Saturday, February 22, 2014

The not so Thinline between survival & succumbing


First, I apologize for the large gap since the last one! No excuses at all, just apologies.

I'm just happy im here now! so much to share and hopefully so many blessings and knowledge to impart.

So this blog was supposed to be about applying the lessons I learned in the last decade I wrote about.
But as I wrote, my heart spilled about how I got to the point of even being able to learn those lessons.

so here we go!

My "Etiffany" moment

In the lovely decade known as my 20s, I endured losing jobs, money, love and friendships and at some moments even my faith. (see previous blogs)

I went from asking God, how much more I can take, to saying, God I survived it! and I learned so much.

There is this moment that happens when you're going through tribulation, when you're being hit with one thing after another, that your perspective changes. Some call it an aha moment. Some call it an epiphany... I like to call it a revelation.

I personally believe this is the moment where God's strength is being optimized! You've gotten broken down enough, you're drained, you're weak and empty. And God starts building you back up. You mindset goes from being a victim to being a survivor.

Because after every conflict, every misfortune, every piece of bad news, every bill you couldn't pay, every cold shoulder, every disappointment, you're STILL standing.

Then you're so happy about that fact, you stop whining (at least for a moment)! Then you're able to have that moment to think about everything you learned! and how much stronger you feel just by living through it. It's very empowering. That moment doesn't come with out a fight. And sometimes you will have to find strength from within yourself.

Because truth be told, we all have tribulation! but what is the difference between me and a person that committed suicide? or a person that chooses to leave the faith? or a person that becomes angry and bitter the rest of their life?

For me the difference was 4 things:

1. I never stopped talking to God.

Even if it was just to say, "I'm so upset. I'm so confused. I know you're there but I don't get it." I talked to him. So many people run from God when things get rough. That is THE LAST THING YOU SHOULD DO. It's hard enough in his hands... did you think it would get better when you ran from him? My worst day with God was still better than my best day would be without him.

2. I never completely disappeared.

Even if I became less social, or less responsive to communication. I never completely disappeared. You see, this is where the devil THRIVES. When you cut everyone else off, he has a monopoly on your emotions. He can help you wallow. He can help you to feel like there is no hope. He can put all types of thoughts in your head. He can tell you to kill yourself. he can tell you to drink until you don't feel it. He reminds you of the reasons that you should be angry and make that anger build and turn to hate. And there is NO ONE there to stop the flow of this negative and demonic energy because you shut yourself off. Before I totally disappeared in my tribulations, I will tell at least a couple people. "I'm in a real bad spot, no I don't wanna talk about it, but I need someone other than myself praying for me." Or I would say, this is what im feeling, and it would allow someone else to speak life, EVEN if I didn't want to hear it or even if it didn't change my mind a bit. It's still saved me to have them fighting for me when I wasn't fighting for myself.

3. I never stopped completely serving.

Some people have this interesting idea, that you only should do things when you feel like doing them. Sometimes it's ok to be on autopilot until your body kicks in.
Some sundays I was in such despair that, all I had strength to do was just get in the building. Just to walk in and sit down in the house of God. I was so down that I had no energy to completely engage in the service, but I knew that at least sitting in God's house was better than what would be happening at home. and even if I wasn't receiving any enjoyment or gratification in the flesh my spirit was getting fed. 

NOTE: that's why some Christians should be careful of judging those that don't completely get into the service and accuse them of not being deep or saved. you have no idea what their mental state is, just be glad they are they and love them while they are there. that type of behavior can mess around and make them think it would be better to be at home.
Still letting friends talk about their problems, still being in the ministries I was involved in at church, allows you to still give God something even in your dark place (some don't agree with this, but for me if I hadn't still pushed through, and chose to sit home I would've went deeper in my hole). 

4. I had to force myself to never stop acknowledging that it could be worse

One of my revelations was that, in life we don't get to pick what story our life tells. We don't get to pick our testimony in many instances. We don't determine if our testimony will be "my mother died and I was able to eventually get thru the pain and live life again" versus "I was a little boy raped by a man and now I have feelings that I don't understand" or "I got in a car accident and I am paralyzed but I was still able to enjoy my new life" or "I was born with HIV,"  Things happen and then we try our best to restore ourselves. So in the middle of wallowing about friendships, my broken heart, my rocky family situations, and most of all my lost jobs/FINANCES. It hit me that, yeah ive been nearly homeless, I had a family member that crack addiction affected our family, I have had this and that happen to me, BUT yes it could be worse and yes these are all things that can be over come. Finances was a huge chip on my shoulder and I eventually got to a point of being like, ok Tiffany, while finances has always been a struggle, some people it's been health. you can work and get money, they can't work and get healthy cells. and the same with those that have health struggles. yes this is tough and im tired of taking all of this medicine but at least I am surrounded by love and have a comfortable living situation to endure this in. or I have money to enjoy my moments that I feel strong in a lavish way. so when you wallow, come up for air sometimes and look around. and if you need to go back down and wallow, that's fine. just don't stay there.

and I leave you with these scriptures to meditate on:
1 Thess. 5
11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

2 Cor. 9a
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Cor 4
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Romans 5
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us

sooo please look out for the next one, when I tell you all the awesomeness that happened once I get my new strength and new outlook.

