Happy Birthday To Me!
Happy Birthday To Me!
Are you kidding me?! Listen, all it takes is one person, one call, one moment, one opportunity, one shot… one WORD…and life forever changes. Don’t give up. Don’t believe the lies (Its too late. Nobody cares. You’re the wrong color. You’re the wrong size. Too many disappointments. Been hurt too much. Too tired. Not good enough. Not strong enough. You messed up beyond repair…) Please! I mean really… Are you kidding me? Get a grip. If you only knew truly how much “more than enough” you really are. The enemy’s job is to keep you from knowing who you really are- what you’re really capable of… how simply amazing & incredible you are… he is afraid of you & of your discovery of… of you.
Dare to get to know you. Embrace your God given uniqueness & greatness! Tell fear to go take a hike. Be insanely courageous for a few minutes out each day. Wipe away the tears. Release yourself from past mistakes, failures, hurt and guilt. Get up & “AWESOME all over the place”. Let’s go!
Just needed to get that out!
It has been a while since I’ve sat consistently at the computer in the early mornings and wrote off the cuff. I started to scale it back some as I took some heat from people (in actuality, one person) who insinuated I might have been a little hypocritical. “How can you write all of those encouraging words when your life doesn’t appear to be where it should be?” Those words weighed heavy on my mind and on my heart for various reasons (I’m human, you know)- partly because of from whom they came from and partly because yeah, I have been experiencing waves of difficult times in my life. But so what? Life, right? I mean we all go through things- and how can we ever grow- how can we learn, how can we help others if we have no experience, no heartache, no heartbreak, no victories… nothing to draw from. I can talk of pushing past fear, because I have been afraid- getting unstuck because I have been stuck- overcoming mistakes, because I have made plenty of mistakes- disappointments, heartbreaks, bad choices, regrets, betrayal, hopelessness… all of that. And because God’s grace proved to be much bigger than all of that, I can speak on hope, fearlessness, faith, peace in times of choas, being fortified, comebacks, purpose, greatness…
Part of what is wrong in our society is that we care too much about what other people think. We try to make life seem as if it is darn near perfect. We fear that if we show weakness or are transparent about difficulties, we will be viewed as weak people. Therefore, we are often too fake- fake in the homes, fake in the church, fake amongst our friends. We end up living lies and force others to live them as well. Ohhh… I’m so tired of it. Tired of seeing us shut down in areas where we are needed most- tired of seeing us manipulated into living in ways that are not authentic, as a means trying to gain validation, positions, love… Tired of seeing people suffer in silence because you don’t want to listen to or deal with their issue. We tell people to just suck it up! Be strong- leaving no place for vulnerability. There is no freedom when we are not living authentically. We can not help anyone. Oh, but when we live our truth, we walk in freedom and can help liberate others as well. Our exposed scars are just testimonies of healed wounds.
My life isn’t by any means perfect. I have plenty of scars from falling down. I’ve made some excellent choices in my life and some that I wish I could go back and redo. I took leaps that left me soaring in high places and some that left me flat on the ground. But all of those experiences have helped me because I choose to learn from them and they have given me the right to speak on what I speak on. I work hard not to live in my past or be defined by it but I own it all- the setbacks, the breakthroughs, the mistakes and the victories. And because I own my… my life, I’m able to take those lessons- those experiences- those truths, my journey… and help, and serve and comfort others “right now” with the same comfort God comforted me with. Problems don’t change purpose. In fact, they often expose it. And I will never allow a person or circumstance to stop me from being who I am or stop me from giving what I’ve been placed here to give.
So listen, In spite of circumstances, I will always have a word of encouragement. I will still be the most encouraging person I know. I will get right in your face and tell you, “It is written…!” “You are worth the fight!” “It’s okay to cry.” “I see you!” “You are not alone!” “Don’t you give up!” “You’ve got this!” “God’s got you!” “So what if they don’t get you or believe in you!” “How can I help?” “So what if you’ve failed multiple times!” “Failure is not fatal.” “I might not have your answer, but I’m here.” “You were made for this life!” “You make us better!” “Can’t nobody live you better than you!” “You have greatness within!” “Your best days are in front of you! You will get past the hurt, the grief, the mistakes, the pain, the betrayal…” “Let them walk away, you’ll make it without them.” “Celebrate you!” You can live your dreams!” “Get up!” “You are divinely defined!” “Breathe!” “Try it again!” “After all of this, You will live…” I can and will tell you because those are the words God told me and I’ve earned the right to speak them.
Thank you to those who reached out to me and said Happy International March 4th Holiday!™ Something I know God gave me 8 yrs ago to encourage us on our journey.
