It’s like hard to say that, you know? To say yes when you don’t know what’s behind the door.
Saying YES.. when all seems to be going against you…
Saying YES… when I can barely breathe sometimes, You know?
Saying YES… when other things seem to be calling us to higher heights and deeper depths.
Saying YES… to God.
Saying YES… to everyone but Him…
Saying YES because I want to …
Saying YES because I NEED to…
But I keep taking risks, and going there because I want to BE there, so badly.
Yes, you know that place where grace is always present.
Where ease feels like my best pajamas…
Where hope rises for every second .
Where peace lives and rests continually. In my Yes-es.
Yeah, I want to be there. To see my own reflection and just be that person each and every time, in every way imaginable. I just want to be there.
I want what’s behind the YES.
So.sometimes I see the reflection behind it, and I see that beauty of it…yet it still seems so far away.
Yet I keep getting these awesome views, from here.
I keep on dreaming.
And I rest in them.
The views reach for me, too.
They Look Like…
Writing with passion. Seeking God for heart’s desires. Hoping I am fulfilling my purpose in Him. Not getting too caught up in this life, Knowing and understanding there’s another LIFE to live… Trusting my intuition. Hoping against hope. Sharing and loving on those who need help. Trusting God more and more.. Serving. Looking to be fulfilled, & not to take. Managing what He’s given me and using it wisely. And more views of beautiful rays and hopes and dreams coming and being deposited in me everyday.
Jennifer: Friendship, is our Focus word for February 2021. I’ve been pondering over an article for the month of February focusing on friendships, & then I realized I had one in my archives!
If you’d like to join our conversation on Friendships this month on Zoom, please connect with me. As a group of women we meet monthly to discuss and share in authentic conversation.
Jennifer: This is a guest post by my long time sister-friend, Lady Victoria Walker, who has been a friend over the course of the past 20 years, or more. She and I both really love friendships and try our best to keep our friendship as connected and authentic as possible. I love and appreciate her for her depth and honesty. A few years ago, she and I had a really good conversation about friendships, and I thought it would be neat for her to write a guest post for my blog!
Friendships – Are You Really My Friend or My Soundbite Buddy?
Earlier this year, I was contacted by a long time friend, Jennifer, to write a blog for her website about the topic of friendship. I thought it would be a simple project…then I discovered, that preparing for the task led me through an interesting discovery process. First, I decided to take a long look at the number of contacts on my phone; and then, I asked myself “huh, it looks like over a couple hundred people are here, but who has contacted me recently?!” So, I decided before writing an article about friendship, let me first find out what’s going on with my own friendships! I am so glad that the opportunity to complete this writing project literally forced me to reevaluate the people in my life that I considered friends. This journey has led me to take the time to focus on who I have in my life and why they are there. More importantly, how do they really feel about me as a person and how do we treat each other. As a writer, I wanted to gather pertinent data to assess the actual quality of my friendships as opposed to just accepting, at face value, that just because we connect, does that mean we are friends? Would you believe I developed an actual friendship questionnaire?! And sent it out to my “friends” by email. I explained it was an important matter to me and requested their help by responding honestly to the questions which I had carefully crafted. Let me tell you, that was an eye-opening experience! If you would like to use my survey tool, feel free to ask me. However, you should know I discovered, only a few people actually read my email. I know, I know. Everyone is busy and their email accounts are overloaded with emails. Okay. Then, out of the few that read it, the responses were intriguing, uplifting and some were down right hilarious! One person wrote to me and said: “you are salt and light in a tasteless dark time”; how encouraging! Some people complained that they preferred to discuss their responses with me over the phone instead of answering the many questions. The phone conversations were actually very enlightening. They lead to some discussions about our friendship which would not have occurred unless I asked questions like: “why do you like me as a friend?” I mean really. When was the last time you asked someone…”why do you hang with me?” Do you really know if your friends actually feel about you, the same way you feel about them? One of my friends who is in her senior years, said to me that when she started asking similar questions of her friends, whom she had known for years, she found out after 30 years that they did not feel the same about their friendship as she did…to her amazement! Apparently, many of her relationships were more one-sided, and she had not picked up on that. It seems learning how to develop and manage good friendships can take a life time. As I began to have these “assessment” discussions with the other people I know, I discovered that many of them were not taking the time to evaluate who they had in their lives and why. It seems that, today, people are so busy trying to make a living, that as long as they “connect” with others by Facebook, Twitter, forwarded email chain letter or some other social media platform or perhaps by text, those “sound bite” “drive-by” contacts from others are the new way friendships are being managed. Hmmm… It also became apparent, during this discovery process, that while our phones may have hundreds of contacts, how many of those people actually have contacted you, by phone, this year? It’s now July. Half of the year is over. How many have called just to say hello and to ask “how are you?”. Often when I asked, I discovered, people are not really contacting others to have meaningful dialogues. It makes me wonder about the quality of friendships that people are having these days, are they really developing relationships that are strong, enduring and endearing? Between our daily busyness and social media, how solid are our friendships? Can people really develop trustworthy and sound friendships without regular meaningful engagement or just depending on soundbite conversations when they log into a social media account? Is everyone so busy that we are not paying attention that fewer people are really reaching out to see how you are “really” doing? More and more I am hearing that people are not really speaking to each other, but may receive a contact by text or social media every now and then. I don’t know about you, but frankly, while I understand the importance of remaining relevant by keeping up with people using social media platforms, since we can connect with so many at a time… I still enjoy a friendly conversation when I call a friend or they take the time to reach out to me…to let me know that I matter, deserve more than a soundbite and that they care. How about you? By the way, I cleaned out my phone and email contacts. I am still available if they choose to reach out, but I decided to focus on people, who are the friends, that have chosen to focus on me!
