What about you friends?!?!

Friendships! Basically people with similar backgrounds, interests, ideas, and characteristics tend to befriend one another. I mean just look at your friend circles. Even if you’re a person that’s friendly with everyone the people that you hang out probably like to do the same things you do. Even the friend you have the least common things with, you still get along and hang out because you probably some similarities. Even if it may not be shared interests it may be shared or similar experiences. For example, two people may become friends because they both endure the same trauma like being teased as a child or growing up in poverty or even something like growing up with helicopter parents. Whatever it is something brought you together and now here you are walking through life and creating new experiences together.

The friends you keep are extremely important. Usually your friends are the ones you turn to when you’re dealing with certain issues, trying to make life decisions or just need a night of fun and relaxations. Your friends are the ones that help you deal with stress, make those decisions, provide inspiration/motivation, keep you strong and make this thing call life a little easier. The company you keep is vital to your success. I have three close friend groups – two made up of close friends from college and the third, my cousins. And before you ask yes, you can be friends with your family, lol. My circle honestly motivates me and keeps me going. I do have some outliers – you know, friends outside these groups that I value as well that truly keep me going. I am also an extreme extravert so I meet and connect with people all the time! As I began to take my walk with Christ a step further I started to feel a desire for more Christian/godly friendships as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love and cherish my circle and wouldn’t trade them for the world, well most days anyway, Ha-ha! But I realized that some of my interest began to change and I needed people who was experiencing the same things or understood what I was going through, trying to let go of the old me and walk in the things of God, to kind of help me along. Even in my current friendship circles I have friends of faith and I share my love for God with everyone– just ask them! The Word of God also says “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” Proverbs 27:17. I decided to expand my circle to include more friends of faith.

Just as regular friendships, Christian friendships are developed because of a common interested, Christ! The Bible says “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” Hebrews 10:24-25. Godly friendships should encourage you in your walk and your relationship with Christ. God wants us to encourage each other in well doing. These type of friendships are vital to our growth and endurance. I have had times when I faced life’s struggles; bad break ups, sickness, joblessness, etc. and I thank God for friends that prayed me through when I couldn’t form the words in my own mouth. Friends that encouraged me to not lose hope and to continue to trust God as He is faithful. This type of friendship helps you keep your focus more on God rather than the circumstances you are dealing with. It also helps to know that as you try to leave certain old ways behind like gossip, drunkenness, wild parties, slander, fornication, etc., that you are in the struggle alone, because the struggle is real! It’s easy to revert back to the things that you were used to doing but as iron sharpens iron your friendship can help keep you accountable and on the right track.

Friendships overall all are important. It’s more than just having someone to go to brunch or the movies with. It’s about having people around you that would go to bat for you. That will stand in your corner and encourage you. That will root for you and support you through life. Also, help you to evaluate the type of friend/person you are. Our friendships can have a positive or negative affect on us. If you have friends that are jealous of you, talk about you behind your back or tear you down, have backbiting ways or a skewed moral compass then I suggest you re-evaluate your circle. And if you are around these types of people their behavior could rub off on you, “Bad company ruins good moral” – 1 Corinthians 15:33. You can’t hang out with negative people and expect to have a positive/good life. Moreover it is important to develop godly friendships to have people who encourage and challenge you in your faith to mature and help you move closer to where God wants us to be. People you can pray with, study God’s word with, be honest in your struggles with and then pray again! “Friends should assist and strengthen each other by helping each other grow and improve” – Proverbs 27:17. “People simply do much better by working together. Two really are better than one” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. God desires friendships and relationships for us but He gives us a choice in who we engage with. I implore you, choose wisely! Birds of a feather, flock together.   

Faith It ’til You Make It!

About two weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of “The Worthy Room” Experience. What is that you ask…well let me kindly tell you. “The Worthy Room” was a 24-hour zoom call hosted by my dear friend D’Andrew singing, dancing, and mediating to all of India Arie’s music. It was a gallant effort on his part to draw India’s attention to the Zoom call and have her join us as he shared his aspirations of writing a song with his musical hero. He literally set up a 24-hour music-a-thon to get her attention, in hopes that she would join the call. Talk about bold, radical faith! After about 6-7 hours of just loving music, singing, creating joy and uplifting one another on this call, guess who joined us?? Yup, you guessed it; the magnificent, inspirational, beautiful, amazingly talented India Arie!!! *Round of applause*. I couldn’t believe it myself at first, especially once we realized that she had already been in the room for about 2-3 hours before her big reveal. India, was watching us jam and sing along to her music y ’all. She spoke to us about how she was enjoying us singing along, uplifting one another and interpreting her music the way she envisioned it being share with the world- She even sang a little y ‘all! I am ever grateful and will forever remember this moment.

