Purposeful Living

Inspired by an article that I recently read in a home design magazine, I paused to ruminate the interviewer’s inquiry: “What is a question you’re constantly trying to answer?” Later in the interview the architect was asked what advice she’d give to young apprentices. Her response, “Develop a voice and a mission” (Mariam Kamara).

In discovering your purpose, a major indicator of what it is can be determined by what really gets a rise out of you.

There is so much wrong around us. There is so much that needs to be attended to. In our own homes and communities, there is so much to be done to help to make our lives and world better. What we must do is gain and maintain focus on what it is, and then stay the course.

I often encounter people who grapple with who they are. “I don’t know what my purpose is,” they say. They’re conflicted about what to do with their lives. Moreover, the urgency of what to do seems greater when trauma strikes. The answers are found when one looks within versus looking around. One definition of distraction is “mental confusion.” Unfinished projects, the kids, spouses and significant others, work, church, events, friends, extended family, social media, television, traumatic events and other obligations or distractions—all these persons or things can inform what needs to be done in the world, but they can also be distractive to what you should be doing relative to God’s calling on your life.

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected” (Genesis 4:6)? The danger of doing nothing, overwhelmed by a plethora of some-things, is that one can become bitter, angry, and dejected due to imagining that another seems to be ahead of them because of unfair conditions. This is especially true of those who are networked with others with like callings or purposes—or simply of the same kin, like Cain and Abel. Two very different siblings with the same command from God. Both brothers were required to bring an offering to God, from their abundance, but Abel obeyed the instructions with a reverent heart, while Cain winged it showing little reverence for God. Not getting the recognition that he wanted he then became embittered.

 As a writer there were many times when I would see “my” words or concepts published by another writer—same calling, same thoughts! Barring plagiarism this would spark feelings of anxiety, then envy, seeing that they’d said exactly what I’d wanted to be the first to say. Worse, what I’d assumed were my original concepts. The nerve of them! I’m jesting, but I’ve since learned to resist the temptation to give in to my emotions—to not be hasty in my assumptions. I remind myself that all that we have comes from God.

Nothing is original to humanity, but all has its genesis in God. He is all wisdom and shares with whom he will as we seek him.

Further, Jesus is the initiator and completer of our faith. We were all created in God’s persona with the ability to feel, think, and will. Those who are Christians are born of one Spirit, the Spirit of God our Father. It stands to reason, then, that the oracles of God would be repeated from the sources of his many children! I’m willing to bet that my three siblings have and will repeat some of the same words or concepts that our parents have taught us as well.

There are no acceptable excuses to not discovering your purpose. Once you put your flesh in check and stop focusing on what others may or may not be doing, ask yourself, “What question do I constantly strive to answer? How will I develop my voice and mission?” THIS WILL TAKE TIME, but time well spent. With the passage of time you will be processed to excellence.

You will come to know how to live your life affirmed. I can attest that there is so much joy in living affirmed.

Concerning my purpose to write, I once ran my ‘what ifs’ by a friend, explaining how I couldn’t do what I’m called to do because of untimely circumstances that had knocked me off my feet. She replied, “MJ, you’re going to write because God told you to.” End of story. “And not because you or anyone else thinks you should or shouldn’t . . . I need your books,” she tearfully implored. Both surprised by her tears and feeling awkward (Helloooo, wasn’t she supposed to be consoling me as I passed the baton to someone else?), somehow, I was instantly cured of my indecision and disobedience.

God has also refused to let you off the hook for something specific. What is it? I’m going to guess that your purpose is that, or directly related to it. Typically, it’s never about you.

If what you do is not what you’re called to do in the way you’re directed to do it, it will fail you—just like it failed Cain. I say it will fail you because doing things you’re not called to do or doing them at the wrong time or in the wrong way will fail you—every time. It doesn’t make you a failure in God’s eyes, just temporarily out of order. Be encouraged, however, that the lessons learned are priceless to assure you that you are personally accountable to your Creator to discover who you are and Whose you are. Your success in life depends on it.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

The God in you is the good in you. His glory in you is his goodness. They are your gifts to be used for purpose. They will always be used in service.   