: Lady Victoria Walker is a global operations, communications and administrative systems designer, writer, public speaker, professional voice-over talent and productivity enthusiast. She is from Guatemala, Central America, raised in the Bronx, NY and earned her B.S. in management and communications at Syracuse University. She is tri-lingual and tri-cultural, speaking English, Spanish and Garifuna (a Central American language). She currently serves as the Vita Global Operations Director. Lady Victoria’s voice has been broadcast locally in DC, nationally and around the world. Her creative writing has been featured in WAVA FaithTalk Magazine, GoodProspects.com and more. Her background includes extensive experience in organizational, media, project and business management development both in the corporate and non-profit sectors servicing companies such as: Motorola, Atlanta University, Syracuse Community Health Center, SCHC Total Care, Inc., Salem Communications, Inc. – 105.1FM / AM780 WAVA, SRN News and Goodwill Industries International. She lives in the Metro DC area, teaches liturgical dance, is an aspiring vocalist, mentor and photographer. Lady Victoria strives to serve others by connecting her purpose with international productivity.
So… I remember a time in my life when I was really indecisive. I remember I was trying to please others so much, I forgot about myself. In that process, I made a lot of decisions that didn’t give much regard to my life, or emotional safety. What I wanted out of life, was on the back burner. I basically lived for the enjoyment and delight of someone else, because I thought that was how you show you love someone. I was so wrong. I had love all confused. And because of that, I had so much inner conflict, insecurity and so much doubt inside of myself. Discord was often in my relationships and I just had no peace with anyone, so I stayed away from people, mostly. As long as they were not talking about my life, then I was okay with them. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do and if they offered without my asking, then I was ready to run from them, even thoseclose to me, and who mean a lot to me. When you don’t have peace inside, everything you do or don’t do, feels like a mistake. You second guess yourself all the time, and you cannot trust your instincts. And when you ignore your instincts, man… you are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E! I operated in this way so often, I didn’t know who I was , or whether I was coming or going. That means I was lost. After a while, I became so hopeless, I just lost hope altogether. I was just existing. I apologized for everything, I had many qualms with people and the places where I was in life. I carried resentments and as a result, I was just plain miserable. I was annoyed to the point that accepting annoyance was how I lived. But I was so blind to this fact, I simply endured it. It became the norm. I was living with regret. When I looked up the word regret I found in the thesaurus these words: ” to prey on the mind…have a weight on the mind; leave an aching void.” That’s what regrets feels like. Sorrow, pain, hurt – all the time, and guilt. Growing up in an alcoholic family, I realized this was the norm for me, ( living with annoyances) which is why I didn’t recognize it when it occurred in a daily basis in my life and relationships. (I know, crazy… right?) But we do this, because we tend to go with what’s familiar and yet become so comfortable with it, we consider it to be normal? How does this happen? You recognize you were annoyed and miserable, yet every single day you find comfort with it? I think deep down inside I knew I was miserable, but I didn’t want to admit it. I was living with a denial and a numbness that honestly, felt very good, because if I didn’t have to acknowledge it, then I thought it was not bothering me. But then, after 11 years of depression, it finally caught up with me. I was at my wits end.My mental health took a toll on me and I knew I had to change something. One day my spirit cried out to God, and revealed I was living with sorrow. I had much so much REGRET about the situations I found myself in life, the decisions I had made and I was suffering from so much sorrow. I was sad about my life and I felt trapped. I felt responsible for things I wasn’t even responsible for. The adults in my life blamed me and I took on their issues and their grief to the point, I had no resolve, no contentment and no harmony in my life. It took a lot to admit I was sad. I was really depressed and I had chosen to live like that for several years. Living in regret. I remember one morning I spent the entire morning with God in prayer on my back porch. I was angry, bitter and I was hurting. I was also very stubborn and God used a lot of my grief to help me to recognize some of the things I held on to were because