Do You Sometimes Forget This Too? That #ChoicesMatter.

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Hey Friend,

I’m writing from my favorite local coffee shop; sitting on a cozy, chic little grey couch, and sipping on a hot peach ginger tea coupled with a gluten-free blueberry muffin. Right before arriving, I visited the corner market in the same parking lot to grab a gluten- free turkey and avocado wrap before settling down to write.

Both times – at the corner market as well as at the coffee shop – I was surrounded by options. Delicious options. Convenient options. Familiar options. Truthfully, most of the other options were a lot more appealing than those in the gluten- free aisle. In prior times, I would have been tempted to go into compromise mode.

Embracing my new way of eating hasn’t been easy (at times it seemed impossible), but isn’t that always the case when you decide to change old habits and mindsets? It’s true – our lives change when our habits change.  

A couple of months ago, I would have most likely chosen one of the other options because there are always more non gluten- free options than there are gluten- free ones. I would have convinced myself that I didn’t have any other choice unless I wanted to only eat salads for the rest of my life (which of course couldn’t be further from the truth).  Are you guilty of this too? Somehow convincing yourself that you don’t have any other choice?

As I look back on my many failed attempts at eating better, I realize:

We ALWAYS have a choice. 

Every day life provides us with many options, and each day we make lots of choices. We choose what time we are going to set our clocks to get up in the morning. We choose which brand of toothpaste to use. We choose what we will eat for breakfast. We choose which school our children will attend. We choose who we hang out with, where we work, what we do with our spare time…I think you get the point here. We always have a choice. But sometimes we forget this important fact.

I made a commitment to make healthy eating a lifestyle at the beginning of this year. I decided to stop occasionally flirting with the idea of eating better and just make it official. The Lord had shown me several times that the foods I was eating were the reason for my lack of energy and brain fog. But I kept going back to what was causing my body to be inflamed, sick, and out of balance. Isn’t that crazy? The very thing that was making me feel horrible was the very thing I kept choosing. Every. Single. Time.  

Now, I know I’m not the only one guilty of occasionally losing my sanity (ha ha).  Can you think of any habits of your own that you know are keeping you from being your best self? Perhaps even making you sick, keeping you unhealthy, or preventing you from progressing in your life? Perhaps you keep choosing to stay with that boyfriend whose character is questionable. Or keeping that friend in your life who you know isn’t happy for your wins. What about choosing to run to social media first thing in the morning instead of your bible, so the enemy can continue to plant seeds of competition and discontent in your heart? What about waking up at the very last minute and starting your day off in a rush and stressed?

No matter what your “thing” is, understand that you are one choice away from a different outcome. One choice. Then, once you make your choice, you must keep making that same choice each and every day until it becomes your new habit – the choice you make without even thinking about it, because it’s your new normal.

I’m proud to say that my choice to eat healthier has allowed me to feel better than I have in a long time. This has been the longest I’ve stayed on course without giving up. I haven’t been 100% perfect, but I’ve made huge strides towards progress and I’m not looking to turn back now.

Here’s what I want you to take away from this…Life will always present you with options, but you get to choose which one you want. If you always choose the familiar, convenient, and easiest option, you will always get the same results. Things will only change when you change your mindset, habits, and appetites.

No matter what goals you have set for yourself this year, there will come a time when you will have to choose between who you used to be and who you are trying to become. In those moments when you’re tempted to choose something based on your old appetites, remind yourself that you are no longer that person who makes choices based on familiarity. Remind yourself of the person you are becoming.

Ask yourself, would the person I’m becoming eat this Twinkie ? If not, what would she choose to eat instead? Would the person I’m becoming skip the gym today, or would she push through? Would the person I’m becoming waste another day being discouraged and hopeless, or would she stir herself up in the Lord and choose joy instead?

Friend, your life is the sum total of the choices you make every day. The choices you make today will frame your tomorrow. Make the choices that will get you closer to the picture you would like to see.

One choice today. Another choice tomorrow. Sooner than later you will no longer be practicing; you will have become.

 

Feeling Like A Failure at Life? This May be Why...

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Hey Friend,

Do you sometimes feel like you’re running behind, like you need to catch up?