It was truly epic! Nothing like a person going after their next with no fear, because everything they feared happening already did.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The lessons of all lessons: ending my decade

So 2011 & 2012 were dynamic years for so many reasons. It was probably the most monumental year of my life as far as milestones for inner growth.  I learned…

Trusting God

2011 started with me still trying to recover from the setbacks of losing my job in 2010 brought. I felt my future slipping even further and further away. I was blessed to find a great paying salaried job at the end of January. Of course I got excited. It was a big moment, I got published in a couple papers for it, and it was a business I believed in. But as has been the trend, it wouldn’t last too long. Between dealing with a manager that was new to the role and didn’t always necessarily treat me the same as the others and an older coworker that crossed a few boundaries without being counseled from management, my peace was a struggle. The breaking point was when, this previously mentioned older gentleman’s on and off young girlfriend set her sights on me as being the reason that they were on and off and began stalking me at the work place. With no help from management, I had to go as far as getting a restraining order and at that point I decided this amazing salary wasn’t worth it, and after 5 short months, I set my sights else where, and I’ve been happy ever since.

This taught me about TRUSTING GOD in a new way. I think before this point I was trusting him to get me out or to get me to where I’m trying to go. After this, I realized it’s not about trusting God for where im trying to go, but trusting him wherever I’m currently at.  Whether I’m a bum on the street, whether I’m in a mid level job, or at the top of the class. GOD CAN TAKE CARE OF ME WHEREVER I AM. HE CAN GIVE ME WHAT I NEED IN ANY LOT IN LIFE.

This was so essential for me, because for once, change didn’t scare me as much. Because no matter the change, the down grade or upgrade, I can trust God to be present.

Prioritizing people

While all this was happening at work, the dynamics with my interactions with people also were at an all-time high.

I had a lifelong trend of trying to be looked upon with favor.  I wanted people to think well of me, and I wanted people to think highly of me and I wanted people to understand me, and I wanted people to believe in me and that I could be great. And if ever that didn’t happen, I’d feel hurt, feel the need to prove myself or explain myself, or I’d get offended. I had high expectations for everyone I called close.

It partially stemmed from the fact that outside of my “organizational skills” or my being smart, or my being a knowledgeable Christian, my name was never called or I wasn’t really thought of. But I kept thinking hey im more than that. Don’t you think I’m pretty? Don’t you think I can dance? Don’t you think I’m fun?

Well all this seeking for that other recognition, it manifested in my friendships and “acquaintanceships” sometimes and it got bad.

On the offended end, I was offended by not getting invited to events, friends' absence from events I invited them too, friends not sharing big news with me… all those things made me feel some type of way.

The opposite was the being hurt end…One friend I thought the world of and her approval meant everything. Well at this time in my life she decided to stop talking to me. She was hanging out with everyone else and not me. I kept wondering what I did wrong and it affected me to the point that I got full on depressed, lost my appetite and everything.

In my gift of dance it manifested in that part of the reason I danced became proving that I could. I joined a local dance company and the experience wasn’t as great for me as it should’ve been because part of it became me wanting a level of recognition that I never fully got. Wanting your name called, is that why any Christian should dance? SMH…

So after my spirit being broken enough times and after being disappointed, or hurt by the people around me enough times, I had to just have one of MANY come to Jesus meetings. It was in sharing with one of my spiritual confidants, and much prayer that God gave me .

  1. I was confusing friendships with assignments. In other words, people are assigned to me. I should not be expecting anything out of it or anything back from them. Expect them to leave and don't invest your heart. Invest your time and invest God. Give them God don't give them you. So no matter what happens, you will be ok. i hadn't been doing a good job of guarding my heart. and covering myself. I was there to give God not me. I'm here to minister not get all these bffs that i want to always have my back and stand by my side. that’s not what these types of relationships are supposed to be.

    so when interacting with people, be open be kind be willing to spend time. be willing to be used in their life. but don't make it personal b/c its not. its about them, God and you're the vessel he chose for them to fellowship with at that time. when God puts them on your heart, call em. but if people ignore or dont call back or invite you places or tell you secrets or include you, what does that have to do with the assignment. that's personal.