It is your right and your responsibility to ask yourself the same question that I read in that design magazine. What recurring question do you find yourself ruminating? What disrupts your peace? What do you dream about that lingers with you for hours—even days—after you’ve dreamed it? What is it that calls your attention the most when you read or hear about it? To focus in on a singular project is okay!

Doing a whole lot of something that you shouldn’t is equivalent to doing nothing that you should.

Said in another way, to “develop a voice and a mission” could simply translate to: “What is yourpurpose and calling in life and how will you execute it?” In what way would you find joy in using your life? In what ways would you feel fulfilled in living amid billions of humans? What is your personal, laudable (to yourself) mission to accomplish before you pass on? What legacy will be heard of you and your precious time on the earth? How do you identify your voice? Will you use the gift of comedy? Are you charismatic, having the gift of gab? Are you a more serious type who can appeal to intellectuals—more brainy folks? Do children bring you a special joy? The possibilities are endless for humanity, but specific for you. This doesn’t mean there aren’t multiple ways to diversify even one gift. Allow me to suggest ways to get you started in using your life purposefully.

4 PURPOSEFUL LIVING TIPS

  1. RUMINATE Ask yourself what makes you mad! This will probably be more than one thing. Your assignment is to seek your Creator, through prayer, to ascertain how you should turn your anger to passion. Righteous indignation doesn’t need an apology. Stop saying, “I’m sorry.” I’ve searched the Bible, and not once did Jesus say “I’m sorry” for being indignant. Rather, he spoke of the great sorrows that are in the world, assuring his followers that he has already overcome them. “I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, TLB). Figure out what to do to expand God’s kingdom in the way that he wants you to.
  2. REEVALUATE Start eliminating things from your schedule that are not fruitful for your intended purpose. Absolutely, if you are a parent, you must parent. If you have bills to pay, you must work to pay them. But take the time to discover how your work can be profitable to your purpose. This may be remaining at the same job but taking a more active leadership role akin to your gifting. Your gift may in fact be organizational leadership. Again, your gift may be child care, rearing and well-being. You may be a daycare provider or a soccer coach. The question to ask is, are you contributing to humanity in a wholesome way?
  3. RESIST Fight the urge or temptation to do what others are doing, or in the way that they are doing it. Sometimes we have the best of intentions, yet our contributions and focus are not best used there, or at all. Other times, God may simply be saying “not now.” True of parents, especially stay-at-home parents, there are days when you may envy those who are doing things that generate income. Always remember that our children are a valuable commodity for the future state of our world—that’s not something that can be paid for. Parents who are making sacrifices to instill godly values in our children are fulfilling an incredibly honorable contribution to humanity, to our society.  
  4. REFUSE Don’t give up. Discover your voice and let it be heard. Don’t be guilty or apologetic about taking the time to reinforce your ability to make a difference in your community. This may even mean going back to school. Give yourself the time that you need to be developed in knowledge, faith, and courage. Exchange pressing responsibilities with others to accommodate your action plan and theirs. Go to church. Read. Walk with God amid his creation—nature. Take in a movie alone. Develop a listening ear and a sensitivity to the promptings of the quiet voice within you. God speaks when we’re quiet. Converse with him all day long. “Deep calls to deep . . .” (Psalm 42:7, ESV). God is a Spirit who connects with you through your spirit. Let peace of mind be your confirmation to move forward. If you’re disturbed, unsettled, anxious, overly excited, or unsure, be still. Keep a positive outlook amid dire circumstances. This will mean repeatedly checking in with God for direction regarding your contributions for change. Be faithful to what you hear. You may be one of those who can ‘get a prayer through’—those gifted to intercede in a warrior’s position! I’m not suggesting Polly Anna affirmations here, I’m suggesting declaring the situation-changing word of God! Praying the Word is a powerful weapon to defeat the darkness that looms seemingly prevalent in the world.  

When you’re overwhelmed by all that needs to be changed around you, redirect your thoughts to what needs to be transformed within you, in order to do what you’re charged to do. As you do your part to manage your life effectively, you will see clearly what your responsibilities are to humanity. LYLA!

