I’ve had this vision of me standing on one side of a cliff looking over and seeing myself in my highest version…happy, whole, and working hard. I look over and wish I could be that person. In my mind, I say to God…yes, I’ve gotten better than I was, but I’m ready to be completely whole and done fighting the battles that I have been for years, but I never seem to get there and always end up back to square one. So I walk away to the safety of who I am now and try to make the best of that life, never really content but just thinking this is the best it’s going to get for me. One day, I think…do I want to change or stay the same? So I go back to the cliff, knowing I want to change. As soon as I think to myself, I’m going to jump”, I hear…no it’s safe over here, you’re not that woman it’s just a dream, it’s too much work, you’ll never get past your struggles, it’s not worth it, you’re going to fall/fail, stay where you are…you’ll never be who you think you are. So, I stand and think…that seems right…it’s such a large gap, how do I know I’ll make it, I’m too lazy and unqualified to be that person, I’m just going to stay here and be content. Just as I am turning around to go backwards…I hear a small quiet voice say….I need you to jump. I pause and look at where I’m going back to…the job I no longer like, the wife and mother I no longer want to be, and the life that’s no longer the best. I stare and something inside me says “This isnt who I created you to be and this isnt my best”. So, I turn around and take off running and I jump …as I am falling…I think to myself, what have I done? I am going to fall to my death over who I thought I could be. I should’ve stayed where it was safe. As I prepare in my mind to fall to my demise, someone catches me and says I’ve been waiting on you to move, so I can catch you and introduce you to who you really are. See that woman you’ve been looking at and admiring is you, you are that mother, that wife, that friend, influencer and leader. As long as you keep your focus on me, I will lead you safely to the other side. It will be hard as I remove the old pieces of you that you formed to show you how you act in your truest self, but I always want you to remember that you are her, you are a virtuous woman and you will land standing on the other side. I look at him and say well, I struggle with identity, laziness, my mouth isn’t always the best, being consistent and the list goes on. He looks at me and smile and says I know…that’s why I chose you, because one day you will lead others to take that leap and help them meet the best versions of themselves.You are exactly the person I need and the best fit for each area of your life. I looked in amazement with nothing else to say and He smiled and said, just hold on and allow me to reintroduce you to Brittany Vernee Armstrong…
I’ve always been the type of person that is very dependent on the opinions of others and need the validation, support and encouragement to feel like I’m doing the right thing. Right now, God has me in a place where I do have a few people that have and will encourage me, but it just wasn’t enough. I still found myself struggling to keep pressing forward when I felt like giving up. One day as I was sitting in my room, crying, thinking God…I cannot do this anymore, the song Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence dropped in my heart. I had to pull it up on Youtube and when I heard it…i thought ok, God…I hear you. The basis of the song is about speaking life over yourself and your situation and after listening to the song several times, I realized two things I have been doing wrong…
1. I was relying on people to fill me up in order to move forward
2. I wasn’t putting into practice the scriptures and things that I learned.
I somehow thought that the word of God only worked when people quoted it to me and said keep moving forward. I missed the importance of speaking life over myself, standing on the word and using it as a reminder of His promises vs the enemies lies. I’m so used to looking outward for everything I never realized the inner strength that God has given me to keep pressing on when I feel like giving up. In 1 John 4:4(NIV) it says:
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
To me this means that with God, I am stronger, wiser and more powerful than anything that is thrown my way. There is nothing that this world or Satan can throw at me that I cannot overcome.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37 (NIV).
See! I didn’t even need someone to call and tell me that…I just encouraged myself while typing this. Lol. God has already provided what is needed to persevere. Don’t forget the warrior on the inside of you that is ready to fight on your behalf. If you feel you have no one, don’t worry…keep your head up because God will preserve and teach you through his word how to stand strong until the season changes.
I will mention that I believe in the power community and God has used people as you have read to help get me here, but at some point you will have to rely on His strength in you. Sometimes you just have to encourage yourself…
At some point the decision has to be made if you will follow God’s will for your life on your own. If you will continue to wait, push back ,search for a way out of what he asking you to do and hope your decisions bring you the best life or trust Him and be obedient. Soon, you’ll have to decide whether it’s more important for you to continue to keep the same people and environment that has proven to not be the best or make the sacrifice and cut it out of your life.You will have to decide whose wisdom will be your primary source for decision making God or people. It will come a time where you’ll have to decide if I would rather be alone with God or surrounded by everyone and He not be present. One day you’re going to have to decide that I would rather be ostracized, made to look crazy, judged and outcasted for following the will of God, rather than belonging to the crowd and trying to fit in. Soon you will have to decide…His way or you way, His blessing or your blessing, what you want or what He wants, stand still or move, Remove or keep, His truths or the enemies lies, His wisdom or mans wisdom, His presence or others prescense, Him or you.
