Life, perseverance & yoga

IMG_9486Droplets of sweat dripped steadily down my face & onto the black mat before me. How long is she going to make us hold this pose?  I grimaced as I struggled to stay in an uttanasana, in otherwords I was bent over attempting to touch my nose to my knees quite unsuccessfully.  The instructor continued speaking in her soft voice, which at the beginning of class I had found to be quite soothing; But after 45 minutes had become more of an annoyace than an assurance.  I didnt want to hear about softening my body to flow with the movements or how my breathing should bring me into a state of knowing.  Can we please just shavasana already I screamed in my head!  I was wobbly, unbalanced, my breathing was more of a deep pant refusing to coincide with any movements & Im quite sure I resembled a new born calf trying to hold poses that in my mind my body was never meant to attempt. My hands, feet, legs & arms all felt like they were on fire & I had no idea you could be so sore from yoga!  The embarrassment of gathering my belongings & limping out of the room was becoming less of a deterrent by the minute.

The thing is, I had put myself through this torture, I had paid $15 to participate in hot yoga & be tortured for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I berated myself, knowing that the word hot preceding anything would probably feel slightly like a dialed down hell.  Also, since the class was 15 minutes longer than most I should have opted for something that was appropriate for a woman that hadnt laid eyes on a yoga mat in over a year except to toss it into the trunk of her car.

When we finally reached my favorite pose, shavasana, I melted slowly onto my mat with a deep satisfied exhale & closed my eyes.   The room was silent aside from the steady beat of low music & periodic snores of a man that was obviously more spent than I had been, but my mind was blaring.  Thoughts flooded my mind & I eventually settled on thinking of how this class was much like my life.  You see, I have this vision of being a super bendy, impromptu split doing, yoga guru but In order to reach my goal I have to make the practice of perseverance in adversity a way of life.  I struggled through the pain of lotus position & wanted to stop at navasana but I eventually came to the realization that I had to push through or refuse to grow.

The urge to bypass the painful parts of growth in leui of quick relief is a universal human trait.  We want to be strong enough to hold ourselves up in an awe inspiring hand stand dont want to do the work to strengthen our arms.   We run from the hard work that will catapult us to the next level, seek refugee in partying or dead end dating instead of identifying the cause of & working through lonliness, or we put off tedious tasks opting for the much more pleaurable lure of procrastination.  I believe that we have so many options that can pull us away from the focus of our daily ‘practices’.  The pull of distraction & ease of giving up is something that can easily deter or delay success.  But if you keep your thoughts on your end goal, eventually you will get there.  You may be tired, sweaty & sore but you will arrive!

As we exited the class the instructor stopped me as the new girl in class & told me cheerfully that she hoped to see me again in class & guess what she did!

Love you lots & much success in all you endeavors!

Court

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Lost…

There are times when we feel lost in life.  Lost in the shuffle, the mental and phyical clutter, constant noise or just in our own personal jail of a continous loop of thoughts.  But how do we break free?  I think the first part of this answer lies in determining where our bondage truly lies, by getting real with what motivates our everyday lives.

I’m starting this year by asking myself a question that will allow me to live from the most honest part of my being:  What is most important to me and how can I serve from this place?  Every morning and every night.

If I am honest, the answer to this question may not always align with what I claim to verbally hold in high regard,my connection with God, my integrity and family.  There are days when I may find that what was most important to me was not being free from the noise of this world but indulging it by remaining in the rat race,  focusing on the accumulation of more things or participaing in actions that dont represent the best part of me.  I will have to forgive myself, restart and move on the next day.  But Im certain that it will cause a concious shift that serves to align me with my higher self.

I dont think anyone is truly lost, we are just closed off to truth, the answer is always there if we ask with an open heart.

Photo:zengrowth.com

CJ

Doors will open…

The store was small and quaint, but it still caught my eye as I walked down the street. There was no one in sight as I peered through the large glass window and was instantly intrigued, it was a book store.  It looked like it was full of old books and as a writer and avid reader (and shopper) stumbling upon a new bookstore was like finding a tiny piece of heaven on earth.  I hopped up the four crumbly cement stairs towards the chipping wooden red door and pulled the handle fully expecting it to open immediately.   But it resisted, so I pulled a second and third time with the same results.  I let go and walked back down the stairs to ensure the sign truly read ‘open’ which it did.  Determined, I bounded back up the stairs two at a time and tugged at the door, I jiggled and turned the handle but it just would not budge.  Maybe it’s closed, I thought to myself and just before I decided to retreat and make my back onto the sidewalk, defeated and bookless the door swung open.  ‘Sorry, I was in the back, sometimes that door sticks and the odd thing is, it will only open if you don’t try to force it.’ The merchant smiled as she held the door open for me.  I made polite conversation as I slid passed her to make my way to the nearest bookshelf.  I had been right in thinking that the bookstore was a gem, I purchased some great older books no longer in print and happily left the store, this time opening the door gently and easily.

As I made my way home, I thought about how that door was kind of like some instances in my life.  Sometimes I want in so badly and or to get to the next level or stage in life so quickly that I’m doing everything in my power to force things to happen except be patient and wait on God to open doors that I can not.  I tug, throw tantrums, scream, kick, or bang on doors & many times they still don’t open in my timing, it just leaves me breathless and frustrated.  And often times when they do open, I honestly am not too thrilled about the outcome.

I’m no expert, but I challenge you the next time you are upset about where you are in life to just chill out, find somethings to be grateful for in the moment and stop pushing against right now.  This isn’t to say stop dreaming, striving or grinding towards goals but it is to say to dispose of anxiousness and impatience that isn’t truly serving you. Maybe you will notice as I have, that when we wait on God, when we are patient and when the timing is right, doors will open.

God bless

Court

LitBits: The Missing Command

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One of my favorite things to do is to dump all my cares and concerns  at the door and venture into a good book.  Although there weren’t as many distractions when I was growing up, taking time to read is something that was instilled in me at a young age thanks to my mom, I literally (pun intended) had a mini library growing up.  Today I find it refreshing and an invaluable moment  in time to remove myself every now and then from technology, social media and the general hustle of life in lieu of cuddling up with a book.

I figure there are millions of others just like me, so I wanted to start some blog posts (and possibly videos) where we can discuss great or not so great books together.  The plan is to choose a different book every month to two months.  My choice of books are generally spiritually and self-help driven, but if  you have some great reads to add please list them in the comments below as I’d love to check them out.  In addition, if I read a book you read a book, as I’ll be giving away at least one copy.

I was torn between what book to start with, but in keeping with my ‘self-love movement of 2016’ I’ve decided to kick off with: The Missing Commandment: Love Yourself How Loving Yourself the Way God Does Can Bring Healing and Freedom to Your Life by Jerry and Denise Basel.  To read the reviews (5 stars) and description or if you want to read along with me click the link above to grab a book or enter for your chance to win a copy.  Opportunities for comments, discussions and reviews will be posted at the end of February and a new book chosen.

You can also read an excerpt here.

To be entered into the random drawing to receive the book this month, all you have to do is visit my Facebook page and write ‘enter me’ under the correlating post, it’s that simple. See rules below*

Happy reading and be blessed,

Court 🙂

* Contest open only to legal residents of the United States, the District of Columbia, and other locales under United States jurisdiction including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, American Virgin Islands, and other protected territories. Participants must also be at least eighteen (18) years of age. If you do not meet any of these requirements, or any other eligibility requirements in these official rules, then you are not eligible to participate in this contest.  The contest ends on the 31st of every month.

Falling in love with you… 

As I evolve and transition into the woman I choose to be on this journey one thing that has become increasingly and glaringly true is the fact that the best thing I can do in this life is love myself.  For me, this means that I am okay on my own little ‘me’ island regardless of who may come to visit or who decides to jump ship. It means I am at peace internally with the world around me and that I am able to enjoy my own company.  It means that I truly like me and do not need the acceptance or flattery of outside influences because I have an unshakable confidence about who I am.

Loving yourself is one of the ultimate tests to pass in a world where we are told we are never enough, and that we must always aspire to be something or someone else.  We are pounded with the lie that life is not complete if you don’t have a mate or something external to fulfill you.  In a society where you are always told to be or do more it can be tough to find the strength to say, I am enough!  But you are strong, you are brave and you are enough.  

Loving yourself means that you accept who and where you are, you accept your ‘flaws’, and challenges, you accept who you are at the core.  If you are overweight, you accept that, if you are needy, you accept that and if you are a nerdy weirdo (like me:) guess what you accept that too!  You aren’t in the business of hating yourself and no longer feel the need to fight against yourself or berate who you are right now.  Acceptance does not mean you must settle into these things you wish to change about yourself, but that you accept them and do not judge yourself for them.  It means that you choose positive ways to release and grow and are forgiving of yourself in the process.  It is a process and sometimes a slow one, so be gentle with you.

Think about it this way, if you love someone (and they happen to be human) you will have to accept that they are flawed, but you love them anyway while assisting them on a journey to a better them.  This is how you should love you.  

Truly loving yourself means that you become better at loving others but you continue to have an internal peace that comes with knowing no matter who or what may enter your life, you are going to be okay.  You become free from searching the world for love, you are free from the ache of unrequited love, free from the fear of loss and your world doesn’t crash and burn simply because you have no one else in it to love you, because you are always enough.  

True selflove is freedom.  It is knowing and embracing the fact that you are complete and whole in this moment but if you aren’t there yet it’s  absolutely nothing to stress over.  Each new day presents an opportunity to love on you, wake up tomorrow with the goal of having a day filled with love for others and yourself.  There will be times when you may fall away from this view, lose yourself in relationship or your mentality attempts to shift to one of not being your best, make it a point to feel those feelings but also intentionally do the work to get through them and concentrate on loving you fully.  After all aside from God you are really all you have in the end.

It’s grow time! So let’s get started with loving yourself first.  One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is to love who you are! Accept your flaws and quirks, and always build yourself up that way no matter how much people may try they can never tear you down! 

For some additional tips on loving yourself completely, click here or here. 

Have any additional words of advice or nuggets of inspiration please leave them below in the comments!

These are two video from awesomefest that I enjoyed based on selflove thought I’d share!  (one day I’d really love to present at or attend a fest!!)

Love you lots but God loves you much more!

Be blessed,

Court☺️

7 things I learned in 2015…

1. Life doesn’t owe you anything nor is it fair: And pretty much all we can do is deal with it!  I’ll admit, I went through a period in my life where it was all about me and I always wanted things my way.  If things didn’t happen the way I wanted, I would sometimes find a way to manipulate situations so they fit  my vision or  I’d have  full blown tantrums (even adult ones).  As I grew in my 30’s I began to understand that life was not all about me and there were other people with needs and desires and all I was doing was alienating people I wanted relationships with through my selfishness.  As I matured and slowly began to shed the mentality of a spoiled only child and embraced the fact that the world did not orbit around me.  This year I extended that learning to embrace the fact that life, no matter how much I may want it to be, is not always quite fair but that doesn’t have to hinder my progress and most of the time that fact only adds to my growth.  Speaking as a child of God I know that it is through Gods unlimited grace that I am where and who I am, but I realized I had to stop worrying about the fairness of my past and push forward from where I stood, after I have been extremely blessed.  But there will always things in life we seem to be unfair, for instance I wondered if my choices in men would have been different had I not experienced some of the things I did and one of the biggest things for me has been that I would look at people born and raised in the church and see how mature they were in Christ already, and I envied that.  I would sometimes get upset because I felt like I had to play catch up a lot later in life and honestly that kept me stagnant.  But I had to realize that people are born everyday in the most unsavory of situations and still they rise, these people have embraced the fact that although their situations weren’t perfect or ‘fair’ they still didn’t wait for life to hand them anything, no matter what age they ‘woke up’.   If you have goals for the year ahead, don’t dwell on your past, don’t think about envy someone else’s achievements and go grab your own.

2. You will always have waver worthy moments:  and there may be times your faith wavers because of them.  There may be times you fail or don’t feel like moving forward and it is okay.  Even my pastors wife, who I see as a strong woman of God has discussed having a waver worthy moment when she was diagnosedwith breast   cancer.  Life isn’t a smoothly paved road it’s an obstacle course full of hills and sometimes mountains.  It’s only natural to want the easy way out of growth, until we realize there is no easy way.  In these moments when you choose to face the fire rather than run you may shake and grow fearful but the important thing is to remember the foundation you are built upon and always return to that truth.

