There is a song by Wale that I heard entitled "Matrimony" that resonated with me. The beginning of the song starts with a monologue from Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld likens getting married to a ride on a roller coaster, the first hill of the roller coaster is the engagement and the wedding is at the top by then you're just screaming. Wale thens says, "Even if you make plans you never think you're really ready for marriage?" Seinfield replies, "No it's like any growth. You can't prepare for growth. You're gonna have a new life be a new person. Wale then says that "he is in his late 20s, and had never been to a wedding." That really struck me but it was not surprising that we have a generation of young adults that have never witnessed two people joined in matrimony.
In this generation, marriage isn’t very popular, it's become a negative term in this culture and society. We no longer look at marriage with anticipation and joy, but with fear or we don't look for it at all. People are scared that if they get married then there is the possibility of getting divorced, there will be no happiness or that it will not be fulfilling. I should feel that way considering my parents were married for over 20 years and divorced when I was eighteen. Surviving my parents divorce and being married 14 years this month; 24 years in a relationship I must say that I have seen my fair share of good, bad and real ugly in marriages and relationships. Matrimony has its good times as well as its bad. And it is not easy to stay married during difficult times especially in our society. I know without a doubt the only way we have survived the ebbs and flows of this journey called marriage is because we have a third person in this marriage with us, God.
"And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12
No, marriage does not guarantee a lifelong relationship, but neither does any relationship. Marriage was designed to be a lifelong relationship, a commitment and a covenant. The only reason it is not is because we have made it that way. We too often look for any easy way out. If we feel unhappy, we just leave. If we feel unfulfilled, then leave. If your spouse makes you mad, you just leave. We live in a fast-food society. We want things easy and we want it now. No way we want to do anything that requires effort. We go into marriage thinking that we will have the perfect little marriage and the perfect little family in the cookie-cutter house and we will never argue and get angry. Wrong! We need to know what we are actually agreeing to. We are agreeing to stay with our spouse when things are the worst they have ever been, even when they make you angry, call you names and say hurtful things that damage your feelings. Marriage is not a continuous date. You now get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know first-hand the dangers of weak commitment in marriage. After Monte and I were newly married, we would throw the big "D" and "S" word out as we dealt with choices and decisions that threatened the covenant of my marriage. We have been very transparent about the stumbling blocks we have encountered. We decided early on if we wanted to be married, divorce and separation was not an option and we are forced to work things out.
And working it out has not been an easy road. After the beautiful wedding, I have had two major surgeries to battle issues with my fertility since we have been together, losing two grandfathers, a father and an aunt in the span of four years and in between all of this there were job losses which brought on money problems, confusion, miscommunication and interference from unwanted life situations. But through it all I have had to remember that I love him and I vowed to sustain through all of the good and bad times. And I had to learn to lean on the third cord who is God. I really don't know how in the world people do it without God though. He has become the center of our home, and in those days that we could really could hurt each other Christ who is the umpire brings a peace and makes us see each other through His eyes.
Hence, the key to surviving is seeing marriage and each other through God's eyes, hearing each other with God's ears, lifting each other with God's hands, encouraging each other with God's Words, and loving each other with God's heart. Marriage is about choosing each day, each minute, to honor God with our words and actions, and in turn, we honor our spouses. Marriage was created by God for our good, for the good of our society, and for His plan to be fulfilled. It’s about companionship, pleasure, responsibility, commitment, romance, raising the next generation—the whole package. It’s the most difficult and yet the most fulfilling relationship we experience during our time on earth. And that’s why it’s worth fighting for.
So, this month as we celebrate 14 years of marriage I pray for troubled marriages or just marriages in general. I pray that God will bring restoration and healing. I pray that marriages are strengthened. I pray that fulfillment and joy flows abundantly. I speak life and death to the issues now affecting the restoration of marriages, and I declare a release of the awesome power of God to restore strengthen and heal marriages to #StayTogether.
If this thought has been profitable to you, please share with your friends and family. Like or click the social share button or leave a comment in the box below for Pastor Yolanda.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14a
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? God’s child?
Do you feel like a failure? Are you too hard on yourself?
Self-hate, rejection, and an inability to accept oneself as special and unique prevents us from becoming what God has planned for our lives.
We all need grace to see something different.
