Just Live your Life

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There could be many reasons to want to be someone or something we weren’t supposed to be. Perhaps someone convinced you that you were the ugliest person. Maybe someone told you that you’d never amount to anything. Or maybe you doubt the dreams and talents that God gave you. I have dealt with similar words, thoughts and feelings.

There isn’t one popular magazine that doesn’t air brush and photoshop their featured model. They all do it and in some cases, it is very obvious. In a world obsessed with an unachievable standard of beauty, I am not a bit surprised to see young women going to extreme measures and forming unhealthy habits to reach “perfection”. We have been conditioned to live discontent with who we are. In some cases we adjust our hobbies, likes, and dreams to fit a mold of some sort.

The truth is, we were created to run in our own lane. We run the same race of life, but we run it, in our lane. We don’t do justice to our talents, unique personalities and specific calling, when we are constantly trying to live like someone else. We don’t do justice to who God made us to be, when we can’t love ourselves for who we are.

A few weeks ago, I decided to change my hair. It was a drastic change; to the point where people didn’t recognize me. I was on the fence to go through with it, but I said to myself, “Do you want to do this for you, or for others?; Do you want to change your hair or are you nervous about what others might think or say?” Might seem silly, might seem minuscule but it was something I had to do for myself. It was my way of saying, “Ok, I will be me”. I believe that when you act and live in the essence of who God created you to be, there is nothing to be afraid of, there is nothing to hide. Being genuine goes a long way. And the people around you will notice. They may not recognize you at first, but it will be worth it in the end. There is a feeling of freedom and satisfaction that you achieve when you live your life loving you, for you, and walking out the calling God placed on your life at your own pace.

Looking at the way others live, looking at what other have or don’t have, doubting ourselves because we don’t have it all together yet, can hinder the way we run our race. One of the most important things in running a race, is running steady, focused and keeping your destination in mind.

I am going to run my race and I’m going to run it right. I will run it the way God wants me to run it, without looking to my left or right. I will keep my eye on the prize, which is Christ.

“Be you, enjoy the things you like, laugh the way only you laugh, speak the words only you can speak, wear your hair the way you like, live your life, be who you were meant to be”. As Rhi-Rhi would say “Just live your life”.

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone”. Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG)

Have you ever felt discontent with who you are or with the way your life looks? What are some steps you can take today, to live life with contentment?

Beautiful Flower by India Arie

A friend tagged me in a post on Facebook with this video. And I thought I’d share it here since it’s a great precursor for tomorrow’s blog post.

Plus, who doesn’t like India Arie?!

Enjoy! xo

Be Anxious for …

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Nothing, means absolutely nothing. Not even how you’re going to pay for groceries or your student loans.

Yesterday I made a decision to meditate on Philippians 4: 6-7 the entire day. It was my first time really taking the word “meditation” to heart. Every single time I felt anxious about anything (or nothing), my mind was made up to recite the verse word by word. To my surprise, I was able to accomplish two things: memorized the verse and put to rest my anxiety.

When the verse says “Be anxious for nothing”, it is implying that there is a part for us to play. “Being” requires an action and it is our responsibility to take control of anxiety, negativity and any other feeling or thought that keeps us from living in freedom. Yes, there are things in life that we have no control over but we do have control over our reaction to those things. Will we choose to be anxious and worried or will we choose to meditate on God’s promises? I guarantee, meditating on God’s word will only make you healthier emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we decide to actively dismiss the thoughts or words that intoxicate us with anxiety and worry. We work better, we love better, we can hear God’s voice better. And it’s as simple as taking a deep breathe and thinking to yourself “Be anxious for nothing!”.

What are some things you can do today to take control over your emotions, words and thoughts? 

What makes a King out of a Slave?

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You might think I’m kind of nerdy when I admit the following: I have memorized the movie The Wizard of Oz by heart. I know every single song and I can literally play it in my mind as if I was watching the movie. It comes in handy when I can’t sleep. DON’T JUDGE ME!

When I was in middle school I was enrolled in a performing arts school and one of the first plays I was part of was The Wizard of Oz. The funniest part of the story is that I got casted as one of the munchkins. And honestly, since middle school, I think I only grew about two inches. I’m pretty short (4 foot and 11 inches tall). Despite being shorter than the average 24-year-old, I don’t mind when people make fun of my height… but it wasn’t always like that. I was a very insecure girl all through middle school and high school. I hated myself. Looking at myself in the mirror was torture and I just wanted to change myself into another person. When I decided to make Jesus my Lord and Savior at the age of 15, I knew that my “old” mentality had to change. However, the deep-rooted insecurity that I had struggled with for most of my youth had taken root into a very ugly and disgusting monster called “fear”.

I can’t remember when I started to fear, worry, and feel anxiety all the time. It came over me like a wave that I couldn’t manage to jump over. When God started using me to pour into other young women’s lives, it was a struggle to not feel intimidated by other leaders that were being used by God as well. I always felt inadequate, less than, and insufficient. And my reaction was to be a little “extra”. You know what I mean by “extra”. Extra nice, extra humble, extra spiritual and extra fashionable. Basically, extra FAKE! God was using me and I was allowing Him to use me, but I think He got tired of me serving Him in fear. He asked me to step down from a few of my responsibilities and during that time, God examined my heart and revealed the junk I had stored away.

In that time of self-evaluation, I came across a verse that I have read many times. Many people use this verse when they pray. Honestly, it’s one of those verses that you kind of disregard over time. But when you truly understand it’s meaning and depth, it changes the way you think and live. It reads: “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

When we live in fear, it counteracts the action of “fanning into flame” our God-given gifts. It is clear that with rekindled fire and zeal for God, fear cannot be present. Fear is an extinguisher to faith and we cannot grow in the continual presence of fear. Interestingly, the word fear in this context is better translated as cowardice or the lack of bravery.

If you recall, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz wanted nothing more than to stop feeling scared. He is my favorite character in the movie. Maybe because I could identify with him. The king of the jungle was living in fear which didn’t make him much of a king. He says something in the movie that struck a chord in me, “Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!”. Living courageously (lacking fear), has the power to set us free! Courage allows us to be real and walk in our true identity. If you are a believer in Christ, your identity is that of royalty and the only thing you should be a slave to is your faith in God. Like it says in 2 Timothy, we will have power, love and self-disciple. Power to overcome feelings of intimidation and love to serve others freely as God calls us to. Most importantly, courage conditions us to live dependent on God and not our reckless emotions.

Some practical steps to be free from fear are:
1. Speak to someone you trust that can give you sound advice on the matter. Surround yourself with people who will speak words of love and life into you.
2. Be diligent in deepening your relationship with the God by attending church regularly and reading the bible. Sometimes we do this out of habit but when we learn to do it with authenticity, it makes all the difference in the world.
3. Actively remove negative thoughts from your mind. Don’t contemplate voices and thoughts that are not edifying to you. If it’s a thought that makes you feel less than, fearful and anxious it’s time to purge it.

What are some steps you have taken to overcome personal struggles in your life?