Progress Ain’t Pretty

faith matters

****Originally posted June 16, 2018 on http://www.mzimperfect.com as a guest post****

Recently a friend of mine started a bathroom renovation project. She showed us pictures of the bathroom before, during and after. On the first day of renovation, she knew that things would look a little messy but when she sent the picture to her girls, they were expecting something different. Every day she checked on the progress. Some days it looked fine and others it looked messy. But, there was some progress.

I am not sure who told me that taking on your dreams would be easy. That I would not be exhausted some days. That my patience would fluctuate. That my confidence would be tested. When chasing your dreams-an idea, a book deal, a business venture, a new career-you can organize your days, take a thousand courses, meet with expert after expert, but in order to succeed, you have to understand that your ability to bounce back will help you in the long run.

According to CNN Money, more than 44 million people have a dream (side hustle is their term) they are working. Even with all of the experts in your dream field, you’re going to get overwhelmed by the many one-size-fits-all dream routes. You will encounter naysayers. You will find that some days you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Through it all, what are you expected to do? Push through it with courage and faith despite how tough it gets.

Having courage and faith is connected to your bounce back down the road. No matter what valley you may experience, trust me, there are resources and tools to help. I call those tools faith strengthening and conditioning because when you keep hammering your way through, your faith becomes stronger.

You condition your mind, body, and soul to do the impossible. With faith strengthening and conditioning you begin to position yourself as if it already exists. So where can you find these tools, you may ask. It’s really simple. Nothing you have to purchase. No video to watch. No list to subscribe to at this time. Real. Simple.

  1. Share your story. Your ability to climb the mountain to reach your dreams has a powerful story connected to it. Create a safe space for others to learn about your progress. Share the ups and downs, the highs and lows. People will tune in because you keep it real and because you are living proof.
  2. Celebrate the small successes. Often we look for big results and forget about the little steps along the journey that helped us reach the dream. Without those small steps, you may not have made it to the big achievement. Remember, success comes in all shapes, sizes and forms.
  3. Be open to change. Every day on your journey will not look the same. Your routines may change. Your circle of influence may change. Your dreams may even change. The best thing you can do prepare for the change by focusing your time and energy where you can have an impact.
  4. Highlight what works best for you. Refrain from always focusing on what is not working. Of course you’ll have to put what’s not working into perspective but the problem comes in when we constantly focus on the negative. Think about what is working for you and WHY it is working. Sometimes this will give us insight on our journey and believe me, it will help you push through the muddy days as well.
  5. Self-care is the best care. When you feel sick, take a break. When you are overwhelmed, press pause. Many times we can’t climb the mountain toward our dreams because we are physically and mentally worn out. There is only one you and you have to take care of yourself. Don’t be pressured to burn the midnight oil with a sore throat or with heavy eyes. How effective will you be with no sleep or if you can’t talk?

When you experience a low point, know that you have to bounce back. The bible tells us that God will bless us with the desires of heart but we are to not become weary in doing good. You can’t give up. You can’t rest too long in the valley. Chasing your dreams is complicated. You will experience burn out. The progress on your journey ain’t pretty but if you try those simple tools mentioned and keep sprinkling your life with faith, you will bounce back in time to enjoy the journey.

Remember, it’s a faith journey y’all!

Tamika W.


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3 Things That Happen When We Say No

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Day Three Reflection: Lessons Learned When We Slow Down

Yesterday I was supposed to meet my cousin to give her some items as she prepares for a new baby.  Our meeting was supposed to be 1 PM.  In the midst of rushing out the door, having to go back home twice, running late for her doctor’s appointment, she didn’t notice the air pressure on her tires.  She hopped in the car with three little girls and in a flash, on a busy interstate, her car spun around and landed in a ditch.  The two back tires were blown completely. Thank God she, expected baby, and the three little girls are doing just fine.

I wasn’t going to post my reflection today but as I thought about The Best Yes studies and my reflection I’ve been doing in my own life, this scenario connected immediately to my studies.  Now for the record, I’m not saying my cousin did anything wrong.  For me, I connected the scenario to my lessons learned.

