Scratch the Heat

I love when things just unfold without any real effort. The story begins with an Instagram Story with several quotes that had me not only respond with several “Yaaaass’s” but also led to quite a few screenshots for me to revisit when I need that extra motivation or positivity push. Not long after, I get a message from the person who posted the story encouraging me to check out a Netflix special featuring a woman named Brene’ Brown. Now at this point, I’ve never heard of her but some of you may have seen her TedX Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” which garnered millions of views and ultimately spring boarded her into a well-renknowned motivational speaker. It wasn’t anything she sought up but it was definitely her calling. Over the holiday weekend, I decided to check out her Netflix special titled “Brene’ Brown: the Call to Courage.” What started out as a simple, relaxed afternoon to stack up on more motivational quotes eventually led to me to reevaluate my entire outlook on life but more importantly how I react to it! I wasn’t ready…

The first big moment was her definition of “vulnerability.” A word that I’m completely uncomfortable with and quite frankly would rather not acknowledge as an actual thing that I need to address or implement. Clearly this message has my name all over it!

“Vulnerability”: having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.

Never have I ever related vulnerability to courage. Vulnerability has always been unnecessary in my eyes. I likened it to my dad’s famous saying “Don’t be no sitting duck” which basically means to not let your guard down. Be on alert. Now I’m sure that was meant for walking the streets of DC but I guess I took it as gospel across the board. It also didn’t help that, like everyone, I’ve been burned a few times when trusting and loving the wrong people. Whatever ounce of vulnerability I allowed to seep in was quickly sobered up with that heavy dose of reality. But Brene’ had a lesson on that and it was simple like most profound statements tend to be.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows the end of triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This is the quote that changed her life after suffering extreme criticism from viewers of her TedX Talk on YouTube titled “The Power of Vulnerability.” And because of her one decision to “live in the arena” and “dare greatly” she’s able to impact an even wider audience by even bigger doors being opened to her. That door led her into my living room and essentially opening up a way of thinking that has stifled my growth in so many areas! She also confirmed that this little blog written by this super introverted girl is not by happenstance. It’s my own way of living in the arena. It’s my way of daring greatly and my vehicle to push my own boundaries despite every insecurity, self doubt, and imperfection that haunts me daily. And it’s bigger than just the blog, this level of growth carries over into my relationships and my career path. Bree’ puts it best “Vulnerability allows you to be seen for who you truly are and not who you want people to believe you to be.”

“How can you let yourself be loved if you can’t be seen?” – Brene’ Brown

Loving yourself is allowing yourself to be seen. Allow people to get to know the real you. Code switching is a term that many people of color use when working in predominately white places of employment. How much of that is preconceived? What if you truly showed up as yourself… you’re professional self… and allowed them to get comfortable and exposed to the real you? What would happen if you didn’t try to fit into the box that you expect will satisfy the woman or man of your dreams? Why would someone you’re meant to be with require your true self to live in a prison while they live in a fairytale?

There were many poignant and quotable remarks in her special but what stood out the most was the story of her daughter who was chosen to compete in a swim meet that both she and her daughter knew she had no chance of winning. Her daughter tried everything to get out of it, even asking the coach to reconsider. It didn’t work. Her final escape option came from a friend who told her she could “scratch her heat”– intentionally miss her getting on the starting block. At the start of the race, it looked as if she wouldn’t show up but she did. The race was ugly. She got lapped and was so far behind that the next race was lined up on the block to start while she was still swimming her lap. Naturally, she was crushed, embarrassed, and exhausted but when she reunited with her parents she said in the midst of tears “That sucked but I was brave and I won.”

What does winning look like to you? Was it that the coach set her up to fail or was it that he set her up to win in the future? Half the battle is showing up. What if part of the process of winning is coming off the block and getting wet? Can you think of any times in your life where you scratched your own heat where you decided not to come off the block and essentially disqualify yourself before it even began? I know for sure I have. I didn’t apply for that job because I didn’t meet all the qualifications. I didn’t participate in a discussion because I didn’t want to let on what I didn’t know or understand. I didn’t take an opportunity because there was too much of an unknown that I couldn’t control.