Are you discontent with certain areas of your life?

Do you feel like you’re the only person on the planet who hasn’t gotten married, had a baby, started a business, figured out how to grow your business, lost the baby weight, figured out this parenting thing, written a book, discovered your purpose, learned to manage your time better, blah, blah, blah?

 As a coach and a friend to several women, I’m learning that we all (or most of us) at times ­feel like we are failing at life.

Listening to the inner dialogue of these women, I started to wonder where all of this was coming from.

The first place I started searching for answers was the Scripture. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says you must be married by 25, have a baby by 27, another kid by 29, and the third child by 35.

 I don’t see anywhere where it says you must be working and living out some grand purpose before 40, have your house in perfect condition 24/7, and cook a full course meal every other day or else you’re a failure, you’re out of time, or you need to catch up. Can you find any of this anywhere in your Bible? Because I must be missing a few chapters in mine.

Intrigued, I wanted to dig a little deeper.

As I began to study, it was placed on my heart to address this issue because I can understand how – with the world running behind man-made laws  where you have your life planned out and expect it to go as planned – if your life doesn’t go as planned you feel like a failure. But the irony is that I’m hearing a lot of this from Christians; including myself.

 Would you include yourself in this category as well? Where you sometimes forget that you are not under man-made laws, nor man-made time clocks or biological clocks?

I breathed a sigh of relief once I started reading what God had to say about my life and His plans for me. It is good news that I don’t have to plan my own life. Because honestly the world’s system results in inevitable frustration and depression because it’s not realistic to think that life will always go as planned.

 Let’s look at a few scriptures that prove this point:

Proverbs 16: 9:   “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

Proverbs 19: 21:  “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1:  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Isaiah 28:29:  “All this comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.”

These scriptures remind us that we can relax and let go of the picture-perfect idea in our heads of how we think our lives should go. We don’t have to compete, connive, or get our underwear in a bunch because such-and-such is outdoing us, or has three kids and we don’t even have one yet.

 When you lose your peace of mind and are full of anxiety because you feel left behind, the enemy will create a false sense of urgency in your life to make you take matters into your own hands.  He knows that if you wait on God, you just might reach your God-given destiny and be so happy that you tell everyone your testimony.

Just take Eve for example.

The enemy convinced Eve in the garden that she was missing out by not eating from the one tree that God had forbidden. She had so many other trees to choose from, but she was focused on the one thing that she couldn’t/didn’t have. I believe in modern day terms we call it F.O.M.O (fear of missing out).

What has the enemy convinced you that you NEED to have in your life right now that seems out of reach? What is he whispering to you about the time it’s taking for God to show up and answer that prayer? Are you just about out of patience and ready to take matters into your own hands? You know, to help God out?

Well let me remind you of how Eve’s act of disobedience ruined God’s perfect plan for her and for mankind.

We all know how the story ends. Eve walks right out from under God’s perfect will for her life and into the will of the enemy by eating that forbidden fruit. His plan worked and God’s plan for her life, along with ours, changed forever that day. Thankfully, God also had another plan, but we still must suffer the consequences for that one act of rebellion.

Today the enemy has an easier job because we have social media and other ways of being bombarded with images of what we don’t have, and with pictures of everybody’s “perfect” life.

The internet and social media will have you walking straight out of the will of God, all in the name of “catching up.” Friend, don’t fall for the traps of comparison, competition, discontent, or any other traps set out to destroy God’s perfect plan for your life.

I can assure you that God has a plan for your life.  Even if you feel you have messed up so many times, He can, and will, redeem the time and restore the plan for your life.

Today, decide to trust God and His perfect timing in your life. Decide to make the pursuit of peace your new normal by focusing on what God is doing in your life, instead of what it seems He is not doing.

Take a break from social media, certain television shows, and anything that is planting seeds of discontent in your heart. Trust that God’s plan – as well as His timing of it – for your life is perfect.

Friend, you are not running behind; you are right on schedule.  As long as you don’t hop off the train too soon, you will reach your destination. And it will be worth the wait.

Wait on God.

Until next time,

Tiffany

 

 

 

 

New Year Wishes + My one word for 2018!