Here is what I learned when we slow down:

  1.  Life is a lot less discombobulated. You gain clarity on some things. Let’s face it, when you’re busy lots of things happen that you sometimes don’t realize.  You eat out so much.  You forgot it was your day to pick up the kids.  You were late to the leadership meeting at church.  The baseball game tickets were for last weeks game. Your oil needed changing a month ago.  Your tires are worn out. You get it, right.   When life is foggy, it’s really hard to see what’s ahead.  When life is clearer, you notice important things.  You notice things that matter.
  2. You can tune into God’s voice.  When you’re so busy, you are not giving God enough time for Him to really speak to you.  At least I give Him some time, you may say to yourself.  That’s true.  I get it.  Our relationship with God is constantly being fine tuned.  I often think about a group of ladies that are best friends.  It all started with a simple walk in the morning, waving hello.  A few weeks later, those hello’s became 5 minute chats.  Then the 5 minute chats grew to coffee after the walks.  From there it grew to Friday night game nights.  The relationship continued to grow until now this group of ladies are bonded with a friendship like no other.  Christ wants us to grow with Him in the same manner.  When you unrush life, you give yourself more opportunities to tune in to God’s voice and spend some quality time with Him.
  3. Emphasis is placed on aspects of life that are important.  The juggling act disappears.  How you spend your time is dictated by the schedule you set.  Slowing down gives you control to determine what aspects of your life are important enough for you to schedule.  Slowing down gives you the freedom to say no.

“When a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she’ll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”

From Chapter 3 of The Best Yes

Bonus Tip:  Are you the people pleasing type of person?  Do you feel that you may hurt someone’s feelings if you say no?  Do you overcommit your schedule?  I too struggled with this area in my life.  I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  I wanted everyone to be pleased.  And I put too many things on my calendar.  At one point in recent months I found myself overwhelmed, stressed out, and getting frustrated.  My emotions were all over the place with my family and I didn’t want to be bothered.  I had so much to do and so little time.  I took a step back and realized I was doing someone else’s job for them.  The assignment was not for me but I committed to it.  While the other individual was enjoying time hanging with family and friends, here I was doing tasks that should have been done by someone else.  Ever find yourself in that position?  Yeah, it sucks! There was something I could do and I did just that-stopped doing tasks that were not my assignment. #lessonlearned for the upteenth time.  LOL

I learned that I cannot be everything for everyone and to everyone.  I had to learn to say no.  When we give in to spare others we find ourselves overwhelmed, stressed, and frustrated.  There are times when you will say YES and enjoy it but I want to encourage you to look at every situation with an eye of wisdom and be confident in your yes and no.

I pray that you were able to gain some wisdom and encouragement from my Best Yes reflections.  If you have not read the book, be sure to add it to your reading list for 2018.  The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst (watch this video) is worth the read (the companion workbook is too).  Thanks for taking this reflection journey with me as we learned to give our Best Yes!

I’ve been looking at a few bible study online topics to start an online bible study for Fall 2018.  What topics are you interested in studying to dig deep in God’s word?  Be sure to comment, like, and share!

Remember, it’s a faith journey y’all!

Tamika W.

 

P.S.  I’ll be releasing the podcast schedule for the summer.  It’s LIT! Did I use that right?  Any way…stay tuned for the release schedule later this week.  We are adding some cool features to our podcast that involves you!

The Powerful No Leads to a Best Yes

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Day Two Reflection:

Let’s be real ladies.  There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in week.  Where in the world do we have the room to squeeze in “just one more thing”. But here is the problem with us.  Saying yes is easy while saying no is simply too hard.  For some odd reason, no seems to carry this negative connotation.  It our minds ‘No’ is a rejection; something bad.  The problem is when we don’t say ‘No’, we are adding more to our lives than we should.  I read a blog post about this same topic and it said “saying yes to everything means you have no time for anything.” You can’t possibly go to every event when you’re invited.  You can’t have coffee every time your friend calls.  You can’t volunteer for every service project.  You can’t bake the cookies for every school bake sale.  You can’t lead every group study. You are one person.  You can’t do it all.

