I started the journey of writing this book approximately 2 years ago after God spoke the vision for it into my spirit. It was not the first time that He spoke "Vision" into me. Matter of fact, God shares the plans and purpose that He has for me quite often. But He always leaves it up to me whether or not I am going to obey. After discovering the scripture, Jeremiah 29:11 and studying and understanding the depth of it's meaning...why wouldn't I obey? The central theme throughout the book of Jeremiah focuses on reminding us that we are all born with a purpose and as long as we stay focused on God, despite any opposition that we may encounter; you will prevail in fulfilling your God ordained purpose.
Don't get me wrong, by no means am I remotely suggesting that this is easy to do because nothing can be farther from the truth. If I am being honest with you and myself, at times it can be an almost insurmountable task to look fear in the face and keep moving forward! Lord knows I know this feeling all too well! But, it was during my most challenging times that I was reminded about the promises of Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." WOW!
Who or what inspires you? Have you ever really stopped to ask yourself this question? Ife we are really honest with ourselves, the answer is probably a resounding "No!" Present company included. So for that reason, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what being inspired really means. What does it truly mean to be inspired?
Dictionary.com defines Inspiration in several ways: 1. an inspiring or animating action or influence; 2.something inspired, as an idea; 3. a result of inspired activity; 4. a thing or person that inspires; 5. Theology: a) a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul; b) the divine quality of writings or words of a person so influenced.
Taking these definitions into consideration, a few ways that you may know that you are inspired is that life can feel effortless and that you may fee called to do something (when the feeling comes from your core) or the fact that you may feel it in your bones.
Now that we know what being inspired looks like, I wanted to take a moment to point out that being inspired is different from being motivated. A lot of people use the words "motivated" and "inspired" interchangeably. But know that there is a very distinct difference. Motivation is more about psyching yourself up while inspiration comes from a completely different place. What is the difference? I'm glad that you asked. To me , when I am feeling inspired, I am being spirit led to do something for the greater good of others and as a result, out of that experience comes an overwhelming feeling of fulfillment. For example, when I created this blog, I instantly knew that I was being divinely inspired and led to share my journey through the experience of being laid off with others as a way of empowering them to re-discover their life's purpose. I was divinely inspired to not get stuck in the midst of this life altering event but instead to face my truths and to grow from them while I inspire others to do the same. It has been one of the most fulfilling accomplishments of my life.
Motivation on the other hand, tends to guide a person into the position of thinking that you should be doing something (without really thinking about why) which can then lead you in the direction of doing something that doesn't really matter. With that said, when you feel motivated to do something, is the end result leading you towards real growth or fake growth (fake growth is when you think you're growing but in fact all you are doing is trying to improve or fix yourself)? Real growth has nothing to do with improvement. In other words, being motivated to do something leads you into doing something that you are 'Supposed" to be doing but it's not something you are passionate about that leaves you with a feeling of fulfillment. In essence, all it really turns out to be is Just another "Good Idea!"
Armed with this knowledge of the difference between being inspired and being motivated, I challenge you to take a look a close look at your life and ask yourself, "Who inspires me or what am I inspired by? Am I fulfilled with the things that I spend my time doing and is the end result for the greater good of others? Am I walking in my life's purpose or am I simply being motivated to do something just because it seemed like a good idea at the time? It's time to AWAKEN to the plan and purpose that you have been destined to accomplish and live a life fulfilled! Oh by the way, the one person who inspires me is my mom. Even though I lost her at the young age of 57 to lung cancer, her memory still inspires me to this day to be a better person. Thank you for how you raised me! RIP Mommy, I love and miss you!
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Be Thankful that you don't already have everything you desire, If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be Thankful when you don't know something, For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be Thankful for the difficult times, during those times you grow.
Be Thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be Thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.
Be Thankful for your mistakes, they will teach you valuable lessons.
Be Thankful when you're tired and weary, because it means you've made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.-Author Unknown
Being able to say "No" to things and people in our lives, is probably one of the most powerful, but yet, one of the hardest things to do. However, what we oftentimes don't realize is, that being able to say "No" can be one of the most liberating actions that an individual can learn to take. Then, why don't we do it more? Personally speaking, my inability to say "No" stemmed from the fact, that at a very young age, I always yearned for acceptance from other people and tried too hard to get others to like me. You see, growing up, I was often teased and taunted by my peers (which we refer to today as bullying), which led to my developing an innate fear of rejection. In other words, I became what is known as a "people pleaser."
So how do you stop being a "people pleaser" and stand up for yourself? I would have to say, that what enabled me to brake free from this stronghold, was when I actually LEARNED how to say "NO!" Not only that, I started loving myself more and therefore, stopped relying on the approval of others for validation. Once I finally came to the realization, that God loved me and that in His eyes I am beautifully and wonderfully made, it didn't matter much what others thought. Don't get me wrong, we all still need validation from those who mean the most to us from time to time, but the difference is that I don't allow what others think, determine my self-worth.
