Ascension: A Heart Check

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Psalm 24:3-7 KJV

Ascend: to go up or climb; to rise through the air
Synonyms: escalate, soar, lift off, climb

The world would have you think ascension is some sensual process, all about feeling, the pursuit of the next high. As if we move from mountain top to mountain top by apparation, just chasing down what gives us adrenaline rushes.”I always rock the new, new.” As if ascension is purely a work of human effort or magic:  Levitate, levitate.

Merriam-Webster defines buoyancy as:

  1. a :  the tendency of a body to float or to rise when submerged in a fluid
    b :  the power of a fluid to exert an upward force on a body placed in it; also :  the upward force exerted

  2. 2:  the ability to recover quickly from depression or discouragement :  resilience

  3. 3:  the property of maintaining a satisfactorily high level (as of prices or economic activity)
    In other words, buoyancy is the ability to stay on top of the surface in a fluid or in the air; it is to maintain an elevated position.


Ascension is about spiritual positioning, 
a supernatural buoyancy. You have to be relatively lightweight to float.

What weighs us down?

  • Shame: guilt, negative emotions, secret sins, regrets, worries…
  • The pursuit of validation: concerns about other people’s opinions and approval, man-made traditions that defy God’s commandments (which rule out blessings for yourself and those connected to you)…
  • Despair: deep-seated sadness, grief, loneliness, inane amount of pressure to succeed by earthly standards (status) and resulting discontentment…
  • Extraneous attachments to earthly things keep us anchored to worldly systems: money & politics, image-building, self-serving causes (entertainment at large), ungodly (misaligned) relationships
  • Legalistic religion that’s all about rules and not intimate relationship with God; ritualistic tasks and not radical life transformation

You must gain and maintain a proper perspective, because you cannot go upwards, looking down.
Set your thoughts on things above, not below: whatsoever is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, virtuous, excellent, praiseworthy–think on these things. (Colossians 3:20; Phillippians 4:8)

Gotta have a destination in mind to go somewhere.

Where are we aiming when we say we want to go higher?  
The Word says that one who can reach, should come up to the sacred, set apart place where God is present, meaning it is possible, attainable and desirable as a goal: “SHALL.”

In order to ascend, 2 things are required, then:

  1. Clean Hands–Have you craved, picked up, touched, grasped at impure things, unclean things? Coveted your friend’s partner, position, gifting? Done deals under the table, not 100% legitimate?
    Examine yourself and your activities–what’s that in your hand?
    What’s in your possession that is devoted to destruction? What are you holding onto (habit, hangup, dead situation, dead relationship) that you need to surrender for redemption? Are you clutching your own ball and chain for dear life?

    More importantly, have you claimed the righteousness of Christ for yourself?

     even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[h] who believe. For there is no differenceRomans 3:22

  2.  Pure Heart–What are your underlying intentions and motive?
    What is driving you to do what you do: a thirst for validity and attention, envy, anger, pride–or love?

    Do your current commitments honor God as the Head of your life, and others as you brothers and sisters–or do they just serve you?

    Are you operating in peace, gentleness, kindness–or snapping on everybody?

What does it mean “to lift yourself up to falsehood?”

To trust in falsehood: to rely on, devote energy and resources to, commit to, depend upon a lie, something deceitful, that which is not true; an idol.
Relying on any entity, concept, person as your source aside from Almighty God guarantees you tethering yourself to something earthly, to handling an impure thing, and hindering your ability to hear from God, even lacking the desire to spend time with Him!

On the other hand, according to 1 John 1:6, We walk righteously as a result of faith, and fellowship with Him. Right standing with God gives you wings!

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Therefore, laying aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, we run with endurance the race set before us… Hebrews 12:1-2

He makes my feet like the deer, causes me to tread (climb, ascend to) high places…
Habbakuk 3:14

Whenever you are feeling low, experiencing heaviness, shame, or uncertainty, read these verses to remind yourself of the truth–

Christ ascended first, (Ephesians 4:8-10), so that by virtue of His righteousness (belief in Him and His finished work on the cross), we can ascend to favor with the Lord.

