I’m flawed! Whew! There, I said it. I mean we’re all flawed right but how often have we felt like we had to be perfect or that our flaws makes us less qualified to live a happy life or make us less of a person. Gotta be the perfect mother, child, friend, employee, student, Christian- Gotta be the perfect weight- No one fits into the category of perfect. We all have flaws, yet it is so easy to get caught up in everyone’s expectations (including our own) of who we should be that often times we never allow ourselves to become and enjoy who we already are. I have my imperfections and that’s ok. See, I have found out that my flaws don’t make me less fabulous! I’m fabulous! Whew, I said it! Feels good. Say it again Wendy! I said, “I have found out that my flaws don’t make me less fabulous!” Ha!
I created a shirt and hoodie inspired by one of the essays in my upcoming book, “Wits, Wisdom & Wendy!”, to serve as a reminder to us and the world that we are not flawless but we are absolutely fabulous. I love it! What a simple yet powerful statement! What a great opportunity to express your “fabulousness!” Sport it! Reflect it in your attitude. Let the world know you are divinely defined and at the same time support my efforts to encourage and inspire others.
This week, I want you to focus on your fabulousness! Don’t allow yourself to be overly conscious or consumed with flaws. Take time to enjoy you. Take the limits off. Love the way God defined you! Whether you know it or not, you are amazing and the world is better because you are in it. “Fabulous? Absolutely!”
Stay encouraged and be fabulous!
The phrases “Flawless? Nope. Fabulous? Absolutely!”, “Divinely Defined” and ”Lord, I love the way You define me!” are © by Wendy M. Reynolds, MS/P
For almost two decades I worked in a field that demanded my sensitivity and availability to other people. Working with families in crises gave me an opportunity to encourage others as well as help them find ways to move past those things that were hindering them from living healthy and productive lives. However, over the course of time, I found myself pouring more and more into people and less into myself. Daily I was standing toe to toe with other folk’s issues of hopelessness, drug addiction, mental illness, sadness, homelessness, suicide attempts, abandonment, family issues,… Whenever someone needed me (personally or professionally), I always went. I gave what I had and many times I gave what I didn’t have. I was lacking sleep. I was no longer eating right. Weight was piling on. I couldn’t have told you the last time I had taken a real vacation thus creating potholes in the roads of my own life- potholes that I kept overlooking and kept running over. I was so out of alignment and on my way to a major crash. I had to find a way to re-adjust. I had to get my life back in balance again. I had to remind myself that it is not selfish to make myself a priority. It’s not easy. It seems like it should be, especially when you have all these tools and skills to help other people. But it’s different when it’s you. It’s different also when you’re seen as the helper. No excuse, but believe me, it is different and I’m still working at it.
It’s easy to lose yourself when you’re always taking care of other people, continually addressing the needs of others, or just doing everything everybody else wants and expects you to do. You’ll see those people whom you’ve helped walk away happy, delivered, and making progress. However, if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself tired, worn out, frustrated, and stuck simply because you took care of everyone but yourself. It will be a shock to your system and to those around you who always looked at you as having it all together. No one has it together all the time. Everyone has their moments but if you’re late at recognizing them, you’ll have a harder time recovering from the damage. For instance, if you are driving and your tire blows out, you can stop the car and change the tire. Later you can repair the puncture and perhaps save the damaged tire. However, if you keep driving on a flat, chances are you will ruin the tire, damage the wheel and who know what else. The cost of repair will definitely be more costly.
This week, reevaluate where you are on your priority list. Are you at the bottom of the list? Are you even on the list? Have you fallen through the cracks? Are you ignoring the potholes in the road of your life? What areas of your life need to be replenished? Do you need to re-adjust some things? Do you need a vacation? Plan it and go! Are you in the fast food drive-thru every day? Take time to fix yourself a healthy home cooked meal. Do you need to cut out things? Do it! Perhaps you can’t attend every meeting. Maybe you need to plan a fun night out with friends. You might need to turn off the cell phone, facebook, and twitter (You know people have all kinds of ways of reaching you these days) and take time to relax and take care of yourself. Do it! Don’t let people make you feel guilty about it either! I don’t care who it is! If they get angry at you for not running each time they call or if they can’t understand that you are in trouble and you’re tying to recover your life, oh well. Listen, You cannot effectively take care of anyone or even love others without taking care of and loving yourself.
