If I Allow Myself To Receive Feedback…Will It Make Me Vulnerable?

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about acceptance. Why is it that we run from compliments and run toward criticism? Is it because it’s easier to believe the worst about us?

When we reject compliments, we discount ourselves and demote the significance of any contribution that we’ve made.

Acceptance of criticism, on the other hand, if they are not constructive, further depletes any value and self-worth we hold in high regard.

But here’s the rub, they both are necessary for growth.

Consider this for today: compliments and criticisms are a gift and when genuinely given is a demonstration that you are living authentically.

Compliments say that you have qualities worthy of noting.

Criticism says that you’re growing.

Compliments say that you’re on the right path and here are a few words of encouragement.

Criticism says that you’re not afraid to fail and try again.

Choose to believe the good about you, choose to endeavor to improve, and choose to open yourself up to receiving love.

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Having the Gift of Good-bye Means…

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Guest Post by Franchesca Warren

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.

The Bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay.

Let them go.

And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead.

You’ve got to know when it’s dead.

You’ve got to know when it’s over. Let me tell you something. I’ve got the gift of good-bye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It’s not that I’m hateful, it’s that I’m faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He’ll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don’t need it. Stop begging people to stay.

Let them go!!

If you are holding on to something that doesn’t belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains . . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If someone can’t treat you right, love you back, and see your worth . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If someone has angered you . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents . . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you have a bad attitude . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you’re stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you keep trying to help someone who won’t even try to help themselves . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you’re feeling depressed and stressed . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying “take your hands off of it,” then you need to . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

Let the past be the past Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2014!!!

LET IT GO!!!

Get Right or Get Left. think about it, and then . . . . . . . .

LET IT GO!!!

“The Battle is the Lord’s!”

 You can find more of Franchesca‘s inspiring thoughts by following her on Twitter. 

Righteous Indignation or Feminist Virtues (…that’s a mouthful)

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A women’s intuition is a powerful thing, I’m convinced that it’s a gift we’re born with. Some of us are more in tune with it than others but nevertheless all women have this innate ability of knowing when something just doesn’t quite add up.

“Who would like to give the closing prayer?” Sister Abbie would ask us. She was my first Sunday school teacher and very well liked among the kids because she had the best snacks. We were a motley crew of elementary and middle school aged students, southern, all from different socio-economical backgrounds.

Growing up I felt indifferent about church, even as a young girl I always felt that church was just that: church. It was something that you just did. No explanations, no exceptions. It was church. I loved praise and worship (the singing) and intercessory prayer but soon thereafter my attention was diverted elsewhere when the preaching began.

The room went silent.

Most of the kids started looking at the floor or their shoes. Nobody wanted to lead the prayer. An anxious feeling whelmed up inside me, I wanted to do it.

“No one?” she insisted. “We need someone to lead the prayer, children.”

I raised my hand. “I’ll do it, Sister Abbie.” She smiled tightly and walked toward me.

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she said apologetically with the sweetest southern twang, “…girls don’t lead prayers in church.”

I felt all the air leave my body. I was stunned.

“Max, you lead the prayer,” she said pointing to the little boy sitting next to me and motioned for us to bow our heads. Was she serious? I mean, really. Even in my nine year old mind, I knew she was full of it.

While everyone bowed their heads, I didn’t. I was miffed.  What did she mean girls don’t lead prayers?

The class went through the motion of the closing prayer, I listened to Max stumble his way through. It wasn’t that good. I could have prayed better than that, I thought.

When we joined our families in the main sanctuary I couldn’t wait to tell my aunt. “…and then she said girls can’t pray in church,” I explained. My aunt’s face was expressionless. “She’s right, women’s roles in the church are finite,” she whispered touching my hand.

I looked into my aunt’s face. She was serious. She was wrong. I just knew she was. I felt it down in my bones – my nine year old bones.

That experience has stayed with me for a long time. I think it was probably one of the earliest memories that helped me see how some other people’s ideologies (and religious beliefs in this case) could potentially stifle someone else’s growth. There were other girls in the class that heard her, did they not have the same reaction? Did they question themselves? Was this the norm and I just didn’t notice that girls weren’t leading the closing prayer in Sunday school?