    I needed to learn to take tiffany out of it.
2. I had a spirit of idolatry. I was worshiping other people as in their opinions of me and doing anything to keep myself in good standing with them.
and i thought about it, if i can loose sleep and not eat over someone not answering a text or someone ignoring me or the thought of someone being mad at me. it has to be a curse b/c its definitely not a blessing and definitely not of God. God gave me jer 17:5-7.
i made a decision no more! not to let people's opinions of me matter so much. its so easy for that to seem a "duh" but EVERYBODY wants to be like or approved of in life, but you CAN’T let that approval become the level of idolizing

Letting go of love

After I grasped this, and it didn’t happen overnight, I can truly say now that I live freer. I dance free and I love free. I don’t expect much out of anyone and I don’t pressure anyone to play any role in my life. Life is truly more fun and it’s so much easier to live not taking things personally every other minute. There was just one more thing….


There was one wonderful man that my focus was on from the age of 19 up until last year. We were friends, we dated for several years and we became friends again.

During all those years, I believed and felt it had been confirmed to me and several others in my life, that this would be my husband. For most of those years, he felt the same way.

Unfortunately, time changes things and time can also bring questions marks and uncertainty.

We have moved on with our lives, but he is still a dear friend and an amazing man.

However I’d be lying if I didn’t say that for a while the rises or falls affected me emotionally, self-esteem wise and in many cases even my faith. For someone that worship people’s opinions, when the man you love and think you’re going to marry, “appears” to not be pleased with you in one way or another (physically, personality wise, spiritually, etc…) it can take it’s toll.

I write about this because I think it’s important for women to know:

  1. Don’t be your own worst enemy.  In love don’t make it all about you. Sometimes a person can be dealing with things or working through things that have nothing to do with you.  Don’t let your low esteem fuel firesa nd cause you to loose your mind and make things harder on your special someone. Sometimes you can self sabotage.
  2. Time is precious. Don’t give anyone years to make decisions about your status in their life. Even if God told you something, if he didn’t tell you when.  Just write down what God said, put it away, and don’t change your life focus on God until God puts it in your path and you’ll know it’s time. And if it never happens, life goes on and don’t let it affect your belief in anything else God told you.
  3. God is a gentleman, and he’s not going to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. Don’t try to supercede God’s free will by forcing someone you love to do anything. MOREOVER, if you’re having to force someone you love to do something, that maybe an indicator of something.
  4.  Never settle or believe that you couldn’t get better. Never be anyone’s secret. If you’re in a man’s life, there’s a difference between discretion and secrecy. If a man loves you, he’ll be telling the world, he’ll be screaming it from the roof tops and he won’t make you wait too long. Men in love CAN’T WAIT to marry her and they won’t drag their feet too long.        
  5. Men in love won’t be opening too many doors to emotionally bonding, spending one on one time and connecting with other women on the road to marriage. He’ll be focusing on getting himself where he needs to be to prepare for you. If he is doing anything other than that, he’s not ready yet. And THAT’s ok. It doesn’t make him a bad guy, just makes him a guy that’s not ready or is not sure and may still be looking for his special someone and making sure it’s you.                                                                                                                                                       NOTE: If a man is only 90% sure, you have to decide how long you're comfortable waiting for that 90% to go to 100% or to 0%. Only you know the answer to that. And you can't always go by what he says, because if part of him is unsure, he's not gonna tell you because he doesn't want to risk losing you while he figures out what he ultimately wants. He may need more time and you have to decide if you're ok with that.
  6.  Love ending doesn’t have to be nasty. Respect is always the right choice. If he was good enough for you to date, he is good enough for you to respect afterwards.  No need to bad mouth him, any one he dated or is dating, and no need to not continue to pray for and root for whatever his future holds.

So as you can see thru these blogs, from 19 to 29 was full of life lessons, heartache, and even a few victories. A song I’ve been listening to lately, “Greater is Coming” Jekalyn Carr and it best describes my Decade of Dissabration (Dissappointment and Celebration):

If it had not been for the shaking,

I never would have been ready for the making, no

If it had not been for the beating,

I would have never knew how anointed I would be.

If it had not been for the pressing,

I wouldn't be able to walk into my destiny.

He's preparing me, preparing me, preparing me for greater...


NEXT BLOG: Turning lessons into future applications: Refocusing on my future

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I’m being obedient, so now what?: The journey to my future career and education continues

If this is your first view and you haven’t viewed the blog “What God says versus what I said” you may want to read it because it’s PART 1 of the blogs that share my journey over the last 10 years through my career and education as well as what I learned on the way.

