emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “self awareness”

Great Leaders’ Eyes

People will cheer for you when you do what they want you to do, especially if what you are doing is trendy.  They have no loyalty to you, but to that thing they want.  Understand THAT.

Women Sitting Across From Each Other

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.  But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.  He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.  —John 2:23-25

Frog

Recently I had the blessing to be placed in a situation that confirmed my spiritual growth.  Progress makes me happy!  My change in perception provided me with spiritual protection.  I was able to see the attacks thrown at me fall by the wayside.  If I did not respect the opposition, I would have laughed.  I do respect the opposition, however, so I stood firm and discerned.  Are you at that place—the place where people can cheer or disrespect you and you receive it in the same way?  It would be nice to think that I am there consistently, but my truth is that I am not (there yet).  I do see much maturity though.  Life continues to present opportunities which enable me to measure my development.  Noting, these experiences are important.

Rest

A few days ago, I complimented a man’s temperament.  I have watched him over a course of time sit calmly when disrespected and when complimented.  I do not know what he is experiencing internally, but his outward disposition never seems to change.  He is smooth and I appreciate his example of leadership.  He exemplifies traits all great leaders have.  He understands the purpose and importance of his role.  He is clear concerning his assigned mission and committed to its completion.  In addition, he discerns the operation of people.  Sounds easy right?  Of course it does, but it requires a lot of discipline.

girl pouting

Smiling, I see progress…but I still have work to do.

All in!

Relationship Differences

Relationships, I never took them lightly;  Now, I am not sure if I can take them any more seriously.  Associations are the difference between life and death.  Who wants to LIVE?  I do!

Friends

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.  Luke 22:3

As a child, it was vital that I believed that my friends cared about my life.  As far as I was concerned, family –well– I was stuck with those people, so even if they got shady we would still be connected but friends –well– I could drop them and keep moving.  There would always be new friends to meet, right?  There are always people looking to laugh and have fun.  There are always people looking to connect.  Friends are just a hello away… or so I thought.

Without knowing it, I developed a hard-line habit of emotionally and (sometimes) physically detaching at the first hint of me questioning a friendship’s reliability.  Rarely would my friends question my change in behavior.  This lack of concern confirmed within me my right behavior.  Life went on.  The cycle continued.

Thank God for growth and grace!  As I began to understand me more, I began to understand what kinds of people I wanted to grow with.  As such, the more I understood my spiritual gifts and talents, the more I began to understand what kinds of people I needed to grow with.  I began to understand the difference and importance in having divine relationships versus those which are also great but are in fact spiritually secular.  (Note, sharing the same faith is not the lone criteria.)  I needed to find peace and clarity with knowing that there are numerous personalities and people who I can have fun and laugh with, spend time and play with, work and relax with, but divine relationships are appointed to build God’s kingdom and advance His purpose.  I needed to commit to live my faith with the people God assigns to sharpen me and I them for His purpose, one greater than us.  The more I stand in agreement with this, the more I find myself consciously and continuously praying for clarity and protection regarding these sacred relationships, as well as over myself.  Why?  Simply put, I believe.

Listen, we pray over people we do not know.  We pray over things that are transient.  We pray over solutions to problems and for cures to diseases and over prayer lists and over our churches and over our church Family, yet how many of us pray over our divine relationships?  How many of us know the differences between divine relationships and secular ones?  Note, there are differences.

Satan will try to enter anybody and anything following the Lord, even one of Jesus’ Twelve.  Make no mistake about it.  He will try to enter me and he will try to enter you.  Spiritual warfare is real.  We must do better with our journeymates.  A temporary distraction can lead to irreversible repair.

My 2015: Professional Lessons

That time of year has come when I take some time to re-evaluate my year.  A year ago, I was determined to make some major changes and some major progress.  My spirit had reached the point where it was no longer interested in playing second fiddle to anyone or anything.  I knew that I was overdue in accepting God’s love and its manifestations in my life.  Sure, I had been saying for a number of years prior that I wanted all that God wanted to bless me with and I wanted to be a blessing to others.  The being a blessing to others part came easier for me.  Well, at least I was half way there right?

2014

Many, many, MANY years ago I got a very clear vision of me helping a large number of people.  What I saw was likened to actual footage of what this looks like.  Its memory serves as a constant reminder and motivation, but you can understand how at times it can be frustrating—can’t you?  Just think about it…there you are, sitting like a child at Christmas on Christmas Day looking at gifts with your name on them, but you can’t unwrap them (yet).  “What am I doing wrong,” I thought.  What must I change?

