The Only One You Are Fighting Against is You.

Have you ever blamed someone for your lack of progress. Could it be possible that you put so much time and energy into trying to change the way people treat you, that you fail to see how you may be blocking your own blessings?

Sometimes we look at are circumstances, where we are, and the people who are in our circle and blame these vary aspects of our lives as the reason we are in such a low place. We point the finger at what he said, how she behaved and the impact those things have our existence. Once we identify these barriers to our fruitful living, we turn our focused attention toward these people and situations. Having found the source of our dissatisfaction with life, we settle into a pattern of being content in unhappiness.

The moment must come for you to begin to realize that it is not people and things that block our paths, it is we, ourselves. Yes, the fight is not against your inner circle or even your situation, it is you. You are the one who decides whether or not to allow nonsense into your life. You are the one who sets the priorities in your life. You are the one who knows who you were created to be and if you are living the life you are supposed to be  Its all you!

But….the problem is that you have failed to realize that just as you can be your own teammate, you can also be the toughest opponent you have ever had. Why…because you, in relationship with God, have the whole world at your disposal, but instead of walking in faith, you abandon the process; instead of walking in your purpose, you become paralyzed; instead of being true to yourself, you compromise.

Yes, you are who you are fighting against. Everyone else is just playing along.

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Be Excellent In Everything and Expect It All Around You

We often wonder why our lives fall short of reflecting where we feel we should be at this very moment. We seek change and often assume the responsibility of fixing ourselves. Which, of course, is a very essential pathway to the greatness you aspire to bring into your life.But what happens when you work on changing yourself and the people, things, and circumstances around you are less than excellent? It may take some time to realize that if you try to be excellent in an environment that is less than the latter, you may find yourself frustrated and less than satisfied.

There must be an expectation that is communicated through your walk, your talk and everything else about you that says you live up to a certain standard and some things will just not be tolerated! Whether it be our personal relationships, our friendships, our jobs or other areas in our lives, the excellent factor begins in you, and must be communicated by you in every aspect of your life. The standard says “I am who God says I am.” “I am a conqueror.” I was made in His image.” When you find that you fall short of this confidence, remember that when you are weak, “God takes over”

So with this in your spirit you are armed with a walk and talk that says, “I am excellent and if you want to be around me, you must be excellent too!” Expect this when you wake up in the morning and start your day. Prepare your heart, mind, and spirit to take on the day knowing that every conflict has already been mediated. Expect this as you enter the workplace knowing that struggle has been made easy. Expect this in your home knowing that every battle has already been won.

You must make your life what you want it to be. Seek out excellence. If everything around you is not excellent, neither will you be. Instead you may spend your time wondering why not you. You may feel that you are undeserving of such a life. You may begin to accept less, put up with more and end up denying what is rightfully yours. God owns it all and is waiting for you to actualize your potential and realize that you must stop at nothing to experience true excellence in your life.

You want a new job? Go after it! Fill out the application, exercise your faith and believe to the highest knowing that with God all things are possible. Are you living in a dead relationship? Bring it back to life. Open your spirit and allow God to bring about the beautiful relationship that He has intended for you. Have you been bothered by conflicts in your life? Believe in the power of God to move in those situations for you.

There is no more time for excuses. The time is now and the stakes are high. Know that your life is not just about you.You are here to serve a purpose. Being excellent is about the God in you. Being excellent will not only change your life, but those around you. Someone is waiting for you to heal for they will need your help to survive a crises. A job is waiting on you to apply for they are in need of your skills to change the world. A young person is waiting on you to grow for they will need your example to follow.

You will not live up to your potential by focusing on why your life is not where you want it to be, but by allowing the greatness that God has placed in you to impact the world around you. Be excellent in everything and expect it all around you.

What does excellence look like in your life?

Tired

A walk through a day can be as exhausting as a daily workout routine. Not because of the physical activity or limitations, but as a direct result of life’s circumstances that weigh you down. The ongoing challenges that you must face and the impending disappointments that pass your way, entangle you in a bout of foolishness that you would rather avoid. One thing after another, tugging and pulling at you leaves you exasperated, frustrated, and

….tired.