So the summer of 2010 started brightly. Although I was back to 1 job only at Hyatt job so I could pursue my 2nd degree, needs were still being met. My first semester going to school for my gifts, was unlike any feeling I ever had in a classroom. I was majoring in Entertainment Technology (stage management, stage tech and stage craft) and taking classes in the dance program there, and I was in heaven.
There’s this feeling that comes soon after you make scary obedience move, that lets you know you did the right thing. Some call it peace, others call it confirmation. I just know that FINALLY I was where I was supposed to be.

Something about me, I LOVE the arts, especially the performing arts and most definitely Christian performing arts. I love it all: the creative process, stage management, the technical side, the rehearsal process and of course being on the stage. And I personally believe that Christian performing arts are not just for “good clean entertainment” or just for a means to praise & worship our God, but also they are a very effective way to open up hearts and minds to see what thus saith the Lord. If done well, they can be a sermon though those arts. I believe that Christian performing arts can draw souls to Christ and can lead to salvation. Music, visuals, song and dance can reach areas inside some types of people that words can’t.
You can have a passion or natural talent for something and just do it not really think more on it, but if you’re like me, God will get ahold of you and GOD will be like NO REST UNTIL YOU WALK THIS OUT AT THE LEVEL I HAVE PLANNED FOR YOU TO DO IT!

I ENCOURAGE you to take your passions seriously. Ask God how far he wants you to go with it. Does he want it to be a career? Or just something to minister to yourself and community? Sometimes in the body of Christ we rely on our natural talent and whatever our ministry leaders impart into us. I challenge you that if you know you have a gift or talent and you want to use it for the kingdom, you should be the BEST at it you possibly can and give it more time than just whenever rehearsal meets. EDUCATE yourself on it! If there is ever a time that there should be excellence, it should be when you’re executing something for God’s glory and to draw people to Him.
So If you have a knack for doing sound, read up on sound and engineering! See if you can take some online classes at a schools that provides that. If you enjoy singing in your choir, GET a vocal coach! Learn how to read music. Learn some scales! If you have the gift of gab (teaching, motivational speaking, preaching) maybe take a speech class or join toast masters. DON’T. JUST. COAST.

*steps off soap box
So yes it felt good to be making moves towards what God has placed in me to be manifested in excellence.

Then, of course as is the course with my life, that 2nd semester of 2010 (fall semester), I get denied for financial aid. Oh yes, too many credits. I even appealed and got denied, then I requested to meet with dean, he really wanted to help me but after its denied that’s it.

In this same span of time, seeing I wasn’t gonna have financial aid potentially, and also just deciding to take another stab at bachelors degree level employment, after 2 years at hyatt, I took a job offer for a company based in Orlando but that also let some people work from home in jax and Gainesville. It took me back to the $15 I was making before.
I went thru 3 interviews and had EVERYBODY praying, b/c I was so scared to make a move but so thirsty, yeah I said it thirsty, for better.  Well, I got it and everything went great for 2 weeks. Then the next 2 weeks, not so great. Well then all of a sudden when I called to log in, my log in wouldn’t work. I had to call them to see why and that was when they let me know THEY DECIDED TO LET ME GO!!!! OH LORD TAKE ME NOW!

But seriously I was kinda devastated. I had prayed on that thing and God gave me peace.'

And I was like ok God i finally did it i finally went to school for what YOU wanted me to go to school for and now i can't afford to go to school and can barely afford to live? huh?!?
So here’s the thing, when you think you’re following God and it leads you to a valley (sn: oh my bishop has preached about this!) don’t think oh I’m just not hearing him, or oh he’s trying to sabotage me. SOMETIMES God gives you a yes because he wants you to go down that road because he has a test there for you or a lesson for you to learn leads you to a test or to a place where you have to trust him more than ever.

So yes, as I have been breaking down the career/employment/education portion of my decade of dissabration you’ll see this hasn’t been the first downsize or failed attempt when I tried to make a positive change.
This time, I found myself making zero dollars! And although I was able to finish out that semester of school with a little help from mom, I not only wasn’t able to afford school, but now I wasn’t able to afford, well ANYTHING.

Oh my lamb, I can tell you the things I learned in this time were things I can use the rest of my life.

  1. It was NEVER the job that supplied my needs. So if I ever loose a job again, I won’t fret b/c I REMEMBER watching God make miracle after miracle after miracle.

My phone was never cut off, I never got evicted, and although I had a car note, I never lost my car.

