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Living Without Fear

On the zip line in Cancun Mexico
On the zip line in Cancun Mexico
Since I have been in ministry the past 3 years of my life I have been learning how to live without fear. Think about this for a second. As a leader, as a minister, mentor, preacher and teacher I am always in front of someone. I am always speaking or sharing something. This can be scary at times. Not knowing how to respond to tough conversations, prayer requests, what direction to go in with a text for a sermon, what advice to offer to a student, etc… The list can go on. Fear lingers at times.

I remember my first year and a half of ministry living in fear a lot of the time. I was afraid to speak up in meetings, I would hold in things I wanted to share, and I would hold back. All in all I didn’t know how to use my voice. As I reflect on my first year and a half in ministry, the fear of failure, fear of others and fear of what other people would think were barriers in my life. The question that began to run through my mind and that God placed on my heart during those days was: what would it look like to live a life without fear and is this possible?

I am a person who loves new adventures, new challenges and new journeys. Sometimes I consider myself to be an adrenaline junkie. As you can see in the picture above and the picture below there is something exciting about doing something I feared or never done before. I once heard Will Smith say in an interview when he was asked, what motivates you? His response was, “fear.” He said, “I hate being afraid to do something.” This has stuck with with me since the first time I heard his response two years ago. I give my all to embody this message daily by attacking my fears.

Jumping off a 20 ft cliff
Jumping off a 20 ft cliff

Fear has this unique way of saying, you are not capable of getting this done, you shouldn’t do anything, why you, just sit there and do nothing. Fear has a way of trying to keep you tied to your past. Fear does not want you to walk into a powerful and dynamic future. With this being said, fear needs to get out of the way! Would you agree?

Fear has power and control but the key to understanding fear, is to understand we are the ones that give fear power and control. Here is what I mean. So much of fear is mental. Fear comes from our imagination and emotion. If we believe something is a threat, a danger to us or scary we will begin to believe in fear. To me, fear is a choice. I have the option and choice to be afraid or to not be afraid. I have the option and choice to believe fear is real or it is not real. You have the same choice and option. This means we can conquer each and everyone of our fears on today!

Making a Splash
Making a Splash

Here are 5 tips to overcoming fear:

1) Understand that fear is a choice.

2) The spirit of fear is not of God.

3) Ask yourself why you are living in fear.

4) Write down your fears and come up with ways and strategies to overcome.

5) Do what you are afraid of doing.

Your mind has so much power! It is time to unlock your mind and set yourself free. You will feel more confident. You will be more alive than ever before. I do not believe God created us to live in fear. We are His children and we should be living a fearless life. God has given us gifts and talents to use for His glory. When we are living in fear, we hinder ourselves from using our gifts and talents for God’s glory.

Challenge for this weekend and the weeks to come:

Do something you have been afraid to do. Hopefully this something is positive and fun! 🙂

As you can tell I was happy
As you can tell I was fearless and happy!
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Why You Need New Friends

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It is often said, you are like the 5 people you hang around the most. Of course we all know the old saying, “birds of a feather, flock together.” As a person that wants to continue to grow in life, become more professional and learn all I can, I have to meet new people. Being in my late twenties has taught me, you do need new friends.

A couple of years ago, popular rap artist Drake put out a song and coined the phrase, “No New Friends.” Of course this was a big hit, influenced many and it went viral. Each time I heard the song, I cringed. I love the people that has been with me from “day 1” but at the same time I understand life is about evolving, connecting and networking.

I am not the type of person that is stuck on not inviting new people into my “circle.” In my opinion and observation, I think people are afraid to make new friends. Maybe people don’t know how to make new friends. Maybe it is a trust issue. I am not sure what people’s reasons are. What I do know is, there are many factors that play into this idea of not needing new friends.

Here are some questions I want you to ask yourself when it comes to your circle of friends:

Does everyone in my circle look and talk like me?

Do I not want to meet new people because I’ve been hurt in the past?

Does my circle of friends influence me or discourage me?

Am I the smartest person in my circle?

Why am I not open to having new friends?

The friends you have in your circle today may not get you where you need to be in life. Sometimes it is our closest friends that stand in the way of our destiny. I love each of my friends but I am smart enough to know that I will not allow my friends to stop me or prevent me from living the life God wants me to live. I am bold and blunt enough to express this to my friends (of course in a loving way).

Our friends need to know their role in our lives. They also need to understand they cannot have all of your time and energy every day. You have a life to live. You have a job to work. You have a platform to build. You need new people around your table.

Maybe you are on the opposite side of this idea of having new friends. I would love to hear your thoughts on this concept. Take a few minutes and share reasons why having new friends is something you want or do not want. Please share with others to see what your friends think!

 

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Daily Solitude

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Daily I believe each of us long to have a bit of silence and peace. It seems as the older I get the more I enjoy having quiet time each day. Whether my quiet time comes in the morning, mid day or at night I need a moment to myself. I need time to close my eyes, reflect and meditate. Usually my best time of silence is in the morning before my busy, hopefully productive day gets started. 🙂

Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline,  talks about having an inner solitude. Often times when we think of solitude, we think of going to a quiet place, with no distractions, no people around and no noises. He describes solitude in this way: “Solitude is more of a state of mind and heart than it is a place.” Basically, solitude comes from spending time with God, yourself, praying, meditating, reflecting, journaling and thinking through your day.

Usually what happens with us in the morning is we create enough time to get out the bed, brush our teeth, shower, get dress and make a quick breakfast before we rush out the door to our jobs/meetings leaving us with no time for solitude. As we repeat this same each day throughout the week, we will find ourselves running on empty. We start on Monday and by Wednesday we are ready to tap out and cannot wait until Friday. The weekend comes and we enjoy our weekend playing catch up on rest, all to start the same routine over on Monday.

I am sure you are thinking, yeah this sounds quite familiar. I am here to say a change is needed as soon as possible. You do not want to continue in this routine. What’s waiting for you if you do not make the necessary changes in your life are,  emotional, physical, mental and spiritual burnout. Laziness, bad attitudes, lack of effort and joy will follow as well. So what are some practical steps you can do to begin to live in solitude? Here are 5 tools you can implement into your daily life:

1) Read something light before you go to bed. Reading allows your mind to sleep better and process through the night.

2) Write down your tasks you need to get done the next day before you go to bed. This will allow you to wake up knowing the direction you need to go in for the day.

3) Try waking up a few minutes early to read, pray and listen to music. This can set the tone for the day.

4) Write down your thoughts. Keep a journal where you can express your emotions through words.

5) Try exercising. Getting the blood flowing, breaking a good sweat can energize you for the day.

I share these tools and this blog to help increase emotional, spiritual, physical and mental awareness. We should not be a people that dread going to work, being around people and leaving the house. There is no fun and joy in this. Let’s work on making changes. You and I need to be the best we can be daily. I believe it starts in the morning with solitude.

P.S. I would love to hear how you experience daily solitude. Share some thoughts and comments on what you do to get going each day. Also share this blog with a friend. You can help someone find inner solitude and peace.

Thanks for taking the time out to read!