You have used every ounce of strength that you have inside of you just to get through each day. The hope you once had that the cycle would end, just preceded yet another whirlwind of events seemingly spiraling out of control. The struggle becomes more than you can imagine. Medication, mantras, and affirmations became a necessity. Searching the Internet on how to deal with your circumstance, visiting the self help isle of the bookstore, and seeking support from your best friend become your routine. The moment you rise up and find the courage to smile, the ball comes crashing down and once again, you find yourself

….tired.

You have to get your drive back. The drive to simply exist must be your first priority, then the healing can begin. Rise up against your own insecurities and judgments about yourself. Resist the urge to give in to the circumstances that threaten your survival. Wake up and call on the One who created you and meditate on His Word and purpose for your life. Take a deep breath and breathe in the peacefulness that comes with knowing you will be okay and that this too, as they say, will pass.

Walk In It

A model has a signature walk. Either one or both hands positioned just above her waist line or arms swinging opposite her steps, back straight and shoulders back.  Her eyes fixed on a target straight ahead, placing one foot in front of the other, while at the same time displaying an heir of remarkable confidence. Walking a smooth, straight line down the runway, only to get to the end, pose for a photo, pivot and glide back to her starting point. All this, without as much as a flinch.

What lies beneath the model’s exterior; nervousness, insecurities, anxieties? Grace and elegance shield the uncanny thought that a lack of confidence even exists beyond what we see on stage. Certainly fear has arisen at some point in time during her career. Maybe even the remnant of self-esteem issues, or possibly a lack of confidence in her performance.

Could it be possible that she is unsure of herself, taking on the runway in front a crowd of hundreds, thousands even? Had she experienced days when she just did not want to do it? Had she ever thought of herself as less than, not as experienced nor as valuable as the next model? Maybe so, but when she walked the runway, could you tell?

In order to walk in the greatness that is you, you have to set some precedence in your life:

  • Commune with God
  • Know who you are and embrace the beauty that is you
  • Define who you are before someone does it for you
  • Believe within yourself that you are valuable
  • Have faith that you can accomplish anything you desire
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Be reminded of your achievements daily
  • Count your blessings morning, noon, and night
  • Strive to be excellent at everything you do
  • Remove yourself from negativity
  • Make your own choices
  • Do what you love and participate in what brings you joy
  • Create your own sanctuary of peace
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Engage in relationships that add to your life

You must be believable to yourself first before anyone else will take you seriously. Walk in it! When you enter a room, hold your head up, shoulders back, and walk with a purpose. Show your confidence with each step. Regardless of whose path you come across, keep your center and do not waver from who you are. Refuse to give in to the pressure or the notion that you have to be someone you are not. Remember you know who you are; no one needs to tell you.

Hold conversations allowing yourself to voice your opinion, without worry. Speak boldly and confidently knowing that you too have something to say. Your voice matters. Do not allow the judgment of others to become your truth but speak your own truth.

Make firm, concrete decisions. Do not waver in uncertainty but with careful forethought leaving nothing to chance. You decide: your present, your future, your life.

Find fulfillment in every aspect of your life. Live your life, live your creed. Walk in it!

Where Are You

There comes a time in our lives when we wonder if we are where we are supposed to be. We struggle with our circumstances, feeling that somewhere somehow along the way, we missed the boat. After an in depth analysis of our situation, we conclude that we have forfeited an opportunity to advance to the next stage of our lives. it is at this time that we move into gear seeking to catch up.

Along the journey, we move into the conductors role and begin to direct the symphony of our own lives. It doesn’t take us long to find out that the instruments are out of tune, the notes are flat, and the music arrangement is all wrong. What was once in God’s hands. we have now taken over. We realize the mistake early on, but refuse to let go of the reins.

As we sit in the director’s chair, we fail to realize that all of the decisions we make are actions are contrary to what we know to be true. We learn that there is a time for everything. There is also a designated moment in our lives when everything is designed to take place. No matter how hard we try to move things along, we will not reach that mark until it is our time.

