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.

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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

Making bible study interesting

When you hear bible study what do you think? Boring, hard, work, school, too difficult. Too much. Where do I start?

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I used to feel that way about bible study. Some times I still do.

If you have been reading this blog for any period of time you would say, but Dominique you like to read. True. I do. So that helps. I bet you would like to read if it was interesting and didn’t take a long time. Bible study doesn’t have to be like being back in school. It can be as simple as you want it to be. The internet has made it a lot easier to find a method that works for you.

This is what I do. 

Pray. I don’t mean in any overly spiritual sense. Just ask God to show what he wants you to see.

Think. Think about the things you ask God when you pray. Do you ask God to bless you at work? Do you ask God to help you raise your kids? Do you ask God to help you be a better wife, partner, etc? Do you want to know God’s character or promises? You can start there.

Find. You can do this a few different ways. You can look in the bible app and they have a search option where you can type a key word and it will give you all the scriptures in the bible that relate to that word. So when I wanted to know who God is, I type it in the search box.

Tons of scripture popped up. If you’re old schooling it and reading a physical bible, it hopefully has a topic search in the back where you can look up things by subject. If you don’t have a study bible you should get one. Super helpful. They typically have reading plans to help you get started, so you aren’t just opening your bible and trying to land on something that speaks to you. I definitely used to do that. You could also go to Pintrest or Google and somebody has already did the finding for you, you just have to get your verse for the day.

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Pintrest.com livingfreeindeed.com

Write. Once you find a verse or passage that speaks to what you’re looking for, write it down. It can be in the notes app on your phone, but you want to write down what comes to your head or questions you may have so you can refer back to it later. 

Remember this:

The good thing about studying the bible is that it doesn’t have to be done in any specific way. There are tons of methods out there. 

15 minutes is a great place to start. God just wants your time and attention. Reading the bible is good but it just skims the surface. Devotionals are a great place to start if you don’t have a lot of time.

Pray and write, that’s all you have to do, everything else will fall into place.

The more you study the word of God, unlike Algebra, or OChem, the more you will want to study it and learn more. 

Don’t worry I am here to help. I am going to include  in future posts some more bible study methods and tips that will help.


Resources

Good study bibles-Quest, LifeHack, Life Application  

SOAP bible study method

11 Ways to Study the Bible: Methods, Techniques & Tips

 

 

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

 

Silencing the inner critic

Do you have an inner critic that harasses you? I certainly do. It can be ridiculous sometimes. I am about to start reading a book, Get out of your head by Jennie Allen to help me deal with this a little better. In the mean time though, I started to research what I needed to do to essentially work on my self-talk. 

I know that if I am more critical of myself I am more critical of other people. I don’t want to be that way. Based on my research this is what I have discovered.

I saw this definition of inner critic vs inner guidance. Wow.

 

Chloe Bailey Wow GIF by grown-ish

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innercriticvs.innerguidance 

I felt both seen and attacked at the same time. This description is excellent. I didn’t even realize that I do some of these things but now that I have the framework I can begin to change my thought process.

The first thing on here is thinks in black or white. I definitely do that. I am not big on seeing shades of gray. Either it is or it isn’t. People have been pointing this out to me recently so I am working on trying to see additional options.

I wrote a post about combating the devil with Gods word.   This a great idea, I just need to be more consistent. I also need to memorize the word. Study it so if you can’t memorize you know what it means. Speak it to yourself. That way as soon as something bad pops in my head, I can tell my inner critic to hush!

Stop Talking Fix My Life GIF by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

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I will also stop rehearsing events. Sometimes after going someplace I would replay things that I said and how I responded to things. Should I have said it differently? Should I have responded differently? This doesn’t help me however because the event has already happened. It does me no good to replay every word I said.

When do you hear your inner critic the loudest?

What books or passages do you read in the bible for comfort?

My inner critic comes out sometimes when I read the bible. That’s not good because I take what should be conviction and turn it in to condemnation. Condemnation doesn’t come from God.  I just read that we shouldn’t just look to the bible for just conviction but also for comfort. Which I know in theory makes sense but in practice is something very different. I have been reading Psalms every night before I got to bed. It has been helping.

The picture below is exactly what is going on in my head. I wouldn’t say that I was being mean and critical to myself. I would say that I just trying to improve upon whatever I am doing. Clearly that is FALSE!

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@justgirlproject I love their page!

 

I don’t mind taking risks but the “putting myself out there” is the hard part. I am learning however that when I am weak, I am strong. I will talk more about this concept in some upcoming posts. 


Resources

https://www.projectinspired.com/how-to-silence-your-inner-critic/ https://thinkdivinely.com/setting-your-mind-on-christ-are-you-ready-to-silence-that-inner-critic/

How are you using your time?

For the month of July I have only been working 15 hours a week so you would thought I would have a lot more time to get things done. Not!

The days seem to go by so fast and I’m chasing down a burgeoning toddler so I really need to use my time wisely. I don’t however. I’m off today so you would think I would have been able to accomplish a lot. I didn’t.

When I wasn’t chasing my son down or keeping him from falling off something I essentially scrolled through Instagram. Not a good look.