of pride. I remember crying out to God with so much pain and telling God I was ‘fed up’ and I wanted a new life, and new hope, and a new way of being and doing. As I sat there, I had a vision in my head of the image of the woman in the Bible with whom they cast stones . (John 8) These people brought her to Jesus to be condemned. Jesus response to her accusers was to write on the ground. No one knows what Jesus wrote. But her accusers all left after Jesus wrote on the ground. He then said : “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I envisioned Jesus as I sat on my porch (with my eyes closed); write in the ground for me. As He wrote, He basically wrote some things that only I saw, of course. But what he wrote reminded me of what He desired for me to have.His promises. I saw that He had much greater intention for me to have good, in my life. I believe it was like that with her accusers, as well. What was important was not what He wrote, but what He said and how what he said, made me feel. I didn’t feel sorrowful any longer, I was no longer troubled, I was no longer hurting and burdened deeply with regret, and I became decisive. I knew instantly that I deserved more, I wanted more and that I could have more; and I made the decision to do it. John 8:7, 10,11 “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” NASB Jesus dealt with this woman with such tenderness and grace, that she was in awe. All the accusers surrounding her also were also surprised, but they must have understood, because they left too. If we condemn ourselves, with LIVE WITH REGRET. My relationship with God has taught me I am not worthy of punishment for the decisions I have made.That’s why he died for us. Once I repent, ask God for help, receive it, then move on. then comes release. Just like it did for the woman in John 8. This is very important. It’s necessary for living with a clear conscious. That day on my back porch, I contended with Jesus, in my soul . But I learned three things after my wrangling with God: 1. I had to let go of my past. 2., I couldn’t live in the condemnation, because if I did, I would accept the guilt and regret from my past. 3. I learned I had to move on, because HE didn’t condemn me, and so I had to stop condemning myself. 4. I had to forgive myself. When you cannot forgive yourself, you don’t remember to be kind, nurturing and self-loving. You forget to forgive yourself. It took years for me to forgive myself for things in my past, even after I made a decision to live a better life and leave those things behind I knew I was worth more, I knew I deserved more, but it didn’t make me leave the situation or change anything. Here’s what made the difference: accepting God’s forgiveness and allowing His love for me to redeem me. For me, this was what unraveled the love confusion. I learned that if I accepted God’s love first and allowed this to be my foundation for loving others and BEING LOVED… then I would be alright. Once I was certain God has forgiven me and wanted more for me, I began to move towards freedom, and I never looked back. I fond resolve. But I have to give God my regrets. People are often amazed by how much peace I seem to have. Let me tell you, I am not perfect. I still struggle, even. And although I have peace , now… It took a very long time to get here. After I got through the muck and the mess of my own regrets, I was able to stand again on my own two feet. Of course, some of the way, God carried me to be honest. But I made it to the other side. Now that I am here, it ‘s pertinent I tell the story of how I made it here, so others could be set free as well. Amen & Selah.
Friends are few and far between, & are hard to find.
It’s been real living in Tulsa Ok. We are headed to Rochester , N.Y. after nine years of living in Tulsa and I’m thankful for friends .
When I first moved to Tulsa, It took about two good years to find friends . I thought it was the longest time, but grateful when I did. It seemed that friends were found most easy, in having gatherings and so that’s what I did.
I went to Meet Up Dot Com to start a book writing club and it turned out great. We had attendees from all over the area and it felt good to have peeps come from near and far and it felt authentic, friendly and at home.
That’s what Tulsa has felt like to me: My Second Home.
I then decided to have a rather group called Shine- Sisters Helping Inspire Nurture & Excel. This group lasted for over a year. We only disbanded because our schedules shifted in a big way and I began to transition to leave town. But it began as mentoring group. A group of women who built trust and transparency amongst one another , and grew authentically.
I’ve sincerely met some good friends and I’m thankful . My friends in tulsa have loved on me in a big way and it’s been awesome to share my lives with them. It’s felt mighty good to know them!