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Happy New Year!


Hey friend,

I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year! And leave a few nuggets with you as we celebrate a brand-new year!

I’m sure by now you have probably heard a few declarations and prophecies about the New Year, and hopefully you are excited and full of expectation about what 2018 will bring.

I must say, I feel something this year that is a bit different than most of the rest. I don’t usually buy into the corporate “this is your season for breakthrough,” or “this year God is going to do X, Y, and Z” hype, because let’s be real, we can’t all be in the exact same season.

However, don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in being hopeful and full of faith, but I also know that God won’t move until He is ready. So, no matter how loud the preacher yells, screams, sweats, and declare about this being our year, it won’t mean a thing, or come to pass until the predetermined time.

So while we wait, we believe God’s timing and PREPARE for what we’ve been believing Him for.

Friend, 2018 will depend on you.

Your level of preparation will determine your readiness to receive and walk into the next season of your life.

This is a word I received personally from the Lord. And I believe it is the same for many of you too. Many of you have been in a "dark cave" for many years. You have only a flicker of hope left, and if this year isn’t different from all the rest, you don’t know how much longer you can believe.

Let me encourage you, sis. You have come too far to turn back now. So, grab ahold of every ounce of faith you can muster up and begin to declare and decree 2018 to not be just another year, but declare it to be THE year everything changes for you.

Whatever you speak over yourself this year will come to pass- good or bad- so speak blessings. Prepare. Then Aim.

Speaking of AIMING, I spent a few days journaling and reflecting on 2017-the highs and the lows. I also wrote out specific goals and focal points for 2018. Fourteen pages later, I was able to decide on my one word for 2018. My one word is AIM.

Here's why;

2016 was a year of stepping out on faith for me. I just wanted to finally start using the gifts I had been sitting on. (side note: there is a message in that last sentence to just START. Start whatever the Lord is tugging on your heart to do. You may not see the full picture but you won't figure it out by waiting on perfect).

Carrying on...

In 2017 I was still trying to figure things out by throwing darts and seeing what stuck.

Which brings me to 2018, which I'm declaring to be the year to AIM. To pinpoint my (specific) goal, aim all my efforts and pursuits toward the goal, then shoot.

After I decided on my one word, I then came up with an acronym for AIM that I could apply to each goal on my list to erase any confusion and uncertainty about what I'm aiming for (which I experienced a lot of last year).

For each goal that I aim for this year I will first:


Ask:
God for clear vision and direction on what his will is in regards to my goal(s) (RIP to directionless shooting). Ask him to help me when I don’t know what to do, or how to do it, instead of worrying myself about it.

Then be…


Intentional:
about slowing down to listen and wait for an answer and solution to help me reach my goal or solve the problem.

And lastly…


Move quickly and swiftly when I believe I’ve heard from Him. Not giving myself time to question whether I really heard him or not, time to procrastinate, or time to second guess myself. But to take action immediately.

I’m so excited about my word that I just had to share it with you. I have put my word in every place I frequently visit throughout the house, including the refrigerator. And if you wanna hear something funny...my husband opened the refrigerator a few moments ago and said “why do I see the word AIM in the fridge? What am I trying to aim, at the toilet?” (insert hand over forehead emoji). That man always has a joke.

But seriously,my hope is that me sharing my word with you, will inspire you to aim for your biggest & brightest dreams this year, and I also hope it will encourage you to even come up with your own word (if you haven’t already).

But don’t stop there, once you decide on your word, paste it everywhere to keep it in front of you at all times (try this and see how much it helps you stay focused).

And don’t forget that 2018 will depend on Y-O-U. So take this first week to figure out your strategy and then aim everything you do towards your goal. Make it a great year my friend.


Rooting for you always,


Tiffany
 

 

Two Women, One Lesson

A few months ago, I ran into a distant cousin at my great aunt’s funeral and learned that she had been fighting Lupus for a long time. My heart broke for her as she explained that she had been in and out of the hospital a lot. I was struck as she shared her story by how strong her faith was. Instead of complaining, she was praising God in the midst of her trials. She let her faith shine as she trusted in her God.