Purposeful Living first appeared on Living Affirmed.

Hey there hey! Please comment your thoughts, reactions, questions, or revelations. I’d love to hear from you! Go to my Contacts page to subscribe to my periodic blog posts by email. New subscribers will receive a special gift from me! Hit the share buttons if you like what you’ve read! You may follow me at http://www.facebook.com/mjeanette.jones For a full list of my social media just visit my Home page here. Meanwhile, LYLA!

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Letting Go

Happy New Year! You have made it to the last day of your first week of 2019! Congratulations!

Success is a Weightless Joy

Some of you have committed to a healthier lifestyle for this year. This may be your emotional health, including your right to enforce boundaries in relationships. You all know at least one pushy person who persistently ignores your desires as to how you wish to be treated. He or she assumes that you don’t know what’s best for you, to the end that your relationship is tested. Feeling rejected and devalued you come to realize that the relationship is toxic.

When you’ve tried to share, in conversation with this person, he or she has cut you off mid-sentence leaving you with the feeling that what they have to say is more important than what you have to say—or at least they seem to think so! Their ego has slowly turned your frustration to infuriation since you’ve repeatedly explained your feelings to them, to no avail. Their constant “advice” doesn’t provide workable solutions because this know-it-all type hasn’t allowed you to fully explain yourself. You come to realize, resolutely, that they don’t really know you, therefore they can’t help you. You come to realize in letting go that that’s okay.

Personal Reflection Brings Revelation

You may have started this new year determined to leave behind all annoying people who just don’t seem to get you. You think “leave behind” because you’d purposed at midnight 2018 that you would no longer allow people who don’t serve your life goals to invade your personal space. Period. Not only do they not add to your life, but they detract from your purpose in life.

In your mind, you’ve imagined how to let them down easy when that impending text or phone call comes. You want to be easy with them because there’s no sense in you carrying 2018’s frustration into 2019. You’re ready this time. You’ve had enough, and your sentiment has been confirmed by the three—count ‘em—THREE Facebook posts you’ve read regarding your decision. Lit, you think those perfect, spot on memes that you’ve both “loved” and “shared” are adequate confirmation for you to separate yourself for the sake of your sanity. You secretly hope that the memes may also serve to prepare the other for the imminent change in your relationship. After all, they don’t let you talk, so maybe they’ll read… Precisely at midnight, December 31, 2018, you commit that in 2019 you will live your life affirmed! LYLA! You promise that you won’t let yourself down.

Soar in 2019! LYLA!

Satisfied with your decision, you’ve moved on, congratulating yourself on sticking to your guns through the first week of 2019! Then there’s that challenging knock on your door. Looking out the window you see their car. Anxiety attempts to set in, but you remind yourself of your right to personal boundaries. You recall those approving Facebook memes… You remember how you’d promised yourself that you’d stand your ground… Still, in fear, you consider ignoring the knock… Thinking quickly, you decide that you can say you were in the shower… The mental battle continues for a moment before you resolve to assert yourself instead of hedging. Pulling on your big kid panties you open the door…

This is just an example of the struggles some of us have had with letting go. It could be the former, or it could be something else, but my intimation is that despite the struggle you can let go. If your situation is dangerous, obtain reinforcements, whether legal, spiritual, friends and family, or all the above. Seek whatever aids you need to continue living affirmed. Determine, without apology, to do what is healthy for you.

Cross Your Bridges with Confidence

Many of us have family members that we must love from afar. As much as our hearts have sought fulfillment in the relationships we’ve imagined, that person’s actions have consistently shown that they don’t share the same sentiment. You may know what the problem is, and with the best of intentions have attempted to make amends, but if your loved one is not aware and engaged, you must let go.

Letting go does not have to feel like failure. If you’re an extreme finisher, like me, letting go may feel like you’re quitting. Because you possess bulldog tenacity and relentless faith, you may grapple between sound wisdom and giving in to what your heart wants. In the case of letting go it is best to stick with what your mind is telling you to do. It is your mind that holds the memories of what has transpired. Your heart holds the imaginings of what hasn’t—time after time. You must be true to yourself.