Matthew 22:36 reminds us of the two greatest commandments. The first one is to love your God with all of your soul and mind. The second one is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. This implies that in order to love and take care of your neighbor, you must love and take care of yourself. You are worth the care. You are worth the love.
This is your time to start living your best life! What does that look like to you? Be sure to keep it balanced, healthy, joyful, and full of love! Be sure to keep yourself a priority!
Grace to you!
Zig was such a cool dude. As far back as I can remember, his voice and his wisdom have been in my ear- in my life. I don’t even know how or when I first heard of him. I guess I had to be around 10 years old. His attitude and passion were infectious. I loved listening to him. My nephew used to call his tapes the Happy Tapes. “Are you listening to those happy tapes again?”, he would say. I learned early to keep my environment (both the physical and personal inner environment/thoughts) filled with words of life that moved me forward.
God never ceases to amaze me. Interesting how when I met my biggest unexpected challenge about 4 years ago, I was able to sit in a room with Zig and partake of his wisdom as he talked about embracing his own recent struggles- struggles that many people feared he’d never get passed. I sat there and shook my head as he spoke words that gripped my heart. How I needed the words at that time. I shook his hand and thanked him for sharing his God-given gifts with me. It was one of those life impacting moments.
I so appreciate Zig’s son Tom (an extraordinary man and writer in his own right), whom I had connected with years ago, for bringing me together with Zig. It was an amazing gift. The timing was orchestrated by God. I had a smile on my face but I was hurting that day. I felt disconnected. I felt used. I can’t put into words how he encouraged my heart and reminded me of my own God given gifts- a heart and gifts that I felt had recently been taken advantaged of and discarded.
Zig reminded me that God purposed me here and that I must keep living, keep stepping in faith, keep impacting lives, keep imparting into others in spite of the dark life changing challenges I had just begin to face not even a month earlier. I sat there still feeling the sting of the pain but more determined than ever to impact the lives of others for God in the way God created me to do. My circumstances would not break me, define me, or make me bitter. Life had shifted but I would embrace the shift and look for something extraordinary to occur.
People already accused me of being “too encouraging and positive”, now folks were about to… umm, not know what to think. “How can she be hopeful in “these” times? Is she delusional or in denial? Does she not see what’s going on in the world around her? Has all her learning finally made her snap?” Ha! When I standing on a stage, when I writing, or even if I’m just sitting in the room with people, my message is always one of hope. I’m going to inspire, challenge, encourage, engage, and empower whomever I can whenever the opportunity arises, in spite of what is happening in the world around- even if I have to do it while laying down, after being knocked down- in the process of getting up. Inspiring others, helping others, reminding others of the power, gifts,… within, reminds me as well. Helping to cast light on the path of others, brightens my on path.
After giving my response regarding who influenced me, some of the younger people questioned who Zig was? (It still amazes me when I come across people who never heard of him.) Although our crowd was somewhat diverse, most people in the room were shocked that I, an “almost” middle-aged Black woman would have chosen to highlight an older White man as a major influence in my life. I’m not moved much by the color of one’s skin, but by heart, passion, integrity, and the character that lies within.
When I finally decided to work on publishing my writing- when people told me, “Don’t waste your time! Too much time has gone by for you to chase dreams”, it was Zig who reminded me that his 1st book “See You At The Top” wasn’t published until he was 49 years old and then he went on to write almost 2 dozen more books. It was in his 40′s that his life shifted and he begin to emerge into the great man who was always on the inside of him. As he emerged, he inspired the world.
When many people were waiting for the bottom to drop out of my life, after I faced a seemingly devastating blow- when I was criticized for still helping others in spite of seemingly being left at times to stand alone, Zig reminded me to embrace the struggle, walk in faith, be a real Christ-like person, be careful whose voice you let in your ear, see the best in folks, keep a good attitude, and continue to help others get what they need. The seeds I sowed were not in vain. My harvest will come. It may not come in the way others think it, but believe me, it is coming.
