A Brief Lesson in Authenticity

It can be hard sometimes, figuring out who we are versus whom people expect us to be. We all go through a season of roaming. We walk through the proverbial desert or wilderness, desperately looking for pieces of ourselves. Anxiety sets in. We get restless, and instead of practicing stillness- we take over.

Forget letting go and purposely losing control, we do things our way. We do this only to end up at the same spot. We do this dance repeatedly and its not until we get tired of circling the same roundabout that we realize that our way is not working.

We experience frustration and anger. We begin to claim sadness and depression. We seek medication. We seek counsel from others (hey girlfriend let me telllll you), and we refuse to accept the “Under Construction” sign that should be stamped on our forehead. We only trust our own logic and understanding. We let our blinders fall and begin to play the comparison game. Instagram and Snapchat have us locked up and in our feelings. We become cold. Our gratitude is lost.

 

All of this because we didn’t want to be still.

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Sometimes, we need checkpoints. We need that humbling moment that lets us know that we don’t have it all together. The Christi Show (IG: @thechristishow) gave me a moment a couple of weeks ago through her loving character Shirleen. Shirleen gave a message about thieves and copycats:

 

“You can’t get blessed doing the Great Value version of a vision that God gave someone else.” – Shirleen (@thechristishow)

 

When we make the decision to be still, we allow blessings to come our way. We allow miracles to happen. Regardless if you are religious or not- blessings and miracles exist. When we choose to be still, we gain clarity. We know what is for us and what is not. Who is for us and who is not.

When we are still, our predestined path is highlighted in ways only we can perceive.

The battle is a long one, but as we practice our stillness, we begin to experience discernment. We begin to see our walk and our vision. We ignore others expectations. We begin to see that the lesson is greater than the reward (Thanks Kirk Franklin). We see that what we receive is much greater than what we planned for ourselves.

All of us have a walk that we must carry out. We might as well walk our own path instead of tripping and stumbling over every pothole and hurdle in someone else’s path.

 

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The #1 Goal Everyone Should Have

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We all have unique and special gifts. Some of us know what our gifts are and others have yet to discover them. Your gifts are not at a stretch of your imagination, it is something that you do exceptionally well without a second thought. Others compliment you on it consistently. …Do you see where I am going? Inside of your being lie gifts that are unique to YOU. No one else can perform these gifts like you can.

For example, there are tens of thousands of bloggers in the blogosphere. We may all write about similar topics, use similar photos or themes, but one thing that sets us each apart is our gift of perception. They say nothing is new under the sun, and this is completely true. What makes your gifts work is the innovation you put behind it.

Ok Ola, That’s all good but HOW do I find my gifts? Of course I won’t leave you hanging. Here are some tips on how to find your gifts:

1. Look back to your childhood. What did you enjoy doing? What were your favorite activities? Revisit those.

2. What can you do exceptionally well with little effort? Maybe you are a good organizer, writer, dancer, researcher, (hello Googlers).

3. Think about what your friends and family members compliment you on. What do they seek your assistance or advice for?

4. Take some solo time to think about what you consider to be a gift

5. Take a few assessments online to find your strengths and gifts. Some sites include:

~http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx

~https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/quiet-the-power-introverts/201104/quiz-discover-your-signature-strengths

 6. Journal! As a youth, we can remember either writing in our diaries or making fun of our siblings for having a diary. I was a journal-holic. I enjoyed writing everything because if I didn’t have anyone to talk to or listen, I knew my journal was there and waiting. I encourage everyone to try to journal, everyday for at least 1 month. If it’s not for you- that’s fine- but you’d be surprised by what you will find. (Side note- As I write this particular tip, I am reminding myself to get back into journaling).

When you begin to search for your gifts and talents, they will find their way to you. Do not discount anything. Do not be a disservice to yourself by not appreciating what is unique to you. Remember there are people making a grip playing video games for a living…and that is a gift of hand and eye coordination.

 

 

 

#Checkpoint : On Doubt, Anxiety, & Loneliness

We've all have been there before, regardless if we want to admit it or not, where we feel a certain type of way about life. Whether you are giving through a trial or discovering your own strength- we all feel a certain way about it.

 

Sometimes these moments leave us feeling alone, lost, bewildered, bamboozled, and most certainly frustrated to no end. You may b going through the thick of it as read this (I'm sending you virtual hugs).

You must know that this is just TEMPORARY.

Whatever you believe and however you believe...

It doesn't last always.