Ever since that day I have been following her journey and praying for her. This week I received news that she has passed. She was 27. Now what I remember the most about her was her smile. Her spirit. As I browsed through her Facebook page this week, every comment is filled with evidence that she knew God and that she ran a good race. Her race may have been short, but she touched the hearts of many and bore good fruit during her fleeting stay here on Earth. Rest in heaven Jasmine Haynes. Job well done.

A couple of months ago, I met a new friend name Cassandra through one of my cousins. We clicked immediately. We are both introverted and have reserved personalities, which is the total opposite of the cousin who introduced us. We shared mutual experiences of trying to meet genuine people we felt safe opening up to, and were delighted to discover that we had so much in common. We exchanged numbers and we started texting each other and talked on several occasions. I was so grateful that God brought us together. We tried to make plans to meet up for lunch, but our busy schedules kept us from nailing down a date. Four months ago, I received a text from my cousin that Cassandra had just suffered a massive stroke. She was 41. I honestly could not believe my eyes and what I had just read. My heart and my eyes swelled with tears and I asked God why? Why her? Why now? She has a baby boy and two adolescent girls. My heart is heavy with regret over not dropping my plans to make time to have lunch with her.  I was so looking forward to getting to know her, but in the midst of my questioning and sadness, I humbled my heart to trust God’s will and prayed like crazy for him to save her. I'm grateful to say that Cassandra is still alive, but she has a long road ahead of her, including overcoming brain damage from her stroke. I believe God is a miracle worker and I'm still believing God for her complete mental and physical restoration.

Two women.

Two unique stories.

One common lesson.

Life can change dramatically before we take our next breath.

Both of these women had plans for tomorrow and responsibilities on their shoulders. Both were looking forward to their futures. Did they appreciate the moments they had? When they heard the common platitude “Life is short,” did they know just how short it could be? Had they made up their minds to live as if they were dying?  

We all have a lot of things on our plates. We're wives, mothers, friends, daughters, entrepreneurs, employees, and the list can go on. Most likely you're overwhelmed with all of the pressure and responsibilities that fall on you every day. Sometimes you may feel as if you don't know what to do first. When we are sleepwalking through each day or just going through the motions of our lives, it’s hard to pay attention and live with a constant gratitude for the moments God gives us on this earth. How do we live as if we are dying?

Here are a couple of solutions to end the cycle of overwhelm and busyness that have been helpful to me as I have processed the events of the the last couple of months and weeks of my life.

1) Every morning ask God to show you what's important today.

Ask Him to guide your steps and allow you to focus on how you can bear fruit that day and live on purpose. Remember he knows exactly how much time you have left. So He definitely knows how you should arrange your time. Trust me, when God calls you to do something important, like going to lunch with a friend who may really need your attention, the laundry can wait. The enemy loves to distract us with what's urgent instead of what's important.

Ask yourself, "Am I more focused on what seems urgent (dishes, email, making more money) or on what's important (playing with your child, sending that encouraging text to a friend going through). Ask God for help to know the difference today and every day.

2) When you talk (or think) about your day, try to change your wording from "I have to..." to "I get to..."

I can hardly believe how this small word swap has changed my perspective since I've started doing this. For example, here’s how it looked today: As I walked around my house, I saw stuff everywhere. My husband literally thinks our guest bathroom is his closet (lol). But instead of getting upset that he left his huge size 10 shoes in the bathroom AGAIN for me to trip over, I said thank you God that I get to clean up after my husband. Thank You that I have a husband, and a good one at that. Thank you God that I get to cook dinner for my family. I would much rather enjoy this Sunday on the couch, but I get to serve my family by cooking and cleaning. Practicing gratitude is a game changer.

Jasmine and Cassandra would love to be able to do the very things we complain about. I bet they would give anything to be able to cook, clean, and go to work.

I know that their lives and what happened to them was not in vain. Jasmine’s legacy will live on forever, and I believe that Cassandra will be completely restored to life as it was before the stroke in Jesus’ name. But until then, her life and the fight in her, has inspired me on so many levels.

Lovely friend, live your life with gratitude and passion. Choose to live like today could be your last. Make up your mind to enjoy every minute of your days and let others be inspired by how you live your life.