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#TuesdayTea| #JOYDayMovement

Welcome to #TuesdayTea! Come in, fill your mugs and make yourself at home. 🙂
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Last week, Mental Health Awareness Week 2016, was all about relationships–family, friends, frenemies, colleagues and co-workers, romantic partners, lab partners, masterminds and everything in between.  It’s vitally important to your health to recognize how your connections to others impact you spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  #Relationships are everything.

In that spirit, I came across #JOYdayMovement in my Twitter timeline (thanks, Maura Chanz) and was not disappointed in the slightest.

Created by Morgan B. Daniels, #JOYdayMovement was initiated to bring about mental health awareness and advocacy to schools nationwide, providing a space “for people to fellowship, love and be joyful for everything in which God has done.”  Amen to that!

This first chat had a variety of participants: proud Spelmanites and recent grads, ministers, counselors, and creatives from all walks of life chimed in to share their responses to the following:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What is mental health to you?
  3. What do you do when you are overwhelmed?
  4. How do you respond to your friends when they are feeling down and out?Do you believe it’s okay to receive professional help?
  5. Have you ever felt like you weren’t “enough”? 
  6. What does JOYday mean to you?

Major takeaways:

  • Creating, serving and helping others, planning and accomplishing goals, and getting much needed downtime are all keys to happiness and success.
  • Mental health is “maintenance of your inner self.” –Maura, @maurachanz
    “the state of my mental well-being–how alert, in tune and present I am to my life” — Gabriella, @gabgotti
  • Imposter syndrome can be a serious, everyday struggle for many of us; we must be gentle with ourselves. Know that it’s in you to accomplish all things in line with your purpose!
  • You can combat overwhelm through prayer, playing gospel music, taking a bath or another solitary activity. Maintain your outlets!

    “Take deep breaths, pray, journal, just try to provide myself with a productive distraction.” –Samantha, @OnYourCallender

  • Be supportive of your friends in their low moments: listen, understand, cheer them up, or even just sit with them.
  • Seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of–you’re “still strong, still you.” –Dwight, @chelseesya

    “I think it’s important to know when you can handle something yourself, and know when to reach outside for help.” Giselle

  • That being said, we need to find ways to make therapy, counseling and other mental health services more accessible.
  • You can balance faith with practical methods to protect your mental health:

    “Remember it is okay to trust God and still get help from a professional or take meds.” –Carefree Queen Project

  • Feeling inadequate on a regular basis can lead to an identity crisis, feeling condemned to fail, but sometimes life has to fall apart to fall in place.

    “Mental illness is real but my God, He is much realer.” –Morgan B. Daniels, @MorganBDaniels

  • “Stop for a moment and check up on your mental health; do something that makes you happy.”– @janinecarriee

  • “JOYday is loving yourself mental illness and all. It’s feeling like you’re enough when you have nothing to look for.” –Carefree Queen Project, @_carefreequeen

Overall, this was an uplifting experience for me, as I witnessed everyone’s transparency, affirmations and especially the tremendous outpouring love to Morgan. This is community building at its finest–and it’s just the beginning!

joydaymvmt

Interested in bringing light, love and mental health awareness to the forefront of your conversation? Join #JOYdayMovement  on Twitter every other Tuesday at 7:30 pm EST!

Next week: The impact of your #mentalhealth on #Relationships. Tune in!

 

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7 Effective Ways to Relieve Anxiety/Panic Attacks

Just in time for #TuesdayTea! Shout out to Sheeri J for his great read on combatting anxiety–I swear by tips #1, 2 and 7!

ri-Fresh

Over the past year or so I’ve been pretty open with my issues with anxiety. I had my first panic attack, that I can remember, back in 7th grade after a traumatic experience trying to transition from a public elementary school to a strict Catholic middle school. I’m not going to get into much detail because reflecting on that experience is still pretty triggering for me. The day my parents took me to the hospital and the doctor said that my chest pains and shortness of breath were due to anxiety was the beginning of many more awakening experiences.
Like many others, I’ve dealt with anxiety alone for years and I’m still learning how to cope. Maybe you don’t have the friends or family that understand what you’re going through. Maybe you’re not ready to reach out for help but the fact that you’re reading this post is a great…

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#TuesdayTea| Creatives, Cravings & Community

Welcome to #TuesdayTea! Pull up a chair, fill your mugs, and get comfy!
In honor of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek (May 16-22), I’ll be highlighting the importance of relationships in your growth and development. In particular, let’s talk creativity, cravings and community.

