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afearlessstoryteller

Growth

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.

The real battle

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.

Reflection

Dear God,

  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. 

Unstable

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. 

Below Expectations

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!

The journey

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…

The Enhancing Place

Singleness in our society is viewed by most as one of the worst stages of your life. It is mostly seen as a “waiting” place…waiting for someone to come and make your life complete, waiting for someone to share your time with, waiting to see if the person you’re dating is the one, just waiting for something more. While I do understand that it can be a struggle when you are surrounded by people who seem to be getting married left and right, those constant posts of #relationshipgoals, or if you have children and it seems you are missing that key element to make your family complete.

 However, as with all things in life…perception is everything.

God intended for singleness to be a gift for those that wish to be married as a period of development. This is honestly (coming from a married woman) one of the few times where you will be able to just focus on you and how you want your life to go and not have to think how it will impact the family…even if you have kids, you only have to worry about how most of your decisions will impact them and not consider the opinion of a spouse. Now, I am not saying that the only purpose for this place is to develop so that you can be married, because there are some people who do not desire to be married. Nevertheless, this is the best time in your life for you to learn about you…to strengthen your relationship with God, and to become so full in him that you would much rather be alone than to deal with mess from someone who doesn’t have themselves together.

 As women, we have to know our God given role in the marriage is to add value, increase and help. This is truly a high calling which carries a lot of responsibility, sacrifice and strength; therefore, it’s foolish to think we can effectively complete this role without understanding the value within ourselves. I got married and had absolutely no idea who I was, how to be a mother or a wife and had to try to figure this out while acting in each role and am now seeing how this negatively impacted my family.   

I don’t think that being single is easy and as soon as you change your perception it will be all roses and milkshakes, but what I am saying is that you have to find contentment in each stage God puts you in and take in the lesson. He created levels and wanted us to master one before going to the next for a reason. So, if you feel yourself accepting less than God’s best, feeling lonely or just waiting….look to God…ask him what he wants you to be doing during this time, reach out to friends, read your word, join a singles group. Anything! Lol. I also highly recommend listening to Heather Lindsey…she is married now, but went through a period of singleness and talks often about that time in her life and how she got through.

 Lastly, just know that God knows your desires and I believe that He’s always working to present us with the best!

Knowing

I have been learning a lot of new things this past year, about myself and just about life in general. I have been fortunate to come across many women of God who are actively working in the same avenue that I one day would like to take part in. There have been many changes in my life that I did not initially embrace well, but have sense had the courage to pick myself up and find ways to start to manage my life in a much more productive and efficient way. I always thought that what I needed to do in order to be the best me was to be someone else completely, not realizing that all I need to do is to strengthen my weaknesses and let go of the things/habits/lies that I put on throughout the years.  

Just like most people at the beginning of every New Year, I always make resolutions and by week 2, I am no longer doing them. Just this past year, I decided that the New Year wasn’t going to start for me until Feb because I started off 2016 the same way I ended 2015. Lol. This year, I decided to do something a little different that was inspired by Sarah Jakes Roberts. I believe she was doing a seminar and it was towards the end of that year and she was asked what her biggest lesson was and her response was to stop saying “I don’t know”. Now, this really resonated with me as I am a big user of “I don’t know”, I say “I don’t know” because I don’t want to be offensive, I don’t want to accept responsibility, I am afraid of how whatever it is may come across or simply wanting to belong. But every time I do that, I sacrifice myself a little and push me further down so that whoever I made myself to be can shine a little brighter. There is one thing for sure that I have learned about myself is that I do know a lot. I know who I am, I know what things/habits I need to get rid of, I know what I like and what I don’t like, I know my purpose, I know when I am wrong or right, I know when I should speak up and when I should remain quiet. Even when I feel like I am unsure, the Holy Spirit gives me a feeling or vibe and it brings my confusion into clarity.

So, for me my only resolution or just theme of this year is just knowing and nothing else. Doing what I know I need to do for myself, my family and God; using God’s wisdom in situations and praying when I need guidance. I know my life will change when I stop walking around lost and unsure, and choose to walk in the strength and confidence that God gave me.

Evolving

Becoming a woman of God does not happen overnight. To become the woman that God desires for us to be, He takes us through a lifelong journey that teaches us how to love Him with our heart, body, soul and spirit.”

I always thought I knew exactly who I was, I knew all of my flaws, positive attributes and how to fulfill any role that life gave me. I was wrong. At the age of 31, I am finding more and more that the things that I thought were true about myself were lies I used to cover that I didn’t really know who I was. I had no idea why I was here, if I was properly doing the roles that God had given me and when you don’t know your purpose you will follow anything. As a teen this manifested in me being a chameleon and changing who I was depending on what was cool, who I was around just so I can fit in and be accepted, this of course translated into adulthood. However, as adult I knew that was what I was doing and spoke as if I stopped…but after doing some self reflecting I realize I was doing the exact same thing only in a different way. I was just mirroring what I thought was right in other people while never really learning and finding my own way. I would still do things and think…hmmm….I don’t think this is right, but I thought well this woman is older and doing it, so it must be ok. I would not mention certain things because I would tell myself well, I would just go off…not realizing it was a lie because I was afraid to speak up. I would very easily allow myself to shrink so that I can do things the way it seemed it should be done. I had no idea how I was abusing myself in a sense by silencing the voice and individuality God gave me as well as convincing myself that what I had to say or how I thought didn’t matter. It was one of these days that I was sitting at work thinking to myself I have no idea what my purpose is as a woman or how to even be the right type…I somehow stumbled upon sermons by great women of God who all taught a different way but basically said the same thing…there are core attributes of women of God, but there are many different versions. To me that meant that through God we will all carry ourselves a certain way, have the right impact in our home and be successful in our lives…but we don’t have to be the same or do it the same. I know it may seems simple to some, but to me that meant freedom. I was finally free of trying to figure out how I should be….I realized that I can just be me. I can be my silly self and still get in front of millions of women and tell them who God made them to be. I can still call on the pop off spirit when needed and set someone straight in love (still a work in progress). I can do all the things that God has called me to do and do it the exact way He is calling me to do it. Now, don’t get me wrong…I am not 100% there…I still have daily struggles and fights as the enemy tries to keep the lies going so I will stay hidden. I still find myself being silent if I feel my opinion differs from the crowd, at times I won’t do what I think or feel for fear of being wrong, and I also will avoid certain conversations thinking that it will only make things worse. However, I can see that I am changing…bit by bit…I am becoming comfortable with who I am and thinking first, how do I want to do this or how would God want me to do this…vs…let me see what other people are doing. I know now that what people say all the time is true…God only made one of you and you would be doing the world a disservice by not allowing what he put inside of you to be experienced by others. I don’t want to rob people of the gift he placed inside of me and rob Him of the opportunity to use me the way He wants. So, this is where the blog comes in…I had one before…but it was completely anonymous because I was afraid to share me with others…but now I am ready to come out of my comfort zone. Even if only 5 people read what I say…that is 5 more people out in the world changed and ready to do the same for others. I want to be to women what I thought I didn’t have for so long…a guide to the One who can tell you exactly who you are. I want to share my life’s experiences…past and present so that somebody…even one can read and think I am not the only one. I want to be God’s Fearless Storyteller

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