Yesterday…1/6/21, was an unusual day. It started with parenting challenges that escalated throughout the day. Frustration was at a high. I felt defeated, discouraged, because my efforts to rectify situations and behaviors were failing over and over. Something was unusual. The enemy felt near. I decided just that morning before starting the day to choose happiness no matter the circumstances. I should have known any commitment to peace, joy, or sincere happiness would trigger the enemy’s attempts to divert my plans and take back what was uttered from my spirit…what was in alignment with God’s will and character. It didn’t matter the subject was a 3-year-old, the enemy sensed victory and could not leave well enough alone. John 10:10 (KJV) says, “The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” I should have known something bigger and greater was at hand. I knew something just didn’t feel quite right about the day.
I’m out of the house completing the day’s tasks, when news alerts hit my phone of a growing mob of people at the Capitol building, violating the building and the grounds and NO law enforcement in sight. I repeat NO. The reporter at the scene spoke with shock and dismay at what was transpiring openly, boldly, and without any form of resistance. The news was…paralyzing. I felt frustrated and defeated. Then I realized this was a familiar feeling. This was the same feeling that started with the events earlier in the day. I was warned. The same enemy attempting to destroy me, was the same enemy attempting to destroy the nation. I was warned. I see many stating “this was a sad day.” This was not a sad day. A day in November, 4 years ago was a sad day as an American, particularly as a Black American. I was warned.
I was privy to the knowledge of God through my own personal experiences. I know whatever purpose God has for me is greater than I could imagine. John 10:10 (KJV) also states, “…I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” For the record, my 3-year-old is fine. Because ultimately, it wasn’t about my 3-year-old, it was about me. The same grace and mercy extended to me time and time again, I extended to my 3-year-old. Tomorrow is a new day and I was warned on today. I now have new strategies to help me defeat the enemy trying to devour my purpose.
America, on the other hand, are you willing to use the strategies given to you to devour the enemy? You were warned. The Charlotte riots were a warning. Breonna Taylor was a warning. Ahmaud Arbery was a warning. George Floyd was a warning. The events of this presidential election are not a surprise to me. America was warned. Heed the warnings. There is a greater purpose for your existence. Do you realize our country was created for a purpose? God is speaking to you.
This was an unusual day. And, an unusual day requires unusual strategies for an unusual victory. I plan to win.
As there are only a few days left in this year, it’s important to think on how you will choose to spend the months, days, and hours of 2021. Matter of fact, how will you choose to spend the next 3 days? I’ve always believed that how a person spends their time demonstrates what they really value. Learn to align your time with your values. Each day reflect on your day and how you spent each hour of the day.
Intentionally make time for what you value in life. Don’t let the excuse “I don’t have time” hold you back from goals and dreams. Time doesn’t wait. Time is never lost. So don’t try to find time for the important things in life…make it.
At face value, it may seem impossible to be dissatisfied and grateful at the same time. This is my current state in life and I am learning to use gratefulness as a strategy. Gratefulness is not just a state of mind but an intervention. Gratefulness is also like a medicine that lessens the pain of dissatisfaction in life. Gratefulness gives you the strength to keep being, doing, and pursuing. Philippians 4: 6-7 (AMP) states, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” In this, I believe God desires to shift our focus away from what has not yet happened, what does not make us happy, and what we have not been able to accomplish and instead focus on what God has already done, is doing, and will do when we continue to persevere through the pain. God asks that we lift our dissatisfactions up to Him in earnest prayer and He will give us peace. I recently read a statement by Anthony Iannarino that said, “The trick to being happy and successful is to be grateful and pleased even while you are striving for something more.” In my own life, each moment I focus on the things I am grateful for, the pain of dissatisfaction lessens.
To those living with dissatisfaction, make a list of all the things you DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE about your life. These are the things to focus on and be grateful for as you continue on your journey in life.