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I really love to explore the dynamics between couples, or siblings, or friend groups, or families–watching other people interact with one another is a fun way to gauge your social skills (and to be sure you are adding value to conversations; most introverts will agree with me there).

Fact: Every connection you forge with another human being is significant in its own right. Don’t discount the impact of any one person’s relationship with you. It’s not so much about the length of time you’ve known someone as much as the quality of that time and the depth of intimacy (divulging secrets, trust, reliability, etc.) that you’ve developed.

Fact 2: We all need people.
Please stop championing the “team of me” as if that were an effective measure of your greatness–it’s not. Self-reliance is actually a deadly combination of pride and foolishness–you just cannot know everything, experience everything, or gain enough traction in your life without depending on someone at some point to help you level up. Accept that.

Two are better than one, in that their cooperative efforts yield this advantage: 10 if one of them falls, the other will help his partner up — woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two people sleep together, they keep each other warm; but how can one person be warm by himself? 12 Moreover, an attacker may defeat someone who is alone, but two can resist him; and a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 CJB

This holds particularly true for us, creatives. As a whole, we tend to be more sensitive to our environments that the average Jo, more likely to seek out like-minded individuals with whom we can share our dreams and build, and of course, we require an audience to maintain our livelihood. See fact #2.

We tend to crave tranquility and peace in our surroundings, so we can think more clearly (chaos amplifies the scattering of thoughts).

We tend to crave unity amongst ourselves, cooperative economics, so the whole group can win as opposed to an elite few. We want to forge truly diverse, supportive, loving communities to reciprocate the love and care. #ForTheCulture

But then, if we’re being honest, there’s those other, self-centered, fearful, egotistical desires we have. The ones that drive us to scramble to the peak of the summit and kick our brothers and sisters off, Lion King-style.  The ones that take “By Any Means Necessary” as license to take the low road, compromising our integrity and dignity for a few coins. The ones that whisper for us to make instant gratification moves at the expense of our connections, torching once sturdy bridges.

So how do we begin to build (or rebuild) that ideal community to foster dynamic growth, nurturing relationships, and peace of mind?

  • Start with everyone else in mind first and foremost.
    Whether you are joining with folks online, in industry meetups, through non-profits and civic engagement, or some other means, keep in mind how you can benefit other people. Think, “How can I be of service?”

    Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves —  look out for each other’s interests and not just for your own.
    Philippians 2:3-4 CJB

  • Invest in a cause with your time. Find some folks who share your interests, an organization that has your passion, and ask how you can be a part of the team. Volunteer, fundraise, do stuff for free.
  • Invest in people with your time. Take the time out to get to know somebody and have fun with them. Determine to make new friends. Invite for tea, lunch, a movie, bowling, whatever–but make it about them. Ask “How are you?” with a genuine interest in their well-being. Do/make something kind and spur-of-the-moment. Say Happy Birthday.
  • Share! Share the load, share the credit, share their work, share your resources. Enough of the stingy, reclusive, celebrity-genius mentality–we’re too smart and interdependent for that small-mind, big ego nonsense. Practical insight is like a foreign language: if you don’t use it, you lose it.
  • Be family-oriented without being cliquish. This is a major one to me. Why do artistic, creative, underground communities find themselves spliced up into this set versus that one? I get that the world is cutthroat, but you do not have to be ferociously dogmatic at “protecting” your peoples. In a truthful, loving way, support your crew’s endeavors–and that of up and coming creatives, folk new to the scene/out of town. There really is room for all of us to be fulfilling our dreams and our purposes at the highest level. Can your family/squad/crew expand beyond who you’d expect it to include?
    Also: love on your family–those in your household need you to pour into them also, whether that means partner, spouse, siblings, parents or your cat Louie.
  • Reciprocate, and go beyond reciprocating. Your community may shower you with affection or become indifferent to your personal plight, but negativity or lack of attention does not mean it’s time to abandon them. Dig deeper; give more generously what you perceive to be lacking, and it will be returned to you. (That may actually mean time for pruning or refining, discerning what connections are fruitful and what aren’t, but more on that later.)