  1. Your history can become your favor. When I had money, I helped everyone I could & I paid my bills on time. You know that thing about reaping what you sew is so real. All my bill collectors made arrangements with me. Friends allowed me to borrow lumpsums that I still can’t believe they did. my apartment complex, they took what they could and just worked with me on the rest just off of proof I was seeking employment.
  2. When life just pistol whips you, don’t lay on the ground too long thinking WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED! Because life hasn’t stopped so there is still work to be done.
  3. Don’t completely disappear and keep it all to yourself when you’re in devastating situations. Then, how can God use anyone to any doors, if people don’ t know the door needs opening. Silence in times of trial can truly be deadly. Your spirit can die, opportunities can die & even blessings, all b/c you chose to go at it COMPLETELY alone. Just because you didn’t want to “trouble” anyone.
 NOTE: If you’ve taken the prayer and consideration to surround yourself with good people and people God has ordained for your life, then sharing shouldn’t be a problem.
This came to life for me when just chatting with my wonderful , humble and loyal friend Chelsi Henry. She hired me as an intern during the fall 2010 campaign and it was paid. A great experience and I even made connections that I know that will be useful for me when its time to execute my visions (more on that later)

Election time ended and I was like well, what now God? Sure enough I joined a staffing agency and had temp holiday work at Cole Haan making $13 buck an hour.
Then I got hired as a temp for Allstate. And a gig that had no guaranteed length, continued to be extended and carried me over from after the election was over and the intern ship ended into the new year, 2011.

More lessons:
Let it burn. When God hasn’t told you to move but everything points towards you moving, you gotta let it burn and SIT STILL!

Turn the volume down on the anxiety and restless channel and turn it up on the Holy Spirit channel, let him comfort you. Let him show you what you are supposed to be learning in this season. Because if you don’t learn it, TRUST you’ll be back there again.
Obedience doesn’t mean smooth sailing, it just means covering; obedience doesn’t mean things won’t fall apart, its just means its God’s doing and you are covered by his promises that come with obedience.

Optimism can save your life. Did you know that the burden of negativity and hopelessness can physically weigh you down? so when you’re in a bad season, just remind yourself, “I WILL GET THROUGH THIS. THIS ISN’T A SITUATION THAT GOD IS UNEQUIPPED TO BRING ME THROUGH OR RESTORE ME FROM IF MY BIGGEST FEAR TAKES PLACE”

Scriptures that took me through this time, if you’re going thru ANYTHING like this, get yo spiritual food on!

Isa. 55:8 NLT "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

Rom. 8:28 NIV “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Gal. 6:9 NLT “So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.”

2 Cor 12:9 NLT “Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

Matt 6:26-27 NIV “26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

MY NEXT BLOG: Do you remember why you’re doing this?

Sometimes you forget what your motive is and just start doing it to prove something to the world.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reminder of your Riches

I had to detour from my “Decade of Dissabration” to share this story today. I feel kinda stongly about it.

Holidays are rough for everyone for one reason or another:

-          Reminders of family members that have passed on

-          Being single and no one to do all the holiday-ish thingies with

-          Blaring pressure  and glaring reminders of not having enough money with all the secret santas, Christmas parties, new years eve parties, catching up with friends (and of course everything is done over food), baby sitters for your crumb snatchers, gas money to drive to dozens of events and family/friends houses, food to cook, weddings to attend/purchase gifts for

-          People that are freshly divorced or broken up and its their first holiday without the significant other

-          Forced reflection upon how successful or unsuccessful /happy o unhappy the past year has been

So that being said, the enemy or forget that joker we ourselves, can slip into a funk. Again, let my life be a road map for you lol. Let’s read about my funk shall we? Oh come on, you know we like hearing about drama of any kind. It’ll only take a second.

So the scene enters with me this morning at my 2nd job. It’s going ok my 1st hour there. I’m starting to get my groove. And then in walks the store manager. I’m somewhat on her bad side right now due to an alleged no call no show (for a place that doesn’t have a vm and no one answers the phone but I digress lol). So yeah in she comes. We’re all shocked as it is because it’s 6am! She does not work or come in this early to check on us. First words to me are “where’s your belt?” I’m like aha I got her! I say “you said you don’t have to wear belts unless your pants have loops.” She says “THOSE have loops.” And I do a no look feel, and sure enough they have loops. #cussapropriatemoment

I say I am sorry I guess I was rushing and grabbed the wrong black pants #truestorytho

She says, “well we’re having visitors at 7 so you’ll have to leave then.” Sighhhh (the sigh was me not her)

But no this is not where the funk slip begins. It’s what happens after this. For some reason this morning, we had no customers in the lobby area. And the hazing began. Out of everyone there she kept sending me out to the keep busy tasks. Let me just say I think my regular manager had me a little spoiled ya know? if there’s nothing to do, she just has me make sure everything’s full, that tables are wiped off, that trays are gathered, and bag up food for the drive thru person.

But not this manager. First she sends me to wash the windows. Then I get back and she says, now can you make sure the bathrooms are stocked. I go to them and I promise I don’t even know what I’m looking for except for if there’s toilet paper and soap. So I check that and I ask her if there’s anything else. She tells me, to WIPE DOWN THE BATHROOM WALLS and make sure I spend extra time under the dryer. And let me just say I wasn’t even mad at her persay because that’s the job. And before I started this job I was like ok I see you Colossians 3:23.

