That Wall.

Child it’s time to break the shell

Life’s gonna hurt but it’s meant to be felt

You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself

You cannot fly until you break the shell

India. Arie, Break the Shell

India. Arie, in speaking about her song, Break the Shell, indicates a time when she was “fighting to grow”, a process she found to be “dehumanizing”.

Many of us have walls that we need to scale but we find it scary to make that first move. We find it difficult to make a plan to get over those walls, much less to tackle it. Instead, what happens is that we spend too much time dreaming instead of planning an escape. Before we know it, it has gotten impossible to make a move towards them.

But the people who live there are strong, and the cities have walls and are very large. We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.

Numbers 13: 28, 33

We become like the men who Moses sent to spy in Canaan; we allow ourselves to become so small that we make the wall more powerful than it ever had a right to be. We also make ourselves too small and too insignificant in the eyes of those who guard those walls and keep us trapped within.We begin to see ourselves through the eyes of others and belief that their view of us is the only image that matters. We begin to wonder if we can grow tall enough and strong enough to conquer them and then we begin to lie to ourselves, rather than test our faith, by putting our trust in the will of the Creator for us.

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That wall we build to keep everything out, the good and the bad. When we think it’s safer to keep in and keep everything out, even the things we are meant to keep. That wall we nurture, ignoring everyone that is on our team, only we did not know, because we built it to high to really see and know and grow. The wall we used to judge too harshly, can only be destroyed when we stop and accept people for who they are and not how we feel about them.

That wall can cause us to stop stretching to avoid the pain that comes with too much movement, and stop trying to escape the hurt that jumping and missing brings. So we forget that that wall was never that great in the first place, and never that strong to begin with, until we gave it the power to be so.

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What You Deserve.

deserve (transitive verb): to acquire or earn a rightful claim, by virtue of actions or qualities; to become entitled to or worthy of (reward or punishment, esteem or disesteem, position, designation, or any specified treatment).

dailywritingtips.com

“You deserve so much more”. A phrase I often heard but thought little about. That is until I heard it enough to question it’s relevance. By saying that someone deserves something does it make it true?

When we say we or others deserve more, what are we really saying? Are we saying that life has been so unfair because they are not getting the recognition, rewards or riches that they deserve? If so, what can be done about it? Some people die never getting what others think they deserve and some wait their whole lives, never to get that which they deserve.

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Some people have so much talent we are sick of them – in a good way. Yet those same people seem to always fall short of the recognition they deserve. Meanwhile you have Miss mediocrity and Mr Procrastination jiving along collecting that which seems to come with very little effort, or talent for that matter. We the observers to all this, are left confused and flabbergasted as this state of affairs, while we bitterly recite the soothing phrase, “you deserve so much more”. We cuddle and console until we are blue in the face but nothing changes. At least not for them!

So, does anyone deserve anything? I “stole” this question from psychologytoday.com. However, it is an important question. Does anyone deserve anything? Well according to them we feel we deserve something, because we feel it is our right to claim things as being meant for us. They say a lot in the article of deserving but the thing that stood out was to replace the idea of deserving with a needs-based perspective. Do we really need fame, respect, wealth and whatever else for whatever reason?

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No, you get what you think you deserve, is another train of thought. Here the premise is that the belief you have in your own “special-ness” will cause you to reap good rewards but bad ones if you don’t. Okay, so it is your mindset that is at fault as to whether or not you get what you deserve. Well, if you think this is the case then by all means, start changing your mindset and act like you deserve everything you desire and it will come to you. Visualize and act on the belief you have. If you do not, you will suffer from the imposter syndrome, never feeling good enough, even though you have all the potential and talent in the world.

Personally, I think there are things we all deserve, but will we get it is another matter? I do not believe we deserve an applause for doing the bare minimum, for showing up but not showing out. I also believe that you may look at someone and envision what they deserve but what do they envision for themselves? Do they feel they deserve what you think they deserve? Do they even care about what you are getting so worked up about, on their behalf? I feel we deserve to be happy, to do what we love doing, to get just rewards for work done and to be our authentic selves. You can’t tell someone what they deserve, they must know it for themselves. Why?