All this is vital to maintaining a vibrant support system that you will lean on in good times and rough patches. In the most difficult struggles and transitions of my life, I made it through because someone prayed for me, someone held my hand while I cried, a friend took a phone call at 4 a.m., a mentor told me the hard truth about myself, folks let me crash on their couch, sis gave me lunch money…I could go on and on. My community helped me become more resilient, more compassionate, more creative, more resourceful, more faithful to God, more righteous.

Hey creatives: Do you have friends who will stick closer than a brother? Have you become that sort of friend to someone else? Choose to examine and invest in right relationships.

PSA: It’s that time again. Are you feeling overwhelmed by life’s pressures? Wanting to ignite your creative passions and get unstuck?  Ready to take an inner vacation to rediscover your happy place? Sign up for the #HappyPlaceProject! 

 

 

 

#MHAW| You and Me and Everyone We Know

It’s #mentalhealthawareness Week! 2016’s focus: Relationships

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We are all interconnected and interdependent–we were created to be in families and communities, fulfilling our purpose in relation to others. We realize who we are (and who we are not) through our interactions with the folks around us–they help mold us while we are in the process of becoming. They mirror our strengths and weaknesses, loves and dislikes, insecurities and confidences. We tend to run away from those who resemble us the most–our ugliest sides, our secret sins, our fiercest fears, our strongest passions.

The ones closest to us have the deepest impact on our mental health–just ask anyone going through a break up or grief and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Family members demonstrate for us how we are to behave with people in the outside world–whether that’s leading with joy and peace (righteousness), fear and anger (control/abuse), timidity or boldness.

They show us how to cope with our issues–or to suppress symptoms, repress urges, escape reality when it isn’t pretty, or keep shameful secrets buried instead of allowing the truth to transform our lives.

At their best:
Our parents can give us confidence in ourselves, and affirmation of our identity. Siblings (and cousins) teach us teamwork, friendship, making others needs and wants a priority over our own (consideration and empathy). Intimate friends, coworkers, masterminds and mentors enrich us, stabilize and push us forward.

Even our enemies, naysayers and saboteurs play a role: Opposition and competition test our strength and can motivate us to go even harder.

At their worst:
Broken, hurting, fearful, insecure, envious, prideful people injure others with their brokenness.

We may draw negative influences and toxic people to us when we rehearse negativity and internalized oppression, doubt our worth, or feel confused and vulnerable.
Where purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable.

Check-in with yourself and those who surround you: home, work, school, community organization, church, online.

Who are you joined to?
What do your current connections and commitments look like?

Do the people in your life help you stay on track?

Are they supportive of your growth, calling you out of your comfort zone in order to be fruitful, or toxic to your potential and your mental health?

Don’t discount the importance of great #relationships–they shape your character and trajectory in profound ways!

#MHM | National Women’s Health Week

For all my mothers, sisters, friends, coworkers, aunties, grandmothers, caretakers, nurturers, mentors out there: We celebrate you especially this week!

National Women’s Health Week 2016 is almost over (May 8th-14th), but you still have time to take the pledge to take one step towards better health!

What can I do to improve my mental health? Here are 5 super easy, actionable quick steps:

  • Take it easy. No need to stay in an agitated, overwrought, anxious, worried state of mind–Establish your peace, and work to maintain it (that means not taking on more emotional toil than you can handle, not sweating the minute stuff, and regular decompressing).
  • Rest.
    Days off are acceptable; women especially need time and space to refresh, relax, and recharge.
    (a) Do not feel guilty about taking some time for yourself, to get a mani-pedi, read a book and drink some tea, take a nice bubble bath, listen to our favorite music, or go on a vacation. Naps are fantastic. So are me-time dates–I treat myself to dinner, ice-cream and a museum visit once a month.
    (b) Give yourself a bedtime range and stick to it as much as you can. Your carriage turns into a pumpkin at ___. My cutoff is midnight-1 a.m. during the week.
  • Take focused breaks.
    Concentrate your energy into a creative outlet; my fave is journaling.
  • Spend down time with friends and family.
    Be really intentional about community building and networking, but don’t neglect quality time with the folks you care for the most. Watch a movie; have a sleepover; make lunch/dinner dates; goof off in the city–whatever you do, you’ll enjoy yourself and be encouraged, instead of isolating and throwing yourself a mini pity party.
    Like your friends. Spend time with your friends. Tacos for the win.
  • Accept help if/when you need it.
    This ties into my previous point:
    (a) Folks are rooting for you, so stop believing the lie that they aren’t. Refuse to entertain the thought that you have no resources, because even if you aren’t equipped, you can get around people who are. And they want to see you win.
    (b) If you find yourself in an especially dark place, and you do not see a way out, please go get some outside help. Going to see a therapist may be the best way to get to the bottom of your difficulty. If you are a person experiencing mental ill health, you are not alone!