Around the middle part of 2014, I began to seriously consider relocating.  Some potential opportunities were presented to me, but my spirit was strongly against such change.  Trust and Believe! was my reoccurring message.  Oh, the struggle was real yet I challenged myself to remain still and to gather lessons of the season.  Being still forced me to be present.  Being present allowed me to become more conscious, more centered.

challenge be yourself

I made it a point to slow down.  Spending more time with my family replaced mandatory meetings.  Discovering new hobbies and returning to known ones creates for me environments which support my growth.  In doing so, I began to write again.  One of my 2015 goals was to complete my second novel for publicationDone!  What the mind can dream, one can achieve!  Now, I am looking for a particular literary agent.  I am looking for a literary agent who enjoys both topics of faith and that of gender.  (HELP ME by sharing this request/blog/post!  Someone may know someone or that someone may be you!  Email:  emergingfree@gmail.com  Now, THAT’S growth!)

In 2015, I grew professionally as well.  I finally understood the importance of surrounding myself with people who value my gifts and talents!  This was easier once I trusted God to provide for me professionally.  Being goal-oriented, it is easy to get so focused on reaching the goal that God is left out of your equation.  Once I surrendered to God being the equation, I confidently became uncompromising about my self-worth and the value of my gifts and talents.  He and He alone is my Source, my Provider, my Resource-Sender.  My ability to discern increased and this is vital for the sustainability of healthy working relationships!  Amazing and supportive environments are waiting for me and YOU to show up.  Show up!

As a result of my professional surrender to God, I realized I had a mental block that was thorn-ish.  (I think I just made that word up, but stay with me.)  Once I understood, however, the bigger purpose of what my professional pursuits serve, I was able to see its connection to the vision(Aha!)  Through my faith, I was able to find rest.  Do you think faith-based people generally identify their professional lives as being intertwined with their spiritual lives and divinely-inspired purposes?  Do you think they find rest in that?  For me, this revelation was MAJOR!  Don’t you just love it when you can see God’s work in your life?!  (I’m sure I will blog more about this later.)

i awake now

As I look back over the last twelve months, I can see progress and that fills me with excitement.  Thank You God for progress!  I have grown as a professional and I understand how such growth allows me to be a blessing within God’s Kingdom.  I am aware of the importance of setting boundaries and how such boundaries allow for life to be enjoyed.  If you are like me, there is a potential for us to become vulnerable spending time and energy doing good things because our flesh encouraged us.  Setting boundaries, however, keeps us focused on doing things directed by God because we understand our purpose.  I needed to apply this principle to my professional life.  I needed to merge my professional lessons with my God-inspired vision and grow.  Do you?

peace

 

My 2015: Back To Loving ME!

Here I am again reflecting on the year—smiling, fully conscious of the joy I have in my heart as memories flood my thoughts.  I entered the year with a list of goals AND A PLAN.  First, however, I knew I needed to commit to being whole.  I was finally tired of holding myself back.  I had reached the point within my self where I had intentionally settled on uncompromisingly growing into my best self.  To do this, I had to return to the basics.  In 2015 I returned to loving me and it feels oh so great!

2014

Have you ever been afraid to be great?  I have.  Thank God those days are over!  How can I say that I want all of the blessings God has for me and then await them with closed hands?  It seems silly now, but it took a while for me to see my self.  I wonder how many people are like how I was, wanting better but not wanting greatness.  (Is that you?)  How many people are denying their uniquely-made brilliance and settling for mediocre because that is now the accepted norm?  Guess what, we are not normal! We are supernormal!  We are exceptional!

As I go forth in claiming the promises God has given me, I do so in humility.  This is a good thing as I have discovered the difference between being humble and having low self-esteem.  Oh, how fine that line can be, especially in a world where lowering the esteem of another seems to be a sport.  (Why does “Hunger Games” come to mind?)  Loving your self, however, is the counter to the world’s punch.  Admittedly, I could not love myself without growing closer to God.  It is a continuous process.  How exciting!

About ten years ago or so, a woman told me that the Lord is going to do great things in my life but I would have to learn humility first.  I remember this like it was yesterday because her words confused me.  I thought, “Who is this lady?  She has me all wrong.  I am already humble.”  Although I was woolly, I knew she was prophesying to me.