We’ve gone to conferences together, wrote books together gathered to pray , or just to have a snack in an empty house and focus on the Lord. We’ve laughed and went away on retreats together near beautiful lakes, went on walks in the woods; met up at writers conferences ; and everything else that friends do to have fun. We also loved on each other during challenging times. Nothing like having a friend support you when you’ve written an entire program and are due to launch it and can’t find it at all on the computer ! (Oh no!)
Or like the time you get a new job ( again ), and you’re going through a mid- life crisis and decide to make changes with them all, and need to begin a new career!
Above my friend Meg, and she’s pregnant and ready to deliver her child! (We just celebrated her little one is coming really soon!) Or you’re having that first baby for the first time and need that mental, spiritual and emotional support that friends give!
Yeah… we were a family offriends and it was great. Who would’ve known it would begin so challenging and then I end up leaving SO blessed!
Identity & Worth . It’s a subject my sisters are discussing at Mentor My Sister. My platform online, that strives for authentic women and authentic connection. Every year we challenge each other to live out a new word FOR that following year. To inspire you, nurture you and become your Teacher. These were a few of the ladies, and our words, during this past years.
Identity-what gives me identity
What I spend time with – tends to give me identity . We can desire material wealth, cars, … to be in relationship with people and we can make idols out of all of them.
I have value in relationships, so I will share what comes up for me as I make mention of my value of several relationships I have, currently. Mainly they’ve been friends familyand my spouse; but alsomentorship .
My Family has given me identity. Now that i live closer to them, I have more opportunity to be influenced by them. You see, whether I cherish them or not. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll carry out a legacy of good or evil.I always say, if there’s good, make it better . And if it’s not good, make it exceptional.
My Spouse is one who influences my identity . How we make decisions together, dream together… LIVE together makes a difference and influences my identity .l and my children’s identity as well.
Friendships influence my identity . Whether I choose mentors, leaders, friends who live models lives or just have the challenge of daily survival, I can learn from them. I make space for mentors and people to influence me. I need leaders to pour into my life, so I find out where they are, and I serve, or join them in their discussions, or create them.
Mentorship . Being mentored and mentoring others has brought great value in my life . I really enjoy having conversations about life with other leaders, friends and women who desire authentic relationships.
Here are a few ‘mentors’ in my life
Here are three places I’ve learned from other in my life :
1. Teens & Trees .
I was in South Africa in May, of 2003 and I was teaching in a classroom about dreams. A teenager said to me: /“We Are All Like Trees.” I resounded after that encounter , because I realized I’ve always loved trees. The strength , growth and resiliency tees represent inspire me. I have never seen trees the same , since.
2. My African Heritage Family.
I found identity in my African Heritage family. It’s a leadership organization that teaches diversity. The leader, a woman I know named Joyce Shabazz, is the Master Teacher. She created a forum of people and a platform about people regaining their culture and heritage and finding value in what they see and experience, again.
I attended for five, maybe six years a platform that help me transcend racism, my thoughts about my identities as wife, female, being oppressed, internalized oppression, my inadequacies about being African American, and I re-claimed myself.
The process and journey has been amazing. I’ve gained new international friends and I’ve learned new experiences I’ve gleaned and kept treasures forever sealed in my heart. I’ve come up a lot, and now I mentor others on perspective.
Where have I found worth and value? I believe it has come in the form adversity. Turning them into opportunities.
What foundations have I established my worthiness upon?
For years I pondered this. Growing up in an alcoholic family, my vision of myself and who I was was altered. It wasn’t my truth. It was an attempt to destroy my truth . I once was a girl of low self – esteem, insecurity and felt very inadequate . However I no longer espouse those characteristics .
And today, I have evolved. I was determined to change the depiction of what my worth and value set as a template from birth to 20 years of age. Once I gained a determination of the will and had mentors in me that saw in me the greater good, and encouraged it- I realized I could truly be my best self. I reached for opportunities to be better: attended a historically black college , Howard University, experiences ethnicity in a new way, was determined to learn about my heritage, visited South Africa, ignored and distances myself from hate, and envy and people who represented this at all costs… and read books galore on the subject of identity , esteem and intrinsic value. And maybe my trips back and forth down the road to African Heritage, or a constant re-evaluation of my life purpose ; or maybe my trip to Africa all influenced me in major ways.
Or maybe it was the fact I didn’t allow Opportunity to pass me by.
Perhaps I reached for it with eager anticipation, and it became my friend. My mentor . My tutor.