But when I was in the men’s bathroom, scrubbing the wall. I thought about my getting valedictorian, I thought about my bachelor’s degree, I thought about the jobs I had that I was making twice as much and got downsized from, and THE FUNK ensued. I was like God, was it all for this? All that darn hard work for this?!?

Most time I just suck it up and do what I gotta do, but in that men’s bathroom I had a full on MOMENT. I mean I was in a movie with full sad mood music in the background, the montage flashback and all.

Moments like those are why I know God is real. Because it was only because of him that I didn’t just walk out you know?

So she send me on home at like 645a with a reminder to wear my belt next time and I go home and work out a little before I head to my main job.

It hit me while I was venting to one of my besties (that’s why it’s so important to be silent when a friend is talking to you because they can sometimes work their own way to the answer) about how weary I was getting and how I don’t feel I have anything to show for my hard work. It dawned on me, that I’ve really only had 2 major continuous thorns: money and relationships.

I proceeded to think of EVERYTHING ELSE that was going right. Things I have that people all over are praying for and wishing for that has just become my norm.

-          I have a great church home and radical pastors that care about their flock

-          I have never been sick or injured in my life

-          My parents are healthy and very involved in my ilfe

-          I have the best friends on the planet, the kind that support all my endeavors, will be a shoulder to cry on, they let me be me and they don’t separate themselves when I have rough times and give of themselves in every capacity possible (financially, emotionally, spiritually etc…)

-          I have 2 jobs and some people are not able to find one

-          I have multiple gifts and talents and God has given me the boldness to walk and operate in all of them

So I challenge you to examine your life. And whenever you start to feel “poor” in an area, look around and see what riches you are so used to possessing that you don’t even look at anymore.

Kinda like an Arabian princess that is so use to the billions her daddy has that she would dare to say her life sucks just because she is lacking, oh I dunno multiple friends. We may say, “excuse me while I don’t feel sorry for  you as you sit in a million dollar estate.”

Someone can look at us and say, ”excuse me while you’re whining over a job while I look for one.” “or boo hoo you didn’t have a date to the Christmas party. I don’t have legs so its even harder for me to find love.”


Sunday, December 23, 2012

What God says versus What I said versus What makes sense: Balancing it all

This will show you why you should never let fear be your god. Fear isn’t a very good god. Trust me I served it for quite awhile. It didn’t’ answer any prayers, I talked to it and it didn’t talk back. It didn’t provide for me or make ways for me. And worst of all, it serving it made me weaker not stronger.

See how fear of being broke, fear of being illogical and fear of the unknown effected me.
So let’s see what you all can learn from my education/career journey.

The M’s: Medical, Massage and Money
Let me start by saying, I am a scientist at heart. I like calculating, measuring, math, symmetry, structure, repetitiveness.

Science classes were always my favorite classes and I knew I love helping people, so for me it was a no brainer to become a doctor.
It’s  funny isn’t it, how something as serious as what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, you’re supposed to know at the right old age of 17 or 18, when you haven’t even lived.

Nevertheless, in 2001, off to UNF I went, I majored in psychology, and started taking the pre-med classes.
Along the way I fell in love with the idea of pharmacy and got a job in that arena. I took the PCAT and scored fairly well. I wanted to still live in Jacksonville though and go to pharmacy school. To me that’s where my life was: my ministry, my man, my family. I figured I had 2 shots: FAMU satellite school and UF satellite school. I applied to UF, didn’t get in. I applied to FAMU, kept getting run around and wasn’t sure where I stood. They even said they lost my paperwork and said I had to resend it.  So by august I had accepted the idea it wasn’t happening. THEN they called me the day before I needed to be there for an interview. But I was kinda over it.  But as you know, life is much more than just what is happening in class.

Meanwhile, I began to struggle with supporting myself in school. There were a few bills, the other part of my tuition that bright futures didn’t cover, and my loan covered room and board but not much else.I kept running into the problem, of having a job, but if my class schedule changed and the job I had couldn’t accommodate me, then there was a dilemma.
WHAT MADE SENSE to me, was getting a job that I could make my own schedule. I could make money as I finished school & it was something I always wanted to do anyway to help my mom out. She always had me working on her. So I had the bright idea of going to school for massage.

So in 2005. I leave UNF for a year, get my massage therapist certification, get my state license, get business cards, brochures, a website, purchase a table, market myself, did promotional things around holidays… and uh, well short of a handful of people, it did not blossom! My target was “my people” and who knew that that many black people were funny about nudity or being touched.
So then, I looked to resorts/spas, well we only have 3. Ritz at Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra Club and the Marriot Sawgrass. I applied to Amelia and didn’t get it. Marriot wasn’t hiring. Ponte Vedra only need on call.