Had I known then what the lesson plan looked like for me to learn “humility”, I probably would have said, “Never mind.”  I may not have cried out for God to bless my life in ways only He could.  I may have settled.  Sometimes, maybe more often than we care  to realize, the blessing is in not knowing.  His ways are not our ways.

Having gone through the coursework and passing the test, I have now invested in the blessings.  They are already a part of me.  They have always been.  I just needed to return to the basics to locate them.  I just needed to love me, my humble self.  The world offers many temptations to that which it defines as “success”.  Humility provides balance.  Yes, “balance”–something to remain upright and steady.  Won’t He do it!?!?

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

 

Book Review: Intuition

About a week before Thanksgiving I got an intense urge to read three books.  I quickly decided on two of them.  The third, however, I only had an idea of the subject matter.  (That book, BTW, turned out to be the one by Shondra Rhimes.  See this post:  https://emergingfree.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/book-review-yes/)

Intuitive Self-Healing by Marie Manuchehri was the second book I decided to buy.  (See: http://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Self-Healing-Achieve-Balance-Wellness/dp/1604076275 )  It, however, ended up being my third read.  Thanks to India Arie, I knew it included exercises.  I wanted to really take my time with it, so I saved it to read last.

Outside of knowing Manuchehri’s book would focus on intuition, I began it without any additional expectations—just with an openness to consider its presentation.  I found myself being introduced to chakras and how these  energy sources are connected to life’s manifestations.  The silliness I felt doing the first exercise quickly evaporated with the turn of each page.  In them, I found confirmation and clarity regarding things I already knew.  I also discovered things that had already resulted in lightness, smiles, and the embracement of both identifying and accepting love.

Aside from many of the exercises, there are two main things I will employ from this book.  The first is to be present!  I spend a lot of time problem-solving and using analytical skills because: of my profession, my spiritual gifts and talents, and my future hopes.  I have an active mind.  Yes, I think a lot.  People tell me this to which I always think, “Don’t you?  How can you not?”  I laugh now because those conversations normally stop with my questions.  I would walk away not understanding the point of the observation.  Can you relate to this?

Now, I know that it is necessary for me to be in the moment—to feel the clothes on my back, the emotions that I have, the socks on my feet, the water when I am washing dishes, etc..  It is easy to take these things for granted, especially if you are a person with a great ability to be empathetic.  I cannot afford to negate this part of my life anymore.  Can you?

Secondly, I must SPEAK self-love mantras to myself often and daily.  I would think these things, but what I have found is that I MUST SPEAK THEM!  There is a powerful energy in the SPOKEN WORD.  Try it!  Feel how your body reacts when you look yourself in the mirror and speak to you about you in a loving and caring way.  Go ahead.  No one is watching but you!

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a short, easy read.  The exercises were a great supplement.  Upon reflection, I am a better, stronger person with a greater awareness for living a joyful life.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

I’m glad I listened to the nudging to read three books.  God is amazing!  He gives me what I need when I need it.  He reassures me that He is with me.  He guides me along this journey.  I am truly thankful!

My 2015: Friendships

That time of year has come when I take some time to re-evaluate my year.  A year ago, I was determined to make some major changes and some major progress.  My spirit had reached the point where it was no longer interested in playing second fiddle to anyone or anything.  I knew that I was overdue in accepting God’s love and its manifestations in my life.  Sure, I had been saying for a number of years prior that I wanted all that God wanted to bless me with and I wanted to be a blessing to others.  The being a blessing to others part came easier for me.  Well, at least I was half way there right?

2014

My first test came early and it was in the area of people.  (How fitting!)  You see, I had walked away from one of my closest and dearest friends because of what turned out to be a misunderstanding.  (OK.  OK.  I was in the mindset of NO DRAMA FROM NOWHERE!  You can go!  You can go!  You can go too!)  My friend fought for our friendship though and in doing so I gained a greater awareness of the responsibility of friendship.

Friends

How many of your friends would truly fight to keep you in their lives because they see the mutual benefit?  (It is important that there is a mutual benefit.)  How many call you or send an email or text when they have not heard from you in a while?  How many do you treasure enough to make sure they are alright, that you pray for, that you walk close enough with to notice their absence and would put action behind your care to secure their presence?