You are Free to be You

3 TIPS FOR LETTING GO

  • PREPARE Be ready to arm yourself against sabotage. Because you don’t want to let go of your ideal, you could be the worst enemy to your success. Arm yourself with powerful, biblical affirmations to buttress your stance in letting go. Write the scriptures on sticky notes or note cards to affix to key places that are in plain view
    (e-mail will subscribers receive the helpful affirmation “Letting Go,” free of charge). When self-sabotage tempts, recite the words before you. In so doing, you will speak life to your intentions and death to your doubts. “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:14, NLT). Take authority over the temptations that will lead to defeat, by speaking the word of God, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13, KJV).
  • PRAY Because you are doing what is best for you, your heavenly Father will support you in your plan for emotional and spiritual health. In talking to him, you are consulting with your greatest advocate. He is your Creator who has created you with a specific purpose in mind. Discovering what your purpose is; aka, knowing who you are in the earth and what you should be doing in the earth, is fully known to God. He shares your intentionality to improve the quality of your life. Moreover, nobody loves you more than he does. Praying takes your attention off your weaknesses and redirects your focus to God’s strength and ability in you. “Hallowed be thy name” acknowledges his sovereignty over the world and all that is (Matthew 6:9b, KJV). Start your prayer by acknowledging him as the wholly other Ruler of all things and your problem will diminish in size and strength by the time you finish praying! It will also enable you to pray skillfully and lovingly for the person you’re letting go of. Some people are the way they are because they have an unloving spirit; therefore, your prayerful intercession will help them to be set free from their issues, as well, furthering the possibility of a healthy reunion one day. What you desire may well be accomplished through the change in your perspective as you love the person or persons from afar through prayer. It is an effective, loving act.
  • PICK AND CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES In letting one go, versus “cutting” one off, you are simply releasing him or her to a higher power for the benefit of you both. It is a selfless act versus a selfish act. To cut is to let go, but to release is let-ting go. Cutting is unlovingly dismissive. It can be construed as cruelly or willfully hurtful—but releasing is letting go for the betterment of all involved. It concedes that separation is necessary for individual, independent growth. Letting go means your boundaries include loving them from afar through your sincere prayer and well wishes. This includes forgiving them, being gracious and merciful in your thoughts toward them, being cordial with them (e.g., when circumstances dictate you be at the same places at the same times—especially true with family members or exes whom you share children with), and continuing to strengthen them, and yourself, through tips 1 and 2. Letting go is a process.
Prayer is Power

Determine to be successful in the changes you will make in 2019 taking the time to attend to your personal needs through reading and studying positive materials rooted in the wisdom of the B. I. B. L. E.. Day 7 represents the completion of week one. 51 more weeks to go! Knowing that you have an Advocate for your success commands that spending quality time with him is absolutely necessary. Wake up greeting him before any other, “Good morning Holy Spirit.” He’s always willing to hang out with you.

My love language is primarily Quality Time. As a writer and communicator, communing with God is natural for me—even my primal need. Your love language may be Words of Affirmation or Receiving Gifts, or one of the others. I assure you that all that you need to live affirmed in this world is available through a healthy relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As you are a triune being, what you need to succeed in life is in the triune being of the Holy Trinity, to attend to every one of your needs–spiritual, emotional, and physical.

Happy New Year 2019! May you prosper in spiritual growth.


Hey there hey! Please comment your thoughts, reactions, questions, or revelations. I’d love to hear from you! Go to my Contacts page to subscribe to my periodic blog posts by email. You will receive a special gift from me! Hit the share buttons if you like what you’ve read! Blessed day to you! You may follow me at http://www.facebook.com/mjeanette.jones For a full list of my social media just visit my Home page here. Meanwhile, LYLA!

Don’t miss a thing! Visit my CONTACT page to subscribe to my periodic email blogs!

The post Letting Go first appeared on Living Affirmed on January 8, 2019.