It is a difficult tasks to find happiness where you are if you feel that you are supposed to be further along in your life. Often times we seek so much more, but we learn that finding peace and joy where you are is where you will find your reward. Yes, sometimes you may feel that you have stopped short of your destiny, but rest assured that when your time comes. you will know it.

Instead of focusing on where you think you should be in your life, find joy where you are. Life is too short and you cannot afford to have precious moments pass you by because you are constantly searching for something else. Yes, faith without works is dead and you must press on if you plan to accomplish what you set out to do. But know that sometimes there may be a pause in the plan. It is at this time that you must remain faithful, grateful, and watchful for your next move.

TEACH

Malloy turned off her alarm. It was 5:30 a.m. and she had much to do in a short amount of time. After her daily devotion, she dressed and prepared breakfast for her children. At that moment a flood of thoughts crowded her mind. “Do I have enough copies of that worksheet for every student? What time am I supposed to take my students to the auditorium this morning? When will I find time to call that parent back?”

Back to the task at hand, Malloy gathered her thoughts and awoke her own children to prepare them for school. Her chatty little girl began asking questions one after another as soon as her eyes opened. Her son, who was older, just grunted and lagged behind as the clock ticked.

Before she knew it, time had passed. Walking briskly through the house, Malloy rattled off things she needed to take to the car: “…lunch, laptop, revised lesson plans, textbook, school bag, purse…” Is that it? Mallory had hoped so as she would now just have enough time to drop her daughter off at daycare, her son off at school and get to her own school before the clock in time of 7:45 a.m.

Driving down the freeway, Malloy managed to answer her daughter’s continued barrage of questions, pull information from her son about the due date of his Science Fair Project, while at the same time entertaining more thoughts of the lesson she would teach to her students today. She would be introducing a new skill and wanted to make sure that all of her students grasped the concept.

After hugs and kisses to her children, a promise to take them out for pizza tonight, and a quick trip down the road, Malloy arrived at 7:44 a.m. Inside of her classroom, she had 30 minutes to prepare her room for her first period class. Closing her door and sitting her things down, Malloy started her routine. She sat at her desk and prayed silently for the success of the day. It was her honest intent that each child would learn something each day and that they would leave her classroom not having wasted a second of their time. Malloy valued the education of her students just as much as she did for her own children and held the same set of high expectations.

The day passed quickly as they always did. Malloy worked hard to be excellent at what she felt she was called to do. From the morning tardy bell, to lunch, to standing outside on duty as her students got on the bus, Malloy did not waver though tired as she was. Despite the obstacles, interruptions, and setbacks during the day, Malloy managed to get through much of her lesson and set the precedence for the following day.

Back in her classroom, Malloy sat in her chair, took a deep breath and reflected on her day. She had to admit that she became a bit frustrated as she worked to adapt to the unexpected changes in the school day.

  • The announcements were late and interrupted her instruction, but witnessing the joy in the room when students heard their names called out for honor roll made it all worth it.
  • While teaching, Malloy learned she was 10 copies short of a worksheet but used the opportunity for students to collaborate instead of work independently.
  • The Drug Free Assembly ran longer than expected, but since the community surrounding the school has a known drug problem, it was necessary for the students to attend.
  • Despite her efforts to incorporate additional activities, a few of Malloy’s students struggled with the lesson so she would have to go back to the drawing board as it was unacceptable for her to leave any student behind.

As long as she had been teaching, the plans she had worked so hard to create from week to week had always fizzled in some way, forcing her to regroup without so much as a blink. Perhaps that was one of the little known gifts of a teacher. Malloy had learned long ago that the ability to switch gears without missing a step is a characteristic that is as much a necessity as knowing the content which you teach.

All in all, this was one of her better days.  As always, in spite of the challenges, Malloy’s heart was filled as she worked within her true passion of teaching. After attending a lesson planning meeting, reserving the computer lab for a future lesson, checking out a few books from the library, and conferencing with a parent, she returned to her room to prepare for the next day.

Malloy had just under 45 minutes before she needed to pick up her own children. As a result of her late hours at the school, Malloy decided to take them out for pizza to spend some quality, uninterrupted time with them. Together they would plan something special for the weekend. She never wanted her own children to feel neglected.

