Comparison is the thief of joy

Such a true statement. People always talk about not comparing yourself to other people. Easier said than done but you can work on that. It’s obvious why you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people so I feel like its easier for me to not do that. How often do you find yourself comparing yourself to the person you used to be? How often are you comparing yourself to the person you thought you would be?

These two questions are the one I have the most trouble with. I have drastically cut back on comparing myself to other people by cutting down on my social media usage. However, its really hard to stop comparing this self to my former self.

I look at old pictures in my phone, like man I wish my skin still looked like it used to, even though back then, I thought my skin looked bad. I’m sure we can identify with this meme. I have certainly been there. Or how I used to party and have such a great time out and now every time I go out its wack. You can compare how one friend treats you compared to another friend or you can compare how your boyfriend treats you vs how he treated his ex. Its all comparison.

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I like this quote by Iyanla Vanzant. I never thought about it like this before but its very true. Quickest way to put yourself down is start comparing. When I try to compare myself to where I am supposed to be vs where I am, its a recipe for disaster. Its so unnecessary too. If I wasn’t supposed to be in the space I am in, I wouldn’t be here. Nothing is by coincidence. God laid out every day of my life before I was born. Remembering that brings me great comfort because I know, nothing is happening to me that he is not aware of or has not ordained.

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The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He doesn’t want to us to be happy. I feel like sometimes I am doing ok and I feel bad out of nowhere, its because the devil wants to knock me off my block. I’m not going to let him though. I am not accountable to anyone but me and I am perfectly fine where I am. My story is mine alone. It doesn’t matter where I was or where I am going as long as I am content right now. The past has already happened and the future will get here in its own time.

Do you feel like God left you on read? 10 reasons he might not be answering…

Do you feel like you have been praying and not getting an answer? Do you feel like your prayers are hitting the ceiling?

There may be a few reasons why God isn’t answering.

1. Did he already answer and you just don’t like what he said? I’ve done that. So I just kept asking waiting. I felt like he was ignoring me but really he had already told me the answer. I just didn’t like it.

2. Do you have unrepentant sin? Have you been doing things you know God doesn’t want you to do? If you are ignoring the Holy Spirit about your actions that can be a problem. God wants you to clean that up. Remember God sees all sin the same, no matter what you are doing, or how you rationalize it.

3. Are you being disobedient? Is God telling you to do something and you aren’t doing it? Are you ignoring what he is asking you to do?  Do you think you have a better plan than God? He might be waiting on you to take the first step to show yourself faithful. Then he will give you more instruction.

4. Are you holding any grudges? God doesn’t hold grudges against us, so he doesn’t want us to hold grudges against others. Let it go. 

5. Are you giving him time to answer? Just because it feels like a long time, unfortunately in God time it isn’t. 2 Peter 3:8-9

6. Are you spending time with him? Is it quality time? Or are you just asking your questions and leaving? You are giving God your prayer requests but don’t actually wait to hear what he he has to say. Sometimes he doesn’t answer because he wants to get your attention.

7. Are your motives wrong? James 4:3. What you might be asking for may not be in Gods will. He could be waiting for you to check your motives before he answers you. You always want to make sure your desires match up to his.

8. You aren’t ready for the answer. There is a season for everything. God’s timing is always perfect. You may need to do some healing or growing or waiting before he answers you.

9. Are you asking God then asking a bunch of other people? If you ask God then ask other people you could be honoring other peoples opinions more than God’s. He of course won’t like that. He wants you to trust that he knows what is best for you.

10. Do you really believe he is going to do it? Are you asking but still have a lot of doubt? God doesn’t mind you having doubts but he wants you to ask him for help. He wants you to say, Lord I just don’t know if this will actually happen. Help me in my unbelief. Mark 9:24. I prayed that prayer a lot when I was trying to get pregnant. Its one of my favorite scriptures.

I hope this helps you get the answers you need from God. He is not ignoring you, he wants to help, he wants you to feel good on this side of heaven. Remember as you wait for him to respond that everything he does is for your good, even not responding, because he has great plans for you. Romans 8:28

 May the Lord answer all your prayers. Psalms 20:5 


Resources

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/5-reasons-why-god-isn-t-answering-your-prayers.html

7 Bible Verses About God’s Perfect Timing

Is it Okay to Hold Grudges?