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Crocodile Tears

The word predator immediately brings danger to mind. This past weekend, within just 20 minutes, I saw two child abduction alerts flashing on banners as I drove up the highway. I imagined the frightened children being sped down the highway to some unknown place, probably with strangers at the wheels!

As is procedure, both vehicle’s descriptions were given, including the license plate numbers. Driving a large, 8-cylinder truck, I vowed that if I saw one of the cars I’d run it off the road to perform a citizen’s arrest and save the child! And I meant it.

That’s my personality. A die-hard advocate with a vigilante predisposition. My family legacy is that of serving. I grew up in a household where often the pullout sofa was in use. Having grown up in the church from the age of 5, I had always viewed my home as an extension of our church, open and welcoming to many.

Because my parents had such giving hearts, you can imagine that at times they were taken advantage of. But this I know, they were always blessed. It’s vital to keep in mind that kindnesses are never overlooked by God. He sees every good deed that we do and knows the motives of our hearts. If we focus on the needy, or their lack of appreciation or repayment, we can become hardhearted and ineffective in receiving the joy that comes with being benevolent.

“Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God . . . We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10, MSG).

Formerly, I believed that giving was to be done based on God’s expectations and how I felt about them. Being born to serve, I learned the hard way that not everyone means well. There are deceptive people who aim to prey on those of us with big hearts. I often tell people, don’t give based on your emotions due to the person’s request or need, but give only if and as the Spirit leads you to give. Emotional giving is a tool the enemy will use to distract you from your purpose. God knows the motives of all hearts, we don’t. You can fool most of the people some of the time, and some of the people most of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time, and you can’t fool God anytime! 

Because of allowing myself to be used by people with impure motives, I became confused, angry, and mistrusting of everyone. This shut me down from being able to serve in the capacity that I was intended to—my birthright. After all, you can’t work well with people whom you don’t trust. The issue wasn’t that all the people weren’t trustworthy, the issue was that my personal rule had become “trust no one.” It’s important to discern your own motives. As well, it’s important to rely on God to show you whom you cannot trust.

Have you experienced this type of wounding and stagnancy in your own life? Can you think of the circumstances surrounding the decision you made that changed your trajectory for the worse? If you’re stuck there, God is right there with you—omnipresent—he’s everywhere and willing to help you. Jehovah Shamma means “God is there.” He’s ready; are you?

Finally, the day came when a message was preached that challenged me to trust. My life was “fixed” at the heart level. The prick of conviction that I felt let me know that God was after the dysfunction. The enemy had caused me to forfeit my purpose by distorting my view of humanity. I had thought that I was protecting myself, but I was imprisoning myself and self-destructing. With the wash of freedom and joy that I felt when I asked God to help me to trust, and to give me the gift of discerning, I was delivered of that bondage! 

After the euphoria of the moment, caught up in the corporate worship and healing experience with the others that day, I was soon tested. Holy Spirit had highlighted, to me, a woman whom I could trust. Instead of receiving his counsel, I asked a close family member for their opinion. They emphatically denounced the person as untrustworthy, with a lengthy argument following. But I had to resolve to rely on God as the one who knows best—the one who “cannot lie”—rejecting what I’d been told by that trusted family member (Titus 1:2, KJV).

You absolutely must obey what God instructs you to do, whether it’s easy or not: The apostles Peter and John say to their persecutors, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him?” Peter and the apostles again say, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 4:19-21; 5:29b).

There are predators who, if given the opportunity, will tempt you to disobey what you know is the truth! This is where you must be discerning of your own motives. There may be a payoff in it for you that makes you want to yield to the temptation. Let me advise you, however; any and every time you go against the wisdom of God, you’re either submitting to the devil, or you’re submitting to your flesh through which the devil works. The negative outcome may be a long time coming, but it’s coming.

Many single women that I know will walk along in victory for an extended period of time then succumb to a love interest that sweeps them off their feet, just to later learn that they’ve been duped. Some of them will see clearly that they made a huge mistake, but as soon as he shows up with crocodile tears, they bend, they bow, they break. Then they call. “Help!” Of course, we’ve all been there and can relate, both women and men. Ergo, we show compassion and grace.