We are made in the image of a great God and it is time to treat yourself better. The Bible says to treat others as you treat yourself…but it starts by treating yourself well! Do something today to remind yourself that you really are fearfully and wonderfully made. I know it can be hard sometimes to feel fearfully and wonderfully made when you are constantly battling the hate, rejection and downright mean things that this world serves up daily. I personally know that the feeling of rejection will have you doubting just how fearfully and wonderfully you are made. To push past those feelings I had to learn to affirm and encourage myself just as King David did when he had half of the kingdom of Israel turn on him when his former mentor and friend King Saul waged war against him.
King David had lost everything. He was feeling mighty low. David was a very discouraged man as he pens the psalms. Life is falling apart around him and in verse 6 in the Book of Samuel it says, "…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." He had to affirm himself in His Father's Words.
This has been key to me remaining focused on the vision, I had to learn to affirm the beauty of who Christ made me to be and affirm the joy I feel knowing that He made me this fearless, unique free thinker who isn't afraid to be the real authentic transparent being who truly loves God, His Word and His people.
Here’s a test….The next time you tell yourself that you’re no good, a failure; unlovable—all lies from the devil—ask yourself this one question. “Would I judge a good friend in this way?” If the answer is “no,” you are not being fair to yourself.
Jesus described God’s loving concern for you, explaining that, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” He added that because God cares even for small birds—“not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will”—imagine how much more He cares for you (Matthew 10:29-31). This is my favorite passage of scripture. It is such an amazing reminder that He loves you!
Yes—you!! Remember, you are His child. He is waiting for you to come close to Him so that He can remind you just how fearfully and wonderful you are.
HOW WILL YOU TREAT YOURSELF FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE SELF? JOIN THE CONVERSATION, COMMENT BELOW AND THEN SHARE TO INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE SOMEONE!
I have done quite a bit of work in the last two years to create an environment that is conducive for happiness, peace and healing to flow. It first started with me being conscious of what I consume in my natural physical body which meant adapting a new eating lifestyle along with some other things, and then I made some environmental changes. I discovered that the body is a powerful self-healing organism. It has the ability to heal itself, but we must create an environment that it can heal. That's why I don't allow myself to be exposed to just any energy as I bring healing to my body. I found that I had to do better controlling my environment to bring good health and wholeness to my temple. And the application of ALL the information has worked. I see it in the stability in my emotions as I don't deal with the up and down emotions of PMS anymore. I see it in the level of energy that I have to do all the tasks that I have been assigned to do my Kingdom work. I see it in the level of clarity I have about my life and its meaning. I experience it each day I wake up having a sense of confidence about exactly why I am here and what I am supposed to be doing. This is just a few of the benefits of this new lifestyle. I have never felt so sure about me and my relationship with my Higher Source than I do now. It important that I make clear that EVERYTHING in my life IS NOT PERFECT. I still have problems, concerns and petitions on the altar that I am waiting to be answered just like the next person. But because of the high vibration of energy flowing through my mind, my soul, my joints and my marrow due to the transformation that's taking place inward those low-level thoughts that come with an imperfect life do not form and its almost without thought I vibrate to higher thoughts. Those high thoughts take precedence and they tell me that my Father is able to transform that negative energy into something good for me and something GLORIFIED form Him! So really “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn His decrees." (Psalm 119:71)
Our thoughts and ideas build our conscious mind. They influence our subconscious mind and stir emotions; our emotions are then expressed with and through the body. The body is then moved into action which produces results. We then experience what Job stated in The Book of Job, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” (3:25) This happens in the most convenient and appropriate forms available. That energy flows in. Plants itself in our heart, then takes hold of our subconscious mind, our conscious mind gives it an image and then it manifests in our world. That’s why I am diligent about doing what Proverbs 4:23–26 instructs, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways."
In every circumstance in life, we have a choice to choose a path of perspective. If everything brought to you or you encounter you see the negative and inferior you are vibrating in a low place. It’s easy to vibrate low. Our environment and society feed these low places. However we can make a choice to vibrate higher, above the bad, trusting God’s ability to handle any situation. Complaining, pointing out the wrong, always noticing the bad, always making excuses as to why you cant do things out of your norm or try new things means you are permitting your mind to dwell upon the inferior. And what we focus our energy on and surround ourselves with we become. On the other hand, to fix your attention on the best, surround yourself with the best you become the best. That’s why I have become diligent in keeping toxic, negative, accusing, unsupportive, complaining, limited vision, small minded spirits away from me as I usher healing into my body and wholeness to my life! Optimistic, resolute, flexible, peaceful, pure, and pleasant is the type of energy that I want in my personal space as it is conducive for the good growth period I am currently experiencing.