I am sharing about when m y dreams came true. Here is one story that tells how I got to South Africa, and it literally changed my life.
10 yrs ago when I got back from South Africa I was standing in my kitchen and saw my reflection. In the reflection was a reflection of how my friends in South African saw me: “Nthabiseng”- which means – “MAKE ME HAPPY.” I was instantly reminded of my strength and that I had to remain HAPPY, because that’s my name! I saw through that reflection, I really wasn’t strong, at home in the situation I was in, in 2003 – and set out to change that. As I was leaving South Africa, a sister who gave me a small hand mirror to take with me. I left South Africa a new woman, with a new dignity and perspective, because a beautiful woman I spent a few hours with, found out my African name was Nthabiseng. She was delighted to see the name fit me well and gave me a blessing of a ‘mirror,’ as a small gift. As I left my new home of S. Africa. She said to me: “Every time you look in this mirror, and are not with us, be sure to think about how you “Make Us Happy”. Boy, did that resonate! It carried me into a new destiny, and inspired me to take this photo tonight. So if you wonder where i get my strength from , think abut how my sisters in S, Africa poured into me one evening in Kuma, South Africa.
I just love when I pursue God and he shows up. This is an excerpt from m y book: and in this chapter, I tell the story of my inheritance
Foundation Scripture: (Luke 17:21, 2 Corinthians 5:17) Key Questions: What do you want from God more than anything else? Are you willing to release your CONTROL over it and give it all over to God and release what you think “could be” for something even better?
I remember wanting to go to South Africa. I went to South Africa, but I didn’t know yet that the experience of going there, would completely supersede my ability to understand and comprehend God’s love for me.
I remember the first three days of visiting there. I had to much jet lag, I never thought I would be able to bounce back and be the resilient person I knew myself to be, with the boundless energy I knew I had! I think it took me about three days to recover from the of shock that I was actually here, on the other side of the world over 8,000 miles away and I was alive.. not dreaming. Although my reality at the time seemed as such, it was true. I was not dreaming. I had to pinch myself over and over as I looked around me, I ushered in the remembrance of the dream. I was literally in shock . It took a while to arrive there. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:” “My feet are tired, I have chills and feel as if I am about to become ill… but I am ready to meet the women of South Africa. Then later …“Well, I met them, all the women … are lovely. They help, help, help! They bought me Epsom salts for my sore swollen legs from sitting cramped for 14 plus hours… and warmed my bed with a hot water bottle. I knew I would love them!”
I later met another group of women, who I find were praying with me. When the leader inquired with me what I would like to do, I told her I had a word for the women, that God had given me, and I needed to share. She said, “Okay! We will have a prayer vigil all night long tonight!” She said: ”We have been praying for you, so I know God will show up!” Well I remember that night well. I remember waiting for the women to call the meeting together. They all were chatting and eating and everything else… I didn’t expect God to tell ME that I needed to call the meeting. I mean, I don’t even know these women, “Why would they listen to me??” I thought. Apparently, these women had much more of desire to listen and receive than I thought, yet I HAD to call the meeting. Before we ended that evening, with me: the women laid hands on me, and prayed. Feeling their hands and prayers on me, made me feel light. I was so full. I needed to rest, and they told me to sleep. I woke up the next morning empowered. I was no longer weak, my legs didn’t hurt and I could speak to them and tell them what we needed to do. I FELT like a synergistic leader. And I became a leader on another level.
I had walked into my inheritance in the Lord.
I didn’t know it at the time, but every time I was ready to speak to kids or share with adults, ‘a mighty power’ came over me strongly, that led me to share and do this in a mighty way. I felt as if I was made for this time.
The Book of Esther says: “ For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house shall perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
Coming to the kingdom is knowing within yourself your worth. Knowing what you are called to, and knowing that you must receive all of what you were meant to have.
In the spiritual realm, what is that?
What are you worth? Jesus directly said to his disciples: ”Follow ME”. How do you know when Jesus truly calls you for something?
How did I know I was called to South Africa? God informed me in a dream a very vivid dream, I was to go there and make a difference. Then he positioned me to meet a man who actually lived there and asked me to come and speak to the children in his village, and share the vision that I had been working on with my business, Kamau.