I’m celebrating all Month and I’m bringing you right along with me. This March 4th week (and all month long), be ready to share your stories, be ready to listen, and be prepared to encourage someone on their journey. Find Someone. Look for an opportunity. Someone needs to know what you’re marching toward and how you keep going in spite of storms and obstacles.
Listen, someone needs you! We never know what someone is facing and it’s so important to encourage others on their journey. Someone is on the verge of giving up. Someone is on the verge of their greatest days if only they would take that next step. Someone is smiling but crying silent tears. We have the words, the listening ear, the compassion, the expertise, the opportunity, the heart,… the God given “ability & responsibility” to make a difference- to be the difference.
Let’s intentionally share our lives, our stories, our time… this week- this month… and build someone up- that family member, neighbor, that young person who folks have given up on, the stranger on the bus. Somebody needs you. Lives could be saved… including your own.
#March4thWeek #EmergeWMR #Impact #FocusedForward
We’ll talk more about it this week. In the mean time… Happy International March 4th!™
“Here comes that careless dreamer. Can’t you see the gleam in his eyes? Walking around like he’s somebody’s redeemer- becoming everything that we despise.
Who does she think she is to dream so ridiculously? To foolishly think she can change the world- that just baffles me!
…Let’s kill him-
Yes- release our hate. Seal his fate.
Kill his hopes
Break his spirit
Shut down his voice so we can no longer hear it-
Make her weak- sell her out
ignore her cries and leave no doubt
That she is alone- that no one cares-
His futures blown & life’s just not fair.
Bow in shame. Curse the name.
Ahh… And we shall see what will become of the dream.”
-Wendy M. Reynolds
You ever had a dream and folks hated on you because of it? I mean they might not have come right out and said “I hate you” or “your dream is stupid”, but their actions proved it. They belittled you, conspired against you- looked for every opportunity to make you feel that what you believe is umm… delusional- that you’re on the wrong path- that your dream is unobtainable and foolish. Because they don’t see it. They don’t understand it or buy into it— because guess what? It’s not their dream. They may never buy into it until it becomes something they can see or something that benefits them.
I don’t have many regrets but one regret I do have is trying to convince those closest to me to see my dream- to get it- to get me. Wasted time. Wasted effort. Added heartache. Unneeded discouragement. And that was my fault. They weren’t going to get it- and I shouldn’t have expected them to- not while it was in the dream phase. It is my dream, my mission, not theirs. It is my faith walk, not theirs. I set myself back. Although I never doubted my God given dreams, I begin to doubt me and my ability to walk them out. I mean if I can’t even convince the folks who have known me all my life… come on now.
The enemy of my faith played me like a violin… for a while. He’d create a pit and after a minute, I didn’t even need anyone to put me in it. I’d just jump into myself. He knew which strings to pull. he knew which distractions to send. he knew where my hurt- my unhealed wounds were- he set the atmosphere- played the music of chaos, betrayal, negativity, self doubt and grief- played my emotions like they were piano keys until finally I remembered…
I remember asking God, “Where are You? My world is upside down. It seems like I’m losing everything. His response was “Where am I? Where are you? Why are you allowing the enemy to get so close to you that he can whisper in your ear. he is full of lies and you know it. There is no truth in him and you know it. he targeted you and you know it because I told you that he would. he is afraid of you- afraid of your dream, your influence, the fact that you have the tongue of the learned and you know what to say to those whom he makes weary.” I heard God in the midst of the storms- through the whirlwind- through the chaos- through my exhaustion and I begin to remember what He put on the inside of me and why it was so important that it be released. No offense but the opinions of folks didn’t matter to me any more. I got back to concentrating on the only voice that mattered- His voice and His Great grace. I knew that He had graced me for greatness- I knew that what He put in me would make a difference and change the world- one life and one word at a time. Hear me, I’m not coming from a puffed up place. I’m coming from a place of truth- a place that we all have to get back to if we are ever going to be who we really are. Look around you. The world is in trouble. You are the answer to someone’s issue. The light God placed in you can break through the darkest night. Your story, your dream is not just for you- not just about you and when you get that- when you understand that, you will also understand why the opposition has been so fierce. You will also understand that God is greater than that opposition. You’ll understand that Gods got you- that all things are working together for your good- and that your experience- the truthfulness of your experience- the realness of your experience- of your trials will comfort somebody else who is walking the walk of faith.
