Putting blamelessness into practice

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/blameless/

I wrote a post about being blameless before I left on my trip with my girlfriends. I had a great weekend.

Waterfall at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The weather was gorgeous, had delicious food, desserts and drinks. We didn’t do a lot of interacting with the public, just each other. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and have no regrets.

on a bridge

When I got back home my mojo was off. One I was tired. Makes sense we definitely relaxed but we didn’t do a lot of sleeping. I felt all week like I was going through the motions. My devotional time was short, I didn’t feel like exercising, I didn’t drink my water, I barely made my bed. I was just off. I couldn’t put my finger on what the real problem was, it was definitely deeper than being tired. I wasn’t being blameless. I had basically had a weekend of binging all the things I don’t really do in excess anymore. Did I feel guilty? Not really. My recovery time was off. I felt like it took me almost a week to get back to my normal routine.

on a quick walk

How could I combat that? What do I do next time? I should pray more. I prayed the first night there but not so much the rest of the time. We are the only ones that can separates us from God, he doesn’t move We do. He knows what we’re going to do before we do it. So we might as well talk to him about it.

Update: I wrote the words above weeks ago. Right after I got back from my trip. I did feel a little guilty once I sat down and thought about it some more even though I hadn’t done anything wrong. I didn’t take my own advice though. I didn’t ask God to help me, I just avoided him. That’s not what we should do. God wasn’t upset with me. I was upset with myself. I was upset at an image that I THOUGHT I should be. Not who I actually had to be. I put all this pressure on myself.

God wants us to talk to him no matter what. Relationship and the state of our heart is more important than arbitrary rules.

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

 

Pray for your friends

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.2.1.NLT

 

When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Job 42:10 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/job.42.10.NLT

 

I saw a IG post that says pray for your friends because you don’t know what they are going through. Very good point. One of the things that I asked God for was to help me pray for my friends and not worry about them as much. I find myself worrying about them even more now because we are in a pandemic. I will say, because we have been in a pandemic and not able to go many places I have seen them a lot more often than normal circumstances. What about you? Have you seen your friends since you have been in pandemic? 

I realized recently that I was not really praying for the right things for my friends. I was praying for Gods will, but it was all surface stuff. Help in finding a job, help in a dispute with a boyfriend, peace for a death in the family, but I should have been doing more. I should have been praying for their souls more. For them to know God, for Him to give them wisdom, and peace beyond understanding, for endurance in their trials, for comfort to get through another day.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:3 NLT 

I didn’t give thanks enough for them either. My friends are all awesome. They all exude #blackgirlmagic. They are smart, funny, businesswomen, creatives, loyal, patient and kind and I wouldn’t be the woman I am without them. I love my husband but there is nothing like my girlfriends. They build me up, call me out, encourage me, listen to me complain and inspire me. I’ve known the majority of them for years and even the new ones have moved into my life and inspire me daily to be a better woman. 

I don’t want to be the person that says I’ll pray for you but it doesn’t really happen. I don’t want to be the friend that needs to know all your business before I can pray. We are intercessors on the Lords behalf, sometimes we may be the only praying that happens for someone that day. 

The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Remember that as you are having your prayer time. Pray not only for yourself but for your friends as well. 

the cover image is from Dictionary.com! 

Going off the beaten path

I went on a nature walk with some of my friends that quickly turned from just a walk into a lost in the woods adventure. It was very interesting because we moved off the trail very quickly and did so without hesitation. As we started to walk we ran into some really random things in the woods that we would not have seen otherwise. My friend said if we would have stayed on the path we would see things we would not have expected. When she said that to me, it really struck me. God used her to give a message to me and I don’t even think she realized it.

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How often do we want to follow the the path of least resistance? How often do we think we have to go the same way everyone else went to accomplish a goal? Getting to your dream might not be linear. It probably won’t be. There will be hills to climb and creeks to jump over. You may even get lost. How often when you are in pursuit of your passion do you lose sight of the vision? How often do you go back and check on the goal to insure your moving in the right direction?

I often get caught up in the  how to accomplish the goal that I miss the actually accomplishing of the goal. I get bogged down in the research and laying out the plan. How often do we get caught up in the work that we lose sight of where we’re going? 

We need to embrace the times when we go off course. I get so focused on things have to be done in this order or in this fashion, that I miss the inspiration. This post wouldn’t even exist if I had not have stopped working on another post to start it. I didn’t use to do that. If I sat down to write I had to finish that piece before I started working on another. I would never stop in the middle of something to write an idea down. 

You-Know-Youre-a-Writer-–-Write-Down-Ideas

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I’m beginning to shift my thinking and I am excited about where the road will take me. Don’t put yourself in a box as you are pursuing your passions. Remember that there is no one path to success. Someone told me that we should celebrate the steps, not just the destination. Its hard to do that when we are so focused on the goal. Being willing to go off course, could open you up to a world of possibilities. 

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. 

The cost of being ordinary (29)

Brene’ Brown says in her book Gifts of Imperfections:

Our culture is quick to dismiss quiet, ordinary, hardworking men and women. In many instances, we equate ordinary with boring or, even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless.

I read this and immediately agreed. Nobody wants to be ordinary, basic, regular. In the world of social media, ordinary people are not getting second looks.

So many teens look at people online and think that’s the way it has to be. They want to be social media influencers, versus influencing people in real life.

Those folks who are considered ordinary get lost in the shuffle. People who go to work, take care of their families, go to school, do the general right thing get no recognition.

We can live our whole lives and not have anything extraordinary happen. That doesn’t discount us. It doesn’t make us boring or regular, or lame.

