgot, which isn’t like me at all. Forgetting to call her was a clear sign that I needed to rethink some things. It wasn’t meant to be right now. I know that because even though a podcast is a great idea and I am not opposed to doing one later, that isn’t what God told me to do. 

I know I you’re probably thinking that this isn’t that serious. What’s the big deal with starting a podcast? The big deal isn’t about the podcast. Its about not doing what God told me to do. Its thinking I knew more than God

Tv Land I Know Everything GIF by YoungerTV

I was really avoiding getting back into my blog. I can’t even say I had a good reason I was just scared. I was worried again about what people would think of me. I was worried that they would reject me the messenger because things I’ve done or things I have said. I am definitely not a holy roller. I felt having a co-host would take some of the heat off of me and my shortcomings.

I didn’t start the podcast instead I prayed. I asked God to give me strength and help me overcome my fear of what people think. Its always better to pray, first and move later.

all gifs from giphy.com

Resources

Jonah 1-2

1 Samuel 15

Accountability partners

I recently wrote a post about using my friends to keep me accountable in my writing and someone in the Christian Writers Network group I am in asked me some great questions.

How do you find an accountability partner?

If you have a network at church I would start there because hopefully you can find like minded people.  If not there then a trusted (girl)friend who respects your goals. You also could try special interest group like the Christians Writers Network that I found on Facebook, or weight loss group, alcoholics anonymous, etc, it really just depends on your goal.

What do I look for in an accountability partner?

I would make sure this person can call you out if you are not getting your goals done. So you want your accountability partner to be someone you trust. You also want to make sure they are not too busy to check in with you about your goals. I would also try to find someone who has similar goals. If you are trying to work out 3x a week, it may not be a good idea to have your friend who doesn’t work out hold you accountable to that goal. I asked my friends to hold me accountable with this blog because they read it consistently and if I miss a post they would say something.

What is expected from both partners?

Both people should be able to check in with each other to make sure they are staying on target, pray for each other and (respectfully) call you out if you start to slip. You should also motivate each other to stay faithful when it gets hard.

Support

I think support is important in your accountability partner too. You want someone who can work out with you sometimes or by the product you are trying to sell, pop in your Zoom meeting or read what you’re writing. You don’t just want somebody who keeps you on track. You want somebody that believes in what you are doing and that you be will be successful.

Reminders

Be open with your accountability partner not just about your successes but with your failures as well. Be open to their feedback, good and bad. This person is just trying to help you grow. Respect any meet ups or check ins you have. If you aren’t going to respect what you all have set up, you won’t be able to get the full benefit of the process.


Additional resources

What is an Accountability Partner — And How to Choose Yours

 

6 steps to finding your passion

1. Ask God to help you. The very first thing you should do is pray. We will talk later about taking assessments and quizzes but none of that really helps if it isn’t what God wants you to do.

Lead me in the right path, O Lord , or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. Psalms 5:8 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.5.8.NL

2. Think about what you’re good at. What do you like to do? What are your hobbies? When I asked God to help me find my passion the first thing that popped in my head was writing and reading. I didn’t think those things could be gifts because they weren’t hard. I didn’t have to work at them. I went to see an author speak at a high school in my area and when she talked about how she got her start it was from journaling. I was amazed! I journaled everyday for years. If this lady could use that as her jumping off point to a successful writing career then so could I. I never thought it could be that simple but it is.

For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/pro.2.6.NLT

3. Take some aptitude tests if necessary. I have done three different types of assessments, spiritual gifts, Strengthsfinder, and the Enneagram. For me, all three assessments were important. I wanted to do the spiritual gifts test because I wanted to know how what I have could used inside the body of Christ specifically. I do feel like most of the things I discovered were similar but that isn’t a bad thing. Finding some of my skills were similar gave me confirmation that I was moving in the right direction.

https://giftstest.com/

Spiritual Gifts Test – Adult Version

https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/strengthsfinder.aspx   (Strengths is not free, but very informative. You could see if your job could pay for the test.)

https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test ( This is free and I felt it was the most accurate when describing the type of person I was.

4. Think about your experiences good and bad. This can help you develop your passion by thinking about how you would recreate those experiences for other people. Everything we go through can be used for good not only for us but for others. When I decided that I wanted to take my writing seriously, I wanted to write the things I was searching for and not finding anywhere. I want people to type in a key word or hashtag and find my blog. Eventually, I want to write the books that I have not seen written for people my age.

5. Try something new. Is there something you have seen online that looks interesting? Is there a master class you want to take? Is there something that you always wanted to try but have been afraid to? 