Many of us are in hard, difficult, overwhelming, seemingly hopeless places in our lives but it’s up to you to harness the energy to bring transformation and growth or you can fell prey to the negativity, go backwards and never learn. We ALL have been giving the ability to turn the negative it into whatever form we desire. I suggest you transmute it into good which in turn will transform things within you, subsequently shaping your mind, allowing Him to work new beginnings and shifting things for the better in your life. I am a LIVING WITNESS that keeping the negative out and transmuting higher will bring NEW GLORY AND NEW LIFE!
HOW CAN YOU TRANSFORM THE NEGATIVE INTO POSITIVE? COMMENT BELOW AND THEN SHARE TO INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE SOMEONE!
“I just want to be HAPPY.”
How many times have you said that to yourself? How many times have you heard someone say this? Humanity has been on a quest for happiness since the beginning of time. We’re always looking for it, whether we know we are, want to admit to it or not. We don’t have to be told to seek the things that gives us pleasure, we just naturally, innately, instinctively want to be happy. Consequently, we chase down happiness with everything within us. But is happiness something you chase?
The state of being happy is defined according to the Wester’s Dictionary as “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment, being satisfied with the quality or standard of….” Many of us seek to be happy in material things, friends, our children, spouses and other relationships. We seek to be happy having sex, doing drugs, eating or drinking our favorite drink. Some of us even think we can be happy gossiping, nagging or being shady. But we soon find that none of these things make us happy. This past weekend I ministered a teaching at my mother’s church, Wake Up. Grow Up, and in this message, I was lead to serve a teaching for those feasting at the table to not look for happiness outside of themselves as happiness is an inside job.
So How Exactly Do We Find our Happy?
This is something that I have had to recently relearn. I am generally a happy and joyful person, but as I have shared I have experienced some serious disappointments in recent months that have had me looking through cloudy glasses that could not see the rose color or the glass half full in the situations. I was forced to look through different glasses to know that One who created all things, rules all things and planned this strange ironic reality and I must make a choice to be happy despite what I see or feel — as He desires for me to be happy and I had to make a choice to be happy.
Our state of happiness is contingent upon our external circumstances. Happiness is based upon what’s happening in our lives and what happens in this life is certainly not always happy. We deal with so many pressures, disappointment, sadness and grief, it can be difficult to find our happy place. It’s important to note that joy is not the same thing as happiness because happiness is based upon happenings and happenings are temporary, but the joy of the Lord endures forever, even in hardships in this life. That’s why you must know that being happy is a choice.
Maybe you’re skeptical that He wants you to be happy because you have had so many not so happy moments, or there have been teachings that have persuaded your thinking that you will not discover happiness in this life, Well, I am going to challenge your thinking and what you have heard. I believe that God made pleasure and the feeling of being satisfied and He made them because He actually wants us to be happy.
The Hebrew word in the Old Testament for happy is “esher”, the Greek word in the New Testament is “Makarios”. Both of these words are also translated “blessed.” The person who feels blessed is happy. “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Ps 144:15) In this scripture David penned a happy Psalm about the God who delivered him from the sword of his enemy who was once his friend. And in this midst of the disappointment of a friend becoming a foe, David rejoiced over the fact that his happiness was not contingent upon his external situation, but it was solely based on his relationship with His God; which was unwavering and eternal and not based on circumstances and people which come and go. His happiness was a decision and the result of a decision.
We frequently make the error of thinking that happiness is related to our circumstances. We think if our circumstances get better, we will be happy. Happiness has absolutely nothing to do with circumstances. Happiness is a decision and the result of a decision to not live under those circumstances and to not let those circumstances change us. This is the secret to Happiness. The Scriptures lets us know that we are to live happy regardless of the circumstances that’s our inheritance as Believers; to be happy always. (Deuteronomy 33:29)
So, if you want to be happy, change your perspective. Make a decision to be happy not because of “stuff,” “people,” and “relationships” but like most good things that gives us pleasure you are content and dependent on your relationship with God.
HE MAKES YOU HAPPY!
Listen to the "Wake up. Grow up teaching here.
WHAT WILL YOU DO TO FIND YOUR HAPPLY PLACE? COMMENT BELOW AND THEN SHARE TO INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE SOMEONE!