“How do I stay strong,” you may ask? Let me help you. A little trivia about crocodile tears:

“The term may have gained wide popularity as a result of a passage in one book, ‘The Voyage and Travel of Sir John Mandeville,’ first published in 1400 and read widely, they write.“Says the passage, ‘In that country be a general plenty of crocodiles …These serpents slay men and they eat them weeping.’”

Thus, crocodiles cry while feeding on their prey! Let that sink in… Those tears are not tears of sorrow or empathy, rather they’re fake tears, deceiving the non-discerning. A crocodile is a predator by nature and so are some deceitful people. “Stay woke!”


Based on 1 Peter 5:8: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” A late, beloved elder used to advise, “Tell the devil he’s not getting a snack today!” Touché!

“In 2006, neurologist Malcolm Shaner, assisted by Kent Vliet, a researcher at the University of Florida, decided to test the story that crocodiles or their close relatives alligators and caimans were likely to ‘weep’ while feeding. Studying animals in Florida’s St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, Vliet recorded seven caimans feeding. He chose to use caimans rather than crocodiles because at the sanctuary they could be observed feeding on dry land. Five of the seven animals were seen ‘weeping’, leading to the conclusion that the story describes a real phenomenon.” 

It is a myth that crocodiles tear up because of sympathy for their victims, rather they weep when they are feasting on their victims! Please don’t be moved by the fake tears of those who are up to no good for you and your life. Listen to that still, small voice inside that is your intuition.

[T]here is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent” (Job 32:8, NLT).

Staying free from the oppression of predators—those who are sent on assignment to distract you from your intended destiny—takes the discipline of obedience and self-love. It is your protection. It’s not complicated and it’s not impossible; it will spare you setbacks and shame, heartache and pain, guilt and real tears of anguish.

In conclusion, that woman whom God said I could trust? To this day she is one my greatest supporters, with genuine love for me. She has demonstrated her trustworthiness in many, many ways down through the years. And my love for her is reciprocated. God forged an unbreakable bond between us that is lasting, tried and true for almost 16 years now! That family member who condemned her? That person later betrayed me in ways I cannot put into words and God has since taken that person completely out of my life, regardless of their crocodile tears.

Let’s make this a discussion! Comment below, I’d love to hear from you. Don’t miss out! Visit my Contacts page to subscribe to periodic emails of these blog posts. Follow, like, reply! Thanks! MJ

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071003151131.htm

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Power On

That life can be disappointing at times is an understatement. Strolling along with purpose, having finally figured out the next step you breathe in deeply to exhale sheer satisfaction. Smiling along your way, sun kissing your cheeks, suddenly your shoe sinks in the telltale squish and slide of dog poop. Thrown into a combination of trepidation and shock you look down to verify that experience has indeed taught you well. Dang-it-all! The sweet-putrid scent of intestinally churned dog food assaults your unsuspecting nasal passages with an unjust vengeance. Swooning from the unwelcome invasion, you pinch your nostrils, carefully raising your foot from the putrid pile of mush.

Shaking your head, you think, “Not now, this simply can’t be happening to me now!”

We’ve all been there more times than we’d like to admit. An estranged friend of mine used to say to me, “Act like you’ve been there before.” When confronted by an unexpected, embarrassing situation, he advised that those times are to challenge you to power on, not giving yourself the slightest opportunity to faint in frustration. Stellar advice. The trajectory of your life really depends on what you tell yourself. Mind over matter.

Beyond frustrations in life, there are times of sheer exhaustion. Extreme mental and physical fatigue contend to force forfeiture of your victory. The quiet and calming option of surrender looms enticingly, back there in the corner of your mind; but just as you’re about to succumb, purpose jolts you back to the realization of what you’ve always known. To give up or give in would equal failure. You realize that you’ve not been caught off guard, not exactly… The unveiling of the unknown has presented either an annoying setback or an expected challenge. Both demand that you rouse the faith within you.

Thinking about an inspirational, admirable epitaph on your headstone may not do it. But thinking of the ineffable peace of transitioning from life to death, with the satisfaction of knowing that you have wrung the very last drop out of the gifts and talents that were poured out upon you, just may be the thing to spur you to faith forward! Power on, your Creator awaits you.