What I will not forget is the feeling I felt in the Worthy Room even before we realized that India was already there with us. I felt beautiful, loved, hopeful, joyful, and powerful. I was so honored to be a part of such a wonderful experience with people all over the country who shared a love for our friend, India and creating an atmosphere of love and joy. What really got me is that when this Zoom call was created it was literally a leap of faith! His goal was to manifest this opportunity and that is exactly what happened. Nothing else mattered, not the how, the when, no if’s, and’s or buts. He declared it and expectantly waited for it to come to past. That’s radical faith. How many times have you wanted something so bad but because it seemed far-fetched, crazy, impossible or you just could not conceive in your mind how it would happen you let the dream die. I know many of us may be guilty of this but faith is literally the principle that God wants us to stand on. “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” – Hebrew 11:1. Faith is literally evidence for the things that we are hoping for even though we can’t see it yet. As soon as you start to believe it, it’s already happening. That’s when we start walking as though it is happening because faith motivates you to make what you want become a reality – “Because of your faith, it will happen” – Matthew 9:29. The moment you begin to develop faith in God’s ability to make it happen for you, your desires will begin to manifest. It is literally doing your part to make it happen and trusting in God’s ability to take it to the next level.

Even believing in God is an act of faith. We don’t see God, we can’t touch him, we can’t call him up on the phone and have a conversation yet many of us believe He exist. Why – because of faith. We trusted that He exists, that He will love us, that He died for us and that He will show up in our lives and just like that He did. Now if you have not had an encounter with the Lord this may not make sense to you but don’t give up. Keep praying, keep seeking and keep trusting in Him and His ability to show up in your life and He will. Jesus said “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” Matthew 7:7-8. If you are having a hard time believing in God or believing that He will do something you have been asking for a long time for Him to do in your life, keep believing earnestly, with your whole heart and God will reveal Himself to you. If you already believe and are hoping for things to happen in your life that haven’t yet like me – New home, marriage, children, businesses, etc.- don’t lose faith, speak as though it has happened because it will. Declare boldly with faith today the things that you are hoping for, put your trust in God and He will handle the rest.

Perfection, Not Perfectionism

Ehhem – Hello, My name is Sally and I was a self-confessed perfectionist. Christian Perfectionist at that!  What is that, first let’s look at the definition of perfectionist. “Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations”. In short, in my head I feel like I need to be perfect and when I am anything less than I fall into self-condemnation, you know- negative self-talk. It sometimes goes to a very dark space and I literally feel like the worst human on earth. Like I’m the only one that has done wrong, the only one that has sinned, that’s unlovable, unforgiveable and everything else in between. Now the Christian thing to say is that grace should be given and that I should only speak positive things over myself and that God has forgiven me so I should be able to forgive myself. And while I know this is true can I be honest for a moment- I don’t always feel this way. See the thing is that because we are Christians we are often times expected to always be positive, happy, see the silver lining and when we feel anything other than that it’s like we are shamed for it. This also is where some of the perfectionism stems from trying to hold myself to the standards of being a follower of Christ but not allowing for grace, thinking there should be flawlessness. The bible states;

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ…”

– Philippians 1:27

Conduct myself in a manner that is worthy?!?! Well while I try, I don’t get it 100% and often feel that I am now all of a sudden a hypocrite or a liar, when in actuality I am human, flawed and still loved. This negative belief stems from the notion that I can earn love from God (or others) by being good, doing the right things and that somehow my good works and behavior will make me worthy. Newsflash- there isn’t anything we can do to earn God’s love, it is freely given to us as a gift. He simply loves us, flaws and all, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. He loves us because He is love.

This perfectionism also comes from the belief that things should go a certain way, should be done by a certain time, or even look a certain way. It is a way to control or have power of what the expected outcome will be. There is an importance for structure, timelines, and deadlines. There should also be space for interruptions, roadblocks, and you know life in general. So here’s an example… I started college in 2006 (don’t do the math, lol) and my anticipated graduation should have been in 2010. Well I took an extended internship at Disney and found out once I arrived and started the internship that the course would not be applied to my degree. A whole academic semester wasted but an invaluable experience I would never forget! Once I returned, I switched my major and that set me back another semester. Lastly, when completing my Senior Comps (an exam to graduate) I first wrote a draft on a different paper and when I was rewriting it in the exam booklet I ran out of time. Although I had completed all my classes and fulfilled all other requirements I had to wait until the following semester to retake the exam in order to graduate. Needless to say, I did not walk across the stage until Summer 2012. But I realize that no matter what happened or how long it took, I did it! I overlooked this accomplishment and so many others because it didn’t go the way that I wanted it to go but it doesn’t matter how it was accomplished, the fact is that it was.

