The Bull In My Backyard

Every now and then I’ll have very vivid dreams. One night in particular, I dreamt there was a bull in my backyard. I remember waking, walking to the bathroom and moving the curtain aside to look out of the window. The first thing I saw was a big black bull in my backyard. It didn’t move, it just stared up at me.

Not sure what to make of it, I retreated to my room. Soon after, the bull began charging into my house. I called the police. While I’m not sure what I thought they would do, I called them anyway and shortly after the call I woke up.

The following morning, still startled by the dream (read nightmare) I searched the phrase “bull in my backyard. I was surprised to find there is a book called, A Bull in my Backyard and it’s about you (you and me) being the source of our own stress.

Several days during that week I felt like I wasn’t catching any breaks. I actually felt sad – it was a funk I couldn’t shake even though things were fine.

Reading the summary of this book made me realize that yeah, I am the bull(ly) in my own backyard. Constantly comparing or complaining, feeling like life isn’t fair when I’ve been super blessed and not being able to get out of my own way.

I hated that dream but it led me to a revelation. I have to take better care of myself. Not just my physical self but my spiritual and emotional self. I’m going to try to stop comparing, the over analysis that leads to stress and to give myself some grace. More than anything else, I’m going to move forward and get out of my own way.

Are you the bull(ly) in your own backyard? Are you being hard on yourself? You’re not alone. We all do it from time to time, many of us do it often. Just breathe and give yourself some grace, vow to treat your mind and spirit better and we can move from being the bullies in our backyards to the conquer and encourager our corners.

Happy Waiting!

Check On Your Strong (Single) Friend

Not long ago there was a Huffington Post article with the title Don’t Forget To Check On Your Strong Friend. After a series of events, this blog post was inspired by that article.

A few weeks ago I was having a really bad week. There were some things that were out of my control and everything was coming at me at the same time.

Within 48 hours of each other, two friends reached out. Both were folks I hadn’t talked to in a while and said I was either on their mind or showed up in a dream. One thing is for sure, that week, I really needed a friend and a reminder that God sees my hurt and will send people to check in on me.

There was a particular day that week that was really hard. I don’t usually let myself cry but in-between both conversations I cried. I mean it was an ugly mess up your makeup kind-of cry.

I’m really good at putting things up on the shelf and leaving them there until I’m ready to deal. But one day, sometimes years later, I’ll break down and cry.

I had a conversation with a friend about what it’s like to be single and not have someone lay eyes on you everyday. There have been times when I’m really going through it and I call 3 friends and no one answers. With no fault on their parts, everyone is busy, what happens when I really need someone and can’t find anyone to can share with? People assume that when you’re single, you’re just out living your life when in reality, you could be at home in a puddle of tears.

This is why the title of this post is check on your strong (single) friends. We, yup we, need to know there’s someone out there thinking about us, praying for us, and checking in on us. Lay eyes on us and make sure we’re ok. Even those of us who are “strong” get weak and could really use a friend.

Happy Waiting.

Why I Took a 6 Month Break From Dating

While dating someone last year I fasted and prayed about the relationship that was developing. In many ways he seemed like the perfect guy but I didn’t feel peace in my spirit about it even though I really wanted to.

So I fasted.

One day while on my way into church, during the fast, I said to myself, ” I don’t know how to date.” I’ve never been the kind of girl who dates multiple guys. One guy at a time is more than enough for me. I’d much rather be with one guy and in a relationship. Dating sucks.

While in the bathroom at church I heard a woman crying. I asked if I could give her a hug and we talked a bit. She told me about her husband and how he had passed away years ago. She also told me about someone she had started dating recently and that she realized she didn’t know how to date. She literally said, “I don’t know how to date”.

I was shocked.

That was the SAME thing I said to myself as I walked into church. While sharing that I thought something similar walking into church she said “God told me to buy these books, I think I’m supposed to give one to you.”

The following Sunday, we met at church and she gave me the book. As I sat in church waiting for the service to start I began reading. Three to four pages in it said to commit to a six month break from dating to focus on myself and my relationship with God.

I wanted to throw the book out of the window. What?! 6 months?! Why? How Jesus? Again – I had taken a 3 month break the year before. The book also had different activities at the end of each chapter.

While I was reluctant at first, I did it. I took a 6 month break and here’s what I learned.