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

 

 

Waking up

wokeUsing this definition of woke, I think I was half way there. I definitely am fully aware. I am knowledgeable about my community and the world. However, while I am willing to access and critique systems of oppression. I wasn’t really doing it. Not hard enough anyway. I tried for so long to do what the US constitution says about keeping church and state separate. In current day society though, that’s not really a thing. I used my Christian values to let a lot of things slide, but no more.

I don’t know if someone would have asked me would I consider myself feminist. I definitely am not the person blaming everything on  patriarchy.

Beyonce and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Make Feminism Go Viral | KQED

I didn’t really consider myself a feminist either until I heard Beyonce’ say she was. I always thought feminism was a white woman’s thing. 

I don’t need to wear my blackness on my sleeve, its not something I can hide. However in light of everything that has happened lately I wanted to deepen my understanding around Black feminism, the patriarchy, systemic racism etc. I wanted to have the language to speak on things that were happening and use more than just my own experiences. So I have been reading/listening to more books, listening to different podcasts, joining book clubs, just trying to educate myself on some things I didn’t really know that much about.

The experience has certainly been enlightening to say the least. Its great to feel validated and know that you aren’t living in a vacuum. I have also discovered I have my own bias and privilege that I need to process. So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Olu has a whole chapter on checking your privilege that had me shook. Once again I am thankful for COVID-19 because I wouldn’t have time to read/listen to these books if I was going into the office. I would have never read Eloquent Rage by Dr. Brittney Cooper who showed me that the patriarchy is in EVERYTHING because I lean towards fiction when I do have time to read or religious books.

I have been living somewhat in a bubble recently. I used to work in a space a few years ago where I felt like I was the “black representative.” Constantly checking and teaching people how not to be racist is exhausting.

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Once Donald Trump got elected it got even worse. The election of Donald Trump showed me that people are not REALLY ready for change. Once I left that place, I kind of checked out. I thankfully don’t deal with a lot of racism in my day to day interactions anymore. However, George Floyd’s death really changed my perspective on what I thought I knew. I don’t know why his death made things different. Maybe because we are in quarantine and I am at home. Maybe it was seeing the callous and causal look of the police officer with his knee on his neck. 

Whatever the reason, I am glad for this awakening. 

Books I’ve read so far/listened to:

I’m still here-Austin Channing Brown

Eloquent Rage- Brittney Cooper

So You Want To Talk About Race-Ijeoma Oluo

White Fragilty– Robin DiAngelo

Books I’m going to read

How To Be An Anti Racist-Ibram X. Kendi (reading this now in a book club)

Hood Feminism-Mikki Kendall

 I’ll have separate posts talking about these books with what I’ve learned and what I thought.

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.

 

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! 

Dear Future Me

July 9, 2018

Hey girl! How you doing? Life is treating you pretty good right now huh? You finally have the kid(s) you prayed so hard for. You have a new job and Jesse has one too. Did you see how God worked all that out for your good? How all the rushing and plotting and planning you were doing didn’t speed anything up? How even after you got what you wanted you still weren’t 100% ready? Do you see how everything God had you go through was preparing you for these moments you are experiencing now. There is no room for selfishness as a mother. Shouldn’t have been any as a wife but you let that slip by you. You have people who depend on your every mood now. You thought you had to be perfect at everything but do you see how that is holding you back? Nobody is keeping score but you. Does it matter what anyone thinks outside your house? No it doesn’t. I’m telling you these things now because you think you’re over some things but you aren’t. You are pushing forward like you don’t need help but you do. Ask. Fumbling along is not doing anyone any good. Enjoy each moment you are in now. Life will give you ups and downs.

Today is July 9, 2020. All these things did happen, even the not being 100% ready for the blessing. As I reread this letter to myself, I think the biggest thing I notice is that I am being a little hard on myself. I definitely remember this time in my life vividly. I was still trying to get pregnant and having no luck, but I could sense that God was making a move in my life, I just didn’t know what and I wanted to be prepared. I was starting to relax and have more genuine fun. I wasn’t so worried about when I was going to get pregnant or what the future held. I wanted to enjoy life and God in the present and worry about the future later.

I wrote this letter when I got back from visiting one of my best friends in Chicago.

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3 months and 1 day later from my writing this I would find out I was pregnant. I never would have thought. I write all this to say, prepare for the blessing you are praying for, but allow yourself grace as well. God sees the work you are doing and He is pleased. Remember also what is for you, is for you. Nobody can mess that up, not even you. God doesn’t want you to be perfect, He wants effort.

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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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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.