Soft music filled her classroom as she did the following to prepare for the next day:

  1. Placed materials on each desk which students would need the following day
  2. Erased her board and wrote the items that would guide the next day’s instruction
  3. Reviewed her lesson plans
  4. Brought out the manipulatives that she would use to help her struggling students grasp the concept
  5. Put together a task sheet for the teacher assistant that would be helping her the next day.
  6. Responded to a couple of emails from administration
  7. Signed up for a training session recommended by her department chair
  8. Posted student work samples in the hallway

Finally, after pilling all of her things in her teacher bag, Malloy stood at the door facing the 30 desks that filled her classroom. She would return again the next day to pour into the lives of her students. She knew it was not only her responsibility, but her sincere calling to help instill hope into their lives. Some students are hopeful for a successful future but not all students believe that they can accomplish anything and many feel that their options are few.

Malloy wiped away a tear that had fallen as she thought of the fragile lives that God had entrusted her with, if only for a school day. At that moment, regardless of the many daily challenges that she may face within the school building, she would not let frustration set in and destroy her passion for the profession. She resigned within herself that she would remain vigilant and continue the course, honoring her promise made long ago, to listen to her heart’s desire which had always been compelled to TEACH.

Find Your Inspiration

I have always had a desire to inspire people through my words, my work, and my writing.  With the creation of this blog, it is my hope that I can somehow have a positive and profound impact on the lives of my readers. Here, you will find a cup of inspiration that just may get you through a challenging time and help to lift you up. Through this blog, I will share content about what has inspired me to improve the quality of my life. Topics will be geared towards self-empowerment for women through various avenues. It is my sincere hope that with the emergence of this blog, I will have inspired someone to live their life purposely and with great pride and respect for who they were created to be. Feel free to browse previous posts and follow me on this journey to personal freedom. 

Take Your Power Back

Building on your strengths is often difficult when aspiring to accomplish your goals. Sometimes, regardless of how much you believe in yourself, the road to success proves to be more difficult to maneuver than you anticipated. Rest assured that you can make a change because it is not the road that is the problem, but how you choose to travel. You must learn to be your biggest supporter, or you just may find it seemingly impossible to achieve success.

Often times, we allow others to dictate who we are, what we will become, and what we will accomplish. In many cases, these opinions come from a preconceived notion about our talents, skills, and abilities. It is decided for us what we are capable of and where our shortcomings lie. Without so much as a thought, we allow these opinions to become the guiding principles by which we live.

Deep down in the core of your being, you know who you are and may be in tune with who you are to become. But when you give others the power to decide the quality of your life, you become confined within those limitations leaving your goals, dreams, and aspirations a distant memory. Inevitably, we hide behind a wall of disappointment and failure.

Who are you outside of what people think about you? How focused are you on the public opinion of you? Do you value your opinion of yourself as much as you value the opinion of others? If your complete focus is on how people perceive you, it is time to change your mindset. YOU should be your worst critic and at the same time your biggest cheerleader. You absolutely cannot be that for yourself if you allow others to taint your view of how you see yourself.

People will always have an opinion, as they should. Whether or not those opinions lift you up or put you down is ultimately up to you. When you find yourself surrounded by people who see only the negative, it becomes a challenge to navigate your way through harsh criticisms and constant judgment. Knowing who you are deep down inside gives you a leg to stand on in the presence of opposition.

  • What characteristics define who you are?
  • What are your most important values?
  • What are your goals and aspirations?

Remember that what God has created in you is who you are. Be true to that because that’s the only way you can successfully live in this world. We are each created in His image with qualities and characteristics of our own that may very well separate us from others. It is our charge to own those qualities and become who God created us to be.

You must always keep in mind who you are and walk in that daily. The opinions and actions of people as well as life circumstances should not block who you are meant to be. Give nothing or no one the power over your existence that can take away from the beauty that God has created in you. Your actions, attitude, and beliefs about yourself should reflect how you desire to live your life. This must be exhibited in every area of your life every day.