3. You need people to help you grow: Even the ones you don’t like! Some will call them our soul mates or life teachers, but they are people that will push your boundaries of growth.  They can be best friends, family members, coworkers, strangers on the street, but they ultimately push us to grow and change.

4. Sometimes life just works out: Without your help.  And many times better than we expected if we just let go of the reigns.  All the worrying and stressing over small things can and if done enough will make you sick.  In times where I was able to trust and let life work itself out I’ve usually gotten the absolute best results.

5. We are not robots:   Obviously! and with our lack of steel, cold exteriors and programmable feelings comes emotions and for a long time I was fearful of expressing my feelings.  For whatever reason I was ashamed of my sadness and held in expressing joy at times when I wanted to do cartwheels.  I hid who I was for fear of judgement.  Until recently I’ve learned that life is an emotional roller coaster.  There is nothing wrong with expressing sadness, anger or joy for that matter if it’s done in a healthy way and you don’t have to feel guilty, ashamed or bad for doing so.

6.  Life sends you wake up calls:  Sometimes we must answer even when we want to send it to voicemail!   My father is one of the most gentle, kind hearted souls I have met on this life journey.  He has always been there for me without fail and seeing him age over the years I grew fearful of the day that he wouldn’t be.  When he was given a diagnosis this year that pretty much shook my families foundation it was somewhat of a wake up call for us all.  Sometimes the tragedies in life are what brings us closer.  Everyone deals with pain differently, so attempting to get someone else to hurt like you will never happen, but expressing how much that person means to you in the midst of dealing with pain is pretty much all you can do.   As my mom tells me, we have to love each other while we are here & although I knew this going into 2015, I can’t say that I’ve always put it into action.

7.  Achieving inner peace and emotional stability is simple:  But one of the most difficult things you may do in life! When the world around us is pulling on our emotional heart strings it can be difficult to not lose it and be manipulated by events into overreacting, losing your cool or just turning into a blubbering mass of human-ness. We have emotions, there is nothing we can do about that, nothing.  The journey to emotional maturity  looks different for everyone, but the benefit is the knowing that you will be all right, the understanding that this too shall pass and the ultimate benefit of true inner peace.  Once things that go on around you aren’t able to affect you at a core level, or at least take you into an emotional tail spin you are at peace with uncertain endings and can breath easy. It’s a simple concept, once you understand and begin to practice it, but the ‘getting there’ and ultimately ‘staying there’ takes effort, consistency and sometimes a lifetime.

God Bless & Happy 2016!

Court

The freedom in letting go…

Something I have been hard at work on in life is not holding on to things or people that should no longer be in my inner circle.  For me it’s a necessary step in my journey towards maturity and a relationship with God. It has been a difficult task for me to not grasp so firmly to some of the things I felt played a pivitol role in my life up until now.  But eventually I realized that I had focused only on the anguish and trauma perceived in releasing the things, dreams and people that I thought I couldn’t do without but hadn’t focused on the joy and freedom found in the beauty and satisfaction of letting go. Many of us find it challenging to let go of things, situations or people but learning to do so at any age in life will ultimately bring you more fulfillment and greater joy!  Below I chronicle five areas in life where I have or am currently learning to release and maybe they might help you on your journey to freedom.

Toxic people: research has shown that although people in contented and fulfilling relationships are generally healthier, the same does not hold true for those in tumultuous or trying relationships. Not only do these interactions cause stress and anxiety in your life mentally but can take a toll on your body physically as well. Women are especially vulnerable to these negative effects which includes a lowered immune system by decreasing the T-cells, heart issues and sleep abnormalities. (WebMD) The studies that I found focused heavily on romantic centered relationships, but evidence also existed for other types of relationships such as friendships or colleagues. The ability to distance yourself may be easier said than done in these cases and may require more mental distance than physical. Ignoring or confronting the behavior will eventually come into play to help decrease the toll it is taking on you mentally and physically. Reducing your stress while in a negatively influenced relationship may look different for different people, yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling and praying are all viable options for some people.

Bible verses to remember in dealing with toxic people: Titus 3:10, Galatians 5:25

Clutter: I’ll be the first to admit that my ‘office/prayer room’ has slowly converted to a  storage closet/junk room. It’s full of clutter, things I don’t need, use or wear. The original purpose of the room has vanished amongst a pile of shoes, books and clothes some with tags still attached.  Since I’ve been on my journey of letting go, I’ve started to slowly declutter this room by finding good homes to the things that are in optimal quality or tossing things that aren’t. By now most of us have heard that clutter can actually cause us to become less focused and can limit our ability to process information (Princeton University Neuroscience Institute) so decluttering can not only be a burden releaser but also make you more productive!

Bible verse to remember in dealing with a cluttered home: Proverbs 24:3

3. Stresses: as mentioned previously not only can unhealthy relationships cause undue stress, but situations that bring us feelings of anxiety or frustration also create a great deal of stress in our everyday lives.  The best and worst thing about stress is that most of it is brought on by ourselves!  Which means there are steps we can take to decrease the amount of stress in our lives and it can end with you.  Something as simple as clearing out your email inbox, getting more rest or not worrying about situations that are beyond your control can begin to eliminate a lot of the stress that we cause ourselves.

Bible verses to remember if dealing with worry and stress: Philippians 4: 6-7, Matthew 6: 24, 1Peter 5:7

4. Outcomes: learning to detach myself from outcomes has been a major task in my growth journey. It can be quite difficult to deal with the frustration and disappointment of not having things go as planned or the way I desired.  But learning to release these desires is a great way to bring peace to a less than optimal situation.  I discuss some ways to do so here.

Bible verses to remember if dealing with letting go of outcomes: Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28

Baggage: Carrying over baggage from one relationships will definitely ruin the second before it’s begun.  By baggage I’m specifically talking about destructive emotions and stinking thinking including bitterness, jealousy, rage, anger, hatred, cynicism, malice, un-forgiveness, self-deprecation and vengefulness. Of course we will experience some of these negative emotions at some point in our human existence as a natural occurrence and to an extent they help us make our way through the maze of life. However, research has shown that living with them on a consistent basis can be deteremental to your health with the ability to cause heart disease and a higher risk of stroke (news health.com). The goal is accepting that feelings such as anger, jealousy or vengefulness arise but are not necessarily beneficial to act upon in a salacious manner or even react to immediately instead of responding at a later time and are definitely not worth holding on to. Using your emotions as indicators and not dictators could possibly save your life!

Bible verses to remember if dealing with negative emotions: Ephesians 4:31-32, Proverbs 14:29, Philippians 4:8 and Ephesians 4:26

God Bless,
Court 🙂

Why I stayed…

We met the summer before I was to become a freshman in college, he was tall, cute and in my own words ‘an older man’ (four years older).  But I was intrigued because he wasn’t like the boys in high school that were immature and silly, he had a real job and his own car.  He would be my first everything including encounter with cheating and abuse.  The first two years of our relationship were fine as we were long distance, but when he moved to live with me things took a violent turn.  I can remember the first time he hit me, it came as such a shock I didn’t really know what to do, I remember it till this day, he punched me three times in the head and tried to pull my eye out of the socket.  The police were called, my parents were called and I was taken to the hospital for treatment.  I still did not say good bye, but after that I began to fight back and when we fought it was dirty, punches were thrown, memories destroyed and vicious words tossed around like ammunition to see who could hurt the other the most.  We would find each other fighting like enemies and making up like lovers, it was a horrible debilitating cycle that many people find themselves involved in.  Although the physical scars have long since healed, dealing with such hatred and negativity left many internal scars some of which are still slightly open.  I’ve often wondered why I remained in that relationship for so long and have had people ask me the same.  I came up with three main reasons why I and many other people remain, I’ll admit for me in essence they are all excuses for not loving myself enough to leave the situation.

Our souls agreed:  My ex and I were both fractured human beings for different reasons, he grew up in a household where he saw his dad beat his mom and I had come from a home where my dad never hit me and had loving parents but dealt with other issues that wrecked my self-esteem. Because I didn’t truly love me Somewhere deep inside I agreed with treatment that told me I was unworthy of love and being handled lovingly.  Beyond the insecurities I’d built up being molested as a child, years of constant bullying and a tremendous amount of self-inflicted deprecation, his words confirmed what I already felt about myself.  There was always someone prettier right around the corner because I wasn’t that beautiful, my body was ugly and skinny, I could never get another man to care for me etc etc.  I ate the negativity up and it only fed my unhealthy negative self image. I stayed because I didn’t think I deserved better.

There was benefit: As I said my self esteem was not the greatest, I allowed people to walk over me, say whatever they wanted and get away with taking advantage of me. I internalized a lot of pain and the only time I seemed to be able to release it was when I was angry, I didn’t have (and am still working on) the tools for communicating effectively within the boundaries of a respectful and nonaggressive confrontation or argument.  In that situation I felt vindicated in venting through painful words and fighting back because he was just as aggressive as I was, it actually felt good to release the frustration and in some twisted way speak up for myself, it was a rush.  Unfortunately, it’s how I continued to handle confrontation in my relationships going forward and am now paying the consequences as I continued to fight dirty verbally when angry.  In addition I also received sympathy from my friends, when I would have bruises or went to the hospital.  It felt good to know people cared for me and had my back but in return I easily allowed myself to play the role of the victim which is something that’s haunted me for years.

There was comfort in the pain: In addition to being comfortable with him, I also believe the torment felt familiar from the years of bullying as a child by peers.  The name calling and the breaking down of me as a person that I had allowed in the past was akin to his speech when it came to me.   After being with someone for years at a time many of us can become reliant on them being in our lives and that attachment, albeit healthy or not, makes it more difficult to leave the relationship.  Change is scary, I didn’t want the burden of getting to know someone else’s flaws, faults and secret skeletons that lurked behind their closet doors.  I reigned myself to stay with him because I thought it was love and I knew what to expect.

The reasons people remain in abusive relationships vary vastly, there is no cookie cutter clue as to why some are willing to put up with physical harm.  If you or someone you know are in a destructive relationship I would take a look at this article I wrote on what to do to get out!  I sincerely pray for your healing, physical and spiritual restoration and release from such a situation.

God Bless,
Court

I pray for you a man…

Yesterday, I was reading an article about a young couple that waited until marriage to have sex and I found myself thinking back to my dating life as a young woman, unfortunately my lifestyle at the time wasn’t on track to lead by the same example set by this couple.  I realize that saving your virginity for marriage isn’t for everyone, but I honestly regret giving such a precious gift to my ex and truly wished it was something I could have saved for my husband.  Now that being said I’m not that young anymore and let’s just say if I had waited to have sex until marriage I would be well on my way to being the female counterpart of the 40-year-old virgin.  I’m getting to the point where being single has become normalcy and although I would like to be married one day I’m unsure if I even want to without the possibility of having children and the older I get the more my chances of doing so decrease. Believe me, my doctor drilled this into my head just the other day.  In reading the article, I thought that it may be too late for me, but there are some things that throughout my dealings with men and relationships that I learned and would tell young women today (and my daughter if God decides to bless me in that way) to seek and pray for in a mate, this is my prayer for them.