Now I know that everything ain’t for everybody. Some people are perfectly fine with the patriarchal structures in religious settings. That’s fine. I just knew early that it wasn’t going to work for me. I believe that God’s a little more flexible than that.

At thirteen I left that church, at the vehement protest of my family. I found another in walking distance from my grandmother’s house, after all I still had to do church. Today I attend church with my husband and children, I even listen to the lessons now. I still enjoy praise and worship and I make especially sure during intercessory prayer to affirm a special one, “…and God bless Sister Abbie.”

Amen.

Finishing What You Started Looks Like…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about recalibrating.

Imagine having the opportunity to start again because you veered off your intended path, there’s a lot to be said about the potential of a do over.

Finding yourself off track is never easy. Sometimes it’s intentional; we deliberately take a break; sometimes it’s completely unintentional, we took a right where we should have taken a left or we two took steps forward when we should have waited; and then other times we don’t realize that we’re off track until the fog lifts and we find ourselves completely off-center.

It can be frustrating.

In this state of mind, we are easily led by our insecurities and doubt, and it’s difficult to get back on course — projects are left unfinished, friendships and relationships go stale, or we try to be perfect at something that only requires good enough.

Consider this for today: While the opportunity to start completely over is indeed powerful, realize that there’s just as much power in picking up where you left off…you might not necessarily need to go back to square one.

You can recalibrate.

This entails recalling the initial plan, modifying if necessary, assessing where you are and taking the next steps. And when you get back on track (because you will get back on track), try not to focus so much on where you’re going, rather adjust your sights taking in the experiences along the way.

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Repositioning Yourself For Success Requires…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about the comfort zone.

Take a look around you…did you know that the people and environments you’re most commonly associated with influence the decisions you make in your life?

It’s true.

Look left: Do you value the relationships you have with family and friends? Is it reciprocated? Do they honor you? Do they contribute joy and peace to your life? You should be able to be your whole self around them without pretense or facades.

Look right: Are you aspiring to a fleeting ideal of success based upon materialism and sensationalized versions of reality? From what or whom do you model your life? The unreality of the televised world is not meant to be the standard by which you live your life.

Look behind you: Everyone has a past, everyone has a story a defining moment in your life that has either propelled you forward and made you who you are or has continued to captivate you and keep you from your destiny. Remember the past but don’t live there.

Finally, look in front of you:  What will you do with today?

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How NOT To Give Your Power Away…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about affirmation.

We’ve been taught to believe that in order to obtain something of significance we must seek a power greater than ourselves. In doing so, we are convinced that we’re supposed to pay guilt-ridden penances along the way. So we tearfully beg and plead with God, tell everyone else about our problems, carry good luck charms, and even toss coins into bodies of water.

How’s that working for you?

Consider this for today: Instead of giving your power away, hoping for something to miraculously step in and take care of your issue, try the silent approach. Do not go out to find a resolution, go within. Get still and affirm that everything is in order, declaring that provisions have already been made for you.

Affirm understanding.

Affirm wisdom.

Affirm patience.

Affirm love.

And when you open your eyes, know that the world has not changed. You have…and the way you see it.

That’s the power of prayer.

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‘Why Not’ Wednesday asks the question: if you couldn’t fail what would you do? 

The Funny Thing About Echoes…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about minding the echo.

Imagine standing in a valley with tall majestic mountains reaching toward the sky and the only way out it seems is to climb. You yell, “help” and you hear a faint “help” respond in kind. Realizing it’s the sound of your own voice reverberating off the valley walls, you sigh deeply and say in a loud hush, “ I-I can’t do this.”

The echo responds, “I-I  can’t do this.”

As you start your ascend up the mountain, you look over your shoulder hoping that the steps you’ve taken has placed a considerable distance between you and the valley below…but no progress has been made.

What do you do with this valley experience?

Consider this for today: Anything you embark upon starts in the mind, and those thoughts manifest into words that you speak. The words you speak, when said out loud go into the world, and the world responds in kind.

So when you say “help” or “I can’t do this” … the echo reciprocates.

Change your mind. Change your words. Change what you put out and you’ll see a difference in what you get in return.

Mind the echo.

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Who Are You Without Your Emotions?

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about shifting perspectives.