I love you dearly.

Tiffany

 

P.S  Will you join me as I continue to pray for Cassandra and her family? And please pray for the Haynes family as they say goodbye to their precious loved one.

 


 

A life full of burdens, is a life full of purpose.

Hi Friend,

Let's talk a little about purpose. As you may or may not know, one of the services I offer at Oh So You coaching, is to help women discover their purpose. I've discovered that purpose is the missing piece that is causing frustration in the lives of so many men and women. The key to finding your purpose is discovering your burden. You can discover your burden by paying close attention to what grabs your attention and hold your thoughts captive.

Is there something you are dying to change or communicate?

That is your burden. That is your calling, AND you must do something about it.

Is there something that fires you up? Something that others can walk right past, that stops you dead in your tracks?

A while back I was leaving an NBA basketball game at the Phillips arena. Along with everyone else walking to their cars, I was walking and laughing arm-in-arm with my husband when I noticed a homeless woman sitting outside (in the winter time) with two small children asking for money. Just the sight of those children sitting out there in the cold instantly brought tears to my eyes. I thought about this woman and those kids all night long. People were walking right by them. A few stopped, but the majority of folks kept walking to their luxury cars to go to their warm cozy homes, while not realizing they had a responsibility to do something.  You see some of these same people may have been searching for their purpose, not realizing that God may have answered their prayer by putting people directly in their path.

Of course I understand that not everyone has the same calling and purpose, but the principal doesn't change. There is something or someone right under your nose that is your assignment. Your calling.  If you have been praying for God to reveal your assignment here on this earth, you must know that HE will answer you. It's your job to keep your eyes and ears open to receive the answer HE reveals to you.

Have you ever found yourself thinking that "someone needs to do something about this or that," or do you often ask that infamous question,  "If God is so good, why does he allow these (bad) things to happen?"

Scripture says, "for we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2: 10.

He created us in advance for good works. These works are to combat the evil going on around us and to help those in need. There are people in need everywhere you go. Up until now you may have just walked right past your purpose, but not anymore. I'm challenging you to pray this prayer... Lord open my eyes to the needs and problems of those around me." And give me the courage to not keep walking and hoping somebody will come and do something. Let me be that somebody."

If you're like me with so many areas near and dear to your heart, you may have to spend more time searching for clarity. But while you are waiting, you can do something. It's in the doing where you'll find your life's mission. Since launching this coaching ministry and business, God has confirmed my calling and even birthed new visions in my heart. I might not have ever discovered these burdens if I had not started with the first tug on my heart to help frustrated Christian women create more harmony in their lives. From that first calling, my work has moved on to reaching more women on a deeper level based on the conversations I've had the opportunity to have with prospective clients and actual clients. And to think I almost passed up on pursuing this passion, because I had my heart set on becoming an actress. I'm so glad I decided to trust God with my life. Although some may think Life coaching isn't as "impressive" as acting, I'm having the time of my life operating in my gifts.

Friend, if you are having a hard time discovering your purpose, it could be because you're waiting on a BIG platform. We usually miss God when he answers if we are looking for a big, impressive calling. But God doesn't measure callings or assignments by how “impressive” we think they are. He presses assignments on our hearts that are directly tied to His heart. When God uses someone or something to tug on your heart, those tugs become your burden, and you can't seem to stop thinking about it. Friend, that is your purpose. And you owe it to the world to do something about it.

********************************************************************************************

I never forgot the words of this song that came on the radio in 2011 when I was riding in my car. These words struck a cord in my heart, and I knew I had to do more. I pray you will listen to the words and they will also challenge you to do more. And if you're already doing your part...Rock on sister!!

 

Answering Your Questions: How Do We Surrender?

Hello friends,

Today I am answering a great question I received in an Instagram comment:

How do we know when we have fully surrendered things to God?

In my experience, surrendering has been a process of letting go of what I wanted for my life and embracing the Lord's will for me. Before I truly surrendered I kept trying to knock down doors that just would not open. I would pray for God to direct my steps, and then get frustrated when things did not work out. I didn't realize that by closing doors, God was actually answering my prayers asking Him to direct my steps.