I pray for you a man who will support you, that will be your strength when you are weak, that will pamper, console, spoil and care for you, a man who will be your strongest cheerleader and weakest critic

I pray for you a man who will be faithful and loyal. I pray that you never have to feel the anguish of a broken heart, but if you do, know that it will teach you many lessons and allow it make you better not bitter

I pray for you a man who is diligent about keeping his word and that understands the strength of it, a man who knows his foundation begins with what he declares

I pray for you a man who see’s your body as more than something to pleasure him sexually and domestically or to be abused but that recognizes your body as God’s temple

I pray for you a man who honors your purity and desires to present you without spot before the Lord, a man who purposes to refrain from sexual sin because he desires a relationship with God more than he does with you

I pray for you a man who can make you laugh wholehearted, deep-belly, genuine laughs even on days when you feel like crying the most

I pray for you a man who will take the time to get to know you as a person, someone who calls you daily, woo’s you romantically, and stimulates you mentally, a man who will not stop pursuing you even after he knows he has you

I pray for you a man who feels pain when you are hurting because he is sensitive to your feelings and hates to see you unhappy

I pray for you a man who is proud but not prideful, that is confident but not conceited and is decisive but not stubborn

I pray for you a man who see’s the value of your input and the wisdom that flow’s through you from above and I pray that his ego is able to take a back seat to your opinions, views and ideals so that he truly hears and listens to your voice

I pray for you a man who love’s conversing with you because he enjoys getting to know you even after he know’s all about you

I pray for you a man who consistently acknowledges the beauty of you and will always choose to see the best in you

I pray for you a man able to find the delicate balance between the gentleness and strength required of great leaders

I pray for you a man who is mature enough to walk away if he is not ready to treat you in the proper manner  or a man who will  not hang on to you simply because he does not want to let you go but yet is not able to be the man you need

I pray for you a man who understands the meaning of relationship and that does not love in a self-serving manner, a man who is able to serve and provide for his family

I pray for you a man who you do not need, but truly want to have in your life and that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt loves and care’s about you because his actions say so more than his words

I pray for you a man that makes loving him easy even in the hardest of times and that seeks to truly and fully live out the command of loving you like Jesus loved the church

Be Blessed,

Court

Burn the highlight reel

This morning as I scrolled through my facebook feed I ran across a post that threw me, one of my friends announced her decision to file for divorce from her husband of over thirteen years.  There are two things that caught me off guard, one was the fact that she had the guts to blast the news all over social media because as a semi-private person that is just getting comfortable with opening up to the world, I don’t think I would have had the desire to allow people into my business on that level, but different strokes.  The second and real thing that shocked me was that just days before I ran across another post of she and her husband in what looked like an extremely joyous situation.  They were out on a date night, celebrating the brief freedom from daily responsibilities, taking cuddly, kissy selfies and posting it all for the world to see.  I had never seen anything on her newsfeed that would remotely point to an unhappy situation.  We aren’t that close and in real life we’re maybe distant associates so I didn’t feel comfortable asking about the situation or even commenting on the status, but I did want to know how and why it happened?  Partially because I’m nosey but mostly because I used to long for a successful marriage and family of my own based off of the glimpses of happiness portrayed in her and a couple others feeds.  I didn’t want to see another marriage bite the dust, especially one that I looked up to from a far.

Unfortunately, it’s the tragedy of the highlight reel.  We get to edit, Photoshop and tweak our lives into our personal perfection even if we aren’t truly living it.  I honestly don’t even think many of us do it consciously as I can’t see too may people stopping in the middle of a heated argument to announce, we should take a selfie!  Most of us try to keep the lowlights of our lives locked tightly behind closed doors and definitely off of social media (although I have seen a couple of pretty comical FB fights). If we lose sight of this key fact, we can find ourselves in the dreaded comparison trap where we are pitting our blooper reel against someone elses highlight reel.  I’m guilty of it and fell prey easily because I pined for a family of my own, so when I looked at photos or videos of my friends sharing the brightest moments with their significant others and kids it would at times make me unhappy with where I was in my life. That’s the biggest problem with comparing your life to someone else’s, it becomes easy to be unsatisfied with the blessings God has given you.  In turn you choose to be unhappy and unappreciative based off of a perception that your life would be so much better ‘if’.

To be happy with our true authentic selves we must burn the highlight reel (as one of my favorite speakers would say) and stop comparing our lives whether it’s to gain a sense of superiority or to wallow in what we don’t have.  Always keep in mind that there are so many facets to human beings that no one can possibly get every aspect of that across on a social media network and that these are just glimpses of imperfect people leading imperfect lives. And even if they truly are living their highlight reels try to set aside thoughts of  jealousy or envy, pray that their blessings continue to overflow, embrace your own journey and keep it moving because you are needed as the star in your own movie, no one else can play that part.

Be Blessed
Court

We all fall

I can definitely say that within the past couple of weeks I have failed in some areas that in my mind were under control but somehow, when tested, I found myself back at square one going through the motions of dealing with the discouragement of failure.  I don’t know what it is for you, not keeping a consistent schedule for reading the bible, breaking a diet, drug usage, falling back into sexual sin, or blowing your budget, it can be devastating to make progress but continually backtrack, especially if it’s something you’ve dealt with for years.  Sometimes you may want to give up completely, especially if you feel like you’ve let God or people in your life down.  I’ve been there A LOT, but please don’t give up, continue to strive for excellence and keep pushing forward. This quote puts it perfectly, ‘failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker, failure is delay, not defeat, it is a temporary detour, not a dead end.  To be totally honest, I wrote this particular blog out of the failures I’ve encountered within the past couple of weeks,  it helps me to move forward and I hope it will be helpful on your journey to success as well.

  1. Remember that God loves you and will forgive you:  We serve an awesome God, who truly loves and wants a relationship with us.  Although sin can separate us from Him and we are definitely outside of His will when in sin, we are able to repent (read about true repentance here) and seek His forgiveness, which He has promised to extend as we extend  that same forgiveness to others. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
  2. Forgive yourself: I notice that Many times after I make a mistake or fail at something important, like blowing my budget when I have a gazillion bills to pay or falling into sexual sin with my boyfriend I am the only one beating myself up about it for days or weeks at a time.  I can be extremely hard on myself and at times this crosses over to other people I’m in relationship with as I can force my expectations of perfection onto them.  But by reliving the moment I’m keeping it alive and allowing past occurrences to play a major part in my present.  Worrying, calling myself names, dwelling on the false sense of being a failure all contributes to a feeling of being stuck and of pain.   Whereas if I focus on forgiving myself and recognize my humanity while taking full responsibility for my mistake while learning from the lesson it brings a sense of strength and true compassion for one of the most important people in my world, me!
  3. Recognize that everyone fails at some point in their lives:  Scripture tells us that we ALL fall short (Romans 3:32). but through His grace and by our faith we are saved!  I am so happy that I have a God that truly loves me and understands that I will fail, but gives me the strength and provision to get up again and continue on my journey with Him.  Although perfection is the goal it is a continuous effort that I’m not sure I will reach in this lifetimes.  Failures will happen, but it’s how you recover that matters the most.
  4. Right your wrongs (if you can):  If you’re able to return the dress you bought that blew your budget do so or if you failed at practicing patience with your kids or speaking kindly to your husband when frustrated then truly apologize and make an effort to search out strategies that will help prevent future occurrences.  Although, you can’t actually go back in time you can rectify or try to make amends for some mistakes.  As long as sorry doesn’t continually cross your lips for the same infraction and it’s genuine those that love you will most likely find it in their hearts to forgive and let it go.
  5. Focus on the future not your failures:  In Philippians 3, Paul tells us not to focus on things in the past but to push forward towards what Christ has for us.  This may be more difficult for some, as we have to get in a habit of controlling our thoughts and not allow them to control us.  It is an art, which honestly I have yet to conquer myself but will as I grow and practice. There are many great resources online and books on the topic, but to start off try this: when a thought comes into your head that drags you back to that failure focus on the lessons learned and not the negatives, think about something else or a positive that came out of it.  The bible tells us to think on positive things and replaying a mistake is doing just the opposite of what God told us to do.
  6. Get your game plan together:  Life is kind of like a game, full of obstacles, set backs, wins and successes but the best players always have a plan!  While our plans may not always work out as we’d like, I truly believe that a failure to plan is a plan to fail.  In His word, God tells us that He will always give us a way out of temptation and that we have the power to resist temptation and flee the devil.  We have power, we just have to use it.  If you find yourself constantly falling into the same trap or giving into the same sin make a plan to help prevent even taking that route in the future.

I hope these pointers help, what are some things you do to prevent wallowing in failures, please share below!
God Bless,
Court 🙂

What love is not…

Throughout my life I’ve searched to know what love is, but with each relationship or interaction I grow more aware of what love is not and can put that knowledge to use when loving others.  I realize I don’t always acted lovingly and have contributed greatly to failed friendships and courtships.  Even today I find myself acting out what seems to be the anthesis of love.  I sometimes do things that are in direct contrast to the teachings on what love is in 1 Corinthians like being impatient with my father or snapping at my mother when I’m in a bad mood.  In past relationships with men I thought loving someone meant that they became yours, I practiced a jealous, possessive ‘love’ and still have to fight with my flesh because it always wants to be in control.  As I’ve matured I know that love is giving someone the freedom to be themselves and to follow their passions while supporting them.  Love isn’t withholding affections or attention out of spite nor is it trying to change someone by constantly pointing out areas of lack but allowing them to better themselves and acknowledging their humanity through grace.  Many of the lessons I’ve learned are because they were enacted upon me and I realized that it didn’t feel like the joy of receiving love.  Throughout my life I’ve had three pretty serious relationships and can pinpoint areas that didn’t feel like love at the time in one relationship I learned that love did not feel like physical and emotional abuse and felt the long term effects that could come from hurtful words. Love doesn’t feel like being unsupported, lied to, ignored, unwanted or taken advantage of.  I’ve learned that love means serving, it means putting someone else first and not being selfish but ironically it also does not mean caving into their every want and desire especially if it’s to their detriment.  Many of these feelings about love are obvious, but there are many of us that remain in loveless relationships despite the revelations.  I ran across this video by one of my new fav YouTubers about the seven things we mistake for love and wanted to share!  Let me know your thoughts!

be blessed

court

Beyond Winter

winterFor many of us spiritual winter is a time of brutal coldness, boredom or lonliness.  Generally, as a population that thrives on the hustle and bustle of summer life seasons, it can be difficult to appreciate the stillness of winter because since there is always something to do our minds are kept occupied.  In contrast, during winter seasons we can’t think of anything else except the feeling of being stuck and frozen in the bitter coldness.  We can eagerly long for warmer days in opposition to recognizing the usefulness of winter.  I am guilty of it, I literally can’t stand winter and going through a life season of it is so painful that my gut reaction is to immediately want out!  Because who wants to live with pain right?  But in the book of James he clearly tells us that we should count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations.  In my case I have in the past done the opposite and tried to find happiness in through escaping on a vacation or preoccupying my time with frivolous activities or tv shows so I don’t have to think about the issues of life, basically anything to not deal with the frigidness winter.  From time to time I can also have spiritual tantrums where I am very angry with God instead of thanking Him for the time of spiritual growth and education while in this stage of life.

As I look back on these times in my life wether it’s being jobless, single or just going through a heartbreaking time I can recognize the necessity of embracing the stillness of winter.  While this wasn’t easily done in the midst of it, I can clearly see the needed time of rest and self reflection.  I also often find myself depending on God the most for answers & companionship in these times.  It’s important to try and look beyond now, towards a seasonal shift while patiently waiting, growing and preparing for a time of bloom.

My advice to you, while difficult I know, is to practice knowing that this is a season bound to change and be grateful for it.  You will work again, love again and feel so much joy that laughter is uncontrollable.  Believe this with your heart and know it in your spirit because that is where the only meaningful truth lives.

Be blessed & live purposeFULLy

Court

When we grow weary…

Do you ever feel as if you want to give up dong the right thing?  When you get tired of putting others first, don’t have the desire to control your tongue, or grow weary of praying and seeming to get no answers.  If you do then I can totally relate, one thing that I struggle with from time to time is patiently waiting for God to reveal or send my significant other my way.  Although I realize the purpose in waiting and growing while I do, it can become extremely discouraging to want something and not be sure when or if it’s coming.  Recently I grew very frustrated with the waiting process and was close to just giving up and accepting a date from a guy I had no real interest in.  Now, I know some people will say that it’s just a date and not that big of a deal.  But months ago I told God that I didn’t desire to go out with anyone that I had no future with (you can read about that here).  This man was someone I knew from the past and I know I would have gone out with just so that I didn’t have to deal with momentary loneliness and boredom.   I truly desire to stand by the fact that I am waiting with the goal of growing closer to God and into a godly woman.  So, instead of going out, I called my cousin who helped talk me off the ledge, but what truly kept me from taking the leap was when I typed into my internet browser ‘tired of doing good’ and the first result was Galatians 6:9 -Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (NIV).