Choose ye this day who you will serve…
I am starting to realize how important it is everyday to thank God for the small steps, the half steps or even just thinking about doing something different. Today, I was challenged and normally I would’ve been super offended, had an attitude, and would’ve said something to my husband about the incident. The energy of my home would be frustation, silence and divison. However, today was different.I did experience some offense, but I immediately said to myself I can make a better choice of my reaction, so I simply smiled and thought “who cares!” and that the decision made has nothing to do with me or my ability to successfully fulfill the role God gave me. I now know that I can choose to create negativity or peace in my life and those directly connected to me and today, I thank God that I chose peace. I had to remind myself that I cannot change this person and make them respect me, but that I can make changes within myself and control how I choose to represent me in all situations. I know this next part is very cliche, but I am saying it anyway…we can’t control the things that happen to us or choices people make, but we can control and choose our reactions. We have the power to change perceptions, atmospheres and ourselves by just making choices that align with the principles that have been laid out before us. I know this may seem lame to some, but I’m thankful that after 2 years of reacting incorrectly…I finally made the right choice and I believe that should be celebrated.
Throughout my life I have always struggled with my identity to the point where I pretty much abandoned my full, true self for years to become a copy of what I believed was a true woman. I find myself often looking to people to confirm things about me and who I truly am. Recently, I tried to write 50 things I love about myself and I couldn’t get past 5…lol. For years, I wondered why was this a struggle for me…how is it that others around me seem to know themselves…flourish and can just truly embrace them and for me, it’s hard to even post a really good selfie. Why don’t I love myself?
Well, first I was taught early on that who I was, was not ok and often encouraged to be like others. Decisions that I made at times were criticized or just simply turned out wrong, so I learned not trust myself. I learned negative self talk and up until recently I realized I never say loving things to myself. I’m very critical on everything that I do and I will dwell for days on whether or not I made the right decision. Second, society teaches us all that there is always a better way to be. Women who are tall are in, no, now it’s short women. Long hair, don’t care….power to all of our natural queens. So, you live your life trying to keep up with what’s in so you’ll stay relevant and accepted. My environment played a role in me abandoning myself…but I think that was all apart of Satan’s plan to get me to abandon my purpose, which is simply me being me…if that makes sense.
I always thought that Satan was this big, scary monster who knew everything, was everywhere and just would walk around terrorizing the lives of everyone, especially Christians. I grew up and even up until recent was very afraid of him and his “power”. I felt every time I did something for God, I should be afraid because Satan heard me and was going to come and challenge me which would result in me ultimately losing because I thought I was lame.
However, I recently learned that his biggest trick is to get you to doubt who you really are…who God says you are.The power that God placed inside of you is tied to your individuality and personal story.I should have known this as all throughout the bible he is referred to as a liar, trickster and etc. Early on…I mean very early on, I knew from a dream that God had given me that He was going to use me to help people; however, I have spent the past 21 years speaking against my calling and trying to convince God that I am not the right one. Even now I struggle because fear keeps me from speaking out, being honest about me and my life as well as being obedient to God. I still want someone to confirm what I already know. The only difference is now I know it’s the enemy working hard to convince me that you aren’t good enough, there are so many women already doing this, find something else, it’s going to be too much work, you’ll be broke, no one will listen or my worst thought…you’re going to be too great and forget about God. All of these things and more swim in my head on a daily basis and I have to fight with God’s word to counter what tries to take over. Think about when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matt 3:13-17)…God immediately validated Jesus and said he was his son and he was proud of him…Jesus hadn’t done one thing. The very next chapter Jesus went to the wilderness to fast and Satan was there to tempt him and how was that done? By challenging his identity… “If you are the son of God… (Matt 4:1-11). How did Jesus defeat him? Not by arguing and saying yep, I’m Jesus…God just said it and then proving it by doing what Satan asked. He came back with the word…even when Satan tried to fight with God’s word…Jesus came back with the correct interpretation of what He meant. Satan comes and does the same thing to us and if we aren’t connected to God and his word…we will look to outside sources in many formats for that validation and confirmation on who we are.
So, I say to some and remind others to look to God for who you are and stick to that…remember the real battle with Satan is to take who God created you to be, so you will abandon your dreams, ideas, and ultimately yourself.
