Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Calling Me

Over the course of our lives we will try many things. We will go to school, get degrees, work in jobs, and have relationships. In all that we do, ultimately we are trying to figure out where do we belong, how do we fit in, what is my purpose. Oftentimes through the conditioning of society, we go through the motions of life without truly experiencing it because of certain societal norms, rules and wishes of others upon our lives. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, and fear of rejection, just to name a few, act as chains upon our dreams, passions and desires keeping us from moving forward in what is truly down in our souls to experience.

It is a scary place to ask yourself the question, what would you do if you weren’t afraid? What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Where would you go if circumstances proved favorable for the journey and resources were not a question? These are the questions of what some people would call daydreams but I consider them the “questions of the soul”. It is questions like these we are afraid to ask ourselves because we are fearful or uncomfortable with the answers. It is questions like these we fail to give ourselves permission to ask because the answers may result in something that someone else would not approve of. It is questions like these that we should ask ourselves to check our own pulse every once in a while. Are we living or simply maintaining?

The questions come from a calling deep within. As we are molded to the confines of the world, we learn to drown out this questioning. We drown out the questions of the soul with the cares of life – a j.o.b (just over broke), an endless string of unfulfilling relationships, the American dream of a house, the spouse, 2.4 kids, and a dog, bills, memberships to clubs and organizations just trying to achieve a little status, titles and degrees to make ourselves feel important. However, even at its loudest point, there is still something calling from deep within that begins to pierce through the noise and confusion of life. The questions begin to call out to us. There is an unfamiliar yet familiar voice which speaks, gets our attention and we feel uncomfortable and unsettled until we begin to answer back. We try to ignore it but it continues to press and call until we yield and begin to answer.

The voice calling from within is named Purpose. It is the voice that desires to call you into your destiny and out of your displeasure. It is the voice that awakens you in the middle of the night to let you know that where you are is not where you are supposed to end up. It is cultivating you for your future. It is the voice that lets you know that you have chosen to settle rather than tenaciously fight for what you believe in the depth of your soul. Purpose calls, purpose beckons, purpose wants us to return to our first love that we will maximize this thing called life and experience it more abundantly. For purpose knows who we really are, where we are going, and purpose desires to steer us to our appointed destination.

Today I choose to answer the call of purpose. I choose to answer the questions of the soul, confront every fear and accept the call of purpose on my life. I will go where it takes me and live it out authentically and fully. As I answer this call, it empowers me to help others awaken to the call and answer it for themselves. It’s calling me and I have to answer. It’s calling you too but what will you do?

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Journey to Here

There is a battle which rages to keep us from becoming over confident to the point of being vain. Yet sometimes it is important to give ourselves permission to love ourselves and appreciate who we are and where we are. It is at this point, I find myself. I am learning to give myself permission to love the person I am and where I am in my life.

I think the struggle of self acceptance or self esteem and weight have been an on-going challenge in my life. Though I have always appreciated looking nice sometimes it is easier to wear the mask than to live out who we are authentically. As I have started a journey towards my “new self”, it has caused me to take into account or really reflect on where the weight began and what has served as a true wall preventing me from taking care of myself. It is easy to try to blame our issues on other people or on different circumstances but to get to the root of things we have to consider what are the deeper underlying issues that prevent us from moving forward.

The truth of the matter is I can say most of the issues came as a result of not knowing who I was and not being able to appreciate and love myself. Every bad relationship, everything I simply “settled” for, and most unbeneficial decisions were a result of not being true to myself because I did not really love myself. There is a phrase I have heard Pastor Paula White say over and over again. It simply says “You cannot conquer what you will not confront”. In order for me to become the person I knew deep down existed, I had to confront some things. Things such as my need to try to please people, the need to listen to other people’s opinion rather than trust what I felt in my gut, and believing that the only thing I could be is someone’s showpiece rather than realize there is more to me than looks.

When we feel out of control or feel like everyone else controls us, we try to hold on to the one thing we feel that we can control. Or we feed our insecurities and frustrations with other things. Turning to food and not wanting to be physically active were only two by-products of a deeper issue. I could blame it on being too busy or not feeling like it, but the real issue was I didn’t want to fit into anyone else’s image of what I should be or look like. As a result, I didn’t take care of myself, leave the food alone or seek to have a better way of life out of my own rebellion against anyone or anything that tried to define me.

Though I cannot say the issue is 100% cured, I am a successful work-in-progress. It has been over 10 years since I have been able to look in the mirror and say that I truly love and appreciate the person I am now. The decisions I have made have not been at the hands of anyone else. I have decided to live for me and that is the only way I can effectively be available to minister to others. Out of a healthy sense of self, I can identify with the struggles of others and help them know they too can overcome. It has been a long journey to here but I can say confidently, I am so glad that I made it and I am looking forward to what is ahead. The best is yet to come and I am so excited about it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Overcoming the Obstacles

At the end of May 2011, I set out on a goal that I did not realize would change my life. I decided at 35 it was time to get my health in check. It was time to take care of me. Not for anyone else but to do something important for myself. I joined a group on Facebook called “Train2Win”. I did not know what to expect because I have never been the fitness type. I decided to no longer allow fear to hold me and I “showed up” for the first session of many to climb Stone Mountain. I didn’t think I would be able to make the trek. I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone. But I took a chance. The first key to overcoming obstacles is “Show Up”. I could not allow my fear to keep me from meeting my goal. I could not allow my insecurities to sideline me from becoming a better me. Oftentimes we must conquer those things that try to conquer us by simply showing up.