“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become…habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.”- Margaret Thatcher
This quote has always spoke volumes to me because our words have so such an effect on our lives. The world, the entire universe was formed at God's command, and what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. (Hebrews 11:3) He literally spoke nothing into something. This past weekend in The Sanctuary I taught on the power of the pen in this month on our Father's calendar and it led me to think on the power of words and how my own words, written and spoken has framed our world. Words: we speak them, read them, write them, and sing them. They are our main conduit of communication. But, my goal was to determine how words frame my world.
Many days I have to put my thought life into check because I know that my thoughts do become my words, then my actions which eventually become my world. I battle my thoughts and I have to make a conscious effort to captive of thoughts that are designed to keep me from living less than my most abundant life. I know people think that because of what I do that I don’t battle against very human issues like anyone else. #RealTalk Tasked with my destiny assignments coupled with the constant opposition and warfare I encounter to walk in my ordained destiny discouraging, disrespectful and dispiriting words creep into my cranium, heart and mouth. And I know enough to know that there is a strong connection between our heart, what we say and how we live.
How do you think? When times are tough, do you believe there isn’t enough to go around? Or, are you more prone to trust that there’s plenty? Most of us are a combination of the two. Sometimes we believe there is enough to go around, and sometimes we fear there isn’t. Often, the things that matter most to us are the items that fall into what’s called, scarcity thinking, such as the job we've been working toward for years or the man we've been searching for just as long. The fear that we'll miss out creates an urgency that clouds our thinking and leads us into discouragement, depression or we make poor choices. That's why it’s imperative that we know more of our Father's thoughts and words than our own, because
For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 1 Peter 3:10 (NIV)
We are able to pull inspiration from the Words of the Most High and use it to frame our world – especially through the words we use we experience that #SuperlativeLife! Abundance thinking helps us keep life in balance. Instead of thinking if not now, you think not now later in His perfect timing. Instead of thinking, if I pass on this opportunity, it may never come again, you think if the opportunity doesn’t come again, He has something better and greater. Gods desire is for you is to not just believe in Him, but for you to believe His Words and His Thoughts – that He will provide whatever you need to get through whatever you must and provide every resource to get it done. His has already spoken and told us that He has a good and perfect plan for us and He desires to shift us out of whatever has been holding us back from experiencing His exceedingly abundant plans. It's clear that changing our spiritual climate with our words sets the stage for a shift in spiritual seasons. This means we must do our part to position ourselves for the shift. I know personally for me this month I intend on being very intentional with my words. I intend to use my words to frame the climate to cause the epic to happen.
He is interested in our creativity and how we can use our ability to “speak a thing” to create a spiritual climate that is conducive for Him to move in our lives. When we change our climate, it will lead to a suddenly, an unexpected, a make haste marked by a manifesting abruptness brought about in a short time. Are you expecting and positioning for your season of abundance? I challenge you today to take your pen and write three statements of abundance that align with our Father’s Words and then speak them over your life! I can guarantee you they will not return to you void!
HOW WILL YOU USE WORDS TO FRAME YOUR WORLD? JOIN THE CONVERSATION, COMMENT BELOW AND THEN SHARE TO INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE SOMEONE!
Yes, that's how close it is to say something that you will regret later when you are angry. When you are angry you are liable to say and do anything. How do I know this? Anger was my Achilles heels. Anger is an emotion common to all people and it was very common for me. Now I was not one to walk around angry and mad all the time. But when you pushed me past my limits the person you knew as a ray of sunshine turned into a raging bull with red in her eyes. I was possessed with an anger that was not going to go away until any and everyone in my path was hurting like I was. When I became angry I had no filter. I would read you for filth and no topic or person was off limits. And I was ready to fight if I said those fighting words. I went for blood; I wasn't going to stop until I tasted it. It was so apparent my father nicknamed me "Lil Mike Tyson." This anger was destructive and almost destroyed me. And we see this destruction with the increasing occurrence of road rage, office shootings, high school. club and concert killing sprees—in short, with the prevalence of violence in America today—the attention given to acting-out, out-of-control anger may never have been greater.