If others cannot know their true worth, how will they ever demand what they deserve? Then again how much of it is in our control?

Image result for But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."

Are You Hot and Cold?

Is it really a bad thing to be hot and cold? No one can trust you; no one can read you. They expect you to be this way, and when you are not, then you are not real.

But consider, are we always consistent in how we behave or how we react to the same thing day in and day out? If you are congrats! However, there are many, many persons who can be accused of being inconsistent. Sometimes we fault people for being this way but, we also do it. We do it for many reasons and there are many reasons why we do it.

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If you are someone who can never make up your mind about important stuff, you are not alone. Does it mean you blow hot and cold? Most definitely you do. In a world where we are constantly fed misinformation and where people misrepresent themselves, it is impossible not to constantly be shifting positions and perspectives. It’s good to consider things and healthy to change your mind after further observation, or newly acquired experience.

We shouldn’t feel obligated to run with the same idea for the rest of our lives. As we grow and have more experience we change; not just physically but our beliefs change and our attitude changes toward people and things. Where we were satisfied being viewed a certain way yesterday, today we may feel that that is not how we want to be all our lives. Where we may have felt a certain way about doing something or had an idea of the way things should be, we may have changed without much effort at doing so.

Now, let’s not be a hypocrite. Let’s not think that it’s okay to say one thing when we belief another. But it’s not wrong to change your mind because you have more information to go on.

So, each day gear up and be ready to run hot and cold!

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Say Thank You

It’s hard to be thankful when nothing is going right.

When things are working out and we get what you want, that’s when we will be quick to say thank you to God and whom ever is paving our way, by assisting us.

So is there a right time to say thank you?

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Would you thank a police officer for giving you a traffic ticket, someone who messes up your order, who charges you twice as much as you should pay or when someone gives you unfair and unwanted criticism?

Our instinct is to say no, of course not. Why would you thank persons for creating unpleasant situations for you?

What if the tables turned and you did something nice for someone, instead of a measly thanks they respond, “oh I could have done that, you didn’t have to do it!” Would you regret helping and promise to never help another soul ever?

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Whatever your vantage point, saying thank you is a part of being humble. It reminds us that we are not invincible and so cannot do everything on our own and for ourselves. We need the support, encouragement and strength of others to sufficiently get by in this world. We need the strength of God to assist us in overcoming our many mountains.

We need to be thankful for the bad things that teach us something new about ourselves and those around us. Sometimes, unfair criticism can force you to self-evaluate and help us in turn to be less judgmental. Just uttering the words as you endure a difficult season can make you more hopeful for the future.

Though two simple words, the phrase has the power to transform the thinking and lives of the speaker and receiver. No matter what the situation, true humility is always being grateful no matter the situation. After all gratitude, as I have said before, is a must.

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Valley Season

I have a friend who is experiencing a really challenging period just now. She has been referring to this as her valley season and I really wanted to address this.

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I have often focused on getting up the mountain, but I have also recognized that once you get their invariably you may need to climb another. However, before you reach the mountain, you will need to be in the valley. I also believe that in order to get to the other mountains you have to go through the valleys in between . A climb begins on the flat and not at the top, so to conquer the various mountains waiting for us we have to accept that we have to go through the valley, which is difficult, dry and sometimes seemingly lonely – but only if we choose to go it alone.

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Yea though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil…

Psalm 23:4

One of things I really admire about my friend as she goes through this period is her faith. She jokes about it and laughs it off, but she never displays anger or frustration at what is happening. Instead she has faith that God will sustain her and strengthen her in this challenging season.

I remember that I was less optimistic in most of my valley experiences. I cried, I complained, I made bargains with God and threatened to give up. However, I was still hopeful, I still wanted to believe that God would pity me and help me. And I always came through those periods grateful. I survived all of them. Despite all my hysterics, God had seen me through.

Image result for Boldness is the ability to stand tall even when the valley seems deep. Your pain will bring gain. Just believe and go to work!