Making the decision to join the T2W group was the best decision I could have made. Not only was I able to overcome my fear of meeting new people, I would be introduced to a new family that was supportive and instrumental in pushing and motivating me to push towards my goal. The trainer, Christian, didn’t allow me to accept defeat, try to quit or give half in reaching the top. We were pushed, encouraged, motivated and supported towards overcoming any excuse and hindrance that tried to stop us.

The second key of overcoming the obstacles is “Stop Replaying the Old Messages.” We can allow ourselves to be defeated because we replay the old tapes in our heads about what we haven’t been able to do in the past. I have replayed how I tried to lose weight before but have been unsuccessful at keeping it off. I can replay the tapes of how I haven’t been physically active and hated working out so why should I try now. None of the old tapes were worth listening to. I needed to destroy them. The only way to destroy them was to create new tapes. My new fitness journey allowed me to create new tapes to remind me that I can do it. Not only could I do it, but I would do it.

On Saturday, October 1st, I overcame another obstacle. I ran my first 5k. With my brother and sister-in-law along for the journey, I set out to prove to myself that I could do it. And I did it! For most of the race, I had to run it alone because they were up ahead of me. But during the race, I was reminded of my growth. Once fearful of being alone or frustrated of being behind, I had another lesson I learned on the mountain to overcoming the obstacles. The lesson is “Sometimes we have to go alone but if we stay focused we will get there in our own time.” I did make it to the finish line in my own time. But as I turned the corner heading towards the finish line, there was my brother and sister in law waiting to meet me. Not only did they meet me but they came and ran the finish line with me. Even when we think we are alone, there are others waiting to encourage, support and travel with us to our destination.

I crossed the finish line at 44:03. It was an emotionally exhilarating experience. I never would have thought the day would come that I would become a runner. But on Saturday, October 1st, I proved to myself that I could do, I would do it, and I did do it. I have overcome. Obstacles can serve as two things. They can be setbacks or they can be motivators to push you toward your goals. At one time, they would have set me back. But now, in the words of Marvin Sapp, I am “stronger, wiser and better”. I’ve learned the lessons. I’ve persevered. I have won because I chose to train2win.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If It's to Be, It's Up to Me

This quote encompasses the journey of my life over the past year. From taking the risk to start a church in September 2010 to choosing to drop weight and re-define my body in March 2011 (didn’t really breakthrough until May 2011), every decision has not been because of anyone else but me, with God’s help.

As I think back over my life, I can reflect back on the number of decisions I have made based on what someone else thought would be a good idea. I have spent a lot of my life being apprehensive about trying new things because of other people. In other words, I had a HUGE problem with trying to please other people. Oftentimes I would or would not do things simply because of what other people said or didn’t say, did or did not do. In the end the only person left being miserable, frustrated and upset would be me.

The first lesson I had to really come to terms with is if I wanted to achieve anything significant in my life, I am responsible for making it happen. It would mean I would need to be delivered from people. I have always been driven but there has always been a part of me that allowed others to intimidate me or make me feel unsure of myself. But deep down inside, I always knew I had the ability to be and do more. The only thing that was stopping me was me. I needed to give myself permission to be the “me” that I was created to be. It would take moving out of state for a year and one ministry/career betrayal to cause me to make the decision to do something different. Now I am able to see, with clarity, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me”.

No one can keep us from maximizing our potential or reaching our destiny but the one who looks at us in the mirror. If God has called us to it, God will give us the ability to make it happen. Biblically, we see examples of those who had been called to great tasks or positioned for great blessings try to talk themselves (and God) out of it because of limitations they felt they had, sometimes based on the perceptions and activities of others. We must trust God enough and believe in ourselves enough to know it is not only possible that we can achieve greatness but it will happen if we stay the course.

I have chosen to stay the course and believe in myself, even through the ups and the downs. I can proudly say I have celebrated the 1st year anniversary of the church despite those who said I wouldn’t make it or shouldn’t do it. I have exceeded my goal, by 2lbs and counting, towards losing the 20lbs. I have stayed consistent and intensified my fitness regimen despite not thinking I could ever become physically fit. I will even run my 1st 5k on this coming Saturday. I can say I am proud of the accomplishments I have made towards my goals. It is all because I choose to believe and remind myself that “if it’s to be, it’s up to me”.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


My lenten commitment was not to necessarily give up something but to take something on. I guess if I had to state that I was "giving something up" I would be giving up my lack of motivation to be physically active or to a degree laziness. I allow other things to take priority over my commitment to my physical health. "I'm too busy", "I'm too tired", "I don't feel like it" are all excuses I have made concerning becoming active. To a degree I think it is my personal rebellion against society stating you must be a certain weight and figure or all the other people who have been in my life trying to make me fit into their boxed image of what I should look like. Nonetheless, I have placed fitness and dieting on the back burner to so many other things.