Here is what it took for me to get to South Africa: I had to set to three consistent tasks: focus, discipline, and determination. I had to give a daily focus to something I truly believed would happen. And I had to believe nothing could get in my way. Once the plane arrived, I flew overseas, and I got off the plane… the true test had begun: I had not yet reached the people. Contentions came on every side about ‘why I was there’, and ‘who was I anyway to come and share with these youth?’ I neither knew about these questions, nor acknowledged them – (partly because I didn’t understand the language) Once there, I realized my momentum had be halted in some way, and I was not clear as to why. Then it occurred to me: Spiritual warfare. I asked to visit an internet café, emailed my friends and mentors who were believing with me… and asked them specifically to pray for me, and shared where I needed prayer from them. I got exactly what I needed: renewed vigor, focus, and vitality and to look past people ‘s feelings, thought and thinking. And time flew along. Gods strength became my strategy.
From that time on, I received God’s strength in such a way that I had never know before. I knew His knowledge like I haven’t spoken before. I had wisdom I had never know before. His wisdom. I knew truth on a new level. His truth. This prayer kept me focused and self- disciplined, and my determination grew daily.
And my inherent worth became even stronger, to lead. Following the greater good, began to look quite foreign to me, yet I know that where I was and what I was about to do, would fully arm me for what I was called do to for this entire mission.
Have you had a time where it seemed as if your purpose had come to a halt?
How did you approach that season in your life?
Where did your faith go? (Was it higher and more determined, or did it appear to be even harder to stretch?)
At what point did you begin to recognize your worth and dwell upon the promises of God?
Did you feel as you were not in obedience, you would fail?
Did you consider what this would mean for the rest of your life?
Well … let me tell you when God made such a huge promise, I didn’t look back. I was thankful daily, for His divine intervention, and on those days I saw nothing, He prevailed. By the time the blessing fully arrived, it looked like a miracle, because I had arrived to the place where I had proclaimed thankfulness, on daily basis.
In this chapter, I talk of how I did not allow my intention to supersede God’s intention. In this manner, I began a new prioritization of God and His will for my life, and His will for my life, began to take over. I didn’t realize this surrendering of myself would turn into an entirely new way of living for me. From this experience, I received a greater expectation, a greater faith, and a greater realization of God’s sovereign ways, and His intention for me , became very clear, as well as his power, the angels he would send on my behalf to rush in for me and assist me with a vengeance. To see God’s will and volition move on my behalf, showed me His love for me.
This is an excerpt from my book: Red Sea Situations, Devotional and you can have the entire book and the devotional for a small price of $25.00.
“Take your everyday ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work and walking around life and place it as an offering before God.”
So, I was here today… Making a surrender inventory. I read about in a book i was reading and here are all the categories, below.
Completing my own surrender inventory was pretty tough. I had to be pretty truthful with myself. I am learning the more transparency we allow in our lives, helps us to grow and change and be OPEN to change. The less transparency we allow, the more we are stagnant.
To “Surrender” means: one who’s will and affections are yielded to the power,control or possession of another’s influence – on demand. Whoa. (Vulnerable moment.) I really didn’t like the ‘demand’ part, but then I thought about it, and reasoned that maybe, just maybe doing something because there is a demand for it, makes it all the more valuable to surrender to. (For instance, without supply – demand doesn’t exist, right?) Hmmm…
One cannot give freely what is not REQUIRED. Selah.
So here were the categories and I will choose to write ‘with transparency’ on my blog: * Social /Relational *Mental *Physical *Emotional * Family and Faith
Spiritual Growth *Personality & Character Faults *Vocation/Avocation * Entrepreneurial * Life Purpose/Calling *Self Image / Maturity.
So here are mine: I. Social /Relational: Surrendering to a challenge to be with respectable & acceptable partners. (Vulnerability, Lack of Authenticity, Passive Aggressiveness)
I have spoken about vulnerability on several occasions and I can say this: the fact of surrender gets magnified ten times and looks all the more scary, when we are afraid of being vulnerable, yet the rewards are AWESOME. Your life is enriched, its more full and alive, and you experience much more sincerity and can offer it as well.
Brené Brown says :
II. My Mental Life : (Abilities , Control/Manipulation, Failures, Hope, Dreams, Longings & Struggles.) Surrendering to a mature perspective takes a WILLINGNESS from deep within. I cannot surrender to anything outside of my own perspective unless I am at first willing. And that takes maturity in my perspective. Where do you gain mature respective ? I read , talk to my sisters, & choose to be vulnerable with the mentors in my life.
III. Physical : (My Body,My Energy Level Safety, Pain, Image-bearing, Perfection, Busyness). MY energy level has been a MAJOR challenge for me, especially when I leave from work, and have an entire evening to continue with. If I am exhausted, sometimes I have to just stop and allow myself to be.