Being attentive to my traveling buddies would be a continuous project in this new year (and beyond).  Having gained a deeper appreciation of friendship—of what it means to me—and an opportunity to exercise forgiveness, I have been able to both expand my networking circle and be clear about my friendships.  It has been interesting in that I have been able to accurately label my relationships with people and my purposes in those roles.  When you know that your purpose is to help others, this awareness is vital.  Being clear of my role and responsibilities has made me a better person.

BW.face

Later in the year I would see how this experience would make it possible for me to be the friend asking for forgiveness in another situation.  (The thought precedes the action.)  Nobody is perfect.  Even those who truly love you make mistakes.  In this world where acts of terror get front page coverage, take a moment to assess the relationships in your lives.  Time is precious.  Make sure to invest it in those you treasure.  It is funny how life prepares you.

peace

 

Book Review: YES!

Shonda Rhimes?  Private PracticeGrey’s AnatomyScandalHow To Get Away With Murder.  Yes, you know the one!  YES!  The one who has ABC‘s Thursday nights on lock!  YES!  THAT Shonda Rhimes.  No, I don’t watch them either.  Well…maybe Grey’s Anatomy…maybe.

WriterCreatorVisionaryShondaLand.  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one!  College graduateMotherSingleDream CatcherHistory MakerYES!  The one who is not afraid to address “controversial” matters in honest, educational ways!  YES!  THAT Shonda Rhimes!  YES!  Sign me up!  I’m a supporter.

So, she wrote a book?  Really?  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one.  It’s entitled, “Year of Yes”.  (See:  http://books.simonandschuster.com/Year-of-Yes/Shonda-Rhimes/9781476777092)  Interesting….

OK.  OK.  I LOVE THIS BOOK!  It is a great balance of honesty and humor.  I enjoyed how she intertwines her experiences, explicitly including reflective examples of race and gender.  (YES, this is her life.)  Rarely have I seen that done in such a matter-of-fact, I’m-simply-saying, the-world-through-my-eyes way.  Through the chuckles, you realize that she is growing and that you are too.  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one.

I’m glad I made time (specifically three days) to read this book.  In its pages, I discovered glimpses of myself.  It helped that like her, I am a writer and can relate to the solitude of the craft.  Finding inspiration, it did not take long before I began to say, “YES”, to more invitations and to facing fears.  After all, have I loss pieces of myself in the safety and security of the “No”?  Maybe.

You know, I have a strong sense that a lot of amazing things are coming my way.  Life is what you make it.  I am saying, “Yes”, to new opportunities; to working to achieve greatness; to being happy, healthy, and whole; to being unapologetically abundantly blessed and great beyond measure.  I am saying, “Yes”, to living!  What about you?  Need some motivation?  Check out Shonda Rhimes’ book!  Yes, you know the one!

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

Book Review: Moses

Someone asked a question to which the answer came with an analogy using a reference of Moses’ life.  Yes, the Moses from the Bible.  It was in that moment, the seed was planted.  I wanted to read more about this Moses.  Clearly, I was missing some key and necessary points for my spiritual growth.  The time had come for me to meet this man, to discover  some commonalities we share, and to gain guidance—or at the very least, points for consideration.

It did not take long for the planted seed to sprout.  I guess you could say, it fell on good soil.  Seriously, I longed to know more about Moses immediately.  Within days my curiosity turned into a clear instruction, and my instruction manual came in the form of “Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication” by Charles Swindoll.  (See:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moses-charles-r-swindoll/1111384112?ean=9780849913853)

Admittedly, this has been a timely read for me.  It came when I was wrestling with returning to a place I had left.  You see, I rarely return to things once I have concluded to depart.  Are you like that?  It is not like I consciously choose not to return.  I simply do not think to do so.  Something major has to draw my attention back to something once I have checked out.  For me, that “something major” most likely has to be God-inspired.

Rest

Oh, how foolish I feel now having read this book admitting that I was wrestling with a God-inspired return.  Sometimes I have to laugh at myself.  If you find yourself in a similar position, this book is definitely worth reading.  It does not stop there though.  I gained so much insight (and confirmation) reading this book in the areas of leadership, walking by faith, trusting God even when dealing with the rabble, maturity, temperament, and so much more.  Without giving too much away, one of the things that I have found myself thinking more about is the idea that God parted the Red Sea.  Ok.  Ok.  I know, we have all heard of this before, but in reading this book, at this time, it dawned on me that GOD PARTED the Red Sea.  The visual scene became real.  I begin to think about the tsunami that happened in 2004, not for the scientific nor religious discussion but purely as a modern day reference that ocean-sized water can be pulled back.  In some way, it made it easier to visualize the parting of the Red Sea—the crossing and the demise.

