Growing in Grace – Anxiety

Last week, I started a series advising I would chronicle my journey through a 365 day devotional. If you haven’t read it, check out “Yes Lord, I’m finally listening…”. The title didn’t quite capture the objective so I changed it. I wanted to title the series because I didn’t want to limit my blogging. The great Tony Gaskins taught me something this week. He does not allow anyone to put him in a box. I don’t want to be placed in a box either. I want to write whatever is on my heart so my blog does not focus on one subject. It has two objectives: 1. Satisfy my love for writing. 2.Execute my desire to share a story in way that helps someone, resonates with someone, or just plain entertains someone.

I’m proud to say that I stuck to my regimen the entire week. The only day I didn’t read my devotional in the morning was today because I was running late for church. I will read it before closing my eyes tonight as I have to get back on track for the week. As I read it, I didn’t realize the book was broken into weekly sections. Last week focused strictly on anxiety hence the hyphenated title above. The premise is that if you fully put your trust in the Lord, you won’t have anxiety. God is with you at all times IF you allow Him. I had so many epiphanies of things that I have been doing to block my peace. What you ask? Well one is my faith is not as strong as it should be. Let me quantify because I know judgment is stirring somewhere. I believe in my Lord and Savior wholeheartedly. My struggle is holding on to the unseen. This is where I am in the world and not of the world. As a Christian, you know this is NOT the way. I am to elevate my conscience in a way that grabs hold of faith. I believe in HIS promises. I have witnessed them come to fruition so many times I’ve lost count. Oh but when I ask for something and don’t see a single clue that its on the way…I tend to grow weary. When I get a little sign, I can hold on until delivery. My humanness disrupts my faith and causes me anxiety.

I commit to surrendering and giving something to God when all else has failed. I literally brush my hands together and say ‘I’m done Lord! This one is on you! I will wait for you to handle it.’ As sure as the sun sets, that physical being kicks in again. I say maybe I could do this one thing to speed up the process. God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need any help from little ol me and that’s not surrendering. Peeking around every corner for the metaphorical post man to deliver is not turning it over. I learned that letting go means not worrying any further. I have not mastered this concept. He Whispers Your Name reminds you that God can’t fix what you’re holding onto. It makes perfect sense. Why in the world would I ask for help IF I’m going to keep trying to fix it?! Then you think, well faith without works is dead. We heard it a thousand times right?! I have come to understand that the ‘work’, is what God is leading me to do, and not what I think I should do, to further the process. There is a distinct difference in the two. As I increase my relationship with HIM, I’m learning to discern when He’s asking me to do something vs. me asking me to do something. When it’s HIM it’s a revelation! When it’s me its questionable, its hesitant, its not in perfect peace. Oh yeah there’s a difference and if you tell yourself the absolute truth you know the difference too. If you don’t, fear not and continue your walk because you will see it in due season.

I found out that I selectively trust the Lord. I give Him the things that are too big for me to handle. I don’t give Him everything. I didn’t want to burden Him with my day to day trials. I thought I should ration my requests in order not to appear too greedy. I woke up this week by reading to knowing I should speak to Him in all things. Nothing is too small or too big for Him. If I don’t share it all, I may be holding onto something He could easily fix if I just release it. Arriving at perfect peace in good times and bad is learning to trust in all situations. Like anything else this takes practice. I have recited all things work together for my good countless times. Mainly when something is happening that didn’t go as planned and I needed a catalyst to keep pushing forward.

Learning to mitigate anxiety altogether is key. Don’t worry in anything because even when things haven’t gone as planned…they have worked out as I hoped and most of the time for the better. I finally understand the saying you should never be lonely because I am never alone. At work, in church, at the grocery store….I am never alone! God is always with me and He hears my prayers. I must learn to give up control in surrender and stop blocking my own blessing(s). As my pastor would say, “get out of your own way”! I’m certain I have delayed, if not stopped blessings, simply because I thought I could figure it out on my own. I am smarter than some but I got nothing on God! I’m going to begin leaning on Him in way I have never done before. I’m going to counsel Him in all things so His voice is loud and clear. No more distractions or quick fixes. I’m working on patience because we know its His timing and not ours. If I knew how to fix these things, they would be done already. I will do what I can do and surrender the rest to move on to the next thing I can do.

This week, we focus on Faith! The perfect segway since I have learned how to eliminate anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always working on it but I did learn HOW to do it.

Thank you for reading…..have a blessed week!

 

 

 *This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes Lord, I’m finally listening…

Change your mind, change your life! I have heard this saying countless amounts of times but they say if something is reoccurring in your mind…it may be God trying to speak to you! As with every new year, people commit to change. I am not any different except I don’t want to call it a resolution but instead a promise to myself to change my life.