So then, I tried chiropractor’s offices. Again, only needed on call help. However, one of my teachers had recently started her own clinic, focusing on neuromuscular massage. She picked me and my white sister to intern for her and I definitely learned a lot. Didn’t make much money though. And it closed down soon after. Meanwhile I the steady income I had while I worked on this endeavor, had closed their Jacksonville location, and I found a job inside a furniture store that worked with my UNF school schedule. Just another attempt to make the best of the current situation.
The Birth of a Performing Artist

Behind the scenes of all this, God had been really getting my attention. It’s funny how he will allow all your plans to go arry, and let things fall apart so for once instead of looking around, you’ll look up.
Anytime I would hear something on the radio, I would instantly start forming choreography for it in my head.

I would go to sleep and I would dream dance pieces. I never let it go any further. I mean I was a scientific person not creative. I just ignored it for awhile.
I mean I figured, as long as I was serving it didn’t matter how. I was on new members ministry and I had also joined a community choir led by my brother Kavin. I loved to sing and I loved the fellowship.

But I guess my time ran out. And he wouldn’t let me run from it anymore. He let me know in so many terms that dance was going to be apart of my future in a major way. But then there came the question of WTH??? I am not built like a dancer. I haven’t been dancing since I was 3. And I can barely afford my bills so how am I going to afford dance classes? THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. Why would you start giving me a passion for something that its clear you didn't create me to do. i am the antithesis of a dancer God. Nobody would look at me and say oh she looks like a dancer.
NOTE: when God speaks to you about your calling, use your memory, its probably not the first time you felt the tug for what he is saying. forget the fact that i had been dancing in church since middle school. that i dance and sang in plays at school, that in high school i choreographed and performed as entertainment for our school male pageant, or that i danced with my marching band, or that i danced as my talent for the Ms. Black and Gold pageant. no, apparently according to me, this dance thing was all out of the blue.
Still, that wasn't on my mind and I felt like science was my thing, but I realized that things were going to keep falling apart until I listened. So in 2006 I left the singing group and my church's new members ministry and I joined my church’s dance ministry and at the right old age of 23, I joined a local Christian dance studio. More about my dance journey later.

Back to “my plan”
So b/c God is blaring about dance, I gave him a bone. And I kept on with my plan. I got my degree in Biology, and since pharmacy nor massage worked out, I looked for jobs that required a degree/was in science.

My line sister sent me an application to Vistakon, research and development. And in January 2008 I got my first grown up job right of out school! Making $15 bucks an hour, related to my major. FINALLY things were on my side! 
I had so many plans. Taking more dance class, start paying on some loans, build up a savings, etc.. etc… I was on my way. And then, the rumors started. Business is down, they’re going to be making cuts in R & D. yeah, 10 months later I said good bye to Vistakon, or rather, vistakon said goodbye to me. I was still living paycheck to pay check, so taking the time to find something else in my field was NOT an option, I just needed a job and I needed it quickly!

So my bestie, she worked at the Hyatt and she heard they were hiring.  A week later, I was working at Hyatt in the Engineering department, making 3.50 less an hour. So much for those plans I had. And so much for trying to get back to what God had shut up in my bones as far as dance was concerned. I told God I was going to eventually go to school for dance after I got my money straight. I needed more money! In fact, to make up for the difference in funds, In 2009, I took a 2nd job at state farm. So I was working 8-5 at hyatt and 545 to 945 at state farm. What a life!

NOTE: don't mess up your own plan by not being a good stewart of your open door. sure i saved a little, but mostly, i did what i didn't have a chance to do when i didn't have the money before. I travelled a little, i ate out more than usual... it was just not what the 2nd job was supposed to be about!
After about 11 months of going like that, I knew I had to make a change, again, I went back to WHAT MAKES SENSE TO ME! So I researched ways to add on to my degree. One of those ways was the medical technologist program at FCCJ. The program alone, when completed you were a lab tech. But if you had a science bachelors. When you completed the program, you were a lab scientist. Made sense to me. So in spring of 2010, I joined the program.

After one semester, I finally stepped up and did what God had been trying to get me to do. I changed my major to entertainment technology and dance. The scariest yet most liberating moment of my life.
The story does not go smooth from there. But this particular blog definitely should stop here so we can get to the lessons.

Always consult God. For everything. He says in his word that they that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. If you’re seeking him for the right move, he loves that and he wants to answer.