If my computer had hands this verse would have been a big slap, because something struck me and I knew that I wasn’t fully appreciating the moment, but attempting to escape what I had deemed boredom instead of embracing it as a time to grow closer to God.  This verse is what truly pulled me through and kept me from giving in.   Sometimes I feel like the father in Mark 9:24, where he exclaimed to Jesus, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Because if I truly believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt that my husband was coming would I continue  to have these moments  of frustration?  If we believed God when He said that whatever we asked for in His name He would do, would we stress about that job, our kids or whatever else is causing us mental anguish at the time.  Believing in God or knowing that He will do all He has promised and many times much more, even though we don’t see it on the horizon or have no idea how He will bring it about, is how faith works.   He is pleased by our faith, he is delighted when we truly believe with our hearts in Him, so in moments when we grow weary of the process, the question becomes where is your faith?   I must truly believe without a doubt that God will not allow my waiting to be in vain.  I have to ask Him to grow my faith so that when test come (even minor one’s  like I faced) I can see them for what they are and know that my days of doing what is right are not in vain and I will ultimately be rewarded for my diligence and obedience.  We can’t be afraid to take action by being still and patiently waiting for God’s best while doing the work to become His best.  We are sometimes so afraid that because our right now is stagnant or we don’t seem to be reaping the rewards of doing the right thing or life isn’t going the way we want that we will never get the chance to finally fly and have that dream career, publish that book, buy that house or have a wonderful marriage.  Many times we think this because we see everyone around us seem to take off or we are just tired of waiting for our turn to leap, but I’m praying that you have the resilience to keep doing what you know to be right.  I pray that you have the faith in God to believe that one day, when the timing is perfect, you will certainly soar.

God Bless,

Court 🙂

The sacred morning

There is something sacred about mornings. As the blanket of night gradually concedes to the brilliance of a new day.  Somewhere between the tug of sleep and the steady nudge of morning, I find my sweet spot.  The sun covers my body in a warm blanket of light and the sounds of nature beckon to me a fresh start.  I cherish mornings like this when I’m not awakened by the sound of an alarm clock, or a blaring television. When I’m not feeling rushed, nervous or anxious about the day ahead, but can awaken with ease and in my bodies own timing.  I find much reward when I am able to give these gratifying mornings purpose by spending time with God.

But honestly, most of my mornings are no where near this gentle or serene, in fact I wouldn’t consider myself an early morning person at all.  So when I have to get up early my usual mornings consist of waking up to the harsh sound of an alarm clock which I have set to go off four or five times, rushing around groggy with sleep still in my eyes as I get ready for work (usually running late), walk my dogs, make my breakfast etc etc.  There usually is no time for God, or at least I don’t make time for Him.  It’s easy on the weekend’s when I’m alone in bed to pick up the bible first thing and read but mornings like this it usually doesn’t even cross my mind.

Proverbs 8:17 states, …and those that seek me early shall find me.  In some scriptures, early, is replaced with diligently, but either way our goal is to seek Him at a time when we are free of distractions and able to focus completely.  In the bible we see that Jesus, got up before the sun rose to pray so that there would be no interruptions or disturbances.  And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.  (Mark 1:35) This week I’m taking a note from Jesus and will do my best to wake up early and pray.  Who knows maybe it will stick, if you want to join me comment below and we can help keep each other on task!

Below are some biblical quotes about the morning…

  • Psalm 5:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
  • Psalm 143:8 (ES) – Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
  • Psalm 5:3  (ESV) – O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
  • Psalm 30:5  (ESV) – For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
  • I also ran across this cool fact about essential oils such as rose and lavender which are best harvested in early morning because the yield is the greatest during this time.  The amount of oil diminishes throughout the day, much like our energy in some cases.

Be blessed, and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

Love and parables: 12 Ways Jesus loved the church

shepherd

Most of us are aware of the fact that the bible teaches husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved the church, but I was really interested in delving into the deeper meaning.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, he died so that we may have a closer relationship with God and bring us everlasting life.   So yes, husbands are supposed to die (both figuratively by dying to self daily and if need be literally) for their wives.  But there are other ways Jesus exhibited His love to people while here on earth below are a few ways I found throughout the bible.

1. Served: Jesus gave up everything to serve his sheep.  He performed miracles for them, healed the sick, literally gave life to the dead, washed feet and became the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have life through his death.

2. Cleaved:  Just as it states that a son will leave his mother and father and cleave to and become one with his wife we are the bride of Christ and we are to live in him and be one with him.  In the New Testament we see that he left the family he grew up with, his home town and went wherever he was needed for the church.

3. Pursued: Could you imagine if Jesus just sat idly by and waited for people to come to him before telling them the good news?  That was not at all Jesus’ style, He had a purpose and knew what he was here to do and waiting around for someone to come knocking on his door wasn’t in the plans.   He journeyed from land to land consistently spreading the good news to all that would listen.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells Simon and Peter to follow him, meaning they were to drop everything and go where he went.  Once it was time to be about his Fathers work, his ministry started he didn’t let look back and the pursuit started.

4. Taught: Jesus really did wash the church with the word.  He spoke in love and parables with the main goal of bringing them closer to God.  He showed them how to pray, reveled things to them through God’s words and left a road map for life just for us to live by.

5. Spoke with love: Even when Jesus was tired He wasn’t cruel or dismissive, he still took the time to explain things to His apostles and other members of his church.  He didn’t curse them out, spout of mean things and was never abusive to them.  There was no tit for tat played or retaliation planned. Can you even imagine if Jesus were the type to get even with people?!   We would all be in deep trouble!

6. Practiced patience: We see that Jesus had to teach the same things over and over, even using multiple parables to show the meaning of what He was trying to get across.  In Matthew 17:17 he asks how long must he stay with an unbelieving people, but even in exasperation he heals and patiently uses the opportunity as a teaching moment.

7. Prayed:  Even as he hung from the cross, Jesus prayed for the people who put him there.  There is no other way to put it than that is pure, undefiled, unconditional love!!!

8. Forgave: When everyone wanted to stone the woman who committed adultery Jesus was in the business of forgiving, he was quick to point out that none of us are without sin and that we shouldn’t condemn other’s because they sin differently.

9. Kept his word:  Although when Jesus was crucified the apostles and his followers were devastated to say the least and felt a little lost, he had told them that he would never leave them and that he was sending the Holy Spirit after he left earth.  He did just as he said he would.  Jesus was a man of his word, anything he promised we can rest assured that it will come to pass.

10.  Led by example:  Jesus didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk.  He showed the disciples how to pray and how to be godly men.  He was right there in the trenches leading the good fight.

11. Showed compassion: In Matthew 15:32 it states that Jesus had compassion for the people due to their hunger and in Luke 7 we see that he had compassion for a widow who wept over her only sons passing.  Jesus wasn’t an uncaring person who couldn’t empathize with others, he was a gentle leader that came to heal and enlighten those he loved.  He had feelings and showed it through his compassionate acts.

12. Put God first: Jesus knew when He needed quiet time away and to spend with His father solitarily and made it a point to retreat.  If he knew there were a bunch of people around he would wake up early to speak to God and avoid the crowds, although these were the people he was sent here to save he recognized the importance of keeping God first.  In Luke 5:16, it states that Jesus would withdraw often to be alone with God and pray.  He deliberately took time to connect with God and to seek His will and guidance so that ultimately, he could do what was righteous for the people he led.

Can you think of some other ways?  List them below

God bless, shine on and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

A year of grace

A little over a year ago after a three-day spiritual fast I dreamt about a website and groggily scribbled the name on a piece of paper before drifting back to sleep.  As I typed in the webpage the next day I was shocked to find that it was a website dedicated to Christian writers who wanted to start their own blog.  I had been fasting for clarity in a situation and although the message received in the dream seemed to be totally out of left field, as a self-proclaimed writer I got the message and promptly started Grace Provided.  I wanted to share with you some of the lessons that I have learned (or had to relearn) throughout this year of growth.

  • When you give, you get:  I began this blog not only as an acceptance to what I believe was a call from God, but also to assist others who deal with many of the same situations I’ve struggled with in life and to prevent people from falling into similar traps.  Many times I find myself re-reading older post if making that treck around the mountain again or writing the pain away in times of sadness which  usually  provides the woo-sah needed in that moment.  What I have come to understand is that this blog is as much for me as my readers and perhaps the clarification I sought while fasting.  My suggestion release the fear of giving if it’s something you struggle with.  Wether it be through sharing your story, devoting time to someone, giving much-needed information or even a material possession, it’s worth it in the end.  Even if you don’t actually receive anything physical in return knowing that you helped someone in need is actually a pretty great reward.
  • Follow your passion: I have a multitude of passions, teaching, working with animals, skating but by far my love for writing exceeds them all.   Each time I sit down to write an article I’m blessed  in that many times my fingers can’t keep up with the thoughts in my head and it feels like a joy not a chore.  If it were something I disliked doing I’m sure I would not have made it to a year and some change.  My advice to those that don’t currently see an opportunity to follow their passion coming up on the horizon is to make your way towards it anyway.  If you want to write begin writing, if your desire is to become a singer start lessons, you want to be a nurse seek volunteer opportunities, you want to play the guitar look up YouTube vids on how to get started.  There is way too much information out there for us to live on excuses and not follow our dreams if we devote the time and resources (not always monetarily) necessary.  Instead of watching television for an extra hour or two at night use that time to work toward your dreams.  Many times our determination determines our destiny and even a small step is still a step in the direction of your dreams.  Keep taking baby steps towards your passion and I bet you’ll see it coming up on the horizon in no time.
  • Commitment phobia permeates :  By this I mean if you have a fear of commitment you may see evidence of it in more than one area of your life.  This pertains to writing my blog because towards the beginning of the year I set a goal to write a post every week throughout the remainder of 2015.  Although I love writing, this was a lofty goal to set for myself with school, work and so many other things going on at the moment that I didn’t realistically think I could do it. Honestly, I didn’t even want to put my self-imposed goal out there because I know that I will be even more apt to keep it if I may be held accountable.  As I stated previously, lack of commitment may be prominent in one area of your life, but eventually you may see it trickle down to others.  For me, in the past I hesitated to commit to anything without a definite end goal, like earning my degree, I knew I’d be finished in four years so that commitment didn’t scare me, but something like marriage was another thing.  My lack of commitment is evident not only in relationships but also in finding a church home and even the amount of times I’ve moved, over the past 16 years I’ve moved a total of 12 times (and no I’m not in the army).  For many years I deemed myself a church hopper and it was always because something was wrong with the church, it was either too big, too small, too far etc, you get the point.  I went from church to church searching for the perfect one and was truly hoping that God would literally yell at me from His heavenly throne as I entered the church doors to tell me that this was the one.  In a way it was fear of making a wrong decision as I had in the past, but that fear prevented me from making any decision.  Speaking for these two past issues, within this year I have purchased a home and about three weeks ago joined my church and am well on my way to kicking any other necessary committal phobias out the door which by the way is a goal I’m committed to!
  • Writing does a body good:  This blog for me has been somewhat of a public journal and keeping a journal has been proven to help people reduce stress, manage anxiety and cope with depression (University of Rochester Medical Center).  It’s kind of like telling your best friend your darkest secrets, fears or anxieties without the fear of it getting out or being criticized, not if it’s a blog of course!   If you consistently read my blog you’ll know that towards the beginning of the year I broke up with my then boyfriend of almost 3 years and although I wasn’t destroyed, I was truly heart-broken.  Releasing the would’ve been’s and moving towards the unknown wasn’t something that I  wanted to do initially but as we know life is a series of choices and the option of wallowing in the past wouldn’t work for me.  Blogging my way through this break up was a God send because as I stated before once I wrote about the experience and got it out I always felt so much better.  In addition,  I think writing helped me shift my focus towards future possibilities and embrace the positives of my current relationship status. Many times talking to God does the same thing for me, it is a cathartic and cleansing experience.   Not everyone wants to blog about their life but keeping a journal by your bedside may help for personal issues.  It’s also a great way to keep a memory of what’s going on in your life at the moment so you can look back and see how God has blessed you or how far you’ve come.
  • Share your dreams (but not with everyone) :  When I initially started my blog, I told no one.  The main reason was because I didn’t want those I know to support just for supports sake, but I also didn’t want the critiques or negativity that may have come from those that felt they knew my heart but in actuality did not because of past views.  I didn’t want likes on my blog simply because people knew me but hadn’t even taken the time to read an article.  Simply stated I wasn’t here for likes.   Don’t get me wrong, I love it when someone truly obtains a nugget of inspiration from my post because my goal is to truly help other’s but I rest in the fact that God will send those that need to hear what I have to say as He see’s fit.  Go for your dreams, but  always know who is going with you, rooting for you or just waiting for you to fail, although if God is in it, you can’t fail!