I have had a strong desire to increase my personal relationship with God for a long time now. As you may have seen in a previous blog, I struggle with reading the word. I have made a decision to just get through it as many times as it takes for full comprehension and understanding. Additionally, I found a year long devotional to assist me in meeting my goal. The book is called “He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill”. It is designed to support you in hearing God’s voice for yourself. Someone posted a page from it on Facebook and it touched me in a way that nothing else has. I knew I had to have this book. I reached out to the poster and she was kind enough to share it with me. I ordered it immediately with the intention of starting it today since it begins January 1st. I want to encourage you to join me even if you don’t start on the first day. Your journey is yours and mine is mine; however, as long as we’re on one it can only get better.

I have also decided to create a blog series to chronicle my journey with this book. Although the passages are daily, I’m going to summarize weekly (most likely on Sunday) to share what I’ve read and the epiphanies I’ve had over of the weeks. I’m hoping at the end of this year, I will have reached more clarity and increased my personal relationship with the Lord.

2016 is the first year I have gone to worship every Sunday except one because I was out of town and we’re not streaming online yet. I have fundamentally changed at my core. This personal development project is about evolving further. I never want to stop listening, learning, and growing. I think if I do, I will surely die. I can only become my best self by constant change.

Why did I decide to do this publicly? Because I need accountability! If I commit to the universe to write this blog, I will finish it because if I give my word I must do it.

I’m excited about the year ahead and I look forward to sharing this first week with you. Until next weekend….

 

footprintsinthesand

 

*This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill* 

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Satan Loves To Block Blessings

Hahahahhaha ironic this never got posted…..posting anyway!

 

It’s women’s month at church and we’re having corporate Prayer every Monday night for various reasons. Tonight was for single women. I decided I should go because I’m struggling in this season.

I rushed home to take care of my fur babies. I ate a quick dinner and rushed off to church. I arrived earlier than expected so I decided to pass time by getting some gas. I used my card and placed it in my pocket. I finished pumping, secured my tank, and grabbed my receipt. I got in the car and went in my pocket to find my card to place back in my wallet. To my surprise, the card was gone. I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it.

I have been working really hard to change the parts of myself that I’m least proud of. Satan knows this and knows me. The old Aries would have had a level 10 fit. What does that mean? Anger, frustration, tears, and more than likely would have gone home because my night was ruined.

I’m focusing on God and His desires for my behavior. I made a decision to do what I planned and attend prayer. I called the credit card company and placed my card on hold. I went to church and received such a blessing. Fellowship with my single sisters was priceless. I’m so glad I didn’t let Satan block my blessing.

My heart is changing! I’m so proud of the person I am becoming. I’m making wiser decisions and being a blessing to others. It’s such a gift to walk in your purpose. I can only give the glory to God and my savior Jesus Christ. I said all of that to say, when things are going wrong don’t give in. Satan is trying to deter you. If you know this, you can remain focused and meet all of your goals.

Be encouraged 🙏🏽

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My Spiritual Dilemma

In my single season, I have decided God wants me to get closer to Him and stay focused on my purpose. Sounds ideal right?! So why is it so difficult? When my husband left, I did a lot of soul searching. I wanted to change my life. I made visual changes as well as internal ones. I made the decision that I needed to return to church and I did. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I have barely missed any Sunday services. 

Now that I am no longer dating (wish I had done this in the Summer and not cuffing season), I want to increase my knowledge in the word. As my pastor says, don’t rely on him! Read the word for yourself. Throughout my life I have attempted to read the bible. I’ve always admired those who could recite an applicable scripture in times of encouragement. I on the other hand have a comprehension problem when it comes to the bible. I pray for understanding and I start with great intentions but I just get lost in translation. 

Out of this frustration, I read a little and close it. Someone told me about the the NLT version which brought me great excitement. I even went and bought a beautiful pink one as my new book. Unfortunately someone also emailed me describing the conspiracy to remove certain scriptures. When it said look up certain ones, I did, and they weren’t there.😳 Completely disheartened I abandoned this option as well. Sometimes I think some reading is better than none. Yet other times I’m just frustrated with myself for lacking commitment. 

This is my own insecurity and I need to buckle down to face it head on. I can’t give up on myself. I’ve earned two degrees so surely I can read. Like I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, I have no patience! Because I can’t grasp this easily, my lack of patience wins every time. I need to focus and cut myself some slack. I wasn’t reading it at all nor did I care to. Now I at least want this knowledge. I am thirsting for it so I hope this is the catalyst I need to persevere. 

If any of you had this struggle and used some tool(s) to overcome it, I’m open to suggestions. Pray for me guys as I want to get through this cover to cover! 

God bless 

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Miss him for what???? 

Wish I could answer my own question! 

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the guy I dated around this time last year. I can’t believe I have the audacity to miss him. 

