Hope

The word I am focusing on this week is hope. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

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I spent so much of my life waiting on things. I had to wait 7 years to get married. I had to wait 7 years to have a baby. I see now why I had to wait on those things but I certainly didn’t understand it at the time.

The bible talks a lot about hope. A few of my favorites:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

This Hebrew verse is one that I relied on a lot when I was trying to get pregnant. It talks about holding on to hope because he who promises is faithful.

I can remember month after month waiting on God and not knowing why it was taking so long. What did he want me to do? I would start on the downward spiral of losing hope. What if this never happens? Maybe I don’t deserve a baby.

Something would always stop me though. As bad as I felt I never stayed that far down for too long. I knew if I lost hope I would have nothing to cling to. There would be no where else to go.

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I felt like I couldn’t lose hope because I knew even though it had not happened yet that God could do it. I didn’t come by this feeling overnight. I did a lot of research. I asked God to take this desire away if he didn’t want me to have it. If it wasn’t in his will, then take it away because it hurt to bad to continue to be disappointed month after month.

Feeling like you are losing hope?

Ask God to grow your faith in the places of doubt. Have him show you in little ways how he has been faithful.

Make a list of all the things God has done for you this year.

Ask Him if your dream or desire needs to be tweaked.

Find verses about your situation in the bible to build your hope back up. There is nothing new in the world your situation is in there. I have written down so many verses about infertility and being a mother.

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Hope is powerful. It doesn’t have to be big. When you feel your hope fading just ask God to help you in your unbelief. He understands. He wants you to reach out. Anything is possible even if you only have a sliver of hope, hold on to it. Remember what God has done for you before and know that he can do even more than you could ever imagine.

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Resources

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

Happy Thanksgiving

We talked about being grateful earlier in the month and here is the big day to focus on what you are thankful for.

I challenge you to think of three things a day you are thankful for next month. We shouldn’t only focus on our thanks in November or on Thanksgiving but really all year round. I know things are hard as we are into our 8 month dealing with Covid here in the US. If you were like me, you never would have thought we would be going into the end of the year dealing with this with no end in sight.

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Too often we focus on what do not have, instead of all the things we do have. This Thanksgiving may not be like it was last year, but you are here to celebrate. That counts for something.

Three things I am thankful for today:
1. I still have a job

2. I was able to travel despite most things being shut down

3. No one in my immediate circle of family and friends have Covid.

15 Bible Verses on Thankfulness

Rest

The word I am focusing on this week is Rest. I have not been doing a lot of it and its starting to catch up with me. I’m not usually person that needs to be told to take a break. I love relaxing! Most of my favorite activities involve sitting down, lol.

Lately though, I have been cramming my schedule to the max because it FEELS like we have more time because we are spending it at home. It’s true but sometimes more time at home, needs to just be more time at home.

I thought I had Covid a few weeks ago, not because I had been coughing, or had a fever or sore throat but because I was tired. Tieeeeeed.

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I know that one of the symptoms is fatigue so I’m like oh no, the other stuff is about to start, but it never did. I don’t have Covid, I need to rest. Not just physically rest but mentally rest.

Sankalpa Life: How to Rest When You Feel Like You Should be Busy
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I like this list I found online. I schedule a lot of things in my life, I appreciate a good list. However I have never scheduled rest time, I don’t have a day scheduled for just me. I schedule days to hang with friends, date nights with my husband, but not for myself. I need to fix that asap. One of my friends reads the blog and started having Self Care Sunday based on what she read here. Her kids even have been doing Self Care Fridays. Clearly I haven’t been taking my own advice.

I also need to uncommit to some activities but I don’t want to do it.

The reason why I dont want to cut anything that I have been doing is because I hate FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT). I’ve talked about it here before, I have gotten much better with it, but it still lingers from time to time.

From Fear to Joy of Missing Out: FoMo VS YoMo - Youth Time Magazine
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JOMO is a concept I had never heard of but it makes a lot of sense. Its the JOY OF MISSING OUT. Filling content with staying in and disconnecting as a form of self care.

I’m bad as a kid thinking I am going to miss something. I’m letting it go though because I am not giving all the things on my calendar 100%. I’m just rushing from one thing to the next. I need to be a whole person to take care of my son, to be a good wife, to be the best version of myself.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 29-30

I should have done it sooner, but better late than never. Its never too late to make yourself a priority.

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

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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.

 

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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!

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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!