If you’ve read my blog The Waiting Place you know there are two ways to wait: Waiting In Fear or Waiting in Faith. The following are recommendations on how to Wait in Faith until your breakthrough comes!
1. Pray. Pray not only for the end of your waiting, but also pray for the strength to endure, to persevere no matter how long you have to wait. I like to say, patience is waiting well…no anxiety, fear, or bad attitude. Wait well.
2. Monitor your sensory intake. What (or who) are you listening to? What are reading? Who are you around? What are you consuming? It’s important that while you wait, only allow yourself to take in information that fuels your soul and body with all things positive and healthy. Read the scriptures, positive messages, uplifting music, exercise, and eat well.
3. Speak in faith. After monitoring sensory intake, practice being intentional about what you put out…of your mouth. Speak the things you believe not the things you see. Practice self-affirmations daily. See recent post on 25 Powerful Daily Self Affirmation Statements for 2021 to read, print, and share.
Have you ever waited for something for a long time? I’m not talking about a few days or weeks… but years. I’m there. The waiting can be discouraging. The waiting sometimes resists hope. The waiting some days is disappointing. Life seems at a standstill in the waiting place.
There is a choice to wait in Fear or wait in Faith. Waiting in fear invites anxiety and depression to wait with you. Waiting in fear means preparing for defeat just in case that thing you’re waiting on doesn’t happen. Initially this may seem like wisdom, until your own self-defeating thoughts accelerates you towards the place you’ve prepared…defeat! Waiting in Faith means to prepare for success while in the waiting room. Waiting in Faith builds excitement about what comes next. Waiting in Faith draws you closer to overcoming the waiting place. You attract what you believe. I realize because I still choose to wait in Faith, there is an expectation of breakthrough within my soul. I’m reminded of The Waiting Place in Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. Everyone in that place was just waiting on something.
THE WAITING PLACE
by Dr. Seuss
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
Excerpt from Oh,The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Then the day comes when it’s time to move forward. The time for new adventures. The time to journey closer to your dreams. If you wait in Faith, the next stop has to be breakthrough.
When is the last time you’ve been on a date? I’m not talking about with another person, I’m talking about with YOU? Many of us have never really dated ourselves. Instead, we spend much of our time getting information about who we are and what we should do from everyone and everything external to our being. I want to challenge you to start the journey of learning and loving you from the inside out.
This process begins by first learning the art of self-awareness. This may seem like a concept that comes naturally; however, in my work as a marriage & family therapist, insight and self-awareness are definitely learned skills. Do you recall a time when you have made a choice and afterwards you thought “I knew better than that.” This is just an example of instances common to many of us, where our conscious being sent a message that we chose to ignore. Additionally, self-awareness includes the skill to identify and process our own behaviors, emotions, and experiences in relationships. Self-awareness allows us to determine how we manage our experiences in life. With self-awareness we begin to identify patterns, generational strongholds, and outcomes from any form of stressors or traumatic experiences. Self-awareness is power. It gives us the power to create new experiences, new perspectives, and new stories we get to rewrite from a place of more resilience and strength than we had before.
Are you ready to rewrite your story? Begin with self-awareness. Who are you? What are your experiences? Your realities? Your likes & dislikes? Your hangups? Your passions? Your desires? What are your goals and dreams? Follow these 5 steps to develop the art of self-awareness:
1. Be Still.
In today’s society we are always moving. From this meeting to that meeting, from cleaning to cooking, from shopping to eating, many of us are always on the go. The first step to self-awareness is to simply be still.
2. Sit in Silence.
Silence is difficult for many of us. Some feel the need to always have some kind of background noise in life. For some, it’s an avoidance of truly being alone with their own thoughts. To develop self-awareness, it’s important to get comfortable with silence and intentionally pay attention to your own thoughts in order to engage in self-discovery.