It was with the help of my Auntie, who was also my Pastor and the Spirit of God that I was able to take control of the spirit of anger. She constantly challenged me to be accountable to this destructive spirit and she lead me out of the wilderness that anger had me wandering in. It wasn't easy to gain victory and I am always on guard to prevent this spirit from rearing its ugly head. And as I write this transparent thought the enemy tried it again to cause me to turn into that fighting bull. I have been tested by a spirit of disrespect that would have made Yo-Yo show up to settle the score. But I made choice to not allow anger rule me anymore and to let the Spirit of God to settle some scores. Now that's not to say I wasn't hot as fish grease when faced with the pettiness and messiness of the disrespect. But instead of Yo-Yo moving furniture, now Pastor Yolanda who is accountable to the Spirit of God does not react and express my emotions in ways that spread the harm around. It's a natural reaction to get angry. It is simply an emotion, a God-given part of life as a human being. It's a natural reaction to threats or injuries, however left to fester and grow, anger can wreak havoc on a soul.
It important to be clear that anger in itself is not sin. Our Lord talks about a righteous anger which arises from the virtue of zeal, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit which often called “righteous indignation.” We find God gets angry (Psalm 7:11; Mark 3:5), and believers are commanded to be angry (Ephesians 4:26). There is also the positive value of anger that leads to the protection of others nor to self-defense. When we use our anger to motivate us to change something in our life, anger ends up being good and helpful. But anger for many people results in irritability, rage, wrath, stress, resentment, loss of confidence, depression and other negative behaviors. This type of anger is deadly.
That's why we can "be angry, but sin not." (Ephesians 4:26-32) But many people struggle to express their anger in a healthy manner. Some people hold their anger in and others are quick to explode in an outburst. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline, your rate of breathing increases and your body's muscles tense up. It is difficult to relax from an angry state quickly. The adrenaline-caused arousal that occurs during anger lasts a very long time sometimes hours or days. And this lowers the anger threshold, making it easier to get angry again later on. It takes a rather long time for the body to return to the resting state. No matter how we express it if we’re not in control of our anger it can get the best of us. That's why I had to work thru my own internal issues, commit fully and be open to the process of being delivered from the anger that caused me to rage and then ultimately be out of His will. I wanted to possess a righteous anger that caused me to advance His Kingdom not tear it down. If you ever want to understand your anger, you have to look this way (inward), because your anger is connected not just to events outside of you; your anger is connected to something going on inside of you. Ask yourself how do you generally respond when you are angry? Think of a time during the past week when you felt your emotions changing in the direction of impatience and anger. How does your anger shows itself. Irritation? Yelling or screaming? Explosions? Acts of fury on behalf of rescuing, defending or preserving someone else? Do you dwell on all the dark things that others have done? Do you think about destroying someone’s reputation because of what they did to you? Do you start off expressing right anger, but then it changes and becomes mean and destructive? You will never gain ground with your anger unless you get this. I had to get that I could not be the angry, cussing and fighting Pastor, that is NOT a good look. Furthermore, I personally have seen the effects that anger has on the physical body and that's why I have created conscious and unconscious processes to deal with my angry feeling which includes sometimes being silent or other times expressing them in an assertive, but non-aggressive, manner.
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle
We cannot control how others act or respond, but we can make the changes that need to be made on our part to not fell prey to the attack. Overcoming anger is not accomplished overnight. But through prayer, studying the Word, and reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit, ungodly anger can be overcome. We may have allowed anger to become entrenched in our lives by habitual practice, but we can also practice responding correctly until that, too, becomes a habit and God is glorified in our response. Lets not take for granted this teaching from Jesus. Today pray on releasing the anger so that you sin not and ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Presence so that there will not be any room for anger to make you so angry that you lose control.
If this thought has been profitable to you, please share with your friends and family. Like or click the social share button or leave a comment in the box below for Pastor Yolanda.
As I shared in my transparent thought last week I have been busy juggling many roles in life much like you reading my transparent thought. I am busy being a pastor, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a friend, a confidant, a visionary, a business owner, a grad student, an accountant, a web designer, a graphic artist, a teacher, a maid and a cook. This week I made a conscious decision to stop and take off my cape because my mind is tired. My body is tired. Yolanda is tired.