If there is one thing women do especially well, it’s banding together to forge families. Make certain in these times to strengthen your support system–we are all in this together!
Happy #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, everyone!

 

 

#TuesdayTea| Chapter 24

Welcome to TuesdayTea! Let’s get cozy.

 

4Happy birthday to ya, happy birthday to ya, happy birthday!!! 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🎓🎓💁🏽💁🏽🙋🏽🦄🦄🙏🏾😂☺️😘😉😭☺️👏🏾☺️😁😚🐼😚🙌🏽😃

Jordan Year is over with. *cue noisemaker*

God has graced us with another year of life.
It’s highly likely my mother will recount for us for the umpteenth time, with tears, just how my sister and I came into this world, that we were miracle babies, born so prematurely that doctors said we wouldn’t last 2 months. And now here we are, 24 years healthy!

I digress.

Here are 24 of the most important lessons I’ve learned while walking this Earth:

  1. I was created to make God’s praise glorious. That’s my intrinsic purpose–I do so when I create, when I serve, and when I live righteously.
  2. It is a good thing to be sympathetic to someone’s plight. It is a better trait to be empathetic, to walk miles in their shoes and even carry them.
    Enduring pain primes us to be more compassionate to others who are suffering.
  3. I hurt myself and others connected to me when I act selfishly. Disobedience and disrespect always lead to some type of destruction.
    Be community minded.
     
  4. Every penny counts. Do not bypass loose change. 
  5. My relationships are vitally important because they shape the person I’m becoming! Mind my connections; nurture the right ones. Money is not more important than people.
  6. Comparisons steal joy and kill friendships. There is more potential in collaboration than competition.
  7. The fear (read: reverence, love, obedience, respect) of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Pay no mind to those other fears. 
  8. Stealth mode is truly an art form–you gain far more by quietly observing and listening than you can by running your mouth. Only your ego needs you to announce your presence, when in fact, your presence will speak for itself. 
  9. All game stops once the truth emerges. 
    The truth is much simpler than we devise it to be. It stands on its own merit and requires no carnal defenses.
  10. I need God, I have always needed God, and I will always need God. Thankfully, He loves me to wholeness, is always with me, and His presence will always astound me.
  11. There is no time like the present moment to let someone know how much you care for, love, appreciate them. Hold yourself to conveying that constantly.
  12. Quit quitting. Quit being emotionally led and press in and through the valleys and plateaus in your life. You only delay the magnificent destiny laid out for you when you procrastinate. On the other hand, commitment is liberating and diligent execution is satisfying.
  13. No one can help you when you haven’t asked. No one can come alongside you when you haven’t gotten up to do the work. Ask, and keep on asking. Seek, and keep on seeking. Knock, and knock continuously, and the door will be opened.
  14. Mercy triumphs over judgment, every single time.
  15. You get to choose how much access you give to the people who want to be attached to you. Ask for discernment and sound judgment, to operate in honor, and to speak the truth in love.
  16. How your family treats you is how you anticipate the world will handle you. 
    So allow your family to fluctuate with the seasons, to become unconventional, and to grow–spiritual kin will enrich you.
  17. Rejection is okay, and necessary. You cannot make anyone love you, or accept you, or choose you over their own interests, no matter what you do, say, or refrain from doing/saying. We don’t recognize how we are being protected from things that could distract our minds, derail our purpose or disrupt our character.
  18. Always be generous, especially to folk who can never pay you back. Generosity and gratitude are always excellent attitudes to have. 
  19. Align yourself with God’s divine will; then you will have peace. Execute justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, and you will be blessed. Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.
  20. Know the state of you at all times–your faith, your relationships’ statuses, your bank accounts, and your personal value:
    (a) Your worth is not bound up in your academics, or your career, or your talents, or your material wealth. Not in your mistakes, nor in your triumphs
    (b) Your value as a human is bound up in Christ, in your legacy, in your community. How many lives did you touch? How many hearts did you give wise counsel to? How many hugs?
  21. Love grants us the courage to dare to dream on a fantastic scale. I love people immensely, like the Ntozake Shange poem–I’m currently learning to love myself just as gently, patiently, fervently, unconditionally. To give myself second chances. To take care of my #mentalhealth and extend that knowledge to others–to have a ever-expanding vision of fulfilling God-given purpose.
  22. Get out of your head. 88% of the negativity/worry in our self-perception comes from getting stuck in our heads. Surround yourself with folk who can help you get out of your head. If you think you’re overthinking things, you most likely are.
  23. Let go and LIVE. Do not hold on and stagnate, linger, and die. You are stronger without it than you can realize while attached to “it.
  24. Learn the practical things, during the fitting season. This minimizes regret, having to go back to redeem time and make corrections!