IV. Family (, Mothering, Intimacy, Spouse, Stepfamily, Miscarriage, Empty Nest.) Surrendering to my family & spouse looks like: Yielding. I have found that yielding to anyone, helps them know you are not their enemy, so why waste the energy, anyway? Yielding takes practice & discipline but it makes you the better person, always.
V. Emotional:( Release All feelings Regret, Self hate, Shame, Fear, in order to live Authentically. .) Surrendering to fear really shows where your strength is. I have had to do this several times, but what was really on the other side was: COURAGE.
VI. Spiritual Growth and Faith : (Via your Spiritual Journal, Forgiveness, Spiritual Disciplines & Spirit-Perspective /Practice – Spiritual Disciplines are VERY HARD to do. Yet so rewarding and bring so much RESOLVE when we relent. Spending a good amount of time with your spiritual discipline here- allows your soul to shine.
VII. Service – Involve Yourself !
Give. In whatever way makes sense. You extending a part of yourself allows you to become a better person. Michelle Obama sacrifices her profession to follow her husband’s dream. What she did not sacrifice was her family. She gave up her dream to become the Nation’s most honored woman.
VIII. Your Personality & Character Strengths : Bitterness, Resentments & Your Peace : (had to get that one in!) Bitterness – (used to have it, used to have it!) And boy did it eat me up! I was so bitter, I spewed out venom! Naw, I really was mean though, at one point in my life. But it stole my peace so much, I decided it took MUCH MORE ENERGY to hold onto it, than it did to LET IT GO.
IX. Vocation/Avocation: ( Have you surrendered this part of your life to Being in Purpose?)
What does purpose look like in this season for you
Spiritual alert: We cannot reach the heights of our destiny unless we really know who we really are.
So.. one wonderful day in the Spring of 2017, my sister and I sought out ourselves and ways we could be present for one another. A few friends and I, desired to get together to help one another and just talk about our identity and what gets in the way of is growth.
I call these: “Identity Blockers“. These are things that stunt our growth and prevent us from getting bro the next place in God.
I remember wanting to leave Tulsa so badly… I could concentrate on nothing else. I was resistant, stubborn and no change would come my way. I had to learn how to acquiesce. It has been a long six or seven years, and I was just ready to move. I found it hard – very hard to acquiesce. To acquiesce means to : “To yield without protest.” This action and ‘stance’ – allows us to stay within the realm of understanding we need in order to finish the task at hand – to remain in purpose until God’s will is fulfilled. our spiritual mantles left untended and uncultivated, does not allow us to bloom, and will not bring us to a place of knowing how deep God’s love really is. We won’t manage to get to know the breadth and width and depth of God’s love in these places.
Surrender will not come, if we wallow in struggle and try to take situations into our own hands. Or we try to fix it… and remain in continual despair, and frustration. By nature of our decisions and choices we fight ourselves. We are not fighting others or fighting circumstances. We are fighting God and His ability to allow transformation in our lives.
Identity blockers can sabotage our leadership; and several of our spiritual gifts from developing.
Here are a few ways identity blockers can manifest in small ways and complicate our lives:
1. By hiding (isolation, or being too shy, or introverted.)
2. By telling lies – (the lies we believe, or the lies we tell.)
3. By how we filter information/our perceptions, and interactions with others.
4. By a lack of socialization , and how we withdraw and isolate.
5. By lustful actions or sexual addictions
6. By greed .
7. By low self-esteem
8. By a lack of communication (of our true feelings.)
9. By people- pleasing or man-pleasing.
10. By pretense ( when we feel have to pretend to be someone we are not.)
Why do these issues clog up our thinking? Effect our sense of identity and strength? Because they are ways we keep from pursuing our purpose. And the last thing the enemy of life wants is for us to succeed at being purposeful.
Here are a few ways identity blockers manifest in larger more complex ways and can involve a traumatic past or influences.
◦ Our Thought Life-(the characteristic spirit of a culture or community. (So much of our thought life is influences generationally by family . )
Our spiritual mantles offer that higher level of security and blessedness that offers us hope ; and sets us on the other side of our prosperity; walk-in in our true, inherent worth. We can then learn how to be:
Walk in Wholeness,
We are Reconciled,
Trusting of God, Self & Others,
Filled with delight
We are Sufficent,
We are Confiding,
We are Complete,
We are Free,
And let’s talk about self-possession. Because its the reason why we can be self-composed and successful in life, because we have this type of self-discipline. It helps remedy all the other unbalanced areas. And right now, I am speaking of wholeness. Because wholeness has everything to do with how your spirit is, as well as all of the other parts of you.