Resist being a pawn in the chess game of your own life, willingly allowing others to manipulate your every move. Many of us have lived this way for so long that it seems unthinkable to begin to experience life in a different way. Anger, resentment, self-pity, and our unwillingness to forgive settle in our hearts causing us to walk through our lives living in doubt of a better day. As a result, we fail to experience the beauty that life has to offer

So how do you block out those things that cause you to remain in the shadows of what you could have been or what you should have done? It is incredibly important to broaden your perspective on people and the circumstances that make up your life experiences. You must come to the realization that the only person you can change is you. It is also important to know that while people voice their concerns about situations concerning you, it is ultimately up to you as to how you allow it to affect your life. Regardless of what comes your way, be reminded of who you are, stay focused on where you are going, and resist the power of public opinion that aims to pull you away from the road which you travel.

Praise and Criticism

How awesome it is to hear the approval of the ones close to you? To hear their excitement in something that you have accomplished fuels your own eagerness to press on towards accomplishing that much more. Praise, you may say, encourages you to be more; to do more. You see, with praise, you are aware that someone sees you. You can acknowledge that somebody out there, whether near or far, has noticed your efforts and are thereby extending recognition of that to you. Praise may bring a smile to our faces, a celebration of what we’ve done, and nothing short of satisfaction to our hearts. Could it be possible that with each task we take on and every goal we accomplish we could exist more profoundly in the world through the essence of what praise truly is? Many of us are lucky enough to have those close to us that sit proudly in the corners of our lives extending praise as we accomplishment our life assignments. But is praise the basis of momentum that propels one to greatness?

Criticism, on the other hand, hovers over you like a dark cloud. A constant, daunting reminder of where you fall short and the inconsistencies in life that you possess, can bring a feeling of unworthiness upon you. The words of others, though constructive as they may be, don’t always land in the positive realm of our consciousness, often stifling our efforts to do more; to be more. Criticism, some may argue, is an aid to our efforts to exist wholly and completely in this life. By embracing the poignant words of others can motivate us to reach further and become who we have not been. This statement indeed holds validation but only if the words spoken by another can promote the personal growth of an individual, instead of seeking to tear down walls of hope in the spirit.

I challenge you to look at both praise and criticism closely. While one may reign in optimism, the other, some believe takes its root in the harsh reality of negativity. It is important to note that it is not the act or words of praise or criticism, but the limits that these words spoken by others places on one’s life. At various times in your life, it is good practice to reflect on your own circumstances. Whether a business venture, a relationship, or a specific choice you have made in your life, you should be will to evaluate your decision which may cause you to be critical of your own actions. The power in this is the realization of your own mistakes, digging deep enough to find your strength, then becoming motivated to move past it and do better. What about praise, you may be asking. Hearing praise from those who support you is powerful but praising yourself  is empowering. When you praise yourself, you cease to wait for others to notice your talents and your gifts. You are your own cheerleader and that alone can be life changing.

I encourage you to critique your life choices while at the same time praising your accomplishments. As you find fault within yourself causing you to stumble; stop, evaluate how you got there being totally honest with yourself; then, pick up the pieces, make a new plan and move forward. Don’t allow people to dictate your being in this world or your ability to achieve greatness. As you move on to prosperity, acknowledge your success, live in it, celebrate the gifts in you, use them not only for the benefit of yourself, but for that others. Celebrate your own value and worth even amidst the downfalls in your life. Remember where you used to be and how much you’ve grown in the process of life. Praise your own efforts to start a new day with a new vision for your future.

Refuse to allow yourself to become ensnared in the criticism or praise of people. You may find yourself centering your life around the approval of others. You may limit your successes as you wait for someone to recognize your achievements. Your life is not their life and the visions and dreams you hold inside are not theirs. They have their own and you have yours. You must embrace your own passion for life without looking for others to validate you with praise or deter you with criticism. In life there will be people that will come along to discourage you with criticism but let that not be a reason to stray from the path that you are to travel. Life will also bring about circumstances and people that will enhance the quality of your life, helping you to grow tremendously. But it is allowing the spirit of God in you that induces the praise and silences the criticisms in your life that is at the helm of your destiny.