Happy birthday to me,  happy birthday to me…

Hey, May!!

Announcements (cue the confetti):
It’s Lupus Awareness Month!! Wooohooo!! Purple ribbons all around!
It’s Mental Health Awareness Month!! Wooohooo! Green ribbons for everyone!

My Personal Challenge this month: Become a louder, stronger, better advocate.
Are you wondering how to be a good supporter of family and friends living with lupus or a mental illness/disorder?  No sweat, here are some advocacy tips for you! Below are my favorites:

  • Demonstrate empathy first and foremost. Always be much more willing to listen than to say, “Oh, it’s not that bad; just pray about it”–similar statements are dismissive of their experiences.
  • Create a safe space for easy-going conversation. Everyone’s friends here.
  • It’s the little things. Assist in the everyday things, like picking up groceries or helping someone having a breakout get dressed.
  • Be encouraging.

And, here go some additional resources for you, as well (Note: this is not an exhaustive list):

National Alliance on Mental Illness– Family and Caregivers:
On this page are articles for helping your child and family, finding a missing loved one, supporting recovery and maintaining healthy relationships, preparing for a crisis, taking care of yourself, dealing with police, and suicide.

OK2TALK.org:
A Tumblr account dedicated to youth experiencing mental illness:
“The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope.”

Anxiety and Depression Association of America:
Want to further advocate by learning and sharing the benefits of treating anxiety and mood disorders, OCD, and PTSD in American children and adults? Spread the word!
End the stigma with BringChange2Mind.org! 

Mental Health America:
This website is loaded with information about mental wellness, mental health screenings and other services, policy & advocacy, learning about specific disorders from anxiety to psychosis, eliminating stigmas, and getting involved!

A personal fave: 31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health

MHChat:
Of course, I couldn’t close out this list without this huge resource.
“@MHChat is an online open access community with a weekly mental health twitter chat every Wednesday at 8:00 PM GMT / 3:00 PM ET / 12:00 PT. The hashtag for the twitter chat @MHchat is #MHchat.”
Join in and share your views with us tomorrow, won’t you! I’ll be right there, catching all the gems and major keys. 😉

We are dedicated to promoting and advancing a holistic interdisciplinary and psychosocial understanding of mental health and mental ill health.
We’re getting up close and personal this month! This year’s theme for Mental Health May is “Life with Mental Illness.” Share your experiences on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, IG with #MentalIllnessFeelsLike! 

#TuesdayTea| Proactivity

Welcome to TuesdayTea! Get cozy, pull up a chair, and fill your mugs. 🙂
Today, let’s chat being proactive.