1. Make Room

I’m really good at staying busy. I was an opportunity addict. Something would come across my email and I’d apply even if I knew I was already overwhelmed. I was filling the time just in case there was nothing in the future to fill the time. So my yes’ started to become nos and I stared reclaiming my time. There really wasn’t room for anything else. I had to purposefully and intentionally make room.

2. Get Your House in Order

I bought my house and with the hustle and bustle of life, along with a new job, grad school and other opportunities I was so exhausted I couldn’t even hang a picture on the wall. Getting my actual house in order was something I had to do. I also committed to joining and joined a new church. I had been attending for a little over a year and it was time. On the last day of the dating break, I received the right hand of fellowship at a new church. I had reached a level of spiritual maturity that required a different kind of preaching, worship, and praise.

3. Self-Care

Once I finished my degree, I began intentionally engaging in self-care. I began working out more often, getting back to my healthy eating routine and spent more time doing the things I loved with the people I loved. I became more intentional about personal boundaries at work and removed myself from troublesome situations. Above all else, I’ve been praying more and praising more and more frequently. Joy doesn’t seem so out of reach anymore.

4. I Stopped Caring So Much

A good friend of mine use to say “If everyone cared as much as you do…the world would be a better place.” Truth is I can be a bit of a perfectionist. Deep down I believed if I was perfect nothing would go wrong but I have 1,000,000 examples of how untrue that is! I learned it’s ok to be imperfect and that life will still go on.

5. I Learned How to Have (More) Fun

Okay so I had some fun over the last few years but I didn’t allow too much fun. Why? Because I had to write a paper, read an article, write a lesson plan, post to blackboard… now, weekends aren’t catch up sessions with books and papers, it’s fun! I didn’t know how much I missed it.

6. I Realized What Was Important

Family and friends are important. Spending time doing the things I love with the people I love is important. Jobs come and go, yesterday is not like today but each day is a gift and should be treated as such. Yesterday I walked into a classroom to talk to a teacher and she said “what’s going on with you? You look so happy!.” I was and nothing in particular had happened to spark that. I had just reached a point of contentment with myself and the things around me.

Ultimately I think this journey was about becoming what I wanted to attract and intentionally investing in me. There’s no use looking for something or someone who is the complete opposite of who you are. If I’m honest, I spent a lot of time looking for the qualities I lacked in the guys I dated. That was wrong. I had to learn, know, and be true to myself and become the woman God wanted me to be. Now, not all of this happened in 6 months, it’s definitely a process but I’m farther along than I’ve ever been.

Through this process God wanted to restore me, to teach me a few lessons, and to return me better than ever! Now, I’m not perfect (no where near it) but one thing is for sure, I’m better now than I’ve ever been. I’m expecting God’s greatness real soon. But in the meantime…

Happy Waiting!

A Double Portion

Not long ago, I went to a soup kitchen to volunteer. I volunteered with this organization a few times in the past and was eager to spend more time volunteering in 2018.

The last few times I volunteered, we served food during three shifts and it was critically important to ensure each guest received the same portion.

During the first two shifts the portions were the same for everyone. However, once it was time for the last shift, we were told to give our guests double of everything.

I’ll admit, although we were told to do this I didn’t think there would be enough food to go around. I was also concerned that the other group would find out double portions were given out when they only received one serving of each food.

But, the chef knew exactly what she had stored up, and she knew we wouldn’t run out. We had more than enough.

So we gave out double portions.

Imagine waking up hungry and finding out you’re last in line.  As your stomach growls, you have to wait and watch as busses full of people go before you.

Now, you don’t know how much others are getting, all you know is that they’re getting something you’re not.

That’s kinda how it is to wait. You have a desire for something (or someone) in your heart. Yet, day after day, year after year you watch as others go before you. Now, you may not know the ends and outs of what they got but the fact is, they got something.

Well…I am here to tell you God has a double portion stored up for you! That’s not to say those who went before you didn’t get enough or received less. They may have received exactly what they needed. Sometimes getting what you need is a double portion.

So, don’t lose heart. It may seem like you’re waiting a long time – trust me I know the feeling. But rest easy knowing that God hasn’t forgotten about you and that just like our guests on that day, He may be making you wait because He set aside a double portion just for you!

Happy Waiting!

It’s Still a Blessing

After you’ve prayed and waited a long time, and God finally gives you what you’ve been praying for, although it may come with obstacles big and small, don’t forget that it’s still a blessing.

I bought my house 4.5 years ago. For the first 2-3 years I would sit on the steps, in the dark, and thank God for this magnificent blessing.