I’m reminded of Elijah (1 Kings 19), who after great triumph, suffered an emotional blow which led him to want to give up. He was tired. He had been targeted. And after an experience with God in a cave, after God listened to him and talked to him, God said, ok, now get back on your path. Look at Joseph (Gen. 37-50)- He went on to walk out his dream and ended up providing for those who wouldn’t provide for him- those who wouldn’t support him- those who tried to kill him, sell him out and set in motion his future pain. Joseph came to understand that it wasn’t just about him. He was placed in position to effect change and help others to live. That’s just how important the dream is- your God given dream and purpose. That’s why the enemy fights you for it and he doesn’t fight fair. he is afraid that if you ever discover who you really are- what you really have on the inside- who God really is to you, you’ll not only walk in freedom but cause others to do so as well.
So don’t let go of it- your God given dream. You will come to see its fulfillment as vital- something to fight for through the storms, the chaos, the hurts, the betrayals, the pain, the discouragement, the uncertainties. You will stand and say, “Ahhh… this is what I was created for.”
The mind is a battlefield. It is where our biggest and most dangerous wars are fought. What you think about you, about God, about the world and your place in it directs your steps and frames your future. It is why the enemy spends so much time trying to infiltrate your mind and sabotage your thoughts. It is why the Word of God cautions us to renew our minds- to have the mind of Christ- to think on things that are true, honest, just, lovely, pure, of good report, of excellence… If you think on the opposite and feed into negativitiy, not only will you be robbed of your peace- but you’ll be robbed of the very thoughts of who you are. You will find yourself slowly but surely defining yourself by the world’s standards and mentality- swapping your God given greatness for a cheap worldly view of greatness, relinquishing your birthright and place of authority to “measure up” to the world’s “low” standards. You will end up feeling like you are lacking something, feeling like a failure or a disappointment- searching for approval from folks- trapped in a “whirlwind of busy”– busy playing catch up to everyone else- sacrificing sleep, good health, family,… just to be who the world says you should be but aren’t- therefore, never feeling good enough. Are you feeling me? Are you getting this? You’ll end up chasing after “less than” when you’re already more than enough. You’ll end up living a life of regrets over a life that wasn’t even meant for you in the first place! It’s a trick- a deadly trap!
Listen, get your mind right. Remind yourself every day of who you are, to Whom you belong and what HE said about you. This week, start making a list of what God says about you and of what good things He has already done. Read/speak it out loud every day. Add to the list when you discover something new and positive. Think on those things. Remember His promises. Those daily reminders will diffuse the land minds and other hidden traps the enemy planted. A small change in perspective- in thinking will reveal that you are already in the place you need to be today, already WHO you need to be, even if you don’t see it yet. Rest. Don’t be so busy. Get out of performance mode and just be. Don’t utilize all of your energy trying to become who you already are- searching for things you’ve never lost, trying to prove stuff you don’t even have to prove to folks who may never get you anyway. Aren’t you tired of that yet? You are not lost. You are not lacking power. You are not a failure. You are not a disappointment. You do not need “their” validation or permission to be you- to walk in greatness. Stop looking for it. You are already extraordinary. God loves you and He has you! You are not far from His presence. He is everywhere. Just step into the rhythm of His grace and… and… flow. Live. Lets go.
#GveYourselfPermissionToBeYou #YouHaveGreatnessWithin #Release #Flow #GodsGrace #MindRegulator
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?”
I will admit, at times “I let” other people’s (one in particular) negative voices temporarily hinder my writing process (my fault, not theirs)- not because I questioned my ability & responsibility to write, but simply because I was tired and drained by negativity- especially from those whom I assumed (Mistake #1) would be supportive. It didn’t matter that I had lots of people admiring my work, that I was responsible for putting out an amazing magazine, editing other incredible writer’s work,… Writing didn’t fit their definition of work and they saw no immediate benefits.
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 (umm… that might not be a good example these days), no movies, no TV shows, no host monologues, no plays, no internet, no instruction manuals, no greeting cards- You’ll have singers without songs.
I’ve always been a communicator. A listener. An orator. A writer. I have to stay reminded that I don’t need anyone else’s permission, validation or approval to be who I am or to do what I do. I just need to be obedient to the call on my life, stay in communication with My Creator, stay grateful, put work in along side my leaps of faith, keep my expectations high, protect the anointing upon my life and believe God- period.
I’m proud of my work. It takes discipline, hard work, commitment, sacrifice, passion and great fortitude. I often sit up late and get up early. I endure 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 can endure it because I have finally come to an understanding of what my words represent and what they offer.
My words are like my kids. I nurture them. I’ve watch them grow and expand into areas that many folks have yet to see. I pour my heart into them in hopes that they will stand on their own- stand with power and change the world one life and one word at a time.
I’m thankful for and humbled by 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. 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?