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It’s the first week in May, which means we are nearly halfway through the year. I love May: you get that late spring warmth (sundress season, anyone?!:D), it’s commencement time, so there’s promise of fresh start. Also,  according to Auntee Rik, May is Lupus Awareness Month, BBQ Month, Asparagus Month, Hamburger Month, Strawberry Month, Photo Month, Get Caught Reading Month, and my personal fave, Mental Health Awareness month. (Now that I’ve told you, you can plan all your picnics accordingly. LOL)

“April showers bring May flowers,” so the saying goes. I have been taking a hard look at myself, where I am in terms of goals, and where I want to be–and I admit, I fell short of my goals this past month.

April taught me that “Now What?” doesn’t signal time to panic or to get complacent, but to stay committed to the process.

Transparent moment: I can be a blind-sided quitter: When I feel overwhelmed by all that’s on my plate, I may shut down or unravel towards the culmination of a process:

“You’ll continue to struggle with pressing on when it feels like you’ve given it all you’ve got. You take on a lot of tasks because you are eager to love and serve others. But you often find yourself sitting in a place of feeling overwhelmed and not even realizing it until it’s too late.” (Nicki Koziarz’s 5 Habits of a Woman who Doesn’t Quit is stretching me!)

I’m sure you, too have been in a place where you put all your time, energy into one super exciting, meaningful venture, only to realize that you are completely in over your head–with pressing deadlines! Ever been trapped in your mind trying to see your way out with an obstructed lens? Show of hands?

Yeah, I have been there and will likely find myself there more frequently than I’d like.

So how does one avoid toppling over with the staggering stack on their plate–without saying, “Forget it” and dropping everything? How can I preserve my mental health in the process?

  1. S I M P L I F Y: Streamline as much as you can into categories of urgency and importance (Urgent & Important, Urgent & Not Important, Important & Not Urgent, Not Important & Not Urgent.) Purge, purge, purge, purge, purge, purge.
    Start, start, start, start, start, start. Baby steps count!
    Pick an area of refinement for you. My mastermind is doing a 90-day focus challenge to address one task with specific, time-sensitive goals. #Takeover2016 My focus is to continue building Visuals by Mia Anika through consistent product/content output.
    This next one is a major key:
  2. Be proactive. You will be prepared in and out of season to deal with whatever may come up when you are intentional about staying prepared

Job searching? Maintain relationships with people in your network, and keep updating all your profiles and resumes. Adjusting a business? Create a viable business plan that includes how you will deal with xyz challenges, vision/mission statement to stay centered. Launching/releasing merch? Create promotions ahead of time 2-3 weeks) to whoever you are targeting. Make frequent announcements.

Being proactive is staying ahead of the curve by anticipating what you need in order to complete your assignment and stay on purpose. It’s taking into account all of the resources at your disposal and making good use of what you have available.
Being proactive is acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers, and seeking them out from mentors, leaders, folk who have been where you are and can speak godly counsel/correction into your life (not just what makes your ego feel good, but what can help refine you). That way, you don’t get stuck inside your own mind or burnt out trying to figure everything out on your own.
Being proactive is choosing to press through the preparation process even when you don’t truly feel like it, not allowing your emotions to drive you to distractions.

Being proactive is being determined to redeem the time that you may have wasted, by assessing your current reality, and shifting so you can improve it.

Being proactive is keeping healthy habits, such as exercising and planning balanced meals in advance so you can be fit.

Being proactive is deciding when you wake up precisely what sort of day you shall have–the undisturbed ones come from getting in the presence of God and safeguarding your achievement mindset. It’s determining that you will not start your day being anxious, but instead “in every thing, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continues to make your requests known to God, and God’s peace that surpasses understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”  It’s consciously submitting your will and your task list, asking Him to renew your mind (Romans 12:1-2).

There’s a reason the full armor of God includes wearing on your feet “[to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the gospel of peace.]” Ephesians 6:15 AMP
We are to walk in this truth: that the good news of salvation and deliverance through Christ prepares us to face the enemy!
Being proactive is deciding that you will think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, kind, virtuous and praiseworthy. (Phillippians 4:7-8)

Affirmations:
When my body, spirit, emotions, will, and mind are in top shape, I can handle the overwhelming moments of life.
When I am proactive about being centered in Christ’s peace, I won’t quit.

Now is the day to begin again. How are you going to become more proactive in your life? Tweet me with #TuesdayTea!