This year, I’ve had more things break than ever before. The microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, vents, vacuum cleaner…I’ve had pipes back up and water leak… if it wasn’t one thing it was another.

My blessing isn’t so shiny and new anymore. It has been all the way broken in. I found myself feeling burdened instead of feeling blessed. My source of comfort had become my source of pain.

But…when I really think about it, it’s not that bad. Everything can be fixed.

Prior to buying my house, I put in offers on 5 different homes. Before the offer was accepted, I laid face down on the floor and prayed. I wanted this house. How foolish of me to ever treat it as less of a blessing.

Think about the things/people you prayed for that came to pass. Are you treating them as a blessing or a burden? Are you recalling the good or the bad? You get to decide.

God’s Word says to think of whatever is nobel, true, praiseworthy… think of all of God’s blessings this way. He’s got so much more in store for you. But first, you have to be grateful for what you have now.

Happy Waiting!

Fall

Today while rollerblading I said to God, “I don’t want to fall.” I started to take it back but I meant it, so I didn’t. 

Five minutes later I fell. 

It wasn’t a cute fall either. There were people around, both my knees, and hands hot the ground and I came away with some scrapes and bruises.

As soon as I fell I remembered what I tell my students everytime they fall during recess. I say, “you’re ok, get up.”

I tell them quickly so their minds don’t have enough time to process the fall. If they process it, and associate it with pain, they may never try again. I don’t want that for them and I certainly don’t want it for myself.

So I’m giving myself, and you, permission to fall. Falling requires courage, it requires faith. You have to be willing to take a risk. 

Is there someone who is interested in you and you’re not giving them the time of day? To be clear, I’m talking about a man or woman of good character who could be a potential life partner, not someone you know isn’t a good match. 

Go ‘head, give it a chance. You’ll never know unless you try. You could be missing out on the love of a lifetime….or not. But you’ll never know unless you give yourself permission to fall.

And if for some reason you fall, it doesn’t work out, and you get your heart broken, you’ll be ok. 

Remember the last breakup…not even the last, but the worst break up? Remember how you had no idea how you’d move on? You didn’t even know if you’d be able to get out of bed in the morning and make it through the workday without crumbling into a million pieces…..but you did! 

Falling isn’t the worst thing in the world. It means you’re trying and trying is everything! So try! And after you try, fall. And after you fall, if necessary, get back up again. 

Happy Waiting! 

You Got This

Today I went indoor rock climbing. I felt good walking into the gym, had the opportunity to look at the walls and holds, and decided I was going to have the victory!

The first time I went climbing I was with my mentee. She was around 15 or 16 years old and I thought this would be a great way for us to bond. Less than 30 seconds into my climb, I slid down the wall. I hadn’t even taken 3 steps and already felt defeated. What weighed me down most of all were my thoughts. How could I climb well if I didn’t believe I could?

The next couple of times I had more confidence. Sometimes I climbed to the middle or close to the top and sometimes I didn’t. But every time I climbed my confidence grew.

Today, when I climbed at a new gym, I felt victorious from the start. I looked at the wall and said to myself “you got this.”

With each step, as I rose higher and higher and wanted to quit, I said, “you got this.”

Then I took a deep breath, and said it again.

During the 2016 Olympics Laurie Hernandez became a star. At the time she was 16 or 17 competing on the world’s stage. She stepped onto the mat to start her routine and as I and the rest of the gymnastics-loving world watched, we saw her say to herself, “I got this.” Click here if you haven’t seen it.

I replayed it over and over again wondering how someone so young had so much confidence, and how she knew what she needed at the time when it mattered the most.

Life presents us with seemingly impossible situations. Sometimes you face the fear and conquer it and other times you give it your best effort and it doesn’t go your way. Through it all, it’s important to encourage yourself.

When I was a teenager I was a on a basketball team. I never made a shot during the game (or at practice smh) until I could envision myself doing so. Your thoughts and what you say to yourself are so important! Hold every thought captive!

Whatever the situation may be, as you wait to learn the outcome know that you got this! 

Maybe there’s something else you say to yourself. Maybe you say, “I am more than a conqueror” or maybe you say, “no weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Whatever it is, keep saying it.

If for some reason you’re not ready to say it to yourself, add me to the voices in your head. Go ahead, turn my volume up. Up some more. Up a little bit more.

Do you hear me? I’m right there with you cheering you on. And when you can’t say it for yourself, I’m whispering, ‘you got this.’

Happy Waiting!