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
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
Droplets 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!
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!
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.
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.
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,
* 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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!