“Saying yes all the time won’t make me Wonder Woman. It will make me a worn out woman”Chapter 12: The Awkward Disappointment of Saying No from The Best Yes

What does no really mean in our lives?  Often times we pray for something.  We want God to give us the green light to ‘go’.  We want to hear a yes from Him.  However, we get a ‘No’.  Not for you. Not your time. Not right now. Days, weeks, or months go by and we begin to understand His ‘No’.  It was for our own good.  Even God gives us a powerful no so that He can give us a Best Yes.  And guess what?  He wants you to learn the Powerful No.  Remember yesterday’s post was about wisdom.  I hope you were encouraged to know that every decision you make, you should include God in your decision-making.  See the connection here.  When we are wise in our decision-making, we get to give our Best Yes! The reason why you need to say no to the PTA bake sale is because it is going to take up too much of your time organizing it and that time could have taken away from the task God was going to place on your to-do list. Or maybe your child will need some extra TLC after feeling defeated from a game. Or your husband finds out he is getting a promotion and wants to celebrate the good.  We never know how we may need to be in position for a best yes.  For a task that would bring God glory and honor.  We just never know what God has in store for us and if we are too busy, we can’t make room for the Best Yes.  Besides, you did the bake sale last year.  Let someone else do that.

Here is the point:

  1. Don’t feel bad if you say no.  I promise there are several people after you who will say yes.
  2. Acknowledge God in your decision-making.  He will never steer you wrong.
  3. Save room on your schedule for you.  There is nothing wrong with saying no so that you can unwind and relax.

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Decision-making. Ugh. Should I say yes or no? @LysaTerKeurst is showing me there’s another choice: #TheBestYes. (http://goo.gl/ZFUZbD)

Decide what is important to you and start prioritizing things in your life.  Make room in your life to give God, your family, your ministry your Best Yes!  Why is it hard for you to say no?  Is there something you need to remove from your plate to give more time to other important tasks?  Comment. Like. Share.

Stay tuned for Day Three Reflection &  remember, it’s a faith journey!

Tamika W.

PS:  The graphic from The Best Yes was from an old blogger tour by Lysa TerKeurst.  She is a phenomenal author.  This book is available on Amazon, Proverbs 31, Barnes & Noble, Lifeway, and other outlets.  If you want to learn more and go deeper with this topic, I suggest adding it to your reading list.  You won’t regret it!

To Give Life Your Best Yes, Seek Wisdom

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Photo by ugurlu photographer on Pexels.com

Journey back a few weeks with me when I wrote about this topic of learning to say no so that you can give your best yes.  This idea of the Best Yes comes from a book I read by Lysa TurKest.  Last month, I was all set to start a new series and then one day my little engine said to me, “I can no longer move forward.” It stopped. Screech! Out of gas.  I was in need of some time for rest, reflection and rejuvenation.  After a week off and some thoughtful planning, here we go with the five day challenge of how do we give life our best yes.  Forgot post, check it out here ====>>>> Be Still

Day One Reflection:

Imagine going through life without knowing how to navigate your circumstances; without knowing how to be financially savvy; without knowing right from wrong.  You pretty much know how that would look.  A lot of what we decide comes from knowledge and experience.  When it comes to making decisions, we have to be wise.  Wisdom is defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement” (dictionary.com).  We can all admit that there are times when we don’t make wise decisions.

I remember I paid my car off, was six months in my new house, and was making good money as an educator.  In previous years, I helped with the after school program and was told that I would be over the program in the upcoming school year. In my mind, I calculated extra money means I can go buy the car I’ve been eyeing for a few months now.  And I did just that.  I bought a new car. Lo and behold, new administration came in the building and decided to use the old program coordinator, and that meant no extra money for me.  Needless to say, I struggled a few months after buying the car.  I knew that was not a wise decision.  I was quick to satisfy my wants at the time and not my needs.

What does this all mean you may be asking.  Sometimes we cannot give our best yes to the right things because we lack wisdom in saying no.  When we give in to our wants, give in to our fleshly desires, give in to others, we leave no room for what really should be taking place in our lives.  Maybe like me, you made a bad financial decision or maybe you’ve taken on too many tasks and you’re overwhelmed.  It happens to us all.