God Bless
Court

Six signs you aren’t ready to be the queen to his king…

There are some signs in a person’s character that exhibit emotional immaturity and many of them don’t do well to preserve a healthy relationship.  How do I know?  Because I’m basically an expert on what not to do in a relationship as I have caught myself doing most of the things listed below.   Getting past these issues means being mindful of their presence and  consistently doing the difficult work to better yourself.  There are eighty year olds I know who aren’t ready to be in a committed healthy relationship (I’m so serious)  so maturity has little to do with age.  We can catch ourselves acting out or using some of the ploys I list below at any age and many times to a mature godly man they will serve as red flags to hit the road and never look back!  If you notice them in yourself or are trying to better yourself, don’t berate yourself just make a conscious effort to do better and with time you will.

1.  Temper tantrums:  Need I say more, if you still pout, whine, throw things and cry etc when you don’t get your way then you are basically employing the tactics of a two-year old to shift the odds in your favor.   Temper tantrums aren’t cute on a 5-year-old, let alone a 25 or 35 year-old woman.  Instead they are sure signs of mental and spiritual immaturity and that you’ve got some growing up to do before entering an adult relationship.Weeping Woman On Floor  

2. Manipulative tactics: it’s all about you and what you want and you’ll use whatever tricks are necessary to get it.   Using sex, tears or withholding affection to get your desired outcome are all manipulation tactics. Trying to get over on someone who cares for you is unfair, will cause a lack of trust and is seriously just plain trifling.  If he is a mature man he will likely grow tired of your games and leave you to play with the boys. fake tears

3. Unfair fighting:  If you use your words as weapons during arguments to inflict as much pain as possible without actually coming to blows then you don’t argue fairly.  Do you make snide remarks or throw other men in his face when he doesn’t do things your way? Do you kick him when he’s down, can’t find work or makes mistakes? A man needs respect and honor (which is basically a fancy word for more respect) from his mate. It’s sometimes easier to be mean than to choose support, gentleness or kindness but think about the long-term damage as opposed to trying to get back at them in that moment.  As women, we can sometimes have a quick tongue that can shoot venom fire balls at will and since we usually know exactly what buttons to push it’s easy to hurt a man’s pride.  Even if you’re angry always remember that sometimes the tude is unnecessary and you and your partner are on the same team! beyonce tude

4. Unwillingness to compromise:  You won’t take no for an answer, everything has to be your way or the highway & the word compromise has no place in your vocabulary.  Everyone wants what they want when they want it, but most mature adults know (and accept) the fact that they won’t always get everything in their timing.  I speak from experience because I can be as spoiled as they come and have to keep watch on this part of my character.  It’s a very selfish and self-centered way to go about life and relationships of any kind, especially a marriage as they are all about giving and taking and giving some more.  Getting to a point of being okay with compromise or actually not getting your way takes growth and loads of it, but it’s worth it to have a happy, healthy relationship. tamar gif

5. Uncontrollable emotions:  Have you ever watched the show Bridezillas and wondered how some of these women were able to date and marry someone?  Although a lot of their actions are extreme (and hopefully for the cameras), I’ve found myself thinking just that; and my next thought is usually ‘at least I’m not that bad’.  But the truth is I could very much resemble some of the women just to a lesser extent.  Yes, hormones are real but if you can’t (or won’t) try to purposefully control your emotions and consequently your actions, you’re basically like a ticking time ball and no one is going to want to be around when you explode.  The bible put’s it this way: He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.  It compares a person that can’t control themselves to a broken down city without protection, you have no barriers against thieves and looters, mainly the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  In this case you are letting him steal, kill and destroy your partnership. tyra melt down

6. You don’t speak life:  I was raised in a house full of women, I also grew up with an awesome dad in my life but saw him mainly on the weekends and didn’t really get a chance to see what a positive, thriving relationship looked like.  Fast forward to today and I still struggle with not picking out the negatives and things I don’t like a bout a mate in lieu of focusing on the positives and uplifting him for those qualities.  As I’m a grown woman I can no longer use what I didn’t learn during childhood as an excuse for not building up the man in my life  today.  It takes a very conscious effort to focus on the positives and although I haven’t reached Barnabus status yet, I have learned that it is important to speak life into your relationships and situations, he’ll love you all the more for it. jerk

God bless and here’s to a purposeFULL life! Court 🙂

Good Fruit: The Evidence

Woman eating orange

How do we know that we are producing fruit in our lives?  We are changed, sometimes others may notice the difference in you before you do!  The bible tells us how we can we tell that what we are doing is producing good fruit in our lives.

  • A change in our actions: Galatians 5 tells us that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  In contrast, the acts of the flesh are: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. We are told that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Decreased craving of fleshly desires: Although we all sin and fall short, if we are walking in the spirit  we will not consistently crave things of the flesh.  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  
  • Desiring God’s will and righteousness: Your desire will be to please God and to bring forth fruit unto God and not unto death (Romans 7:4-5):  In Ephesians 5:9 we find that the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth.  As followers of God, we strive to seek first His kingdom, righteousness and will.  We recognize the fact that we are filled with the fruit of righteousness, that came to us by Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. (Philippians 1:11)  *Righteousness in Greek is dikaiosuné: which means divine approval or God’s judicial approval.  Also see, James 3:17.
  • Answered prayers:  John 15:16 states that ‘ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained yo, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  If we look back at John 15:7 it tells us that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, we can ask what we will and it shall be done unto you.  If we are abiding in God, keeping the commandments and his word within us, what we ask should be aligned with His will in our lives.  Take a look at the stories of Hannah and Solomon, they asked with pure intentions and received because their will was God’s will.  In James 4:3 tells us that it is possible to ask amiss.

Share your thoughts below & be blessed:)
Court

*biblehub

Part One: Good Fruit

Part Two: How do I produce Good Fruit?

Good Fruit: How do I produce good fruit?

Portrait Of Young Girl standing on yellow background.

During my study of fruits, one thing I wanted to learn was how I can purpose to produce good fruits in my life.  I wanted biblically sound principles that I could apply on a consistent basis because if God said it, then it must work!  I touch on 8 below.  (This is the second part of the Good Fruit series, if you would like part one or three the links are listed at the bottom of the page.)

1. Abide in God.  (John 15:4-5) This scripture says that we must abide in Christ because apart from him we can do nothing and bear no fruit.  The definition of abide is to remain, to rest or to stay.  For me, this looks like constantly praying to God, considering what He would want me to do and say and spending time with Him.  What does it mean to you to abide in God?  I would encourage reading John 15:1-17 (ESV)

2.  Cut down the things in your life that aren’t producing good fruit.  (Matthew 7:19) In Matthew it tells us that every tree not yielding good fruit is cut down and is cast to fire.  That to me is scary as heck!  In John 15 we saw that Jesus tells us that every branch that does not bear fruit is pruned. Pruning or trimming (a tree, shrub, or bush) is done by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.  The reason for trimming back branches is that if they aren’t trimmed they can actually compete with other branches or stems trying to grow!  If we look at it biblically what’s bad within our hearts is competing with the good to take root and develop in our lives, it is up to us to decide what wins.  Take an inventory of all the characteristics that you think may need to be trimmed from your life, sinning in anger, envy fornication, idolatry and write out scripture verses on these issues to study.

3. Hear the word, understand and retain it.  (Matthew 13:23)  For me hearing the word is not the issue, but always understanding and retaining what I’ve read is a feat.  Many times I’m like the tiny seed that landed in a bushel of thorns struggling to make my way to good soil.  We are blessed that we have the Holy Spirit that enlightens and a God that knows we will struggle to bloom and in doing so we may fail to produce good fruit.  But as we continue to try by studying and pursuing Him we will produce fruit in abundance!  One way I retain the word is through writing, sometimes I’ll rewrite a verse over and over and other times I write it on notecards to study.  I highly recommend reading the entire 13th chapter of Matthew.  How do we obtain hearing (Romans 10:17) 

4. Seek wisdom from above.  (James 3:17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  This verse tells us that there is wisdom  that comes from God and it is full of good fruits amongst other desired qualities.  So how do you receive wisdom from above?  Through the word of God and by asking for it.  Through asking God gives us wisdom abundantly and without reproach James 1:5.   Where else can we receive wisdom (James 3:15-16)?

5.  Plant seeds in good ground.  (Luke 8:8)  In the early years of a tree’s life it’s important to a strong foundation so that it can grow and bear the weight of the fruit it will produce.  The same goes for us, whatever we decide to do it’s always best to be rooted in God, prior to starting a ministry, relationship, your day or any type of endeavor.  This verse tells us to make sure we have planted in a good strong foundation so that at the first sign of troubles our faith won’t simply wither away be trampled upon or devoured.  I would recommend reading the entire chapter of Luke 8.   It tells us that if we have no root we may believe for a while but in times of temptation we fall away or are consumed with worldly riches and pleasures, in doing so there is no fruit brought forth.  It may take months and many times years to build the foundation, but our foundation should be Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:10)  What is the foundation that has already been laid for us to build upon?  How will our foundations be tested?  Click here to learn how the word fire is often times used in the bible.

6. Have patience with your self  (Luke 8:15) You may find yourself learning the same lessons over and over.  Sometimes growth can be quite monotonous.  Don’t get frustrated if there are mistakes or character traits you have grown accustomed to exhibiting just know that the fact that you’re even aware of it and want to change is progress in itself!  In Luke 8:15 it tells us that the seeds planted on good ground bring forth fruit with patience.   In the YLT it states that those seeds sown on good ground bear fruit in continuance, meaning they are continually exhibiting good fruits in their lives.  It is something that’s continual, so you will get many opportunities to produce good fruit!  Don’t compare your growth journey to anyone else’s you are on your own track.  Relax, but keep pressing on and remember some fruit trees can take up to five years to grow!

7.  Be Honest.  (Luke 8:15)  There’s a lot that can be pulled out of this one scripture.  Having an honest and good heart is something else Luke tells us is necessary to producing good fruit in our lives.  Have you ever lied and then though to yourself, why did I just lie about that?  It was something so insignificant that you can’t even figure out why you didn’t just say what you felt or meant, but before you even have a chance to think about it, the lie just rolls off your tongue?  I have and even these little white lies should feel convicting because they are hindering our production of good fruit.  No one is perfect and I thank God for understanding that, mistakes will be made but so will progress when you decide to mature in your actions.  Can you remember the last lie you told, why did you feel the need to lie?  What do you think you can do to be more honest with yourself and others?

8. Have no fellowship with darkness (Ephesians 5:11 & Psalm 1:1-6)  As followers of Christ we are to reprove anothers dark ways or as the YLT states convict and bring to light their ways.  The definition of reprove is to correct or criticize in a gentle manner.  Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we are to speak the truth in love, so there’s no need to be harsh or abrasive when calling someone out.  We don’t have to indulge in darkness to try to pull someone out, because just through living our your walk with God others can see what it means to be a light in the world.

Part One: Out of the heart

Part Three: The evidence of good fruit

Taking flight

 I took a (very) mini  vaca a couple weekends ago and had sooooo much fun!  There was nothing epic or super spectacular about the trip, but I did get to catch up with old friends, meet new people and not concern myself with the worries of normal life. Usually by the end of any trip I’m ready and eager to get home & back to my life.  But this time was different.  I found myself sad about returning back to cold weather, papers, presentations, bills, homework, work and more stress.  The majority of the stresses like the bills, papers, homework (because I chose to return to school)  I created because I have a tendency to take on more than one person should attempt to handle in a life time.  And the time spent not having to deal with or think about cleaning up the mess I made was freeing.  Without the busyness of life, I had a chance to actually enjoy it.

I can remember about ten years ago asking God to make my life like a vacation.  By this I meant worry free, fun and enjoyable, and there are times that I feel this way.  But lately I have found myself in a situation where being bogged down with the things of this world made it quite difficult to lighten up.   I don’t know if you’ve every had this feeling, but there are times when I just want to run away and start a brand new, shiny life and this was one of those times.  But ultimately, while it may seem like a plausible solution I knew that running away is rarely if ever the solution to a problem.   The bills would most likely track me down anyway, I would have to find another job,  and troubles would always rear their ugly heads, as it is a part of life no matter what part of globe we call home.  James tells us that ‘when we fall into divers temptations’, not if. 