As I have thought many times before on the way home I thought again, what is this negativity that I feel within me and offense. I dwell on it daily to the point where I can feel the emotions of anger on the inside of me. At one point I was OK with the constant help, I think, because it seemed to help me justify being slack and in my sadness of being inadequate, but now I see it as a hindrance. A crutch or a way for me to be a victim and blame others. Idk when the problem started exactly, but I do know that after he was born something in me realized that I could no longer fully be the way I was…but this also led to me feeling trapped and wanting to be set free from responsibility. I went inside myself for fear of not being able to step up to the challenge which caused distance between my family and I. I believe during that time people felt like they were helping me by just doing things but in reality they were enabling me and overstepping. During that time I needed someone to say to me, snap out of it…you may be surprised by your new responsibilities but God has equipped you for the challenge. Let’s work together until you can handle it alone. However, that didn’t happen. Now, there is just an obvious strain from me not being 100% positive about my feelings and also that horrible trait of being afraid. Now, with all the changes I’m trying to make I want to move forward in the right way. I don’t want to tell her to leave us completely alone but I do want her to know that I want the opportunity to try and fail.. to try and ask for help…to not be reminded or asked. To be able to figure out how to manage all on my own without someone feeling bad if I don’t need them. To be able to look back and say I really did a good job and not see someone doing for me all along the way. I don’t want to take vacations together all the time, I don’t want to have to include them in helping to decorate the house. I want to be able to have my own and invite them in. I’ve always felt like she over does it…but it really got worse over the past two years and I guess I’m growing because it’s no longer good enough for me. As for him I just want my husband to support me, cover me and be OK with whatever I choose. There is just division and I know we allowed the enemy in…but I know through you we have the victory!
God, I just ask right now…help create the team the unit you intended for our marriage and family. Help us to always remember to move forward in love and create the space I know we can. I’ve been saying this for years…but God it’s time for a change. No longer do I want us in this sub par lifestyle. Help me everyday to change into who you called me to be…remind me through your word that I am more of a conqueror, I can control my thoughts and mouth and I can be to all who I want them to be to me. I can change…I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me. I need to write down the vision for our family.
Sometimes I feel inconsistent, because I don’t have the discipline to continue to do things that will propel me forward. I asked God for help, he gives me an answer, I follow then slowly but surely I get off track. I know the things I need to stop doing, habits that should be broken and things I should replace them with. I’ve read books, listened to sermons and even read it in the bible…but still I come back to the same way of being. I daydream and I can see myself just being happier if I can just keep up with some simple changes. If I can just create good habits, I will feel like I’m making steps in the right direction. I know God is the answer, I know his word is transforming and I believe I will be what I see…but right now in this moment…I just feel a little unsure.
I recently transitioned to a new dept at work and yesterday I had my yearly review. I expected to receive what I have always received in every job…meet or exceeds expectations. However, to my surprise I got a 2 which is below expectations and contrary to what I thought would be my reaction…I agreed. Just yesterday I posted about how we, including me, don’t want to do the hard work that is required to reach the next level. This job is more challenging and requires me to work HARDER, and improve on my weaknesses. My manager has very high expectations for all her leads…and I knew this but still worked at the same level.Now, I’m sure you’re thinking if that same work ethic got you there why not keep it? But what we fail to realize is that once we get to higher levels anywhere in life we have to step our game up, possibly change our strategies and put in more effort to achieve a good outcome. You may have to work through lunches, come in/wake up earlier, study harder or miss out on fun things just to get where you want to be. It takes sacrifice to be great at anything. It makes me think of a game my daughter and I used to love playing called Rayman Origins and as with any game, level 1 is always the easiest…they give you a simple power and make it so the goals are attainable. However, as you go up a level they show you a new skill to learn and by using that skill combined with what you learned from the previous level you are able to succeed. The course is harder, it takes more focus, more time and effort to finish…but it pays off and you’re on to the next level.
I also realized that just because I received that grade doesn’t mean that I am not good or I can’t do the job. It means that her expectations are at a level 5 and right now I’m not there, but I can get there. The beauty of the life is that we always have the opportunity to do better, get it right the next day and press forward until we’ve met or exceeded expectations.
So, if you’re not where you want to be in any part of your life…stop the complaining, take the responsiblity/control back, get a game plan together and start working. Don’t get discouraged if you fall off course because you can always get up and keep running. Just remember to keep your eyes on the prize and always move forward!
As of late I am realizing that becoming who God intended you to be is not an instantaneous occurrence and it’s more of a journey. I have always looked at the stories of the greats in the bible and admired how they were able to move forward in God, but it’s not until recently I noticed the span of time and paid attention to the events of their lives that had to take place in order for them to get to their purpose. Our society has moved to quick fixes…we want to get to the top as quick as possible and don’t realize we are missing valuable lessons that can only be learned along the way. God uses the journey to refine us and build endurance for the next level. He understands that if we reach our full potential too fast that we could self destruct because we aren’t prepared mentally or emotionally.
I struggle with this and want to reach the top without doing the hard work. I want to just be where I want to be and ask God to bless it. However, I am learning to not be so focused on not being where I think should be, on what I don’t have or what other people are doing…but to just be focused on the blessings, the small wins and the fact that I have an opportunity to grow. I decided in the near future I want to be more serious about writing, teaching and inspiring people with my words, but with that came this overwhelming pressure to always have something profound to say. I have been taking months to write things and just thinking long and hard on what to say. However, I recently thought…this is my beginning, my learning experience. I am going to take this opportunity to learn how to be transparent, consistent in my writing, determine my niche/ audience, to improve the quality of what I am saying and most importantly trust that God will lead me in the direction He wants me to go. I can take that step back and know that ALL things are working together for me to succeed and just enjoy the journey…