Let’s think about what would happen if we were wise in our decision-making.  The bible tells us in Psalm 111:10 the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  The fear here is not talking about being afraid or scared but it is about reverence and honoring God.  When we reverence and honor Him, we know that we cannot do anything without him.  That means we cannot and should not make decisions without Him.  We’ve tried many times in our life to do things on our own, without seeking God and end up crawling right back to Him for direction.  Hello, that’s why Proverbs tells us to trust in the Lord with ALL of our heart and do not lean on your understanding.  Doing things your way?  Tell me how that’s working out for you.  In my car situation, it didn’t work out too good.

“When we have a reverential attitude and look for the hand of God in everything, we start seeing things from the perspective of wisdom.”

The Best Yes Study Guide

So how should we go about getting wisdom and getting better at making wise decisions?  First things first, honor and reverence God at all times.  Acknowledge Him in everything.

  1. Read God’s word.  Make it a habit to dive in the Word consistently.  C  Sometimes we are so busy doing other things or managing our daily lives, that our study time is not a priority.  Let’s all do better (if we are not already) and make it a priority this week.
  2. Apply God’s word.  When the word of God tells us how to forgive, let’s give it a shot.  Forgiveness is huge in our faith walk.  When the word shows us how to increase our faith, let’s give it shot.  Faith is important in our daily journey.  Where the word tells us to show love, let’s do that.  Loving others can be hard at times but your love for someone could be the very thing that leads them to Christ.
  3. Look to God. The scriptures give us direct insight to Christ and how to live.  When we don’t have an answer, ask God wisdom and understanding.  God’s word promises to give us what we need.
  4. Cry out to God. Pray out loud to God and ask Him for what you need.  Ask Him for instruction.  Ask Him for insight.  Ask for guidance.  And when you ask, believe with your whole heart that He will answer your prayer.

In life we have choices.  We can choose to honor God daily, even in our decisions.  For every situation we face, there is an answer.  Think about a situation you may be facing.  Ask yourself ‘what does the Word of God say about my situation?’ Find a scripture and pray the Word over your situation.  Continue to seek wisdom so that you can give life your best yes!

Stay tuned for Day Two Reflection: The Powerful No

What areas of life have you made unwise decisions? How did you overcome? Comment. Like. Share.

Remember, its a faith journey y’all!

Tamika W.

 

It’s Time to Wake Up

Right now I’m listening to recorded webinar giving tips on how to grow a successful business online. One of my takeaways is this: it is time to stop dreaming about your passion and just do it. On the other hand, sometimes we can’t see the end because we are drowning ourselves with trying to do it all.

Well that’s quite interesting considering my blog is all about the faith journey. 🧐

As I ponder on how I want to move forward with this part of my journey, I’ve come to a place where I just had to stop reading all these tips and tricks to be the best and get rich fast. First and foremost, for me, blogging is not about “get rich quick.” Second, there is another part of this journey that is more than blogging. As I stated, I had to get to a place where I stopped reading, subscribing and researching the best route. Researching and reading how-to’s can be information overload if you’re not careful. (There are a lot of excellent sites and helpful resources BUT as it is with anything, find one thing and stick with it.) Y’all I’ve been drowning in website after article after post. Am I dreaming or is this just too much to swallow? Keep reading 👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽

A part of me waking up was me coming to some realizations:

  1. I have a voice that may not always fit into one category. (Thanks Ruth for confirming this).
  2. There is not one right way to do this.
  3. Consistency is your friend.
  4. You will find your purpose along the way.

Whatever you’re going to do- start a business, blog, write a book, lead a bible study-I want to encourage you to wake up and start doing it now! But I don’t want you to get caught up in thinking that it has to be perfect. I don’t want you to get bogged down in task after after task. Find a starting point and get started. Here are three things I want you to take away from this post:

  1. There is no ONE way to begin. While there are many people professing to have the BEST way, you have to find what works for you.
  2. Pick ONE or TWO things you want to work on and stick with it. When you try to tackle EVERYTHING, you become overwhelmed and NOTHING gets accomplished.
  3. Pray for your passion and seek God for your purpose. When you are passionate about something, God will provide you with the tools and resources. #godsplan

I’m working with a friend right now, giving some guidance on what has worked for me on this journey. There have been some highs and lows, but through it all, I have learned some much needed lessons and met some great folks along the way. I would love to keep passing on some advice to my bff. Got any ideas you want to share? What has been working for you on your journey? Have you had any “wake up” moments?