I stopped becoming frustrated with dead ends when I finally was

able to say (and mean) these words: "Lord, I don't care what I want anymore. Your will is what's best for me."

I continue to pray for guidance, clarity, and direction, but I am no longer committed to my version of “success.” Instead I look to God to show me the next step on the path.

So to answer your question, I think you know that you have surrendered when you are no longer frustrated if things don't work out according to your plan. You have confidence in all circumstances because you know that God is directing your steps. Also, instead of going along with your normal schedule, you ask Him to show you the way, and you simply flow with Him.

I'm not sure what season you are currently in. You may be experiencing a season of opened doors and opportunities falling in your lap, or you may still be in the waiting season, standing on God’s promises for what seems like eternity. If you are experiencing the latter, just know that you must surrender your vision and your life to Him. It's okay to have dreams, but those dreams can't have you. They can't have your peace. Your Joy. Your life. If you find that you can't be happy until you have "it," then "it" may never happen. Surrender it today and start enjoying your life while you're waiting on His perfect plan for you. The right door will open to you in the Lord’s time and not a minute before.

I am not saying it is easy, but I know from experience that it is the way to peace. Surrender.

Until next time my lovely friends,

Tiffany

P.S.

I've been thinking a lot about you and how I can serve you better in this virtual space.  It is my intention to not only inspire you with these emails, but to impact your life in a tangible way. Inspiration is wonderful, but it does not last very long. I'm sure you get tons of emails filled with inspirational feel good messages. There is nothing wrong with that, but if inspiration was enough, we'd all be living out our dreams.

So I promise that I will not write to you just for the sake of writing, but I will always wait until I feel I have something valuable to say. The funny thing is I always have something to say, but a lot of times I have to sit with the information until I can put it into the right words for you. The reason I'm letting you in on my process is that I want to know more of where you are in life right now so I can give you more of what you are needing and wanting. I want to know your frustrations and your concerns. What are you most excited about right now? What would you really like to change, and why? Also, feel free to ask me any questions you may have. I promise to answer every one of them.

So hit reply and tell me all about you. I really want to hear from you. So c'mon don't be shy :)

 

Take a note from Beyonce and give it all you've got!

Hey friends,

Do you remember back in the day when we used to buy music on CD's? Do you recall actually having to go to the music store to purchase your favorite band or singer’s latest album?

Tell me that wasn't that long ago! Please! Because I refuse to believe that I'm one of "those people" who uses the words "back in the day." Have mercy.

I can remember getting Beyoncé's first solo album like it was yesterday. Ya'll remember her first solo album, Dangerously in Love? It was BANANAS.

One day I was in the car with a close friend of mine and we were listening to that Beyoncé CD.  "Dangerously in Love" started playing, and I forgot my friend was even in the car. Part of my personality as a creative artist was that I could get lost in music as a way of expressing myself. So I used every ounce of lung power I could muster up to belt out the lyrics of that song.  When the song was over, I quickly got myself together and looked over at my friend, only to find her laughing hysterically to herself. I never had to ask her what was so funny. Even now, many years later, I can remember how  uncomfortable I felt at being laughed at that day.

That was one of my first experiences of learning that everyone may not "get me" and my passion for life and entertainment. Music has always played a big part in my life, and I’ve never been that person who could just listen to music or simply sing along. If I'm going to do something, I'm going to put my all into it. It didn't matter if I couldn't carry a tune to save my life. If I was going to sing, I was going to SING.  

As I write these words, I remember that adolescent girl who marched to the beat of her own drum, that fearless girl who didn't care what anyone thought about her.  If I'm very honest, a little part of my spirit died that day along when I realized that someone thought less of me for being me. And over time, those kinds of interactions continued to diminish my fearless attitude, like another time where I put my all into a praise dance at a pageant and received only a few hand claps.

What I want you to know is that those hard moments, and the many other times I felt misunderstood, have given me more compassion than I ever would have had if I had never been laughed at. My experiences of having my spirit crushed by the critics have enabled me to be someone with whom you can share your heart and passions. I will understand. I will rally with you, and push you to express yourself however you need to. I will be the one giving a standing ovation when I see someone giving their all.