As I sat down to write this thought, I was apprehensive about sharing these words," I AM TIRED." Why? Because women, women in leadership and especially black women are not allowed to show this type of vunerability. We are taught that you must be the "strong black woman" thus you don't show your tiredness or exhaustion to the world as God is your strength. Women, particularly black women, are reared to believe that we are superwomen fueled by God. Our special attributes? We have the power and strength to take on the weight of the world and not fold; suppress emotions; the ability to resist being vulnerable or dependent; we succeed despite limited financial, emotional and physical resources and support; and we help others. All the while looking like we just stepped off of the cover of a magazine. The, “strong Black woman” narrative is both empowering and devastating. This warrior being everything to everybody, every day and every second of the day is draining and taxing to our souls, minds and bodies. But we determinedly push thru the natural to reveal the supernatural with a smile. The statement is true, God is our strength, however He also gives us His wisdom to know when our bodies are saying is time to take the cape off.
That is what I am doing in the next few weeks, taking off some capes. Although I am living my best life, feeling the most fulfilled and confident I have every felt in my life plus I am seeing the fruit of my labor in those the Father have ordained for me to pour into, I have been pushed physically, stretched intellectually and spiritually in addition to encountering some very disappointing and disrespectful situations in the past few months that caused me to just be TIRED! And in my Father's wisdom I have deemed it necessary for me to stop and sit at my Father’s feet to take stock of my spiritual, physical tank and empty my emotional tank of the emotions from all the matters that have me TIRED! I have found that without showing myself internal compassion and dedicated time for restoration, you can push yourself to the brink of insanity.
Every SUPERWOMAN needs SELF-CARE.
While we tend to our homes, vocations, play our positions and tend to the to do lists all the while attempting to defend our super naturalness "the silent killer" heart disease is creeping up. It is currently the number one cause of death for women in the U.S., with Black women being at greater risk for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, according to the American Heart Association. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) the chronic high pressure levels are leading to negative effects on our bodies, specifically the musculoskeletal, respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems. The not sleeping, worrying and disconnecting is affecting the female reproductive system and having a negative effect on babies in utero which is a contributing factor to the high number of preterm births and infant mortality rates. We develop behaviors such as emotional eating, smoking, and dysfunctional sleep patterns from generational hurt, trauma, cycles and pathologies. We can no longer afford to ignore how taxing this superwoman syndrome is on us and take the time to take the cape off to take care of self.
But that is the double edge sword from the superwoman syndrome, we do not slate time for self-care. Women, black women in particular, are so indoctrinated to push past healthy limits that we often do not know how to set essential and necessary boundaries that would protect us. We aren't encouraged to set them because then we would not be the noble, kind and polite woman who sacrifice for those we care for, instead we push past hurt, pain, disappointment, heartbreaks, exhaustion and depression to be the resilient superwoman holding down a house, a job sometimes two, while being a caretaker of family, friends and the pets all the while suffering silently. While there is beauty in giving yourself, at no point should we give so much of ourselves that we are depleted still showing up.
Another consequence of the superwoman syndrome, we allow and justify uninspiring and toxic relationships, habits, experiences and energy to take up spiritual space. We no longer can justify mistreatment, pain and suffering and our resiliency should not be defined by our ability to withstand an immense amount of pain and suffering without emotionally breaking. We have to eliminate every ideology that normalizes the idea that emotional stoicism is self-control. I've had several men tell me that I am "overly emotional" when I expressed sentiments after hurtful and disappointing situations; emotional expressiveness and being intuitive were devalued and associated with femininity and femaleness. So, to give the façade of being strong emotionally I erroneously learned to barricade my vulnerable side and refuse to be emotionally free. I learned very quickly that this was destructive to my health and well-being. When we do this, we block the ability to open up and experience emotions and feelings that were given to us by God as way to release and exchange with others in an enriching and constructive way. This mindset of suppressing legitimate emotions greatly impacts our health and influences health behaviors that lead to heart disease, anxiety, tumors and other womb related illnesses and other lifestyle related infirmities.
While it is a benefit to be strong and resilient in a society that is structured to work against you, it is important to take stock of our mental health, moreover, it’s important to embrace a lifestyle that makes your individual health and well-being a priority. In order for us to grow individually and advance corporately the Kingdom of God we must first recognize that taking care of your spirit, mind, soul and body make you better equipped to show up for those you love and serve. Remember Lazarus two sisters, Martha and Mary, Martha reminds me of the superwoaman who gets things done and cooks lip-smacking meals. In Luke 10:38-42 we read about her getting busy with preparations for guests, while Mary sat at the Lord's feet soaking in His words. When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary not helping her, he answered saying; “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” She chose what was good for her emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. There's nothing selfish about doing what's good for your well-being, as long as it's not at the expense of others. Here are few of my self-care tips that I apply to my own life.