Self reflection is never easy. No one enjoys putting a magnifying glass on themselves especially when it’s not a guaranteed win. Though I didn’t enjoy what this all revealed and the amount of work I have to do to reprogram myself, I’m comforted in knowing that I’m headed in the right direction and that this blog is a baby step into what I’m sure is going to be a terrifying dive into one vulnerable moment after another. There’s only one question left to ask… who’s ready to take a dip?!

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The Little Teddy Bear

Before I can fully engage you with my thoughts from the premiere episode of “The Same Room,” I  must first layout how much of a full circle moment this is for me. Six years ago I attended an event called “The Merge Summit” in Los Angeles where I was first introduced to a man name Toure’ Roberts. He was a guest speaker at one of our opening morning sessions and with every word he spoke it was like he was speaking directly into my life. From that day on I’ve been a follower of his ministry called One Church LA (now known as The Potter’s House at One LA and Denver).

Just about 4 years ago I moved to New York and became a listener of his podcast. I would listen to his sermons daily just to push me through the scariest, most uncertain time of my life. One day I selected a sermon and to my surprise it was a voice that I hadn’t heard before. It was a woman named Stephanie Ike who was a guest speaker at One Church LA. I  ALMOST immediately skipped it because she wasn’t someone I had heard of and let’s face it, she was like the substitute teacher. But then I thought that if Toure’ thought so highly of her to have her fill in for him while he was away she had to be pretty dynamic. So instead I listened intently and it wasn’t that long before I was completely drawn in. She had voice, she had a presence, and she most certainly had a Word! Continue reading “The Little Teddy Bear”

Archives: The Universal Love Language

LoveLanguagesRecently I was asked about my love languages and had no idea what they were. So I took the test and discovered that I interpret love through Acts of Service and Quality Time. No surprises there! I’m all about showing verses telling. People can say anything but what they do is what matters most. I’m also a big believer that how someone chooses to spend their time is a good indication of what they value. You can’t love me and have to pencil me into your schedule. Loving me means making me a priority. Not the only priority but definitely a priority. Continue reading “Archives: The Universal Love Language”

MRS. RICE

rice

It’s with mixed emotions that I write this celebratory post in honor of my 1 year Anniversary going “solo” as a blogger. I didn’t intend for it to cover such a heavy, controversial topic. It was supposed to be light hearted and fun… you  know, something with lots of pictures to introduce the rebranding of the vision and the new layout. But after a day of going back and forth about what I wanted to do verses what needed to be done, I settled myself in the fact that this blog is a reflection of what’s important to me and that’s being a voice and a light to those who I’m called to serve. Although I welcome EVERYONE to visit, comment, follow, and share… this blog targets women. Young women. So how could I, with good conscience, ignore a story that has been highly oversaturating the news front since yesterday morning? Interesting enough it’s been with very little attention on the victim of the incident. I’m speaking about Janay Rice. Yes, she has a name. It’s not on the back of a football jersey. It’s not the most recognizable but it’s a name that matters. This is my take on the situation and it may not be the most popular but I’ve never really cared about popular opinion so here goes… Continue reading “MRS. RICE”

Divorced AND Christian… The Response.

Well, I asked for feedback and you all did not disappoint! I loved reading each and every one of them whether I agreed with all of it or not. Let me just say that I find this to be a very complicated subject and it may have everything to do with the fact that I haven’t done my due diligence to really seek out the Word in its entirety to understand the idea of an “ordained marriage.” After this, I vow to do so that, right or wrong, I can have a clear stance on the topic and back it with scripture which I believe is very important. It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s all about truth and “The Truth” comes from the Bible. So I’m going to highlight a few comments and share a little of what I think as it relates to them. So let’s go! Continue reading “Divorced AND Christian… The Response.”

Divorced AND Christian? Hmmmm

divorceThe beauty about having a relationship with God over simply doing religion is that you have an open heart to receive messages that are rooted in love and transparency. Pastor Toure Roberts opens his heart to talk on a subject that is deeply rooted in his own personal journey of life after divorce. YES! You heard that right. He is a pastor. He is divorced. Oh and he’s unashamed. Oh and one more thing… HAPPY! Not happy that his marriage didn’t last. No real person enters marriage desiring to be divorced but it takes two mature individuals to recognize what is and is not of God and have the courage to move forward, especially as a spiritual leader.