Can you think of moments in your life that "killed your spirit?” Did you used to be fearless, but now you're full of fear? Are there things you want to do or try, but you're afraid someone will laugh at you, afraid that you may not be good at it, or afraid to fail in front of people?

Sweet friend, you must get back to that creative, spirit-filled enthusiastic girl you used to be.

Don't stop being you because others don't get you. If there is a dream or passion in your heart you want to pursue, then by all means do it with all your heart, with all the power you can muster up. If it makes you happy (as singing does for me) then do it. You don't have to do it on a grand scale, but do what sets your soul on fire in whatever small way you can today. You never know where it will lead you or how you might discover more things in the process that you have an aptitude for.

You see I just want to express myself. Whether it its on the movie screen, dancing for the Lord on the praise team, or writing blogs to dear friends, I just have to be me.

And you have to be you. All of you. Not the watered down version that people can handle, but the too-much-to handle person you are dying to be.

Yeah they laughed. Yeah you failed before. Yeah they may talk about you. Yeah you feel inadequate and unqualified to pursue your passions, but you must.

You must.

Decide today, that you will live your life doing those things you really love to do. No more playing it safe and holding back. Just like that little girl belting out the lyrics to Beyoncé, live like nobody is watching. Do what sets your soul on fire and give it all you've got!

"Live your life full of passion, or you'll end up being full of regrets."

-Dr. Tiffany Pierce

 

The Blessing is After the But.

Have you ever wanted to do something hard, but you convinced yourself that "you just don't have it in you?” Maybe you even made an attempt, but decided quickly that “you just don’t have what it takes.”

Do you console yourself with thinking that you tried, relying on your "but" to dull the pain in your heart, from being in the same predicament and realizing that you may never reach your God-given destiny? Can you think back to a time where you set out to really "do it" this time, but yet two weeks later, you had already aborted the process, prepared your concession speech, and once again convinced yourself that you tried, but...

Maybe your "it" is fasting to hear God's voice, but you just can't give up food for whatever reason. Or, maybe your "it" is needing God to fix your marriage, but not being able to consistently do what he's been telling you to do for a while now, in order to humble yourself and change the areas you need to work on first. Your "it" could be staying quiet when others betray and lie about you, instead of seeking to take matters into your own hands. “It” could be losing weight, starting your own business, letting go of toxic relationships...Sis, I don't know what your "it" is, but what I do know is that the blessing and life that you desire is found on the other side of your "but." On the other side of your sacrifice.

I can relate to your resistance to suffering and sacrifice, and so can Jesus. In Luke 22:42 Jesus is facing the reality that in order to fulfill his divine purpose, he would have to make a painful sacrifice. Coming to this heavy realization Jesus cries out "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will BUT yours be done." As I type this, tears begin to swell in my eyes, as I realize the burden and the loneliness Jesus faced as he contemplated wanting to turn back and abort the process. But it's the process, the death and burial that allowed him to resurrect, and conquer death for all of us.  Without the sacrifice, you and I would not possess the power to trample over our own dead situations. The Sacrifice was necessary! And your sacrifice is necessary. When you face your own "wanting to turn back" moments, in light of Jesus, I'm sure it pales in comparison. In the next scripture, it says “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” (Luke 22:43) Sis, what we can learn from this scripture is that no matter how hard your "it" is, you can pray to God about the hard task you're facing. Instead of giving excuses about why it's just too hard, you can vent and yet still change your "but" from an excuse to convince yourself of your shortcomings, to a "But your will be done." Or "But I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." And just as God gave Jesus the strength to go through, he will strengthen you too.

Friends we can't expect to get something from nothing. To get to the life you dream of, you will have to give up and sacrifice something. Unlike Jesus, you may not have to sacrifice your life, but your sacrifice could be: pride, laziness, relationships, jobs, sleep, comfort, old patterns and habits, excuses, selfishness, your flesh, food, television, or any number of things.

What it is that you know you need to sacrifice in your life, but until today, you've really ingrained in your mind that you just don't have it in you to do?

The blessing is on the other side of that. It's on the other side of your "but."