Recognize that the S on your chest is not for superwoman or savior but for SELF-CARE.
If this thought has been profitable to you, please share with your friends and family. Like or click the social share button or leave a comment in the box below for Pastor Yolanda.
Living God’s dream for your life is not always lived on easy-street. I can attest to this. In the month of April, I traveled two consecutive weeks for ministry work and pleasure. I take pleasure in using my time for purposeful and fulfilling work, but the extensive traveling and ministering back to back took a toll on my body. I remember my aunt who was also my Pastor Barbara Brewton-Cameron saw this for my life 14 years ago, well before I was in ministry, and she spoke a very useful word into me, that it was necessary to take care of my health and body as I would be used very extensively for the Kingdom. And I as began to walk thru new doors of opportunities, I can say that I have been stretched to extend my gifts in a capacity that has made this prophecy so true. The fast pace left me weary from the strenuous workout of maintaining life as a wife, sister, daughter, aunt and friend, business owner and burdened from being a teacher and preacher yoked with an innovative assignment.
In fact, many of us feel the effects of our fast-paced lives. It takes a toll on our bodies as we extend, work and sometimes overextend ourselves trying to take care of our children, husbands, homes, ministry and work. Add to that the weight of finances, relatives, and everyday inconveniences, next thing you know you’re in your feelings and your emotions overwhelm you. Pouring from an empty vessel does harm to you and those around you. During these moments it’s easy to feel invisible. Under appreciated. And angry. You may even ask yourself as I did, “Does anyone appreciate what it takes for you to show up or to keep up and get everything done?!” In these moments its imperative that you understand how rest is essential to realize His dreams for you.
To fulfill the purposes of God for your life, you need rest! It’s the most important component of renewing your body and mind every day. However, to get rest, you need to have a restful spirit. King David wrote, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) God’s dream for your life happens when you are rested—in Him. That is what I have been doing. I have been resting in Him so that I can fully realize that “His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
Are you getting the recovery time you need physically? First, try resting in Him spiritually and you’ll find the safety needed for a good night’s rest.
When you give your weary and burdened heart to Him, He gives you rest for your soul. His gift is the kind of rest that will cure burnout and renew your enthusiasm for Him and strengthen you to meet your daily responsibilities and pursue your purpose with passion! While it may not help clean the house, it will keep you from turning up on someone! Rest!
This year has been filled for me with new doors of opportunity that have forced me out of my place of comfort. Just the first three months of 2018 I have fostered new relationships, developed new gifts, and opened the door to new experiences. And this is just the beginning, my Father has placed more on the agenda for 2018. This is the fulfillment of what I heard from my Father as I asked for direction for the new year of 2018, that this will be the year that we will experience new doors opening for those who have calibrated their agenda with God’s agenda. I often look at things from an additional perspective that includes not only the revelation of the Holy Spirit but the ways of God. So, if this year contain New Doors, then it is helpful to ask: What are the requirements to go from one door to the next? As I vision multiple new doors, therefore, we need to consider: To go through an open door, do you have to close some old doors first?
As I spent time with the Lord and followed the direction of the Holy Spirit this year there has been times that I had to do somethings I had never done. I have had to close some doors on relationships, severe some deep seeded soul ties; die to my desires and my wants to accomplish what God has purposed for me. I have had to come out of my tent of limitation and comfort to go through doors to realize the new, fresh and exciting things purposed for me.
Many of us are kept from our destiny because we refuse to acknowledge exactly who is in control of the doors in our lives. We refuse to acknowledge the purpose for which we were created. Sometimes we want to be anything BUT what God has called us to be. Romans 9:20 says, “Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” I am here to tell you that the more quickly you embrace the obvious purposes of God for your life, the sooner you will see the promise. Doors will open this year as you are willing to walk through them. If we make the transition right, we will not recognize ourselves in the next decade, but God will.
So, ask yourself, what has been in your field of view that has been getting in your way? What is "the thing" that may prevent you from walking through that open door? "The thing" can be described as the “thing (s)” you are currently doing that hinders you from cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. That “thing” preoccupies you and diverts your attention away from God. This year, you will turn yet another year older and it's insane to think you can continue to do the same thing and get different results. If you want to live the life God predestined for you—the life of your dreams, allow Him to assist you in getting rid of "the thing in hand," so you can walk thru New Doors with New Liberty and New Revelation as there are wide doors of opportunity that is open for you!