Ok, so how do you learn how to say "NO?" By first, understanding some of the reasons why we don't like to say "No" is key. Right at the top of my list of reasons, is GUILT. In reality, all feeling guilty does is create a false boundary between you and the other person. As a mother, this is tough because we inherently want to give our children what they want, which can then create a sense of entitlement. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days and especially so in the younger generation. As a parent, I had to realize that by not saying "No," I was doing my children more of a dis-service than I was helping them by giving in. Parents, we have to be okay with the notion that we are not supposed to be our children's friend and that they are going to be okay if we say "No!"
Another reason, why I felt that I couldn't say "No," was because I didn't want to appear to be selfish. What helped me to get past this, is the fact that I realized that it is okay to take care of myself. After all, if you don't take care of yourself, then no one else will. And in order to do that, I had to find a healthy balance between all areas of my life that will allow me to maintain peace. Generally, when I am feeling frustrated or stressed, there is no peace which means that something is out of balance. In essence, I use PEACE as the barometer in my day.
Once I finally got past feeling guilty or selfish, I actually felt comfortable saying "No" and not condemned. I also realized, that it empowered me to start walking towards fulfilling my purpose. How so? Because knowing when to say "No" helped me to move forward and ahead in life and also helped me to better manage my time. This allows me to also use the word "No" as a tool of discernment of some sorts. What do I mean by this? Well, in knowing my purpose, if someone approaches me with an opportunity that is not in keeping with what my purpose is leading me to do, then that is a pretty good indication that I should say "No" and keep it moving and on to the next opportunity. Just a little side bar here. You should know that I have never gone wrong when I listened to that "Still Small Voice" guiding me in what I should do. Only when I do not listen have I had to face the repercussions of my disobedience. That's so funny to me because this is what I tell my children when they don't listen! "There will be repercussions and Consequences!" LOL!
Bottom line, God has given us all free will to make decisions and choices as we go through life. Some of our choices are going to be good and some are going to be bad. God uses the bad ones to teach me valuable life lessons and it is during those times that I have grown the most and closer to Him. But just understand, that by saying "No" when something doesn't feel right, God is looking down and saying "Well done my good and faithful servant, well done!"
"Happy New Year!" Yet another year has rolled around, which is the time that most of us start making resolutions for the coming year. What are my resolutions you ask? I don't have any. Why? I, for one, have never really been big on making resolutions. I mean really just think about it, If we are all honest and willing to admit it, how long into the new year does it take, before you are already breaking those resolutions? So, instead of setting myself up for inevitable failure, I choose to make what I call "lifestyle changes" that will then become a habit (good) that will stay with me for a lifetime and far beyond the current year. For me, it's all about progressing and growing towards being what God wants me to be and not just looking for a temporary fix.
Since God started me on this journey, back in September of 2012, it has been one big eye opening experience for me! The reason why is because until then, I didn't realize how spiritually immature and selfish I was as a person. Ouch! Yes, I just stepped on my own toes! But, then when you really get down to it, that's what this journey has been about for me. Which is Self-Realization and being able to face my own truths in the mirror of my life, no matter how ugly, and then taking responsibility for when I fall short of walking in the spirit of LOVE. It's no secret that I am a follower of Joyce Meyer and in one of her teachings she said something that hit me over the head like a ton of bricks! She s: "No matter how much I think I know, if I am not walking in LOVE then I really don't know anything!"
It was in that moment, that I realized, not only was I not walking in love the way that God intended us to walk in love towards one another, but also, I saw how the words that I was speaking were just as damaging. Often times, we say things in the heat of the moment or simply out of frustration, and don't really think about the damage those words may be causing. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with my children. I'm sure that most parents can relate to this. Although I love my children to life, there are those times when I feel like I want run screaming from the house in frustration! LOL! Picture that! But, what God helped me to realize, is that I can not hold them responsible for making me happy or for having a good day. The same goes for my husband. Being happy has to be a decision that I make ahead of time. So, once I finally realized this, my children and I created one of those good habits that I mentioned earlier. That is, each and every day we declare out loud, "This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!" (Psalm 118:24) It has become such a habit, that if I forget they will remind me! YES! What a huge difference this has made in our lives!
Not only were my words causing damage to others in my life, but they were also hindering my own personal growth and opportunities. Have you ever heard anyone say, "Get out of your own way?" That's exactly what I had to learn to do! My attitude was determining my altitude and I was flying low! How was I going to get out of my own way? Simply put, I have to start living every day with one goal in mind. And that is to put a smile on God's face and not on trying to impress people. I know that this is easier said than done but after all, "To whom much is given, much is required!" Are you up to the challenge? I AM!
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. stated that one of Life's most Persistent and Urgent questions is: "What are you doing for others?"
Let January 20th be a day on and not just a day Off!
Wife and mother of two, pursuing my life purpose after getting laid off! Read more on my About Me page.
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