I’ve learned that tough people go thru tough times. It is often in the midst of these difficult times, that we are exposed to an “us” that we never knew existed. The overcomer in us is revealed. The conqueror in us begins to take a stance of victory. The messenger is us comes forth with words of hope. The diamond that lay in the heart of the coal begins to sparkle and showcase its brilliance. The star that was once hidden begins to shine thru darkness and stand as a point of inspiration and direction. As the real me (who always was) continues to emerge, I have to encourage and inspire the world around me. I don’t need anyone’s permission, approval, validation or a perfect environmental climate. All I need is to understand who I am and why I am here.
So yeah, Zig Ziglar, born in Coffee County, Alabama, raised in Yazoo City, Mississippi, had a major influence on this woman’s life and I’ll always be grateful!
Until next time, Grace to you!
Wendy M. Reynolds, MS/P
This is The Giant Slide in Detroit, Michigan. When I was little, I would get so tired of climbing all these tiny little steps (so easy to trip) & I was bit afraid of the slide. But in spite of, I climbed all the way to the top (Seemed like it took forever!). I positioned myself, someone pushed me, and I slid- taking on each of the huge bumps,… because my Daddy told me I could.
The ride was a trip. I experienced every emotion possible. There was no one or nothing to hold onto, except possibly the edges of the mat I sat upon. Sometimes I soared in the air and landed properly back on the slide. At other times, I would spin out of control or my mat flew from under me and I was burned a little by the hot metal. But I always completed the ride. I’d reach the bottom- sometimes laughing, sometimes screaming, most times breathless- at times bruised, limping and hiding the tears from being wounded… and Dad would simply hand me another ticket and say, “Go again.” Lord, help us to go again.
Grace to you!
I love the early mornings. Quiet. Still. Peaceful. A perfect time for writing. This morning I am thinking about the gift of writing (and words in general) and the responsibility that comes along with it. Over the course of the years, I’ve tried to get away from it. See, I know people don’t always value words, well, not until they need one that is. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard, “People can’t make money writing”. “It’s ok as a hobby”. “I KNOW you write, but what do you REALLY do?” “Are you writing… again?”
Writers are not always taken seriously and sometimes they are even looked upon as lazy- as someone trying to get out of “real work”. However, real writers are just the opposite. They feel a call and a responsibility to the written word- for sharing it- for giving the readers something specific. They are usually disciplined, committed, passionate… They have to be. They know in time, if they have the guts to hold on, keep perfecting their craft, and keep letting the words spill across the paper- it’ll pay off. Think about it- no writers, no books. No writers- no Presidential speeches, no movies, no TV shows, no host monologues, no plays, no internet, no instruction manuals, no greeting cards- You’ll have singers without songs.
In addition to having 20 years of working with people in crisis behind me, before me are three books (‘Wits, Wisdom, & Wendy!’, ‘Nothing But Oil‘, and ‘E.M.E.R.G.E.‘) that I’ve completed. It took discipline, hard work, commitment, sacrifice, passion, and great fortitude. I sat up late and I got up early. I endured the “Why are you at the computer again”, “Why are you not doing it this way”, “Why don’t you have something out yet”, and the “Why are you writing? People don’t buy books any more”. I’m proud of my work- what it represents and what it offers. I’ll celebrate the accomplishments, one accomplishment at a time. My words are like my kids. I’ve nurtured them. I’ve invested in them. I’ve watched them grow and expand into areas that many folks have yet to see. I poured my heart into them in hopes that they will stand on their own- stand with power and change the world one life (reader) and one word at a time.
I’m thankful for the gift to inspire hope, to challenge, to engage, to encourage, and to empower people through the written and spoken word. I’ll never minimize what God has given me. I value it and the fact that I’ve been given an awesome responsibility. My words are a powerful tool. They have stepped into places that people cannot go. They build bridges to help people get to the other side. They help rebuild people who have been torn down, disregarded, and often discarded. They can navigate through twisted thinking, areas of shame, depression, addiction, hopelessness, and helplessness. They can reach into prison cells, broken hearts, and even messed up minds.
My words are an extension of who I am and part of my legacy that will live on long after I am gone- holding within them an eternal ability to inspire and give hope. And tell me, who doesn’t need that?