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

In the Presence of Sisterly Love

 

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Today’s blog is dedicated to the most important women in my life: my momma and two older sisters. They are the inspiration for this blog.

Growing up as the youngest of four (one older brother and two older sisters), I rarely felt the need or want to have many girl friends. My two older sisters, Olga and Monica, are my best friends. I tell them my struggles and hurts and they, for the most part, are there for me. I’ve continually felt their love and support through all the phases of my life. Our mother taught us to be that way. We don’t feel envy and jealousy towards each other. It’s not something we contemplate on or embrace in our relationship. A victory for them, is a victory for me and vise versa. It’s always been like that, and I pray that it will always be like that.

The blessing of having a healthy relationship with my sisters has stirred a longing in my heart for us, as women, to stop hating on each other and start building relationships that resemble a sisterhood. I’m not saying I never argue with my sisters or get mad at them (they annoy me sometimes), but I do feel like I can be honest and open with them. There is room for me to express myself and not feel judged. I know that even if we don’t agree on certain things, we will always be sisters. Nothing will take that away.

What if we learned to see our friendships like that? How would our community look like? How would our world look like? How would our churches look like? Sometimes it seems as if we’re just trying to “one-up” the girl that’s next to us. If she gets engaged before us, we freak out and think, “Dang! And I’m still single. I better find a man, quick!”. If she gets a better job, we get depressed and start feeling bad for ourselves. It’s a disservice to ourselves and others, to harbor envy, contention and jealousy. We will never reach our potential when we are too preoccupied with what others have over us. I once heard an ad on the radio that said “There will always be someone prettier, someone smarter, someone taller, someone funnier. But they’ll never be you”. That’s truth! I can only be the best version of me. And others should only worry about being the best version of themselves.

I cannot remember a time when I felt obligated to compare myself with my sisters. We were raised to embrace our unique personalities and talents. It took me a while to realize that the foundation my mom had formed in our family unit, should also be applied to the friendships in my life. When the lights when on, I learned to embrace other women, celebrate their achievements and be content with who I was. By content I don’t mean being mediocre, rather, feeling fortunate to be who God called me to be.

This week I heard a message from my Pastor about unity. He said that unity is something you work on. It is not something that just happens. While I digested that thought, I remembered a passage that says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” (Romans 12:10, 11-13) All the words in this passage are an encouragement to take action. Building healthy, non-toxic relationships, will require action. And it doesn’t surprise me that the passage urges us to love each other with “brotherly” love. Loving others like a sister or brother, will take an effort. You will hurt for them, you will have to call them, you will have to make an effort to spend time with them and you will have to choose to celebrate their happiness even when you’re not feeling happy.

So many of us make the mistake of thinking that we can be called a friend without putting time and effort into the relationship. Yes, we all have busy lives and hectic schedules but you make time for the relationships you care for. My sisters always make time to talk to me, laugh with me and encourage me. They MAKE time. You can’t call someone your sister or friend when they only value your relationship enough to “squeeze” you into their schedule. It’s about valuing our relationships more than our personal agenda and personal gain. Let’s rise up to promote an environment where other women can be themselves, feel loved and feel united in our presence.

Shout out to my friend Cindy Diaz. She is a fabulous writer and has been editing my blog posts. You are the bomb!

Styl’d by Grace

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For months I have been contemplating to start my own blog. A blog with content that will edify women and empower them to live out their God-given purpose. In a relevant way… of course! After being encouraged by family members, friends and a gut feeling, I decided to start.

“Styl’d by Grace” is a blog for women of all walks of life. You’ll be able to read about the latest trends in fashion, learn about design, be inspired by posts that are faith-based and read stories about relationships, dating and friendship.

The main purpose of Styl’d by Grace is to provide a resource to young women that encourages them to live respectful and authentic lives. There are too many magazines, TV shows and twitter accounts that influence women to lead unfulfilled lives. This is my way of saying, “I’ve had enough!”.

It’s really tiring to be styled by what others think and it’s really overwhelming to be styled by the standards of our society. However, to be styled by truth brings freedom and revelation to our lives. I believe this blog will help women uncover truth in a practical and relevant way.

I invite you to join me in learning how to be Styl’d by Grace.