This guy was the modern day poster child for disappearing acts. We had a few dates and he asked to go out again one night. I was quite tired so I invited him over instead. Big mistake…HUGE! 

We never went on a date again. He just came over every time. Annoying as this was it wasn’t our biggest problem. Every time I made him mad, he would literally disappear. He would not return calls, respond to text messages, or even sigh at smoke signals. It was the weirdest experience ever! I would expect this behavior from a woman not a man but ok! 

To add insult to injury, he would pop up later as if he’d spoken to me yesterday. Sir??? Where have you been? The sad part is the uncanny compatability. We totally got each other and had so much fun together when he wasn’t MIA. Unfortunately, I always knew the day would come when he would go missing one too many times. My personality type allows you to stand on a chair pretending to hang yourself over and over. Then comes the day when one leg breaks and you are officially hung! 

I’m sure you’re wondering what we would fight about? Or what was I saying that caused his silence? We usually fought about the limited time he had available. He worked ALL the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to say get your coins especially since you can’t get a dime from me. BUT THIS, was on a whole nother level. Anyway, he would get pissed that I was annoyed and 💨 he was gone! 

The time before the last time, I hadn’t spoken to him in a month due to some undisclosed medical condition according to him. 😳 He called out of nowhere and we made plans around his “work” schedule. I knew in my gut he wouldn’t make it. I was partially right but I had the excuse wrong. It wasn’t “work” this time, it was his daughter. He had all month to take care of this task but he waited until the day we were scheduled to meet to do it. To his credit, he did text and say he was running late which he never did in the past. I guess this was him turning over a new leaf. Well it didn’t last very long. He asked if I wanted to reschedule because it was late? Appalled by the question, all I could say was sure. 

Confession: I knew a one word answer would piss him off but hell I was pissed.

 [I haven’t seen or heard from you in a month and you ask if I want to reschedule?! Really????!!!

So I reached out moments after that text and you know what happened next right?! Yep you guessed it…GONE! 

As predicted, it was the straw that broke the camels back! I was done! Needless to say, he popped his ass up again in his typical 30 day fashion. It was time for me to issue him a dose of his own medicine. I ignored all text messages and calls for about a week. He finally stopped communicating. I honestly didn’t do it out of spite at the time. I seriously had nothing left to say. It’s been about 60 days now and the devil is busy. When I tell you he is heavy on my mind…heavy! 

Regardless of the weight, I can’t subject myself to that abuse any more. He has no respect for me. It took me some time to figure that out. With that being said, I still miss him. I was hoping by the end of this purge I could tell you why…but nope…it’s still a mystery. Actually, NOT! Matters of the heart require no explanation. You want what you want but I’m here to tell you dear loves…you have to guard your heart with your head. You cannot let your heart lead as it could definitely steer you wrong. You may even have to pray for strength until your desires pass but have some self respect and control. When you know better, do better! 

I miss conversing with him, laughing, and well you know but none of that is enough to endure his shenanigans. Quiet is kept, he must of had someone else in order to just go away for such significant lengths of time. He is not the only compatible man on earth because until that time comes, I’m going to keep pushing forward. I really think this is jumping out because of my decision not to date anymore. I haven’t thought about him once until I made that commitment to myself. As I said, the devil is busy but so is God and my money, is on Him! 

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Since The Day You Left…I’ve Been Recruiting To Fill Your Spot!

My husband left Labor Day weekend three years ago. He left reluctantly after having cheated on me for the third time. Did he cheat before we got married? Yes! Why did I marry him? Because like a lot of women, I thought the commitment of marriage before God and our family would change him. I now know, who you get engaged to, is who you will be married to. There is no difference! So be sure your yes to the proposal, is to the person they are and not their potential because you may find yourself extremely disappointed as I did. 

Even though I initiated the separation, it didn’t make it any less painful from my perspective. It still hurts to this day because he was my happily ever after. I have never loved a man the way I loved him. He had my whole heart and that betrayal left me broken. Until today, I had not realized I’ve spent all this time trying to replace him. I viewed my single season as a curse. I have desired marriage for as long as I can remember. I enjoy being a part of something bigger than myself. If I knew what I know now, we would have never walked down the aisle. I’m such a different person than the woman he married. I’m smarter, wiser, stronger, confident, discerning, and most importantly God fearing. Although I’ve always been honest, I’m also much better now at telling the whole truth. 

I could write this blog in a way that makes you feel sorry for me as the dutiful wife that was cheated on. He’s not a monster and I’m no shrinking violent. The infidelity was a culmination of bigger symptoms that occurred over the years. There is no sole responsible party in the collapse of our union. His act was just the catalyst that brought about required change. I have worked hard towards my healing but it’s an ever evolving process. 