If you have similar experiences, feelings or urgings to take flight and jet off to a new fabulous life then congrats as it might be in the cards for you to do so.  But if you truly know that you are to grow where you’re planted, I would encourage you to do one of three things, map out solid goals to make your life more enjoyable, take inventory of the blessings you have at home and know that running from problems solves nothing because they always find you.  You may have momentary happiness, but it will be short lived if you are leaving for all the wrong reasons. 

For me, the plus is that I know I can solve a lot of the things I don’t like about my life, I can choose to spend money wisely and pay down my debt quickly, I can purposely make time to truly enjoy my friendships, take less classes and not take on so much work.  Plus, without a doubt I would miss so much if I moved right now, my home, my job and ultimately my family which since they are here, my heart truly is as well.  Although I am planning a move years down the line, I know jumping up and moving now wouldn’t serve me well, so in the end I readied myself for the two hour flight to the tune of an obviously equally unhappy little boy with the vocal expertise of a banshee behind me, wiped away the could’ve beens from my mental rolodex and headed home, where at this point in my life at least is where I know I belong.

God bless
Court

Five things a man should see in you, besides your beauty

Portrait Of Loving African American Couple In Countryside

I go to a singles bible study every now and then and an acquaintance, let’s call him Franco, started attending as a result of me telling him how much I enjoy the studies.  One day Franco informed me that he didn’t really need singles bible study because he already knew who he was going to marry and after a couple of minutes of going back and forth he revealed that his wife to be was me.  Now, I’m not the type of woman who buys something most people are selling especially if it doesn’t add up.  In this case, we had known each other for about a year, weren’t dating and I had made it known we most likely would go no further than a friendship.  Since I tend to question everything, this was no different and I asked him what about me made him think I was the one?  His answer immediately turned on my ‘game running alarms’ as he informed me that I was the proud owner of the three B’s: beauty, brains and booty to which I promptly chuckled while mentally incorporating a forth ‘B’, the boot!   If a man is unable to tell me why he wants to be with me or has trouble pulling out a couple of specific character qualities that make me special to him it’s an issue.  If he can’t do these things in my view he isn’t paying attention or truly invested in me as a person enough to get to know my core, especially if he claims to love me or would discuss something as serious as marriage.  This scenario made me give much thought to some of the qualities a mate should be able to recognize, appreciate and honor within your relationship beside your beauty and booty!

Your value: Regardless of whether you’re dating, courting, engaged or married your significant other should be able to clearly recognize the value that you bring to his life.  Throughout proverbs, wisdom is characterized as a female and in Proverbs 31 we see what makes up an excellent woman or wife.  In the bible it states that a man who seeks wisdom will be blessed, just as a man who finds a wife is blessed.  It also states that wise words and wisdom are more valuable than rubies, just as a woman of noble character is more precious than rubies.  I say this to make the comparison to the value of wisdom and that of a noble wife.  The word wisdom appears in the bible over 200 times and we are told in Proverbs 4 that obtaining wisdom is a principal thing; And although the bible is speaking of wisdom, verses 6-9 could seriously read as a guide-book for having a very happy wife and hence life.  If there are so many similarities between the attainment of wisdom with all its importance and that of the rare and noble wife then it is fair to say that you are quite valuable in God’s eyes and should be in your significant other’s as well.  In 1 Peter 3:7 husbands are told to live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.   If a man does not show understanding and honor to his wife his prayers could be hindered.  Meaning the way a man treat’s his wife is directly correlated to the way God treat’s his prayers!   That’s just how serious God is about the treatment of his daughters by their husbands and truly shows the value of a virtuous woman.

Your Irreplaceableness:  In the middle of an argument, I had an ex-boyfriend tell me that he could go out tomorrow and find another  ‘good girl’ just like me.  Aside from the fact that he called me a girl, the comment made me cringe because I felt like after all the time of us dating my worth to him boiled down to the fact that I had a steady job, was smart and pretty.  Like he could just go to the girlfriend store and tell the manager ‘this one didn’t fit I need another one of the same model’.  His statement didn’t encompass any of the attributes that made me who I was internally, it didn’t entertain the uniqueness of my laugh, my penchant for singing loudly off-key in the shower or my quirky sense of humor, it only focused on the external which in essence could actually be easily replaced.  Thank God for instilling me with enough confidence to know that although he may find someone else quickly, there was no way on God’s green earth he would run across another me.  If you look at the beginning of Proverbs 31:10, it begins with a question, ‘Who can find a virtuous woman?’  Since it’s in question form I immediately think that maybe this virtuous woman isn’t so easily found and while there are many, many women in the world to choose from, this particular woman is actually quite rare.  We all have qualities that make us irreplaceable to that special someone and if we model ourselves after virtuous women in the bible we become the one in a million that God so highly speaks of.  If your significant other is unable to see how irreplaceable you are maybe you need to take a trip to the boyfriend store and get an upgrade!

Your equality: Granted, men and women have very different roles within the boundaries of marriage, the fact that the wife chooses to submit to her husband as the head in marriage does not make her input, opinions or suggestions any less valuable or her role any less important.  In the bible it states that women are the weaker vessels, but it also states that the men are to honor her as a result of it.  Women are afforded the same salvation, grace, forgiveness and love promised to men.  Galatians 3:28 puts it this way: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Your intelligence:  I suppose one out of three isn’t bad in Franco’s defense as brains was one of his three B’s, but a man should love your brain long before he’s made love to your body.   Dating without fornication is a great time to get to know someone without the would be distractions of physical sex.  I regret the fact that I delved into sexual relationships with boyfriends in the past because it got in the way of us getting to truly know each other at times.  Hopefully, your mate enjoys having conversations with you, hearing your points of view and heeding your advice if it be wise.  Speaking from experience, if you have a long-term mate that is constantly dismissive of your views or rarely seeks your advice on pertinent issues in his life you may have a long, hard road a head, especially if you decide to marry him.  In Proverbs 31 we see that the virtuous woman speaks with wisdom, she is hard-working and doesn’t worry during seasons of winter because she was smart enough to prepare ahead of time.  I can bet she was one of her husbands main confidants and counselors as it tells us that his heart safely trusted in her.  So release your inner nerd and let your geek flag fly, the man meant for you will only love you all the more for it!

Your God: A man who knows you, should be able to see the God in you through your daily interactions together and optimally, in turn, will encourage growth in your relationship with God.  It could become extremely problematic if you set your standards as a child of God and he continually attempts to cross those boundaries.   If he constantly tries to get you into bed, take things further than you would like, speaks to you in a mean, harsh or vulgar way, disrespects you or treats you anything less than a lady he definitely doesn’t recognize or at the most respect the God within you.

God bless
Court

Without the ring

Bridal portrait.

When you’re dating sometimes the lines between acting as a girlfriend and a wife without a ring can get quite blurry. I’m not speaking exclusively of sex, but also the simple things that as nurturing women we want to do for our significant others. Oftentimes we don’t recognize that we are giving husband privileges to a boyfriend that hasn’t earned them. Although the bible gives us a glimpse of a godly wife, there are no hard and fast rules about biblical girlfriend-hood.  I’ve been in a relationship where it seemed the guy wanted me to be his wife in every aspect except the vows, the license and the ring.  Amongst other things, he wanted submission and of course sex, but wasn’t quite ready to take that walk down the aisle and I perpetuated it by allowing it to continue.  Many times we choose to believe words that hold the promise of a ring instead of believing the actions that ultimately will sell a person out.  I’ve learned a few things while in long term relationships (6, 7 and 3 years), so here are five big rewards or acts that in my opinion should be reserved for a husband that actually put a ring on it and not just a promise to do so.

  1. Sex: This is an obvious but extremely important point. The direction to flee fornication may oftentimes seem more like a punishment than the gift it is. I know from personal experience I cannot have sex with someone without becoming attached because for me there must be a deep connection already woven into the relationship. Unfortunately, through premarital sex I’ve formed unhealthy soul ties in the past with boyfriends because I thought it was okay since we would one day be married. Had I used the wherewithal to wait on God’s best and until marriage to take our relationship to the next level this may not have been an issue and I could have saved myself a lot of heart ache, disappointments and stress.
  2. Household responsibilities: In my twenties I lived with my boyfriend and found myself playing house every since then, simply because I thought that was the way it was supposed to be. I recently had a guy tell me (yes, tell me) that I would have to make him dinner because he wanted to make sure I could cook.  Now, when I want to, I can be a culinary (crockpot) guru, but have grown to a maturity level where proving my cooking skills to some random isn’t in my realm of desires.  I am eager however to cook for my husband and ensure that he enjoys every bite. In fact I have begun to cook more at home in an effort to add meals to my repertoire.  Things like cooking regular meals, ironing (which I despise anyway, a spray bottle filled with water and a dryer are my best friends), cleaning and other household chores are reserved for my home, if there happens to be a husband in it then he will definitely reap those rewards. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, that’s great news, because the only man’s heart I want is my husbands and he is the only one I want to cook (or order) dinner for every night!
  3. Changing churches: In past serious relationships, the issue has not been that we are unequally yoked concerning being Christian, but that we weren’t attending the same church. I don’t see much purpose in changing my church home until God has spoken to us and we are actually on the road to marriage. I do plan to attend my future husband’s church for counseling reasons and to be of equal accord, it just isn’t necessary while dating. The idea didn’t sit right with me the big one being because I wouldn’t feel comfortable in the case of the relationships demise; and If I based my decision about a church on who I’m dating at the time there’s a possibility that I would be a consistent church hopper.  If you are seeking a church home or already attend the same church those are very different circumstances.
  4. Combining finances:  I usually refrain from even discussing specifics about my finances (or his) early on in a relationship including what I make or what I have in savings.  Also, I have never been asked, but cosigning (read proverbs) on things or mixing finances would not occur while dating, joint bank accounts are reserved for marriage in my eyes. I do however think it extremely important to discuss how you each spend money, is his style thrifty or frivolous, does he save money regularly, are bills paid on time, is he in debt and vice versa. It’s been noted that many marriages fail due to monetary differences or struggles, knowing these types of things prior to engagement is crucial.
  5. Submission: Submission is intertwined into many aspects of our lives even if we choose not to see it. As a child you submit to your parents and as an adult to a boss, coach, pastor or another head. The bible tells us that as wives we are also to submit to our husband as unto the Lord.  That being said, I have yet to read where it states a girlfriend is to submit to her boyfriend, if you find it let me know!  Even though we may practice submission daily as brothers and sisters in Christ, until we have become one under God I would not consider any one I’m dating my headship.  As a single woman I submit to God and am still under the umbrella of my earthly and heavenly fathers.  I would however, expect him to exhibit leadership qualities and to have respect for the decisions he makes in his own life.

Just my two cents 😊

God Bless and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

A Silent Savior

If you were on trial for a murder you didn’t commit, do you think you would speak up and proclaim your innocence?  I believe the majority of us would, but during a bible study of Mark (15:3-5) I saw an instance where Jesus did just the opposite. While people viciously hurled false accusations his way and deemed him worthy of a crime punishable by death, Jesus remained silent.  We see three times when Jesus was questioned and gave no reply.  The high priest Caiaphas – Matthew 26:62&63-And the high priest arose and said unto him, Answerest thou nothin  what is it which these witness against thee?  (63)  But Jesus held his peace.  When Herod questioned him in Luke 23:9 – Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.  As a result Herod and the other men mocked Jesus for what they thought to be stupidity or weakness.  But the instance that intrigued me the most was when Pilate asked if he had heard all of the things people were accusing him of doing, I believe in an attempt to get him to speak out on his incorruptibility.  Mattthew 27:14 – And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.

The fact that Pilate marveled greatly at Jesus’ response or lack there of was so perfectly human and Jesus’ silence was so utterly perfect.  To me it exhibits Jesus’ strength in connection with God and the spirit world in contrast with the carnal angst of fleshly death that was Pilates focus.  While Pilate only saw the mythical world in front of him, Jesus looked beyond this life, this flesh, his crucifixion and saw eternal life.

It brought to mind a few things, the first is that far too often I am a Pilate in this world, afraid to speak out on what I know is truth and wasting my time focused only on futile human carnalities.  The second is that there can be such awesome power in our use of silence, so much so that it can leave others speechless and in awe, I speak on that here.  The third is that it is necessary for my spiritual growth to embrace and regularly put into practice the qualities and confidences that Jesus must have held to be the type of man that could remain silent at a time like this.  These are five qualities that I hope to develop within myself.