THREE PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS WHEN YOU STEP IN LIFE’S DOG POOP

  1. Stop. Stop the presses immediately and breath. Take off that crappy shoe and hose off the evidence of your unfortunate misstep (RELEASE). Disinfect your shoe, put it back on and follow an interesting trail off the beaten path (RENEW). Get dressed, go line dancing! Take in a play or go see a movie. There’s bound to be an uplifting message outside your typical routine (REDIRECT). Sometimes you must pull the magnifying glass back a smidgen, to see clearly what’s in view (REVIEW).
  1. Go. Go back to the plan that you originally recorded. Reread (INSPIRE). Chances are you’ll see that you’ve learned more advantageous ways to do some of what you’ve set out to do (IGNITE). Tell yourself that there’s more than one way to achieve your goal and congratulate yourself for being so flexible and open to change (INVITE). Just having reread your plan will reinvigorate you. This step will challenge you to perfect your plan to reach your goal (INSTIGATE).
  1. Be. Be intentionally grateful. Discover what this means for you (AUTHENTICATE). Realize that if you don’t finish what you started you’ll be left with the nagging notion that you could have—that you could have come face-to-face with your glorious destiny (ACHIEVE). I always say, “If you don’t quit, you have to finish,” just by not giving up (ASPIRE). You will win. It’s the process of character and strength building that matters most. You may have heard it termed, “It’s the climb.” Yes, it’s the falling away of the undesired to welcome the desired (AMEN).

Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, NLT).

Thanks for reading! Don’t miss a blog! Follow me and subscribe with your email to receive periodic blog notifications. Let me hear from you today! Meanwhile, LYLA, Live Your Life Affirmed!

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Grow Out

One must move to grow. Think of a flowering, potted plant. When the plant has outgrown the pot its potential beauty is thwarted. Packed roots become tangled roots, sometimes raising a plant at an awkward angle exposing what should never be seen. This effectively takes away from the beauty of the plant. The over-accumulation of roots suck up the nourishment that the buds need to bloom. Left in a pot too small for growth, the mass of tangled roots must then be carefully removed from the existing pot to one better suited for its survival—for its intended use.

Sometimes it’s not pruning that needs to happen, but a total transplant.

Some roots will have straggled out through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. These are those hairy, less vigorous roots that are so delicate they must be cut from the livelier roots and discarded. This is necessary for the greater good of the plant. The pot may need to be broken, gently cracked apart to save the undernourished buds from starvation. Upon inspection, the root ball will have overwhelmed the amount of soil in the pot giving it to take on the shape of the pot without the adequate sustenance that the nutrient-rich soil once provided.

To have added plant food to the pot, instead of removing the plant to a larger pot, would have burned the soil-deprived roots, potentially killing the entire plant. Those intended blooms would not stand a chance at thriving because life is in the roots, in the hidden places, much like the commencement of human life in the womb.

Recently, my husband discussed the process of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring. Once the preparatory work is done, flooring adhesive is used to set the LVT to a sub-floor. There are times when one tile is defective along the adjoining edge. This may not be obvious until it is glued in place; however, unless the bad tile is immediately pulled up and replaced by a good tile, the finished work would be thrown off. What may have been a barely noticeable 1/16-inch adjustment would then become a 2-inch eyesore by the time of the the job’s completion. At that point, a major, cumbersome tear out would be necessary to rectify the mistake.

Tying the growth process to tiling floors, he went on to say that most people would attempt to rip up the defective tile in one swoop. The problem with that attempt is that once a LVT tile is glued down it “cannot be budged!” Patience and skill must be employed to remove the tile in the most effective way. Again, like with the root ball, cutting must take place for successful removal. Slowly peeling back a corner of the tile, at the same time cutting the glue strands along the way, before you’d know it the tile would be loosed. Unless those strands of glue were cut from the tile, a contractor would be there all day, sticky, sweaty, and frustrated, having gotten nowhere.