This year I finally believe that I am ready. Through prayer and research, I have started a new fitness regimen, joined the gym, and have been trying to modify my eating. (Pray for a sistah as I am a sugar-holic in recovery...lol) As I have been on this journey, it has caused me to think about commitment in general. Oftentimes we do not maximize our lives because we don't understand the power of commitment. We have the ability in our society to be half committed to so many things, i.e. diets, marriage, careers, relationships, etc. You name it and we know of someone or even our own stories of how we have set out to do something but down the road chosen to abandon it for something else. Why do we fail at commitment?

Commitment seems to fail when we do not have the proper attitudes towards something. We have a "goal" before us but we fail to put an effective and realistic plan in place to achieve it. We have a "goal" but we don't put something before us that reminds us of our goal. We have a "goal" but we fail to allow or invite accountability into our lives to keep us on track toward the goal. There are many reasons why we don't meet the goal but if we are serious about it, then we have to change the way we think and behave in order to meet our goal.

Now that I have been on this journey, seriously, I have had to implement some behavior changes and thought life changes to ensure I stay successful. One thing I have had to do is confront the placed upon myself and the thought processes behind it. I have had to identify why I talk myself out of things and why I hinder my own success. I have enlisted an accountability partner to make sure that I go to the gym or that I eat properly. The biggest change I have had to make is to motivate myself. It is easy to depend on crutches such as people or other tools but the real test and the real success is when you can motivate yourself because "you" are ready to make a change.

I am excited at where I am going. I actually can see my goal before me. I am "finding my happy" and enjoying the journey. The destination is not the success for me, it is learning to enjoy and appreciate the journey. Until next time....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Different Paths Lead to Similar Goals

Yesterday I ventured to Piedmont Park for my first walk of the spring. I am on this new fitness goal to lose weight and become a runner. As I was in the park, I really began to take notice of what was going on around me. There were the young, the young at heart, runners, walkers, boot-campers, men, women and children. Everyone was doing some type of physical activity.

As I continued walking, the Spirit provided me clarity on what I was to learn from this scenery. Though each person was at a different level of experience and on a different path, they were all working towards a similar goal - weight loss/management, physical fitness and/or enjoying the day. Though this was a natural activity, there was a spiritual revelation involved.

Oftentimes, we can develop a defeated attitude because we see others attaining rewards that we hope to receive and become frustrated because we have not gotten there. We may want to have a better marriage, better health, career aspirations or even fitness goals. No matter the goal, we all know people who are farther along on the journey than we are. We may feel as if we may not get there or we don't have what it takes to get there.

We must learn to appreciate where we are on "our" journey. God has given us all a path we must take towards our destiny. However, we cannot become jealous or envious of someone else. Instead we can use those persons as examples to motivate us to continue pushing, continue striving to get to the goal. We all must start somewhere and we all must finish our race the way we are intended to. We cannot successfully attain anything by being someone else. As we all consider the things we are trying to accomplish, we need to take a moment to celebrate ourselves and know that with hard work, perseverance and determination, along with God's help, we will get to the goal if we do not faint, quit or give up.

I will no longer allow myself to beat up on myself because I do not do something like someone else. I will not allow others to make me feel inferior because I may be just starting on something they have been doing for a while. I will continue to work on my dreams and goals until I achieve them. I will celebrate my journey and know that the rewards will be all the more worthwhile because I stayed in the race and I finished my course to my destiny.

Enjoy "your" journey! You will get there in the end!

Spring has Sprung..."Spring Cleaning"

Oftentimes, we allow life to overtake us and we neglect what needs to be done. Thus, we always hear about people doing "spring cleaning". Throughout the winter we allow things to pile up. We push things in closets and under the bed. We cause everything we choose not to deal with to be tucked nicely in that secret hiding place rather than figure out: do we need it, do we want it, or do we need to get rid of it.

As we do this with material items, we also do this with the emotional baggage of our lives. We keep shifting, tucking, hiding and compartmentalizing things until we decide to "spring clean". I guess I have done the tucking and hiding as I have moved through the winters of my life. I have chosen what I will not confront instead to compartmentalize it until an opportune time.

The opportune time has now presented itself. It is time to dust off the notebooks of goals and dreams, unpack the boxes of thoughts and prayers, and spring forward re-entering "my" life. I am 2 months away from my 35th birthday. I am finally at the place where I feel like I am exiting the winter and entering into the spring of my life.

During this re-awakening, I invite you to this journey. As I prepare for the big 35, I am opening up about my new journey. This is the journey towards dropping 20 pounds to be a healthier person. A journey of starting a church. A journey of the living the best life I can for me. My blog will chronicle this journey - the ups, downs and the in between. It is my prayer that as I open up and share it with the world, it will help someone else to open up, clear out the clutter, and live the life that God has designed for them.

Happy Spring Cleaning!