Think about it: The same God that did that for Moses and the people he was divinely instructed to lead, is the same God that is alive today.  I think, sometimes, we devalue the greatness of that.  Earlier, I began to think about the biblically referenced miracles and became so excited about my future and about the promises God has given to me.  That same God is my same God.

Upon reflection, this book has been a great source of encouragement for me.  It has reminded me to relax.  I do not have to know the route before starting the journey.  I just need to follow God and be obedient.  This book has reminded me that blessings will come to me.  They will chase me.  Frankly, that is how I prefer it.  This book has illustrated that there will be obstacles, frustrations, and failures, but the making of thick skin should never thicken my heart.

Woman Standing On Rock

As I type this, I am smiling.  Earlier, I received a phone call.  On the other end of the line was a person who I had never met, yet he had a blessing for me.  This man did not know he served as confirmation, but I knew.  I am headed in the right direction.

If you are looking for a book to read.  I recommend this one.  It has blessed my life.

Stirring

Something is stirring…..

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!  —Luke 12:24

Have you ever had a thought that lingers…and lingers….and lingers?  Out of the blue, it is pressed upon your spirit—first coming as a whisper then growing into a statement, increasing into a yell and settling as an authoritative instruction?  The more pronounced it becomes, the more certain you are of its manifestation.  Well, this is where I am.

Through a storm I came.

Strong,

Yet dazed.

I survived.

Rest,

I requested.

Refuge,

Granted.

Now the time has come to adhere to authoritative instruction.

beach bw

So now,

How much more valuable are you than birds?

God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are!

I was reminded of this just the other day while sitting at the beach.  Out of nowhere came a woman, with bread.  Out of nowhere came birds, who ate.   “And how much more valuable you are than birds,” God reminded me.  “Do not worry,” God comforted me.  “I am with you,” God assured me.  Things will not be easy, but there will come things of ease.  Something is stirring.  Let’s do this.

Neighbors

Who remembers Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?  I loved watching this show as a child and still remember that its theme song ends with a simple question, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”.  (For those who are not familiar with this, here is the song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtc7A67kZlQ )

Friends

At the beginning of every show, Mr. Rogers would ask me (the viewer) if I would be his neighbor?  Have you ever thought about who are your neighbors?  Do you limit your neighbors to those who reside in homes you see surrounding your house?  There was a time when I did.  Now, I have a much broader definition.

He answered:  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied.  “Do this and you will live.”  But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  —Luke 10:27-29

Do you think Christians see each other as neighbors?  (YES, I know the cited verses come out of the Parable of The Good Samaritan.  My thoughts, however, are in regards to the Christian community.) 

As I ponder this, I wonder how the world would be if Christians actively and proactively confirmed that we are neighbors.  Would this awareness spill over to being less judgmental about our religious differences, our socially constructed racial differences, our socio-economic differences, our political differences, and so on and so forth?  I often think about, how is it possible that people professing Christianity can have so much disdain for another person, for another Christian in particular, because of differences in politics, or because of differences in complexion, or because of differences in sin.  I think about how various denominations and sects amongst The Church have people more loyal to a church’s bylaws than to The Father, to The Son, and to The Holy Spirit.  I contemplate how we have become so desensitized by the terminology of Brother and Sister that we have loss the concept of Family.

Upon introspection, I challenge myself to be more conscious of the people I pass and of the ones I engage.  I would like to think that if I saw someone in need I would stop to help, but I know this is not always my truth.  As I mature, I understand that everyone I pass has a need.  Some have needs I can see, while others have needs I cannot see.  Yes, everyone has a need.  I am no exception.  Yet, I am to love my neighbor as I love myself.  Ahhh, and that is where the balance lives.  The central question is, “How do I love myself?”  How do you love yourself?

God is great isn’t He!  A few years ago I took a considerable amount of time to discover for myself how I loved myself.  By doing so, I realized that I was not loving me continuously, consistently, or enough.  How tragic, right?  Once I made some life-altering changes, gone were the emotional attachments that tired me as a result of my good and merciful deeds.  Long gone they are.

My neighbors are people who I know and those I do not know.  Although I am not as bold as Mr. Rogers, I have grown to a point that when I show up in a place, I do with the same inquiry, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

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