Have you ever heard the expression ‘separate the wheat from the chaff’? It essentially means that you separate the things that are useful and purposeful from the things that are not worthy.

Often times we become our emotions, internalizing them and using them to describe who we are – not our current state of being. Or we become our problems, and tie our identities to them, forgetting that it’s only (and always) temporary. When these things happen, we focus solely on our emotions or on our problems.

Who are we without our emotions or problems?!

Consider this for today: while it’s never easy to objectively assess your situation, it is possible.

Try to understand as your emotions change or problems arise that it is your current circumstance and it does not define your self-worth. In other words, practice keeping the good stuff (i.e., the lessons, the relationships, the stillness, the connection to God) and forget the stuff that does not serve you.

Shift your perspective.

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‘Why Not’ Wednesday asks the question: if you couldn’t fail, what would you do? 

Are You Addicted to Stress?

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about addictions.

When we hear the word “addiction” we often associate it with drug, alcohol, food or sex abuse, but did you know that you could be addicted to stress?

It’s true.

It means that there is a chemical reaction in your body that enables you to feel a certain way to get that “high” – you thrive under pressure, you live for constant deadlines and you think you are your best self this way. It’s actually quite similar to the intoxication that someone who is braving an addiction to drugs face. Not surprisingly, the effects are actually similar – over time you begin to lose yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

Consider this for today: Rethink the role of stress in your life.

Stress should be a tool that is used at specific times; you’re not supposed to dwell in a constant state of anxiety. I know that’s not easy and the truth is there is no magic bullet to eradicating stress. Like it’s first-cousin fear, the best way to manage it …is to get in front of it. Get present in the moment…and use stress to get the task done, then be done with it. Be the stressor not the stressed.

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7 Ways To Get Off Track And Miss Your Mark

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It’s so easy to get off track.

Our mind wanders about and before you know it time has passed, and the task at hand is no closer to getting done.

My Journal

Photo credit: Cece Harbor

I’m guilty of this — believe me. I can be easily distracted and at times it takes sheer willpower for me to clear my mind of clutter and just stay focused.

Am I the only one?

We’ve been introduced to the Law of Attraction, which says that we attract positive or negative events in our lives based on our thoughts, but what if there were habits – observations — that when done was a sure fire way to veer –off− course.

Here’s a look at 7 things we tend to do when getting off track and how to effectively counter them.

  1. Focus solely on the outcome. While the big picture is important, it’s not the only aspect of our journeys. There’s a lot to be said about enjoying the here and now; take a chance to relish the process.
  2. Compare yourself to others. While it may appear that you and the other person are on the same path, you’re not – similar but not the same. Each of your life experiences and personal desires shapes your intended and respective paths. Your beginning may be her middle and visa versa, compare yourself to no one.
  3. Not paying attention to details. It’s always convenient to consider the small things later. If not checked early and quickly little things could turn into big disasters. It’s great to think big, but details really do matter, whether you take care of them yourself or get someone else to do it.
  4. Multi-tasking when you shouldn’t. When you juggle all the balls are in the air but you’re not touching them all at the same time; each receives very little attention. When we do this in our lives, our hope is that we incrementally get to done. If something is truly important, it’s vital that it gets your undivided attention. Leave the juggling to clowns.
  5. Using technology as a solution and not a tool. Social media sites, websites, emails and others are supposed to enhance our communications not be the sole method by which we communicate. There will never be a substitute for genuine human connection.
  6. Deliberately engage in time robbers. – I see you nodding your head. We’re all guilty of this, we’ve become pinning, texting, surfing fools (or is it just me?). There’s a difference between intentionally taking a break versus allowing something to unintentionally grab and retain your attention when you should be focused on something else.

Wait I need to pin something…

What was I saying? ….Right. Stay focused.

  1. Not giving yourself time to think. This one is most significant of all. I realize I’m at my best after a long walk or a few moments of silence. The solitude does wonders for me. I can sort out problems, come up with creative solutions…solve world hunger (well not solve world hunger but you get the picture). Give yourself breathing space and time to think.

If you see yourself in one or more of these habits, it’s never too late for course correction. Just recognize it, recalibrate and move on. It may take some time but you can. What say ye?  Which ones are you most guilty of?