Jesus knew who he was and his purpose for being here on earth:  Jesus was all ‘about his fathers business’ and since the start of His ministry he focused on his purpose, being a savior.  You may not know exactly what your gift(s) here on earth is just yet, but you do know your purpose.  We are laborers with God (1 Corinthians 3:9) and we are to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commanded of us and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:18-20).  Many times we make excuses for not doing what God called us to do even though it is clearly stated.  I will confess that I include myself in the realm of passive Christianity, going to church when I can, not being a servant, reading the bible when I remember and rarely speaking to others about God unless they introduce Him into the conversation. My main excuses are fear of going up and talking to people cold turkey and making time to serve.  I can’t afford to wait any longer to be about my father’s business and I ask that God gives me the opportunity to do so.  I pray that all excuses, barriers and road blocks for not doing God’s will are removed from our lives and that God reveals our gifts when the time is right.

Jesus already knew how the story would play out: The bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those that love him (Romans 8:28) and we also know that in the end God win’s!  Jesus knew his fathers plan and as children of God so should we.  Although, we may not always be secure in this fact as concerns of this earth boggle us down and disrupt our faith.  It is imperative that we keep in mind that everything is working together for our good.  I honestly wish I could be as assured as Jesus, but I worry and doubt about things all the time.  I’m challenging myself and you to recite Romans 8:28 whenever thoughts of doubt, fear or worry about a situation fill our heads to remind us that if we are on God’s team, we have already won.  I pray for knowledge and wisdom from above to remain focused on things eternal.

Jesus trusted his father:  How many times in your life have you questioned God?  Have you ever wondered if you were meant to be in the situation or place you are currently?  I find myself doing this, especially when things aren’t going right in my limited view.  But in the heat of the moment, before his death, Jesus trusted God because he knew that no matter what his father loved and would be there for him, just as he will for you.  Trust can be hard to maintain, especially when we often desire a tangible proof before totally giving it. But if I’m taking notes from Jesus he went along with God’s plan even in the most difficult of times, even when he thought God had forsaken him.  Having trust is paramount to growing as a child of God and I pray that we place our trust in God and surrender to his plan for our life.

Jesus did what God told him to do:  As stated before Jesus knew God’s plan and although it didn’t always seem like a pleasant journey he still walked the path God gave him, no questions asked.  When God tells us to do something it’s guraranteed to be for our good.  Oftentimes, I find myself being more of a Jonah than a Jesus in life.  If I have an urge to write, give up a relationship or do something that I feel like God may be directing me to do, I can’t always say that I do it right away.  Usually what happens when I don’t follow God’s plan is that I go the painful circuitous route, am swallowed up and spit out by the jaws of life and wind up having to do what I was trying to avoid initially.  I pray against the spirit of procrastination, confusion and wrong relationships and replace them with a spirit of love and willingness to move when God calls us to move.

Jesus wasn’t going to allow anyone to stop him from accomplishing his Goal:  When Peter was so over taken at the thought of Jesus’ death that he begins to rebuke the plan, Jesus knows it’s the devil attempting to stop him (Matthew 16:23).  Just as the jeering, criticizing and mocking of the people prior to and during his crucifiction is no match for the power of his desire to do God’s will.  Nothing and no one could stop him.  When we set out to accomplish something, be it completing a bible study or starting a business there will be distractions to be put at bay so we can do the work set before us.  Recognizing when the devil is trying to knock us off the path God has placed before us is critical to reaching God’s goal for our life.  I pray for freedom from people and discernment to know when the devil is a distraction in our lives and to rebuke any and all attempts to pull us away from our work and callings.

God bless & here’s to a purposeFULL life!
Court😉

As you love yourself

The second command that Jesus give’s us as His followers is to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39).   We are to extend patience, kindness, selflessness and goodness to those closest to us.  But how does one do this, when they don’t put these methods of exhibiting love towards themselves?  How do you love someone else, if you don’t even know how to love yourself?

The thought that a person can be born a perfect child of God and buy into the lies the devil places in their lives through the media, people close to them and their own thoughts makes me cringe.  But it also makes me extremely sad, because I was one of those people.  Despite my awesome parents and family that loved me, I spent years growing into a person that didn’t like herself.  Because of bullying as a child, choices I’d made as a teen and adult, an abusive relationship and the things I thought, I began to embody what these people told me I was instead of believing the truth that God and my family would tell me.  I was told I had nappy hair, was a weirdo (not in a good way), looked like a boy, that I should just keep my mouth shut so that people wouldn’t know how stupid I was, that I could never become a vet because you had to be smart, that I was ugly and would never find another man.  There were times I didn’t see the value of me even being here, it was dark.  These things stuck with me and it became much easier to dispel the truth and become very comfortable residing in the darkness of the lies.

At the time, I knew some passages in the bible, but had never read the bible for myself.  I never really understood what that verse meant, until one day I was arguing with my ex-boyfriend and he stopped and exclaimed that I was just too hard on him, I expected too much!  I can remember later on meditating on what he said and realized that I was loving him the way I loved myself, which wasn’t very much.  I also was extremely  hard on myself and rarely gave myself any slack.  If I made a mistake or said something incorrect,  I would berate myself for days, maybe even months depending what it was.  If I did something wrong, I found myself repeating the lies I was told about how stupid I was and that I should just shut up so people would like me because I was too unintelligent and quirky.  I would look in the mirror and would feel unpretty.  I rarely gave myself a compliment and if someone did then I took it with a grain of salt.  But let someone say something negative, I would internalize it, invite it to live in my head and roll around for days, months or years.  I can’t say that I hated myself but the concept of self-love was lost on me.

I began to read self-help books on loving yourself, sought therapy and learned about God’s love for me.  The ability to brush off the mean things people said came a little easier and although I am still a highly sensitive person, I tend not to internalize criticisms but continually pray for freedom of people bondage.   I began to tell myself that I loved me and believe it, I would look in the mirror and think good things and actually found that I liked my quirky personality because there truly is no one on earth like me!  Am I perfect in my resilience and confidence?  No, but I’m growing!  As I write this, I have tears in my eyes thinking about the years I allowed someone to dull my quirky shine or silence my voice.  Since hitting my thirties, I have learned to be patient with myself and to recognize the positive things about myself.   I am still hard on myself sometimes, but am so extremely happy with the woman who I’ve become and am becoming and can honestly say that I love myself more each day and pray that it’s exhibited through the love I show others.

God Bless and Shine On!
Court 🙂

If you are struggling with loving yourself and feel that you don’t add value to this world and want out, know that you are loved, wanted and needed here!  There is no one like you and you are so extremely special.  I am praying for you.  Please speak with someone you can trust about what you’re going through, you will feel so much better.

Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

Through the flames

I got a text from my ex yesterday, that although it shouldn’t have, caused me a great deal of sadness.  I think it’s because it solidified the fact that we weren’t getting back together, and although I thought I had totally let go, there was this little piece of me that was still holding on.  While we were dating, I honestly thought he was the one, we discussed marriage, having a family, and he told me (although I never saw it) that he had gone ring shopping.  I thought he was the man who God had for me and we were going to live happy together for the rest of our days.  Unfortunately, there was a curve ball thrown and that didn’t turn out to be the case.

I won’t go into detail about the text but it was enough to send me running back to feeling as if we had broken up more recently and there was such an internal pain that it was almost crippling.   I didn’t want to see or deal with anyone, but since I received the text in the middle of doing something I had to push on and wait to open the flood gates until I got into my car and a safe distance away from the building.  I confused myself, because  I was dealing, coping or at least I thought I was until I found myself falling back into the anguish of sadness that seemed to come out of no where and so quickly that it was impossible to dodge.  I fell back into questioning the things that happened, wondering if I had made the right decisions. I found myself questioning God, asking Him if I would ever have love, did I miss my chance and why am I here yet again?  I found myself holding onto heartache more than happiness as I dwelled on the fact that I was 37 and without prospects.  I wondered if I would have to do the rest of my life without a mate and if so could I be okay with that?  I forgot to remind myself that just because I didn’t see big things on the horizon, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  Since, I’d been here before in my twenties I knew that if I stayed one of two things that would happen.  1. I would fall deeper and deeper into sadness and eventually depression and 2.  I would  fall further and further away from Christ.  So I prayed and prayed some more between sobs.  It was a long sleepless night of guarding my tongue against words the enemy would have me speak over my life and asking God for strength, faith and vision to see beyond this point in my life and also for contentment while in the season.

Today after almost two months of my ex and I officially parting ways, I let go.  It was difficult, because I wanted to hold on, but I deleted the numbers, emails and text.  I released the dreams of meeting him at the end of the aisle on our wedding day and us growing old and wrinkly together.  I let it all go, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, it means that through the pain I must hold on to the faith that all things will work together for both of our goods and release the fear that it won’t.  It is not a fire of consumption but of cleansing, so I have to thank Him even while walking through the flames.

Whatever your issue is, if you find yourself taking a couple of steps back, remember it’s normal.  Blame it on our humanity.  No one and no situation is perfect, some days it’s easy to roll with the punches and sometimes you feel like you got knocked off of your feet.  Fight the good fight and remember God is there for you, He will help you, believe that.

God Bless
Court

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (ESV)

1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)

Genesis 2:18 – Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (ESV) – God will bring someone great into our lives if it is His will, he made us for companionship.

If you need to speak to someone: The Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (212) 673-3000

Giving up on love

Love always endures is what 1 Corinthians 13 tells us, but when you come to the end of a romantic relationship that has been torn apart by carless words and actions you have to wonder is it always true?  After getting to know someone for months or years they can become so entrenched in your life that when it’s all over and done there’s a crater sized void in your heart and a million questions in your head.  Where did the dreams, the joy and the love go?  Your norm was hearing from them or spending time with them daily, consistently loving, laughing and living with them.  You shared visions of a future, meals and tv shows together.  So, when it all comes to an abrupt halt and you have to make the choice to live in your new norm of doing life alone, everything in you may fight against it.  For most it is a hurt that you never want to feel again.  At some point we all desire to throw in the towel and build that wall of protection around our hearts, brick by tedious brick.  After all, if you never allowed love in again, you wouldn’t feel the sting of another failed relationship, the foolishness of falling for an unfaithful partner, or the ordeal of placing your heart in someone else’s hands only to have them leave or abuse that trust.  Trust me, I know how you feel.

Break ups are akin to going through withdrawals.  You miss that familiar connection and there are periods of ups and downs where you may be looking forward to meeting someone new but then again you miss the comfort of them terribly.  You may be happy one minute and crying like a baby the next, emotions (and hormones) are strong things.  Some of us may do a better job at controlling how we deal with emotions but they come with being human, so allow yourself to feel and grieve the loss of the relationship.  These feelings will persist until they are no longer a part of you, until there is no twinge in your stomach when their name is mentioned or sting of regret when you see them.  But be grateful for the fact that there is an until because the feelings you have for them will change and eventually your heart will heal and won’t beat for that person.  You just have to go through the healing process.   Truthfully, it sucks and hurts like hell, but the wholeness that you receive on the other side is well worth it.  The most difficult part is letting them go, while holding on to the hope of everything that love brings.  Let go of the what if’s because they were just dreams and embrace the reality of a bright future and new loves. Let go of the you that wasn’t your best with them and embrace self-improvement through retrospection and diligent work.  Most importantly let go of the lies Satan will tell you of how you will never find true love and embrace the truth in God’s promises, that He will never leave nor forsake you and will always love you.

We throw the word love around today as if it were some flimsy, obscure, meaningless word, but there is power in our words and strength that comes with confessing that you will trust God’s plan for your love life, even in it’s absence.  God is love and our charge is to love each other as siblings in Christ, point blank.  Ultimately I believe that the type of love you have for the person must shift from Eros to Agape. It may take a while to come around, but forgive them, pray for them, genuinely wish them the best and take your lessons like a boss so that you become better not bitter.  Ask God to soften your heart and reveal and heal any hardened parts so that you don’t block your blessings when your chance to show love comes back around, because ultimately it will.