Please share, like & comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Remember, it’s a faith journey y’all! 😉

Tamika W.

PS…. Ruth In Revolt is one of my fav blogs and a recent post of hers inspired me..Check her out here——>>> Hey Ruth! 👋🏽

Your Plate is FULL. Please Tell Them No.

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This past weekend my cousin came by to visit and we chatted about careers, love, church and life.  Lately, I’ve been reflecting on everything that I’m involved in and looking at revising my schedule to make time for things are a priority in my life.

I remember attending this workshop many many moons ago where the presenter asked us “how full is your plate?”  We actually had a paper plate and had to write everything we were involved in on that plate.  I remember looking at my plate and it was FULL.  Back then, I didn’t know what to prioritize because I felt all of those things at that time were important.  Someone needed me to do this because no one else could do.  Someone asked me to help with that because I had the experience.  But I didn’t think about the time, effort, and responsibility of having multiple tasks while trying to live life.

Do you remember the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus came to visit.  Martha was so distracted with cleaning, serving, and household duties that she failed to see that none of those things were important as a visit from Jesus.  Sometimes our life is so busy, we can’t see some important things that God has in store for us.  Sometimes our life is so busy we even neglect the One who is most important to us.

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3 Ways to Keep Your Faith In Check

eye-female-funny-glass-41558.jpegLet’s admit it girls. Some days, weeks, months or seasons get so busy we may forget to check in with God consistently.  I know as a mom, if I’m not conscious about how I’m spending my time, prayer and devotion just might escape me.  Not good. But we are human.  Sometimes we get caught up in the rush of life that we limit our relationship with God to a few minutes here and there just to check it off the to-do list. Done.  But you and I both know when we put God on the to-do list, life seems to get a SUPER crazy. Out of whack. And when the dust settles, we look at how we have put God on a shelf like a book. The thing I like about our God is that He knows and He will definitely nudge us to remind us when we are drifting away.

I keep telling you that I’m working on being calendar driven-some days are better than others.  What is important is that we carve out meaningful time with God.  Maybe you don’t know where to start and honey that is ok as long as you start.  Or in my case restart.  The time we spend with God has be intentional and consistent as it helps us draw closer to Him, grow in our faith, and experience everlasting peace and joy in Him.

There are many ways to spend time with Him-prayer, reading His word, singing His praises, joining a women’s group or even sharing His goodness with others.  If you feel that you are drifting away or need quick ways to keep your faith in check, how about this:

  1. Set aside some time each day to read a devotional or simply open the bible and read it.  There are a million devotionals online and in print that are connected to God’s word and His principles for life. Try this FREE 30-day devotional and bible reading guide created just for busy women like us.  Click here for your FREEBIE ====>> 30 Days with God
  2. Spend the first 5 minutes of your day in prayer and giving thanks to God for His many blessings.  What a great way to get your day going.  But… if the first 5 minutes does not work for you (not a morning person like me), be sure to carve out some quiet time throughout the day-on your lunch break, when the kiddos are napping, when the household is sleeping. You get it.
  3. Share your faith and testimonies of your experiences with others.  Not only will you inspire someone else but you will be reminded of just how good God is to you.  You can do this by joining a group online or in your church or posting your blessings instead of your messiness.  Doing so is a great way to stay connected to the Master and a way to get people connected to Him.

Maybe you are not in a dry season in your faith. Or maybe you know someone who is. Whatever it may be, I would love to hear from you on ways you keep your faith in check.  Leave a comment, like, & share. I’m sure it will inspire others 😉

Remember, it’s a faith journey y’all.  No matter where you are in the hustle of life, you got to have faith!

Tamika W.