Sometimes we are jealous of someone else’s outcomes but not disciplined to go through the process they went through to get there. That tinge of jealousy sheds light on an honest, irritating truth you are forced to acknowledge about yourself – you haven’t used your gifts or been disciplined enough to follow through. The root is not jealousy, it’s frustration with yourself. Take the time to do the work on you and you’ll find you can celebrate someone else.
What keeps you from greatness? Do you think that if you’re sad enough, timid enough, self-sabotaging enough that you’ll make up for past mistakes? Nope it won’t but it will hold you back from living. Most importantly – who told you that you had to serve a life sentence for your mistakes? Outside of a physical prison how dare you keep yourself held down to somehow make up for what you or others have said about you? Break free today- IT’S OK!!! You don’t owe anyone misery any longer!!
Over ten years ago, I sat in my office and I realized that I was absolutely tired of the work I was doing. I decided that I needed to make a change. I was living in Detroit when I got the opportunity to relocate for a job. I was surrounded by a lot of family and, unfortunately, the new position would require me to move away to a city in which I knew no one. It was unsettling and terrifying, but I knew I had been given this opportunity to grow; I’d seen and done all I could where I was. So, I packed up and moved. Little did I know, my decision would propel me into a cross-country trail of opportunities and produce so many wonderful experiences. Life is not static. Often times, the familiar keeps you so comfortable that it does not force you to grow and develop new skills, or to see life from a different perspective. Your assignment and purpose may require you to move to another state, take another job, get a degree, and be uncomfortable, but the short-term discomfort will produce gains in your life not just for you, but for others that are attached to you. Don’t settle for the familiar – your blessings may require you to reach beyond what’s currently around you.
I recall that for a while, I really struggled with believing that I deserved love – I had told myself that because of what I’d experienced that the realities of pure, true love would be impossible. Some of you are the same way, you replay the images of being on the losing side, because you’ve lost for so long. It’s hard for you to even imagine receiving something good. In some cases, a good thing has come along but you challenged it and downright rejected it, because it was too good to be true. You minimized its value or made it so dysfunctional because that’s the only way you know how to react. For others, you’ve repeated the same bad decisions – gravitating towards negativity, toxic, and unproductive relationships. Why? Because to receive something good means you’ll have to accept a truth that you’ve struggled with for so long – that YOU ARE REALLY WORTH GOOD THINGS. There is a recorder in your heart and mind that needs to be erased and replaced with positive truths of God’s love for you. Not religion- I’m talking about your Heavenly father’s love for you, like a loving father would want for His daughter. That might be a difficult concept to grasp because you haven’t experienced a loving father here on earth, but trust that God does love you even if your earthly father hasn’t. Take the time to pray, talk to God about your experiences, the pain and hurt and allow him to engulf them, and replace them with his warm, powerful love. He has a beautiful, radiant life for you – and it starts with you believing that you are worth every good thing that comes your way. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you…they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” You are a daughter of a loving Father who wants good things for you.
Do you have the ability to respond with a “Loving No?” Comment below if you struggle with this. The Loving No is that safe space I like to create around me so that I don’t overextend myself emotionally, physically, or financially. We all have, or have had, people ask things of us that we really can’t or shouldn’t do but because we desire to keep the relationship in tact, we do it anyway. The Loving No allows you to say no not because you don’t want to help others – in fact you’re saying no because you want them to grow and that will never happen if you bail them out all the time. The Loving No allows you to focus on the important tasks you’ve set for yourself to accomplish, so when someone really needs you, you will have enough energy, resources in reserve to be able to effectively help them. Doing it any other way will burn you out over time
Procrastination is often a fear of failing or committing to something we are worried we can’t sustain. This fear will keep peace from you, almost like unfinished business, or it will put you to sleep and things will happen around you, but not for you. Either way, you’re stuck and the things you truly desire will not materialize. You have to wake up and get moving if you are to experience the good things in this life. It will not be easy, so it may be tempting to stop, take a break, or give up altogether, but realize that the greatest things in this life that you can experience come from doing that which you are passionate about and purposed to do. I remember listening to a female executive speak at one of the companies I worked for. She mentioned that before working for the company, she had the desire to go back to school and complete her degree, but she felt she was too old and too busy to finish her education. She told her friend the reasons for procrastinating and her friend said, “well you’re going go to get old anyway, you might as well be old and accomplished.” It’s the same thing for us. Sure, it may be hard to do, but remember that you’re going to have difficulties in life anyway- it might as well be for doing things that you truly desire to do. If you fail, you’ve actually tried, but if you don’t try, you’ve already failed and you’ll never know what could have been. That’s a frightening thought – what if you could have actually been successful in that area? God doesn’t give us reckless dreams. He gives us dreams for a reason, and it’s to motivate us towards our purpose. He will provide exactly what you need to get started.
In my early teen years, I remember when I didn’t think life was worth living anymore. I was aching and I didn’t know how to express the depth of the pain. I contemplated what life would be like if I just ended it.
I grew up in church – in fact, I was at church just about every day of the week (seriously). Yet, I struggled to understand why the great God that I was taught about would allow me to experience so much pain. One day, after crying for days and weeks, I said, “God I know about what my mom and grandmother talk about. I hear what they say in church about you, but if you’re really real, prove yourself to me.” It didn’t happen overnight, but one day I went to church and asked for prayer. During that moment, what felt like the warmest, loving hands came upon me, and at the moment I knew God was in fact real. In that moment, the weight of the pain lifted and I sobbed for what must’ve been an hour at the front of the church. No one knew why I was crying but I did – I had just experienced the touch of my loving, heavenly Father.
He alone has the ability to heal our brokenness in a way no one else can, and He can be trusted to never reject us, shame us, or belittle us for what you’ve been through or what we’ve done. In fact, He loves to respond to our hurts and pain – Psalms 147:3 says that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” When you cry out to God, He will answer. He will answer in ways you cannot anticipate, but they will be real and life-changing.
Desire for acceptance led me to do some really compromising things in my life. I thought that if I didn’t do something, they wouldn’t like me, love me, associate with me, call me, date me – the list goes on and on. One thing you should establish in your life is – whose acceptance do you want? Do you want to be accepted by people that only want to be around you when you agree to what they want, or do you want to be accepted by people that allow you to be you and respect you, your boundaries, your goals and your dreams? Realize that some people are only okay with you as long as you say “Yes.” Make sure those aren’t the people in your life. A person that respects you for you will be okay when you say no. Some of the biggest regrets can come from doing things just to be accepted, and sometimes the effects of those decisions cannot be reversed. When you’re happy with yourself, you won’t rely so much on others’ acceptance of you. The contentment you’ll have inside will give you the peace you need.