I watched a video in my leadership class from this movie with Justin Timberlake in the movie In Time.  Here is a summary but watch the clip. The visual is crazy. Time is currency and he is trying to meet up with his mom. His mom doesn’t have enough time so they are within fingertips of each other but she doesn’t make it. She runs out of time.

The facilitator then asked us, what if the mom was your dream?

Shook! 

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So much time has been wasted on frivolous things, on things that don’t matter. When I think about how much writing and research I could get done when I’m just sitting watching the Disney Channel or scrolling through IG, I know I have work to do. I know we all can do better. Or if you already are using your time wisely, tell us how. I think it goes back to be intentional about keeping commitments to yourself. 

Having accountability partners.  A friend and I had this conversation a while ago about being more productive with free time and I told her how I’m going through all the screenshots on my phone and putting them in folders so I can find them quickly when I need them.

Great idea 💡. When is the last time I did that? We probably had that conversation a month ago or longer. I decided to do it today since I clearly was just sitting here. I didn’t like it much though. It was boring and tedious. I have over a 1000 screenshots on my phone. Its going to take me forever to sort through them all.

Is there an app for that?

UPDATE: I did discover that I can tag the pictures and put them in different categories then I can search when I need them later. Super helpful.

Use your time wisely. With us STILL being in at home its easy to just waste time because all the days seem the same. Don’t do it! Try anyway to push through. Time feels infinite but its not. We aren’t behind. However we could probably be doing more. 

Don’t just chase your dreams, do the work to catch them.

 

Bible in a year plan…again

I knew I needed to do more listening to God and less talking and the easiest and fastest way to do so is reading his word. I decided to read the Bible in chronological order. I have read it through in the traditional sense and wanted to try a different way that would keep my interest. By reading it in chronological order I’m going to get some historical context that I didn’t have previously. I found a great article that talks about six benefits of reading the bible in chronological order.

First thing I noticed in reading it chronologically is that Job comes right after Genesis. In the traditional or thematic bibles I’ve seen its not like that. After Job comes Psalms which you’ll definitely need after reading Job lol.

I’ve been reading it chronologically for a week now and its rough. I wanted to read it in a different order to switch it up and get a different perspective. Unfortunately I see myself running into the same problems I did when I read the bible in a year plan in 2019

In chronological order you get 12 chapters of Genesis and boom you’re hit with Job. Job is like 50 chapters long. It’s a hard read. Job and his friends are talking for most of it and God doesn’t even come in until the book is almost over.

I don’t want to give up, no matter how hard it is. God’s word will never return void.

I am going to try and follow these three steps.

  1. Pray before I start and ask God want does he want me to get out this reading. 
  2. Try not to read so fast. If I only do 2 chapters at a time, I can better digest what I’m reading. I can read 2 chapters in the morning and 1 or 2 at night before bed.
  3. Take notes as I read. Taking notes will help me retain what I just read and be able to recall it when I need it later.

These steps will help if you are reading a lot of the bible at once or if you are reading a short passage.

 

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I found this on Pintrest.

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! 

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.

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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. 

Encourage Yourself

Talk to yourself how you talk to other people

I heard a sermon today where the preacher said watch your self talk. It really struck me. You would never talk to other people how you talk to yourself. We beat ourselves down with self doubt, self pity, and a host of other terrible things to keep us from living our best lives. If a friend came to you and said they had a great idea about something, even it is seemed a little outlandish, you would still encourage them right? I encourage people all the time. I typically am a glass half full person, but not when it comes to my own hopes and dreams. Its very easy to talk myself out of things.

Why don’t we talk to ourselves like that? Why are we are own worst critic? Remember that we are made in Gods image. He knit you together before you were born. Is that a hard concept to understand? Sounds good in practice but hard to do in real life. I used to do that, still do, build other people up but tear myself down with worry, doubt and insecurity. Then I decided to start telling myself all the things I say to other people. I’m the bomb.com, I can do anything I put my mind too, people want to hear what I have to say. I also went back and read who God is. I reminded myself that I was his child, made in His image, He certainly had enough power to help me if I tapped into it. How often do we rely on our own power and not on God’s and then wonder why our plans don’t succeed? Its not because we suck or it was never going to happen, but because we forged ahead without Him. So if you are reading this and want to stop downing yourself remember that you are a child of God and He wants nothing but for you to be happy, successful, content. You don’t have to beat yourself up there are enough people in the world to do that, the media, the president, don’t do it to yourself. Every time a negative thought pops in your head, replace it with a negative one. Put positive affirmations on your bathroom mirror, your screen saver on your phone, your desk at work, anyplace that you will see it. Only play music that builds you up, same thing with the tv shows and movies you watch. Change your thought life, change your real life. Joyce Meyer wrote a book Battlefield of the Mind. It helps deal with negative self talk. Joyce can be a bit wordy but she makes some excellent points. Some of my favorites are “The mind is the leader or forerunner of all actions.” “If our thoughts are going to affect what we become, then it should certainly be a priority that we think right thoughts.

Try to make sure you always build yourself up, you are the only one who truly has to deal with you. The only person you need to impress is yourself. God made you so He already knows how great you are, and nobody else really matters.