Here are 6 ways to combat the feelings of defeat, anxiety, and loneliness and to come out a conquerer:

  1. Know that Feelings are not Facts. Decipher the two and give your energy to how to find the opportunity in the situation.
  2. Tune out the negativity... including your own. Don't entertain the negative self-talk. Keep it positive and look for that silver lining. Often, I will give myself a few moments to feel and experience the problem then I move on and it works wonders!
  3. Read. Reading has so many positive benefits. Read to increase your vocabulary, to have something to talk about in social circles, and to learn new things. The important thing is to  get out of your own head.
  4. Listen to uplifting, feel good music. Music is known to sway our moods in one direction or another. Classical music helps with concentration, upbeat "happy" music has a similar effect. 
  5. Smile- in spite of it all. Smile although it hurts. Don't let the situation keep you down. Some people will stay bummed out even after they have made it through the trial... those people are not fun to be around. Don't become one of those people. 
  6. Practice Gratitude. When we practice gratitude, it is easy to move forward through life. We are all here for a reason and when we realize that trials are just a part of life (no one is exempt- regardless of what's on their Instagram). We have to roll with the punches that land and be grateful for those that didn't.

Don't feel like you have to suffer alone. Don't be ashamed that life is handing you a poor hand. When you conquer this test, share it with others so that they know that it's possible to overcome. Get up, dust it off, and keep moving!

#Checkpoint : Today, You Should Let Go

I originally started writing this post as a way to talk about gratitude. I planned it out and even then it turned into this message. It's more of a reminder to me. I hope that you can Enjoy!

It is easy for us to whine and complain about what we don't have and what doesn't go our way. I am guilty of this on a daily basis. Sometimes you want everything to go as planned but that never happens. I continuously give God a chuckle every time I plan for something before consulting Him. But why is that? Why is life much easier- not to be confused with easy- when we follow the path directed for us rather than trudging through our own way? Why are we so stubborn and hard-headed? I know I am notorious for thinking 'I got this' or 'let me just do it so it will get done' when I know that God is just waiting. Watching me make a mess of everything so that I can go crying back to Him pleading for mercy, grace, forgiveness, and HELP. We often say Jesus take the wheel, but we never let go. 

I remember, a couple of years ago,  my pastor saying that the best way to live in God's will is to lose control. After that message I was hype. I shared my notes with my bestie and even had a Facebook chat with a couple of the ladies from my church. I just knew that I could lose control. Fast forward to the present, I'm still struggling with losing control. I haven't said a peep on the Facebook chat.  I will say that I am consciously making efforts to improve however, God knows I still have one hand on that wheel (while still asking Jesus to take it from me). When we learn to let go and really let God show out, it's an amazing sight. When we let go and consult God first that's when miracles happen.

What are you holding on to that you know you need to loosen your grip on? Comment below and share!

#CheckPoint: They Are Using You Like A Dumpster

Have you ever come across someone who has the same story every time you see them? The same issue and same story? They could talk about it for hours on end but you have mastered the art of changing the subject with them? Yeah? Well my husband and I were talking about how I have to prepare to be around people like that. He said something so simple...ask them 'what are you doing to change the situation?' I looked at him like "I NEVER thought to even go there". He looked at me and said you're welcome, next story lol.

I couldn't help but laugh because he wasn't wrong (although I can't say that too loud or else we won't have any oxygen left in our house due to his blooming ego) but I was always use to the protocol of allowing people to get things off their chest and when they are done I just move on. I never thought that doing this really affected me until I noticed that I would find ways to get out of meeting up with these types.

I remember a women's ministry event that I attended and the pastor said something so profound that it stays in the front of my mind. "Don't be a dumpster. Stop letting people dump on you!" When she said that I initially thought that I had all of 'that' under control. I guess I was wrong. I understand that sometimes girl talk means getting things off of your chest and being a soundboard for your circle but at the same time if we are going to be true friends to one another and have a sisterhood we have to set boundaries. I can be your soundboard for 5 minutes then we either need to work on a solution or change the subject and don't come back with the same story unless it involves progress.

Don’t bring home other people’s problems, issues, etc. because they’ll have you thinking they are your own.

 

Setting boundaries keeps us from being dumpster (and/or dumpers) as well as helps us to fix it. There are those who are fixers naturally and they listen from that perspective. Then there are those who are cheerleaders and nurturers and, well... Sometimes those are the prominent dumpsters. Don't take it in. Leave it with them. Your health and wellness depend on it.

Don't bring home other people's problems, issues, etc. because they'll have you thinking they are your own.

 

Let's talk...What do you think? Have you ever experienced being the dumper or the dumpster?

Leave a comment below.