So we completed and exercise where we didn’t get bogged down by all these idiosynrasies, and we didn’t try to look in a mirror, but we saw our sister as she is. As she presents. And this is the way, that exercise worked.
We had a list of small blank dots where we wrote down words that came to us as we approached dour sisters, and placed them on her pages she carried. And when it was all over, everyone had stickers on their pages. More than they ever imagined! And it was very, very affirming! Sometimes it’s good to see yourself through the eyes of others. And also very necessary. Like a relief of fresh air… we all felt like we could bring again, because it brought such warmth to ourselves to see ourselves through neutral eyes. Eyes that didn’t know all about our past, or trash from the past, the ugly, and the uncomfortable things that made us stumble. Sometimes we have to ask our sister s and mentors what THEY see in our lives. Here is a video of something I spoke about in South Africa, that spoke to the identity of the people in the audience. The same applies here.
The sister here spoke about her identity and how it was challenged to the extreme. She wanted more.
“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. The good man is the friend of all living things. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
I love nature.
I didn’t love it very much until the earth visited ME. And that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma or I should say when I moved out west . It was after a time of grief , as well. I was seeking solace , and happened upon a place that called to me.
Colors in the woods and cool sounds . (Even at midnight. )
I lived near a river, and the river became my beautiful place of refuge. Not being near the river any longer has shown me I took it for granted, somewhat, and also the spaces that I could have visited often .
Texas afforded me the same grace. And perhaps Texas was where it all began. I lived in a really cool home where I could see a great expanse, and I could cows watch cows over my back fence.
I believe our west the sky is brighter and there’s often more sun. Especially during the fall and winter months. During these prominent years, of growth and introspection, I grew quite a bit, and nature was my “go to” for self-care.
Once I lived right above the river , and the photo above was often my space of contemplation. Now I have new spaces for contemplation .
The spaces sort of vary, and are not as much woods and countryside , now that I live here in New York. We moved last year to prioritize family needs. And now, my space and time ventures back and forth between family, and activity and animals, and love .
Willow brings smiles to my face even when she doesn’t mean to .Shes a funny pup that loves water so much, they bought her a small pool. (She’s my brother’s dog. I haven’t gathered up enough courage to befriend a dog yet); however Willow is my go to when I need a little play. And boy, is she playful. She loves water and drinks very little of it, and prefers cooling off in it.
Being Authentic requires some self awareness, some grit, and intuitive knowledge about who you really are.
Authenticity requires you to be entrusted with something that people can depend upon with consistency; yet also its an innate ability to trust yourself, despite yourself. When you are truly authentic, you shine. You determine your limitations with skill, you know when you are well, and when you aren’t . And when you aren’t you decide : ‘its okay,…I can put this aside for now, and just be. ‘ I can spend a little time with myself and just decide I can plan a time out, or I if need a vacation, and I can plan it and go spend sometime with myself too.
So here are a few tips I have gained from being and practicing authenticity within:
It’s an innate attempt to reach for Clarity.
It’s taking the time to: Think.
To Still Still in Quiet.
To Receive Mindful Meditation.
To Rest because you’re soul needs the Rejuvenation.
To Celebrate Myself.
To Validate & Encourage Myself, Especially when no one else does.
To learn how to ‘Be’ with another who doesn’t mind sitting in quiet contemplation.
To Forgive Myself.
To be Patient with Myself.
To find Hope even when I don’t feel like I can.
I’ve learned to trust myself.
Remember what’s genuine and ‘sound’ about me in my soul.
To be self-aware: to ‘find a place for all those negative thoughts & the ones that are not good, throw them away – quite intentionally & consistently.
I have learned to like myself. Eventually, then transfer that like to self-love… during the hard times in life, you sort of need it like a life preserver .
I learned I am one who endures… it’s in my nature to thrive. So i do t have to worry about falling and not getting back up.
I am one who also manages to figure out how to love myself and see hardship, disappointment , difficulty, pain, and discouragement – frankly, as something I can cherish, once I can see the lesson on the other side . And even then, when I can’t see it, I am still built to get through it. For me, that’s courage, that fidelity to myself, and it’s winning.
If I can figure out how to win – and still be honest with where I am, and be okay with the struggle of it all, and even not okay, if that makes sense… then I am a pretty authentic person. Brene Brown says – being authentic is: ” to show up and let our true selves be seen.” I have been showing up for several years.
I suppose this is me. Thanks for letting me share.