Now listen, before you throw stones, I come from under a teaching that lives, breaths, and praises all things marriage! My pastors have been married for almost 30 years. They lead an awesome ministry called “Marriage Made EZ” and they offer pre-marital counseling to all members who are contemplating marriage. So I am a huge proponent for marriage. Godly marriage. I desire to be married. I believe that marriage should be something that you do not get out of alive. However, for the first time I witnessed a different side. Not until a few weeks ago did I hear a man of God talk so openly about dividing marriage into two components. Marriages that are ordained of God and those that are entered into outside of the will of God. It’s not to say that all marriages that are done prior to getting saved are doomed. It’s to say that when people grow into their purpose and realize that they are not aligned then it leaves open the question “Is it God’s will for us to sacrifice His purpose in order to save a marriage that wasn’t designed for us?” It’s a heavy topic and one that I’m sure will lead to deep conversations. Which is why I want to try something different this week… Continue reading “Divorced AND Christian? Hmmmm”

It’s been a tough few days for our country and for the world. I can’t ignore that fact nor can I sugarcoat it. I just have to be 100% authentic when I say that I’m at a loss to how I’m going to address it all. Emotions are high and operating out of them is never a good thing. So I sit here with the rain teetering off my window trying to figure out how to articulate all the thoughts running through my head without letting emotion take complete control so here goes…

I have to back track a bit. A few months ago, I posted a blog entry titled “Connect the Dots.” As a young girl, I realized early on that I was not skilled at drawing. I could color in the lines perfectly but when it came to creating my own perfect picture, it was a mess. I remember the joy I would get from the books that were designed for a struggling young artist like myself. It started out with a bunch of dots all over the page and no semblance of a picture but as I began to connect the dots it all started to take shape. Though it was super simple there was still an order to the thing. I could have connected the dots any way that I wanted to but the picture wouldn’t have come out right. I had to first either know how to count or how to say the alphabet in order to connect the dots properly. It required attention and a lot of concentration but not on the big picture rather on my knowledge of counting and reciting the alphabet. I did my part and the rest was already aligned to take shape! Sometimes the closest dot wasn’t the dot that I needed to connect to first. It defied what would seem logical in my eyes. If it had not been for the order lined out before me, I would have screwed it up. However, my picture had no other choice but to come out perfect as long as I focused on what I knew. If I tried to figure out the picture without factoring in the order, it would have taken me a lot longer to figure it out and I’m almost guaranteeing you it would have been distorted. Continue reading “#OverIt”

Lessons of a Love Song

Leela James

I heard this song on the radio last night and it bought me to a place that I haven’t been in a long time. The passion in her voice grabbed my attention and drew me into each lyric. I searched forever until I figured out the artist and boy was I excited when I found it! I immediately went to download “Fall For You” by Leela James on iTunes. There’s something about a song that can pull you in by the sincerity of the lyrics. You all should know by now that I’m not hung up on just listening to Gospel music. There are lessons all around us and if we pigeon hole ourselves into songs that only fit a certain standard we miss out on life lessons and opportunities for God to show us how omnipresent He really is. Continue reading “Lessons of a Love Song”

Are Your Toes Wet Yet?!

 

“You can’t be afraid to dip your toe in the thing that you think God wants you to do even when you’re unsure.” ~ DeVon Franklin

Devon

When you ask God for answers be prepared! He uses many life experiences to show us how in charge he truly is and this past Sunday, He used DeVon Franklin in a powerful way. Rarely am I bought to tears but when someone can wrap all of your emotions into one lesson and shed light on issues so real to what you’re going through, you know it’s God. If you feel trapped and too afraid to move but too afraid to remain the same, this is for you. If you’ve stepped out on faith and the world seems like it’s crumbling around you, this is for you. If you simply love God and want to grow in your relationship with Him so that you don’t miss a beat, this is for you. To get directly to the message click the photo on the left to watch any of the 3 services. For the 8 am service begin video at 01:19:14. For the 11 am service start video at 01:03:00 and for the 1 pm service you can begin at 01:19:56. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Trust me I’ve watched them all! So check them out and let me hear from you! Happy Tuesday!!

“God may have allowed the storm to arise because you would never do what you needed to do without it.”

“There is “more” in my spirit that won’t let me settle or be complacent.”

“Real life starts when you get up out the boat.”

“Anything I pray for I will prepare for!”

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