Today, I realize I have spent too much time trying to replace him. It’s ok that I want to be remarried again but what about all the traits that brought the last one to a demise? I know how the saying goes, “the best way to get over the last one is to get under a new one”. And it is seriously funny but in real life THAT is perpetuating the cycle. You don’t want to do that. Take the time to find yourself. I’m spending time really understanding my strengths and weaknesses. I’m trying to understand how to communicate better and why I have so little patience? What is the root of all my hurry? Where exactly am I going? And why must I get there NOW?! I don’t want to go into another relationship with all the baggage from the others. An overnight bag is acceptable but luggage is down right destructive. 

There is no need for me to find a replacement for my husband. That chapter in my life is over and it’s time to move forward. There is no evidence of him ever being here except for my driving passion to fill his spot. That’s not closure because closure requires acceptance. Maybe there is no new spot? Maybe God has another plan for my life? My goal is to seek Him and His guidance. The last time I checked, He didn’t need my help to bless me. I am turning this chapter of my life over to Him. Clearly I can’t be trusted to fix it. My prayers and work are toward preparation and positioning. Should I get another chance at marriage, I will be ready! 

This job posting is closed! There’s a restructuring taking place. The sign now says “under new management”. 😉

Let’s see where this leadership takes me..

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When God Is Trying To Tell You Something…

I recently met a gentleman when I wasn’t even trying. These tend to be the best relationships based on my past experience. 

I was sitting minding my own business at a coffee shop writing one of my blogs when he passed me a note. It started with an apology for the intrusion. He had noticed my hand bag and complimented my taste. I smiled, complimented him for knowing the designer and went back to writing. Long story short, when it was time to leave he’d disappeared. Feeling like it shouldn’t end this way, I left my card with his things. He text me later that evening thanking me for leaving the card. He went on to say that I’d made his day and he was intrigued to get to know me. We had a lengthy text exchange and ended with the desire to speak again soon. 

After a couple days, I gave him a call. I mean it is 2016 right?! We spoke for maybe 10 minutes. I text him the following day and received no response. I called again a few days later and we chatted for 20 minutes. Are you starting to see a pattern here? This communication was one way and one way only! 😳 So a couple more days passed and I decided to send, what I call an “honesty” text. In short, it said he didn’t appear interested except for when I reached out and if I’m wrong let me know. Otherwise, he knows where to find me when he’s ready. Well, surprise surprise….he didn’t respond. I called later to see if he’d received the text and again no response. I sent a final text with the sole intent of advising I no hard feelings; however, his behavior was rude and absolutely unwarranted. I’ve had to curve a few dudes in my day but always with honesty and integrity. They may not have liked it but they respected it. 

I recapped the events with a friend of mine who read me the riot act. She basically reminded me that he implied he couldn’t afford to date right now. I hadn’t forgotten, I thought we weren’t going to a steak house anytime soon, not that we couldn’t get to know each other. She also said he didn’t owe me anything. I disagreed because human decency is owed to everyone especially if you’re a self proclaimed southern gentleman AND Christian. Even in disagreement, I gave her feedback some serious consideration. Following that were a series of events with a resounding theme about patience. Here is where I discovered God was trying to tell me something. There is such a thing called coincidence and then there’s God sending you multiple messages in rapid succession all pointing to patience! I admit I am severely lacking in this area. Being an only child AND an Aries doesn’t bode well for fostering patience. 

In this moment, I realized I’m not ready to be a helpmeet. Love requires patience (it’s in the Bible) and I don’t have any!!! I’m not sure what line I was in when it was being passed out but I surely got there a day late and a dollar short. God is repeatedly testing my patience and I have epic fails every time. I have decided that I am no longer dating material. I need to focus on my development areas. 

Most importantly, when I return to dating I’m not going to worry about if he knows I’m interested. My weakness is the fear of him leaving because I appear disinterested or too independent. It is a direct correlation to my anxiety and aggressive behaviors. I’m the woman and should conduct myself as such. I need to be pursued. Men are hunters so I should allow them to hunt. If he doesn’t, I’ll wait for the next one.

It’s obvious I should not have to question a man’s interest. I have been with way too many men (not like that!) to not know what interest looks like. For those who are still unsure, let me clarify. He calls, he texts when he can’t call, he texts back relatively quickly when you message him, if he doesn’t, he will explain why when he does, he plans all your dates, in a nutshell…he puts forth effort! 

And Effort = Interest…point blank period! 

So I am going to allow myself time to commune with God to enhance the areas that are not pleasing to Him. When God sends someone to me, I want to have the patience for him to support reach his full potential and divine purpose. I don’t want to be aggressive or nagging because that is a turn off and no fun for anyone. This kind of self awareness is hard to come to terms with and even harder to share with you all. I’m forever evolving and this is just one of many more changes to come. 

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