6. Don’t worry if the thing you already want to do is being done. It doesn’t matter how people are doing thing you do. There is someone that needs what YOU have to offer and nobody does it like you. We are each unique and designed with a purpose. A good friend of mine told me to think about how many different types of bread are in the store. Tons! Has that stopped people from making bread? Nope! 

Pursing your passion is going to involve taking a risk. God has put everything inside of you already that you need to succeed. Don’t let fear or fear of failure stop you from giving your gifts to the world.   

 

 

Now that quarantine is over

I am in an interesting space as we come out of strict quarantine and summer is upon us. Summer definitely looks different with COVID-19 and protesting happening all across the country. I saw tons of memes on my social media about if you didn’t come out quarantine having accomplished something then you were just lazy. I just don’t believe that to be true. Thankfully someone agreed because they changed it. This one makes a lot more sense.

lacked discpline reddit

reddit.com

 

If I am being honest. I have not completed a ton of projects in the 2 months that we were forced to stay. Posting again was one of the things I wanted to accomplish, so Yay me! for getting that done.

I just felt really stuck with not working in the traditional sense, and my baby and husband being here and the days rolling together.

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I had been feeling really off spiritually for a while, and that’s another thing that quarantine helped me get on track. I have attended more Sunday school and bible study than I ever would have if we were not in quarantine.

I felt bad though. I was spending too much time on Hulu, social media and reading books. I was having a mini vacation from the world and seeing other people have something tangible to show for their quarantine efforts really bothered me.

In my noon day bible study that I go to, she told us to go back and read your old journals to see where God has brought you from. It wasn’t really a pleasant experience, like I see God answering prayers but I also see a lot of heartache. I also decided to go back and read some of my old blog posts. There are over a 100 so it was more a skim, but I came across this one. Its one of the first posts I did and it talks about the name I picked for the blog. That was three years ago and I am still having this same problem. I talk about being stuck in research mode instead of just taking the leap and doing the thing you said you were going to do.

I sat down about 6 weeks ago and laid out my plan of my hearts desires. I asked God to be with me in those plans because there a lot of things my heart desires. After I wrote them down and prayed some more I put dates that I wanted to accomplish them. I continued to pray about those things in my quiet time until my Pastor preached a sermon on fear. Click the link. It’s really good you should watch it. It had a lot of great points but the one that stuck with me is we need to quit praying and move! I felt like God had slapped me, like, Hey, I’m talking to you! All this research and worrying, you are not going to get anything done. Just do it!

Then I had a conversation with my friends one Sunday after a nature walk (more on that in a later post) about pursing your passions and how much people pay for content, how to get things done and my mind was blown. I left so inspired! So ready to hit the ground running.

My next few posts will be about pursuing your passions and how to ensure you accomplish the goals you set. Stay tuned!

p.s-COVID-19 is still a thing, wear a mask.

 

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This may have been in March but its still relevant. 

Cancel culture

My number 1 choice for tv inspiration would be Joyce Meyer. You guys know she is my favorite. I have read several of her books and I even saw her in person over the summer (for free!). My second choice would be Rick Warren. I would say he is my pastor’s favorite. Lately though I’ve been looking for something else. Just a different voice. I came across Steven Furtnick on YouTube. I really enjoyed the sermon I watched. He was young and fresh. Different than the preachers I’ve watched in the past. So of course I start to research him on Google. I was surprised to find several disparaging articles. Now granted they are 5+ years old but still. Everybody is a critic nowadays and when you are in the public eye it can be even worse.  I don’t know what to do.

Should I continue to listen to his message or do I take the critics seriously? In the world of cancel culture its easy to write someone off. What would you do?

I wrote the first two paragraphs back in February before the Black Lives Matter protests starting happening even before COVID-19. Does it feel like there was a time before COVID-19?

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Cancel culture has gotten even bigger in the face of Black Lives Matter. People are cancelling celebrities left and right as they come out saying all kinds of things.

Once a person is cancelled do they get to be redeemed? One example would be Kanye West. I LOVED Kanye West when I was younger, his music was great and it spoke to the people. Remember this?

kanye west

I saw that happen live! It was amazing. It was what a lot of us were thinking at the time and he just said it. However, that Kanye left us and was replaced by this guy.

kanye west maga

Kanye has definitely been cancelled by many of his fans. Myself included. I have not listened to a Kanye album in a long time. Recently however, Kanye has donated 2 million dollars to support the families of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. 

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/04/entertainment/kanye-west-two-million-dollar-donation/index.html

How awesome is that?!

It is amazing and I am very proud of him for doing that. The question remains…Is he still cancelled?

I’m still on the fence. I need to see more from Kanye before I make a decision on that or not. 

The one thing missing in all my observations is GRACE. When we think about cancelling people, or not listening to their message because of one mistake they make, what kind of person does that make us? 