People are  chasing images of what they think life is supposed to be like when in reality it’s not that way at all.

Nobody celebrates the dad who goes to work everyday, the kid in college working hard. This isn’t sexy or cool.

We have to change the conversation. I have recently started seeing Instagram post giving props to the ordinary citizen. The every day hero. We need to start the conversation about what makes a person important. What gives them value? It certainly is not how many social media followers they have. What are they contributing to society for the greater good? These are the things that matter.

Who is helping you grow? (27)

The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!

Psalms 16:3 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.16.3.NLT

I came across this the other day and it was a great reminder. Who are the godly people you look up to? I’m not talking about just surrounding yourself with godly friends but actually having people around that help you grow. Do you have a Christian mentor? Do you go to Sunday school or attend a bible study? Who is helping you in your spiritual growth? Do you read books or listen to podcasts that help in your growth?

No person is an island and we all need help. The small group I am in, has changed my life for the better. These women have challenged me, inspired, informed me. They have made me a strong prayer warrior and Christian women. They have encouraged me when I didn’t think I could go forward.

If you are the smartest person you know, then you need a new circle. If you are the only person praying over your life, then you may want to get some new friends.

Who is your enemy? (26)

I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.

Psalm 41:11 NIV

Who is my enemy? I used to read this literally, that this was talking about a actual enemy doesn’t triumph over me. For a long time I didn’t think it applied to me. I was well liked, it sounds nice but I don’t need this actual piece.

When you start asking questions like who is my enemy then you notice it is saying something deeper. If the world is my enemy then I have some work to do.

How can the world triumph over me? By making me think things of this world are acceptable to God. TV, social media, movies, magazines, etc.

People get mad because the bible doesn’t explicitly say you can’t do certain things. Children need you tell them exactly what they want you to do.God is your parent he wants you to start figuring things out for yourself. He kind of was of literal if you think about it. He said don’t be transformed by the things of this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

James 4:4

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

I deal with this on a daily basis. Trying to not to conform. I don’t always do so well. I don’t want to be a nun. What is the balance? Have you found it? I think the older I get the easier it is, but it is still difficult. The method is easy, closer you are to God easier it is to be like him. The action is what is harder.

Saints walked with Jesus. You can’t cut up when you standing right next to the person who knows your intention. You can’t run or hid from. God he is compassionate. We don’t have to be saints,  he will be with you any situation if you invite him in.

 

 

It’s not you, its me

Such a cliche right? I know but cliches are well known for a reason. It definitely fits my situation.

I have been pretty M.I.A most of the winter and spring. I usually hideout during the winter just because it’s cold and get over that post holiday hump but this year was different.

So many people had awesome things going on around me, new babies, new jobs, new houses and we didn’t have anything new happening. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing or surprising. We have been cruising in a good space for a while, we have found a good rhythm. Its hard to admit you are jealous or envious of your friends or family or coworkers. I don’t want to use the word envious or jealous because those are usually described as negative emotions. It’s more I’m happy for you and sad for me. Nobody wants that kind of energy at their birthday party, housewarming, BBQ, etc. I never want to be a Debbie Downee when I go somewhere so I just decided to stay away. That probably wasnt the best way to do it but hey we do what we know.

I know somebody who has had to watch other people around her have kids for years and she has been nothing but supportive. She is older than me so maybe it takes years to grow to that level of maturity. I admire that because I definitely couldn’t do it. I am not there yet but I’m working on it. God is making it more and more uncomfortable to be in this box. I haven’t been to a baby shower in years but now the people having babies are getting closer and closer to me. No choice but to go. I’m also trying to grow. I know I should be doing better, it is just hard.

The next time you haven’t heard from someone you care about in a while, reach out. I appreciate all the invites I got even though I wasn’t going.

The biggest reason now that’s holding me back from jumping back into the fray of where I used to hang out is because I don’t want to explain what I have been doing or why I wasn’t around.

That’s probably selfish of me. Would you feel like you wanted an explanation? Would you accept its not you, it’s me?

Awkward

via Daily Prompt: Awkward

awkward-causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience

Why is everyone so scared to be awkward? Issa Rae had a book and YouTube series about being an Awkward Black Girl. (the language is pretty bad, but its also pretty funny) I can identify with some of how she felt. I don’t think I am super socially awkward but I am human, so I am sure I have my moments. I think a lot, so I make sure I avoid it at all costs. Sometimes I avoid being awkward so much that I let things linger that probably shouldn’t. How long is to long to not talk to someone? How long is too long to not hang out with them? There is no beef but so much time has passed it feels awkward to make the call.

chuck swindoll

My friends say you don’t have to explain your absence, people just want to be reached out, thought about. Which in theory makes sense, but that initial conversation, what if its weird? What if the person is mad? What if the magic is gone?

I wrote a while back about spiritual growth being about reacting differently to the same situation and I want to, but then the whole issue of being awkward comes up and I start to think is it worth it? Embarrassment is a hard thing to get over and vulnerability is too. How do you tell someone its not you, its me? Would they even accept that? Can we go back to being what we were before? Do we want too? Can you trust me again? They say time heals all wounds but I just don’t know about that.

time heals

I try to look at it if one of my friends came back to me after a long hiatus like hey whats up we should hang out. Would I be upset? Probably not, but things don’t necessarily bother me like they bother other people. I am going to take the plunge real soon and see how it goes. I have held this off for too long. God doesn’t want me holding on to anything. I could be blowing this situation up in my mind and making it worse than what it is. I won’t know until I pick up the phone. I will let you know my progress.