There are new wells waiting for you in your land. But you can’t enter and occupy if you are allowing “things” to block and hinder you passing thru. We are in the time of Isaiah 22:22 where the Lord is releasing the authority to empower, impart, and equip a company of people with the keys of the Kingdom. These keys unlock the door of the Kingdom within His people that will enable them to rule with dominion under an open heaven with the authority of Christ the Lion of Judah. Be brave, tell that “thing” to MOVE, GET OUT OF THE WAY.” Remember it is He, the Lord, Who will lead you out of the tent, through your doors of opportunity to enter and occupy the land of promise He has given you!
Growing up in church, I use to hear the old saints sing, "The road hasn’t been easy. I have been through some difficult situations. Nobody told me that the road would be easy. But I don't believe He brought me this far to leave” Many of us can identify with this. We can say as we look back over the year that “I’ve come too far from where I started from.” As I prepare to celebrate my born-day on April 27th I look back over the last 12 months and I can say that the road has not been easy, but it surely has been worth it.
In the past 12 months I have had to relearn how to eat, relearn how to take care of my body as well as how I respond to stress, and the pressures of life. As a result I have seen new life and healing come to this vessel that has restored my youth. I have been disappointed and had to release relationships that I truly valued as well as open myself to new relationships, opportunities and it has brought such joy, fulfillment and peace that has surpassed my understanding. Yes, I have been stretched, challenged and put in some very uncomfortable and new situations, but I can emphatically state it has produced some good fruit.
This is not to say that staying on this road has been easy but as Hebrews 13:5 says, “He has never left me, he has not forsaken me.” These are not just words of comfort to me, but they have been a lifeline to keep me on the road to destiny.
We all have been through some pretty turbulent and challenging storms along life’s road. In the book of Exodus we find the children of Israel were in some difficult and turbulent times as they were being led out of Egypt’s bondage to the Promised Land. Pharaoh had placed such heavy burden of bondage upon them that they cried out to God for deliverance. God sent Moses to be their deliverer. The day came for their departure from Egypt. What a glorious day! To leave behind all their slavery and servitude! But they came to the Red Sea! There was no way across. Pharaoh had changed his mind about allowing them to go free, and he was after them. Like sitting ducks with no defense, it looked like their doom was sealed. If Pharaoh caught up with them, they knew he would certainly make life miserable for them. But I can just visualize old Moses, standing up to comfort the people. He had just heard from God! I know the Bible doesn’t record this, but he may have said, “Now, children! Just calm down! Don’t get all frightened on me now. I don’t believe He brought us this far, just to leave us.” He may have said, “We’ve already come too far from where we started from and he has brought us to far to leave us.”
These last 12 months I have stood on the banks of the Red Sea and I wanted to sob, wail, turn back, give up and give in to the weariness that my soul felt. But as I approach the end of this 43rd year of life and look back over it, I can say with joy and authority I am still here. I can vehemently state that He has brought me from a mighty long way.
If we all look at what we have been faced with, He has brought us ALL from a mighty long way! Take a moment to look back. He has brought you and your family out of all that stuff, issues and mess too. Therefore, if you are thinking about what you wish your life was, how you think it ought to be, you are letting the enemy bring you down. Just think about how God lifted you up! That should be enough to make you go into a high praise. Remember where you were when He brought you out? The children of Israel, He delivered them out for a reason. He brought them out to bring them into their Promise Land and He continually does the same for me and He has done the same for you.
That is why I don’t spend much time thinking on how things could have been different in this year, because I know He had a plan for me. And you shouldn’t either. He had a plan for you then and He has a plan for you now! Be grateful for today, because you surely remember what yesterday looked like. Just rest assure that the God who brought you out will take surely take you in! He hasn’t forgotten me, and He surely hasn’t forgotten you. Many times, I wanted to give up in this year, but when I did I made a choice to remember “He will never forsake me” and I kept my feet on the road set before me and that is when I would experience a breakthrough that would leave me in awe of His Power.
So, when you feel like giving up right here so close to the end of your breakthrough, go into a praise because you know He is always there, His Word is true, and He has not brought you this far to not take you all the way in!
Because I am always in thought and a vessel of truth, I have no choice but to give them to you with no filter. Take a moment to read my very authentic and vunerable thoughts.