What makes sense isn’t always the right answer, and what doesn’t make sense isn’t always the wrong answer.
Don’t be afraid to make the wrong move. God would rather you make a wrong move trying to follow him and he guide you back to where he wants you, then you sit and do nothing b/c you’re not sure of anything.

You HAVE to believe the statement that all things work together for good. If not, then everytime a plan falls apart, you will find your self depressed, believing you’re a failure, or doubting your ability to hear from God, or worse, doubting God.
My career path has went to Timbuktu and back. But what I have learned is that in those moments on the journey that appear to be “off course” he is teaching you. God is always showing you things about you and turning things around for his glory. There are assignments at every turn. People I never would have met, strength I never would have gained if I didn’t go down every single path I went.

Ask yourself, will you really do anything for his glory?
Realize once you give your life to Christ, there are somethings that are under your free will, but TRUST AND BELIEVE, he don’t play about that sovereign thing. And when he gets ready to do something, that’s a wrap. Like for real no discussion at all.

My next blog? How to keep plugging away when obedience doesn’t seem to make things much better.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Intro to my Decade of Dissabration

I think it was when I was a senior in high school when I had my first major blows concerning Discouragement. I mean I am the product of divorced parents and had a member of my immediate family that was on and off addicted to crack (causing loss of cars,home/apartments, etc..), so dark times, tragedy, devastation, no big. I think I’m more used to tragedy than peace, truth be told. It’s made evident in the fact that when things are going well for I dunno any longer than a month, I start to look over my shoulder.  

So no I am not speaking of the inevitable “rough times,” no  what I am speaking of is let downs, disappointments… disturbances if you will.

The last 10 years (my twenties) have been an absolute doozy.

The question on the table is, when your plan miserably fails, when what should be the natural next step never happens, or when happenstance interrupts your course, what do you do? How do you recover?

This blog will be a series of reflections, lessons and impartations. It will force me to look at my past and present self, be transparent and walk out what I’m writing about.

But before I can break it down into mini nuggets, I think I owe you a timeline of errrr… lets just call them dissabrations (dissappointments and celebrations). There are so many moments but I will limit this to those that impacted what I will be discussing in future blogs.

2001 - I graduated high school valedictorian. I also got dumped by my high school sweet heart who I’d been dating since freshman year. I also found out that although I was a valedictorian, I didn’t have the bomb scholarship I thought all valedictorians automatically get.  I got accepted to UNF and got a non renewable 1 year grant.

2002 – I started dating the man of my dreams. College sweetheart was in full effect! I also started attending YVOG, an amazing campus bible study. I met my sister Leslie. I joined Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.

2003 – I started on the pre-pharmacy track, became a CPhT and worked at Walgreens.

2004 – I left Walgreens and started a job that compensated my school schedule, a private hospice company that employed pharmacy tech. I moved into my own apartment. I joined a singing group.

2005 – I left UNF for a year and completed the program to become a licensed massage therapist. My pharm job was moved to Alabama, forcing me to take a downsizing package. I was a stage manager for the 1st time. I met my bestie. I joined dance ministry at church.

2006 – I started taking ballet classes at a local studio for the first time in my life! I worked at a neuromuscular massage clinic. It went out of business.

2007 – I pledged Delta Sigma Theta sorority and I “unofficially” graduated college with my Biology degree. Several fall outs with with close family members.

2008 – My 2nd dad passed away, I was hired and ten months later was downsized from my “grown up job” at Vistakon, my college sweetheart broke up with me, I “officially” graduated college. I met the YVOG eboard crew. I went up 4 dress sizes.

2009 – Started YVOG praise dancers. I started and ended 2nd job at state farm.

2010 – I started program at FSCJ to for Medical Technologist (fancy word for lab scientist) only to switch to Entertainment Technology/Dance. I left my job for a better gig, from which I was fired from not meeting quota. I attended campus harvest for 1st time. I started sending promise scriptures.

2011 – I had to pause school. I was hired as a stage manager for a theater production company for 1st time. I was hired to my 2nd “grown up job.” I quit my 2nd “grown up job.” I was  hired to a “less grown up” job. I joined my first pre-professional dance company. My immediate family moved in with me. I became an auntie. I joined choir at church. I went down 2 dress sizes. I was delivered from opinions.

2012 – I went down 2 more dress sizes. I FULLY let go of my past relationships. I rejoined dance ministry at church. I got hired for 1st time as a production manager. I got a place with a family member. I moved out of the place with my family member. My church did Team 52. I started a new relationship. I started a 2nd job.

It’s a lot right? So many changes. So many starts and stops. WELCOME TO MY LIFE. If you follow this blog, you will learn so much. About careers, relationships, finances. About discernment, decision making, how following God can make you look crazy.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

My next blog? Will be What God says versus what I said versus what makes sense: how to balance it all.