Even in creating this blog and writing this post I did not want to release it because I wanted it to be perfect. I also wanted me to be perfect. I felt that I needed to perfect this walk called life, perfect being a Christ follower, have the perfect page, have the perfect words, etc. I mean y ’all I reread long text messages to make sure it sounds right. But Honey, let me tell you, perfection isn’t something we reach at the snap of a finger. It gets better over time, we get better over time. The blessing is in the valleys and through the storms, in the mess. It is slow progress at times and the freedom to not get it right always but keep trying. We lean in on God and what His word says about us and we surrender to the process, knowing that His mercy and grace towards us is abundant. We should continue to strive understanding and “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” – Philippians 1:9.

I may not always get it right but I am connected to the Most High One that is. And guess what?!? He loves is so much that He is willing and wanting to work with us. Christ says “My grace is sufficient for you and My strength is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Corinthians 12:9. This is where the secret lies, especially in our strive towards perfecting our walk of faith. It is in us surrendering and giving God permission to show up and show out in our weaknesses. Understanding that having these weaknesses or shortcomings doesn’t make us any less worthy but rather gives us the opportunity to allow God perfect us. It makes space in our souls and in our spirits for God to do the work in us. To lean into His grace, give ourselves grace and remove the limitation that are set rather than exploring the endless possibilities offered to us through Christ. God’s word says “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”.

I choose to let go of being perfect; perfect words, perfect body, perfect behavior. The expectations of when I should have been married, when I should have had kids, when I should have bought my house, how I should have lost weight by now- I let go of it all. Instead I choose trusting in God, trusting His word, His plan and His leading in my life to get me to the beauty that He has planned for me. I’m accepting that I am an imperfect person loved and accepted by a perfect God. I am refusing to allow perfection to keep me from being the best version of who God designed me to be and letting go of the notion that achieving this “perfectionism” I’ve created in my head will truly make me content or feel fulfilled. I will allow myself to be in the moment, take in the journey, learn the lessons that God is teaching me and be present with Him and my experiences. There are so many wonderful stories of imperfect people in the Bible that God used to work out His perfect plan for us, just ask Jacob the cheater, Sara who was impatient, Noah who got drunk, Thomas who didn’t believe, Gideon who was insecure and Lazarus who was dead! I am fearfully & wonderfully made because of my imperfections. Thank you Lord that your perfect love covers my imperfection – You love me flaws and all…

Let your light so shine before man…

 Ummm Hi.…*taps mic*… Is this thing on? Is anyone out there? Well if you are and you’ve made your way to my little blog, I thank you! Perplexed, but grateful. Have you ever had that funny feeling inside that silences you? You know, the one that says your words, thoughts or ideas don’t matter? Or even maybe that they matter in certain areas, maybe small groups or one-on-ones but not large scale? Yea well that’s how I feel about this blog, yet here I am. I have always had words to say, like always! I was the kid in the class whose teacher basically played musically chairs with you around the class room, trying to reassign your seat hoping that you would actually sit quietly and stop talking- Spoiler alert, It didn’t work. All it taught me was how to speak to and get along with any and everyone (thanks to all my former Teachers!) I am still like this, my friends and family always get on me for talking to stranger. And now, here I am on the internet sharing my thoughts and ideas – Terrifying yet excited!

I wanted to create a space where we can be real about our daily walk as Christians. Whether a seasoned veteran in faith, a babe still taking in spiritual milk, or someone who is just starting their journey and trying to figure out the first steps, we all have struggles. There is a lot of stigma in the struggles we face as Christians and I want to delved into those topics. I want to create a space for what I am looking for – a space to be authentic about my struggles, yet feel and be supported, edified and encouraged to a higher position in faith. Let’s removal the veil and work on those icky things we don’t like to discuss – relationships, depression, unfulfilled expectations, fashion, body image, self-perception, addictions etc. There is joy and freedom in the liberation of these limitations and that freedom is found in Jesus. This blog creates that space to embark on this journey to Jesus, Joy, Love and back to our Creator again. Let’s explore, heal and love together.