3. Accept Reality.
In moments of self-discovery and reflection, the true reality of who you are and how you operate comes to light. Sometimes you may like what you uncover, sometimes not. It’s important to avoid judgments, but just accept whatever is presented. Avoid fearful anticipations and anxious reactions. Some of the information learned comes from internal perspectives (your experience of you) and some information comes from external perspectives (other’s experience of you). Take a neutral stance and accept the reality of who you are. Acceptance also means accepting your strengths and limitations in a non-anxious manner. Acceptance is the precursor to change.
Always seeking validation from others is a sure path to self-doubt, disappointments, and low self-confidence. It’s important to validate yourself in ways such as celebrating your own successes, acknowledging your efforts, and prioritizing your needs. Self-validation means learning to value you and treating yourself with kindness. Self-validation eliminates comparisons, self-criticism, and regrets. Self-validation says you are worth-y and worth-it.
5. Plan for Better
Being still, sitting in silence, accepting realities, and self-validation are all the ingredients needed to plan for a better you. We cannot change what we don’t accept. Who you are now doesn’t have to be the same person that shows up tomorrow. Take advantage of every opportunity to grow. You are like a flower, with the right nutrients watering your life, you will continue to bring beauty to the earth.
The Holiday months are the typical time many of us abandon our goals and give up on our journey towards physical health. This year, it doesn’t have to be this way. It is very possible to enjoy the Holiday months and stay committed to your goals. Many of us have been more stagnate throughout this year due to the pandemic, but I am determined to encourage and support good mental, physical, and spiritual health during the last couple of months of the year.
I want to encourage you to get up and move this Holiday season. Getting your body moving does not only affect your physical health, but also helps to combat stress, depression, and anxiety. Getting up and moving also encourages greater clarity of thought to help you visualize and plan better for 2021!
I know for some of us, getting up and moving is very challenging. For some it’s because of a lack of motivation. For others, maybe it’s because your body is no longer conditioned to movement and it may feel impossible. That’s why I have developed 5 (simple) Ways to Get Moving During the Holidays.
Listen…when you make small changes in your physical health, your body celebrates with you by doing things you thought it couldn’t do.
As we finish out this year in the Holiday Season and prepare to enter into next year, think about who you want to take with you into 2021. Do you want to take the person you are now with you? Don’t enter a new year with old habits. Be determined to start something new for you and those that watch you and depend on you.
The goal is not to finish first, but just finish! Dr. TC
I’ve been feeling a strong pull lately to encourage someone to stay the course. The Holidays are here, and as a therapist and ministry leader I have seen many times through my experience, people revert to old ways of behaving and thinking during the Holidays. In many ways, the true test of genuine change is how well the work you have put in on yourself stands up against the Holiday months.
The Holidays are truly what you make of them. I know the context is different…shorter days, less sunshine, more temptations, more family around, financial pressures, more time at home, no school, etc. All of these things can truly have a negative affect on your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. I encourage you to stay the course. Stay the course towards the better you. Stay the course, finish what you have started even through the difficulty. Continue to pursue your personal goals regardless of obstacles of criticisms. Stay the course. Be better. Do better. Think better. Become better in every area of your life.
Don’t enter into a new year with old goals. This may be an indication of stagnation, little growth, low motivation, lack of genuine desire for change, anxiety or fear. Be determined to win over every circumstance. I know 2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. I can’t tell you how much I have been affected, but not infected by the circumstances of this year. I intentionally decided to stay the course despite every obstacle. I decided to manage my anxieties and not let my anxieties manage me. I decided to press into God, my source of strength, like never before. I decided to watch Him more than I watch the news for direction, strategies, and the mystery of how He is moving in the midst of turmoil. Our 3-year-old said something so profound last night just before sleep, he said, “I just hear miracles all the time.” My spirit was ignited that this little being has an ear to hear God, and he seems to always deliver a message to me just when I need it to help me stay the course.
To someone out there reading this post, I just hear miracles for you! The miraculous ways of God are always in action. He never slumbers or sleeps. I encourage you to stay the course in these last few months of the year. The year 2020 has been a test of faith, be determined to past the test and expect a great reward!