Do we take into consideration what might have been going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about?

As we consume content and products out here in the world, where do we draw the line?  

Ask yourself what matters to you as you watch people/corporations make their statements about Black Lives Matter. Do their actions back up with what they are saying? Are they ready to truly change their ways? Have they learned anything? Does the action feel genuine? 

Remember that everyone is redeemable. Just as quickly as we cancel someone, remember they can be un-cancelled as well.

Progress over perfection

I’ve been avoiding my blog because since I have become a new mom I really haven’t the time to dedicate to it that I did before I was pregnant. You know how you avoid someone you haven’t talked in a while. Like we don’t have any beef but at this point its kind of awkward if we talk again. What will we talk about?

Several people have asked me and I didn’t want this blog to turn into a “mommy blog”. I don’t feel like I have a enough experience to speak about that, although I know that is the kind of vulnerability people are looking for.  I don’t want to alienate any of my readers though. I didn’t read mommy blogs when I wasn’t a mom. Its a new element of my life and it will be featured but I am going to try and not let that dominate my content.

I heard this phrase progress over perfection the other day and it really touched me. I want this blog to be the very best of me and I would like it to reach hundreds of people. To do that I need to dedicate more time into making sure its good. At what cost though?

The writing is never the problem. That’s my passion. The gift that God gave me that I haven’t been using to the fullest. I felt like God gave me the greatest gift of all time, my baby boy but  I haven’t been giving him back his gift. I’ve talked about this before, using the gift God gave you. I’m trying. I heard once that Jesus is gentleman, he never pushes you. I have been getting subtle hints for a while now, different verses and confirmation. I saw this on Instagram and just decided to go for it.

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Its always the extra stuff, the pictures, the memes, the gifs that I add in to make you want to read and keep coming back. I wrote all summer while I was off on maternity leave but I have posted any of it. That’s about to change.

Content will be coming out, not as often as before. I am thinking once a week or twice a week at first and see how that goes. I appreciate all the followers I have for sticking by me. So we are back on the train again. Funny thing this is when I started posting on the blog when the blog first began. Welp, I’m back at it. Come hang out with me!

Let the good times roll

Recently I have been in a very good place in my life, work is good, Being pregnant, my husband got a new job. We have no complaints over here. Its been a long time since I have been able to make this kind of declaration. It’s an exciting time in my life with lots of changes and growth. I must admit that its been going to my head a little bit. Its very easy to spend time with God everyday when things are not going well. When you are in a PIT (personal intense trial, Wendy Pope) all you have is the Lord.

I talked about this some previously in Using your gift about not doing what I knew I was supposed to be doing because I was so sick. I had a decent excuse then. I was so giddy and happy that it was hard for me to focus on my bible reading and nothing was holding my attention for very long. I knew I needed to get back on track but I just didn’t know how. I asked this question in the leadership class I take at church.

How do you maintain the same level of personal relationship with God when things are going well? 

We have seen many fall in the bible fall victim to their own success, Saul, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, just to name a few. I don’t want that to happen to me. A young lady in the class gave a great answer to my question. She talked about Asa a king in the Old Testament. Asa was king during a time of peace and what he did during peace time was tear down idols and prepare for war. This makes perfect sense! This brings up another set of questions.

How do we today tear down idols? How do we prepare for war?

Clearly we don’t have physical idols to or battles that we need to prepare for but what spiritual idols do you need to tear down? What spiritual battles do you need to get ready for? I am going to talk about how to do this in my next post.

 

New kid on the block

I have been working in the same job for the last 4 years. I am a college counselor. I love my job and am I good at it. I recently made a move to a new school this year and it completely shook my confidence.

I have only been there a month but I have learned a lot of lessons in the last 30 days.

1. I don’t have anything to prove. I am good at my job and I don’t have to do it the same way the previous person did.
2. I can not be everything for everybody. I was literally running myself ragged trying to make every meeting, do every presentation, sometimes trying to be two places at once. It was unnecessary. I wasn’t giving anything 100% because I was trying to do too much.
3. I can make mistakes. I am not perfect and that is ok. Nobody is putting any pressure on me but me. I just need to relax and do what I’m good at.
4. Trust is a very interesting thing. I’m going to talk more about this in a later post. I don’t really know the team I am working with that well yet. I am used to being excluded from things and being left off emails so I have been just showing up places. I don’t need to, my counterpart hasn’t left me off anything. He hasn’t done anything for me not to trust him.

Being a new person is not easy for me, nor is change. When I first started it was hard. I was lonely and nervous and unsure of myself. 30 days later I feel more relaxed. I have made some friends and I am learning the lay of the land. This change is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I am so glad that I didn’t block my blessing by being afraid.