Commensurately, some people are not willing to cut the glue strands that keep them stuck in life. These are the fearful, the faithless, the oppressed, the unteachable, and the lazy. The glue being unhealthy relationships, old haunts, mental strongholds, habits, and addictions.

They are toxic attachments—multipurpose ones—to keep these people stuck like the multipurpose glue holding the tile to the sub-floor. Instead, they want a quick fix, but won’t exercise the patience it takes to cut unhealthy ties for a sound and safe trajectory in life. Continuing the same behaviors, they will repeatedly make excuses to remain in the discomfort that inevitably leads to dysfunction. They soon become like those undernourished buds straining to bloom. Like the pot needs the potter and the tile needs the tile-setter, so the created needs the Creator.

We all have purposes that will propel us to destiny, but we must grow out. We all must cut ties to expand our horizons. We all must break free from the people and things that have misshaped us to fit their molds.

Changing Residency – The force of chaos in life will either grow you out of your familiar environment, to be reshaped by freedom, or your bondage will become acceptable to you. There you would merely exist, allowing negative habits and the pull of others to keep you stuck in that which is familiar. Misery does love company; you can always find someone in complaint-mode to make excuses with you. Here’s a caveat, excuses don’t excuse you. Time will progress with or without your permission. Many have exclaimed, too late, “If only I had more time!”

Painful experiences require courage for there to be growth past its debilitating effects. No change, no change. If you refuse to experience remorse, sorrow, and regret later in late, you must change now.

Financial Stability – There are grace gifts in every day. Grace is not a pass to merely exist, it is the power to thrive! How many grace gifts have you refused today? Work is necessary to establish your significance, both to yourself and to humanity. Disabilities and illnesses notwithstanding, “Lazy people will never enjoy prosperity. If you can work, then you should work. Living off someone else’s labor, as a government handout, or in someone else’s home should not be an end goal” (Pastor Grant Thigpen). Assistance of any type is a transitional aid to something better—to your independence.

“What should I do,” you ask? Below are five steps that you can begin to work on today.

  1. PEN YOUR DREAMS – Begin writing your thoughts. This can be as a private journal, or with the intent to publish your work to help others. Perhaps you will one day write an article for your favorite magazine? A manuscript for a book? Whether you intend to publish your writing it will benefit you. Date what you write. When you put something on paper, it makes it real. This is not for social media; this is for you.
  1. COME UP WITH REALISTIC GOALS – Plan, to achieve what you want. Be deliberate. Focus. You may not have what you want, but you should know what you want. Keep a separate “Plan Execution” journal with specific goals and dates by which they may be accomplished. This can simply be a vision board or dream board. Think outside of the box. Get a poster board, some colored pencils, crayons, paint, or markers and get busy. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just get’er done! Hint: The Dollar Tree. Or you may simply print out a piece of paper with a colorful list of your dated goals. K.I.S.S. Go to your public library or online for inspiration.
  1. SPEAK YOUR PASSIONS – Declare aloud those things on your vision board, those things that make your heart skip a beat. Speak your truth against those things that piss you off. Make it personal using first-person pronouns such as “I declare today…” and “My life will be…”. When you’re done, turn on some lively music and cut a celebratory jig. Shake off those excuses!
  1. POST YOUR PROMISES – Display the goals you’ve written where you can see them daily. Reviewing what you hold yourself accountable for will refocus you when you’ve muddled the plan, overthought the plan, or confided your plan to too many people confusing you with too many ideas. Break your goals down into steps, then stick to the plan. For example: Goal – find a job. Step 1, jot down all my skills. Step 2, verify my dates of employment and education. Step 3, write my objective. Step 4, start creating my resume, etc. Every completed step will bring you that much closer to your goal.
  1. EXECUTE YOUR PLAN – This is that exciting time after your courageous groundwork has been laid. You’ve changed your thinking to transplant yourself from the confining situations that had adversely shaped your life. You’ve cut all the glue strands that had held you captive—depressed, oppressed, and suppressed. Those non-affirming people, places, thoughts, and habits are no longer a part of your life. Now is your time to bloom!

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Be blessed! Let me hear from you soon!