Don’t give up on love, it always trusts, always hopes and always endures.  Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)

God bless
Court

Holy Shift

I have a beautiful wardrobe if I do say so myself and I collect shoes as if I’m gearing up to open a mini Macy’s.  But after taking inventory of my internal status I’ve noticed that over the years I’ve collected some pretty ugly qualities.  I’ve added some bad habits, stored a bunch of negativity, indulged in a little moodiness, picked up some double mindedness and threw in a bit of emotional instability just for good measure.  In other words my heart isn’t always so pretty.  Now, I’m always roughest on myself and I have taken tremendous strides in my walk with Christ but I still have a looooong way to go.  I can quickly throw the fruits of the spirit out the window and revert to my former ways of pessimism, not speaking in love or sinning in anger at the drop of a hat if things don’t go my way.

Today I had lunch with two girlfriends, one is recently engaged and the other has been married for years and they have just decided to enlarge their family.  As we updated each other on life events, marriage, babies, trips etc it came around to me.  I eagerly discussed some of the exciting things occurring in my life that I’m extremely grateful for including a new home.  I was genuinely happy for them but once I got home I began to reflect on where my life was headed and wondered if I would ever have something as monumental as an engagement to the man God had for me or the arrival of my first child to divulge.  Quickly God answered,  He asked me why I thought He should bring my husband right now when I’m a mess inside?  I realize no one is perfect and after marriage and motherhood some flaws remain, but I could work on preparing  myself a lot more than I have been.  Yes, I have a house, but my finances are shot because of poor credit card choices in the past, I’ve held on to soul ties from previous relationships, my emotions can be all over the place and in times of anger I allow them to lead me instead of the Holy Spirit.  I also get easily irritated by small things like slow drivers or my dog’s barking and I throw spiritual temper tantrums when I don’t get my way.  I’m still eating that mushy baby food and sometimes God has to revert to milk with me.  I wonder if the angels look down on me shaking their heads wondering if I’ll ever learn and just how many times do I want to make my way around this same old mountain!

If you are eager to have a significant other, a child or some other life altering event, have you checked yourself lately?  Would God ask you why He should oblige when you aren’t ready to receive the blessing?  I guess, if I look at it from Gods’ point of view I am a little happy that He hasn’t given me my way because I would definitely ruin a great thing.  One of the women in my small groups bible study was speaking on the talk she had with God about a month prior to meeting her husband.  She asked God for one of His son’s and God told her she had to be His daughter first.  Meaning, she would have to forgo focusing on a man and focus on The Man, Jesus! Shifting your entire focus isn’t easy to do when people around you are getting married or popping out babies like candy dispensers while you sit alone watching your biological clock speedily tick, tick, tick away.  It’s difficult, especially when the world, from your doctor to strangers on the street (yes this has happened to me) are constantly attempting to instill the fear of perpetual singleness into you.   I consistently pray for freedom from people bondage because honestly there are so many other things to focus on, the main one being God’s will.  I’ve given up trying to shift my focus on my own because it doesn’t work and have since started praying that God changes my thoughts and keeps my hand’s off the wheel.  After all, He is the one with the directions! Be blessed & live purposeFULLy Court

Wishy Washy Saints…

Do you ever get to the point in your life where you feel distant from God or that your zeal for studying and reading is waning and you don’t know why? I have and probably will in the future to be honest.

Ideally we are all consistently and progressively growing in the word of God daily. But none of us exist in a utopia and many times we find ourselves waxing and waning in our devotion to spending time with God. I don’t think this means that our love for Him decreases but sometimes our flesh becomes lazy in seeking Him or our world becomes so hectic that we just don’t set aside time to spend with Him. Days without seeking Him can easily turn into weeks and months into years until eventually He is no longer an intricate part of our lives.

I have lived this life of a wishy washy Christian and believe me, it’s painful to look back on your journey that started off so strong and wonder where the time went or why at this point in your life you’re still just a baby in Christ. I don’t pretend to have all the answers but besides remaining active in church or prayer groups, this is what I do in situations like this.

Don’t dwell on time wasted: we have a God that wants a relationship with us, so many times you can pick up where you left off. You’ll be surprised how much you remember even if years have gone by.

Read anyway: this is one of the best things you can do! Even if I don’t feel like reading the bible, I’ll still pick it up and get to studying. Many times I get so wrapped up in the reading that I don’t want to stop.

Don’t wait until it’s late: try to study when you’re still wide awake and not tired. Many people wake early to pray and study, I try but I identify with all the non-morning people out there & realize this can sometimes be difficult.

Turn on worship music: there’s something about music that sets the mood and puts me in a mindset of wanting to draw closer to God. Sometimes I’ll just sing to God on my own and although I can’t carry a note I’m sure He still likes it!

Use notecards or a devotional: If I don’t have a lot of time I use notecards that are a quick study until I can set aside more time.

Pray: talk to God tell Him how you are feeling and ask for the consistency, zeal & time to you wish to dedicate to Him.

Eliminate distractions: some distractions aren’t easily eliminated like kids or a partner, but turning off the television, getting off Facebook or turning off your phone are all thing you can easily control.

Practice self control: put yourself on a schedule and stick to it as much as possible, but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t.

In Isaiah 53:6 it says – “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; And The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” He is speaking of Jesus taking on our sins even in the case of the people turning away from God. Even if you pull or turn away He is always there, waiting to usher you into His loving arms and for you to draw near so that He may draw near to you (James 4:8).

Here’s to a purposeFULL life!
Court

Psalm 119:105 your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

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Choose Happy

So often we are taught that we must struggle to get ahead, that we must sacrifice joy for success or put our own happiness on the back burner to get ahead and in some cases the struggle is real but in all cases we can still choose happiness above all. If we believe that happiness is beyond our reach, no matter what our current state or situation then it will always be elusive. Today, Im choosing to focus on being happy at all costs, even while going through difficult times. There is too much pain & suffering inflicted on us simply because we exist so we must remain vigilant in seeking out the joys in life…Happiness is right there waiting for you, just choose. #lifeisshort #choosehappy 
God Bless,

Court

Marriage & Sunshine

I always had this expectation of when I got married that I would no doubt be the light in my husbands life. I realize that he will go through so much in life & have to deal with the darkness of this world that I wouldnt want him to have to come home & deal with more of the same. Although arguments & miscommunication occur, overall I want our ups to far outweigh our downs & as a wife it’s part of my job to ensure that they do! I hope to be the one that brightens his day & brings him joy in life, now Im just waiting for God to bring him my way! ☺ #neversettle
God Bless,

Court

Prayer for my husband…

Last year I came across a website that presented the idea of a thirty day husband prayer challenge.  The thing was these women werent praying for the husbands they current had but for their husbands to be.  They were praying for fiances, boyfriends and in some cases men who had yet to enter their lives!  My storyline fell in line with the latter group of women as my husband was no where in sight (or at least my sight line).  

As I prayed for this man that I would one day call husband (in my case hubby),  I found myself starting to fervently intercede for other relationships, marriages that were successful & falling apart and my single friends.  I learned that prayer doesn’t abide by our timeline nor sightlines.  Prayers abide by God’s timeline and our faith as we speak those things that are not as though they were! 

You may ask if Ive gotten married since I started praying for my husband to be?  Nope lol!   I have started dating someone but have also learned that it’s not about that at all.  It’s about my connection and belief in God to provide what I need, when I need.  And for my husband to be becoming that intercessor and prayer warrior on his behalf, even if he isnt’t yet physically present! 

Here’s a link to one of my favorite YouTube personalities speaking on praying for your future husband! 

What’s your prayer for your husband or hubby to be?  Please share in the comments!

God bless

CJ ☺

The desires of your heart: Do you really know what they are?

In the book of Psalms it states that if you ‘delight yourself in the LORD, He will give you the desires of your heart’.  For a long time I asked God to introduce me to my husband so we could get started on the family I’ve had tucked away in my mind for at least the past ten years!   Recently, in one of my discussions with God a thought popped in my head that although I had requested my God given husband many times, this had not truly been my heart’s desire.  I didn’t quite understand this immediately but as I continued to marinate on the thought it became clearer as to why what I thought was my heart’s desire to usher in love was actually quite the opposite.  When in relationship, my thoughts and actions did not align with someone seeking to give and receive love from a man.  They were the actions (many times) of someone bitter and highly suspicious of anyone of the male persuasion.  If introduced to a guy one of the first things I would wonder was what was wrong with him or immediately pick apart things I didn’t seem to like about him in an effort to keep myself from wanting to get close.

I can honestly say that I’ve had men in my life that truly loved me (as best they could) and for a long time I focused on the negative effects of the one mentally and physically damaging relationship I had many years prior instead of recognizing what was before me.  They had offered me love and I did not truly accept what they offered.  As a result, the relationships were dead before they began, buried under a mound of past hurts, insecurities, frustrations and fears.  Of course there were other issues at play, but I know this was my biggest part in the demise of our relationships.  I could see love, always just over the horizon and thought I was eagerly paddling towards it but since I refused to do the soul work of breaking through the waves of the past love always seemed to remain at bay. 

I had based my theory of love on the relationships I knew about which mainly consisted of womanizers, women that seemed to have perpetually broken hearts and first hand experiences of dealing with men that were not mentally mature enough for a relationship.  I accepted these ideals, ingrained them into my mental perception of what ‘all’ men were and lived them out through my speech and interactions with men.  Men were dangerous, they would cheat on you and never stick around.  Throughout my life I began to accumulate the burdens of distrust, insecurities, over-analyzation, fear and judgement some through my own experiences and many through observation and they continued to grow larger and heavier.  So when love did present itself I acted from a place  of a woman laden with baggage instead of one free to love.  The bright  side is that eventually, I became a woman eager to lighten her load!

When I take stock of my actions in relationships and in relation to men in general I can see that my heart’s desire was not for love.  The desires of my heart were for the perpetuation of what I had known in the past and so that’s what I chose to live out.  I  didn’t trust men, spoke extremely negatively of them and always seemed to focus on the worst possible outcome, for example if I texted my boyfriend and he didn’t text me back within a certain amount of time my mind automatically flooded with thoughts of him cheating (a bit cray, yes I know).  So in an effort to ensure that my heart and head are on the same track I’ve been taking the time to focus on the positive, to accept what is and truly grow in love (starting with myself).

If you are wondering if your heart’s desires are truly matching up with your thoughts I would recommend doing the following

  1. Do a soul check:  Regardless of what your heart’s desire is, be it a job, a house, a baby or relationship, take some time to sit and think about how you truly feel concerning these things. Ask yourself if this really is what you want in your future?  Do you want it because you’re on societies time table and think you should have them by now or  are you receiving pressure from a source outside of yourself to push for these goals?  Make the all too common pro/con list.  If it turns out that these are things you really do want ask yourself if you are profiting in some way by not having them or is there a false fear that comes along with having what you truly think you want.  For instance if you  want a new job but are afraid of leaving the security of the job you currently have or maybe possess anxieties around job interviews or change in general.  In my case, I am working through a tremendous fear of someone else attempting to control me, giving up freedoms I have grown accustomed to and being cheated on.
  2. Flip the technique:  Once you know some of the mindsets holding you back, begin to counteract these by speaking life into your situation.  In other words turn the negative thoughts into a positive one.  For instance with a job, there is the possibility (and hope) that you will be much happier in your new position and or have increased job security.  In my case one of the things I try to focus on is trusting men and always acknowledging the security and contentment that will come along with my desired relationship.  If you tend to focus on the negative always remember to envision the flip side of the outcome.  Condition your mind to focus on the positive shifts whenever a negative fear based thought attempts to thwart your progress.
  3. Take action:  Take some action consistently towards your desire, set a goal of daily, weekly or monthly action steps or whatever will fit your schedule and work towards your desire.  It could be applying to a job a day, attending resume workshops or joining a toastmasters group to improve your public speaking and interview skills.  For me, taking action to better myself in relationships isn’t quite as concrete, but I chose to begin by loving me and consistently taking stock of my feelings and thoughts when in certain situations.  I have begun a daily meditation practice in addition to reading scriptures, prayer, affirmations, loads of videos and podcast but mostly taking the time to fully love and accept myself while expressing love to the people God places in my life.

Sometimes our heads and hearts won’t agree and that’s life.  But if we are the only one’s holding ourselves back from our goals we can always get them on one accord!  Here’s to your dreams!

Let me know what other things work for you in the comments!

God Bless,

Court 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

But He giveth more grace…

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