In those difficult times I sometimes would think about the experiences of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and the fact that they stood in the midst fiery furnace and triumphed. It is the reminder that we can conquer anything if our faith is strong and we remain true to who we are. Though they were condemned, they refused to compromise their beliefs and refused to change for anyone. When we experience our valley season we need to do the same. Being in the valley is a temporary situation, one from which we can gather much wisdom and come out on the other side, having learned a little more of how powerful we are with God’s support.

If we refuse to bow to the oppressive nature of our valley experience then we will indeed be victorious.

So the valley can teach us a lot. Maybe we need to look at it differently; it is not a place where we go to die but a place to realize how alive we are and how much we have to live for. It can teach us how to value what we have for the time we have it. Also, sometimes we are allowed to be in the valley because God is waiting to give us the best of what he has in store for us. We first have to prove that we are ready for it.

It takes courage to be in the valley; it takes faith, humility and wisdom to make your way out.

 for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23: 4
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Be Specific!

I recently had an encounter with a colleague, who asked me to pass her two rubber bands, and when I did she playfully – I hope – accused me of being too exact. I was puzzled, “isn’t this what she asked for?” She then chuckled to herself and suggested that my next blog could be about being specific about what you want.

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I have thought about this and I am sure I am not the only one who prayed or asked for something and then was disappointed when we got it!

Other times we are very proficient in telling everyone what we DO NOT want and never what we do want. Yes we are complex beings.

Yes the problem was not that we did not get what we asked for, but,we did not ask for what we truly wanted.

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Sometimes we only see the big picture and not the small details. So we want to be successful at something or in some way, but we never truly realized or were not thinking realistically about what we would have to do to get there.On the other hand, we may ask for something and once we get it we are overwhelmed because either we did not truly expect to get it, or we are in over our heads and end up messing everything up. These shortcomings can lead to failure and it is only after we have lost all, that we realize that we made a grave mistake.

There is also the situation were we ask for things because we see others with them. Then life plays a trick on us – or it could be that we were fooling ourselves all along – and we are stuck with something we weren’t ready to have or never should have had.

I think it’s time we learn to stop asking for things that will take us nowhere. Instead we need to ask for that which will get us on the path what we truly desire, by focusing on it and ignore all outside distractions.

So, whether you are praying or making a list, be sure to ask for what you truly want. You just might get more than you expect; you just might get what you were truly meant to have all along but could never dream that far ahead.

Image result for Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.

Willpower.

Have you ever said to yourself: if only I had the willpower I would be so awesome, or I would be unstoppable!

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However, we deem ourselves to be a bit short on willpower and declare ourselves too lazy, unfit, not smart enough, strong enough, patient enough or generally good enough to make the sacrifices needed to get over the hump, to the other side.

The American Psychology Association notes a 2011 Stress in America Survey, where 27 percent of respondents identified a lack of willpower as a barrier to change.

I recently had a terrible time health-wise and I realized that it was because I had done everything in my power to sustain bad habits. I ate things that made me feel sick because I loved eating them and each time I told myself, this was the last time. Until the next time came around and the cycle was repeated.

The article from The American Psychology Association identified willpower as the, ability to resist short-term temptation in order to meet long term goals. But I am sure all of us at some point have given into the temptation to do something that ended up making our situation worse than what it should have been. So, where willpower is concerned we have failed from time to time. But failing to have the willpower to do or not do something should not be the thing that makes us failures.

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While many persons fail to remain disciplined while working towards a goal, remain hopeful that they will get back on track and continue to move towards it. I certainly have learned from my recent experience and I am doing everything in my power to stay the course. The greatest motivation for me is the knowledge of knowing what I could lose and the reward waiting on the other side – making poor choices is no fun.

The there is also the case where things happen that can undermine your ‘iron clad willpower’. Our mood, belief, and expectations may change and therefore undermine or improve our willpower. Also, the people we hang around may determine how committed we remain to our goals. So, basically our ability to develop and maintain our willpower can be determined by outside influences that may or may not be within our control.

The important thing to remember, is that we all have free will and willpower comes from this. Once we have the will there really is a way. It is never impossible to achieve good things, first we must know what we want and next, be determined to get it. In other words, to get what we want and to get where we want to be will take willpower and a good dose of divine influence.

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