Blessed Be the Ties that Bind…

“Blessed be the ties that bind all hearts together in Christian love.”
How many of you all have heard that little benediction before?
Growing up I heard my mom and aunts repeat that to one another in moments when there was disharmony, but I didn’t grasp its significance.
I’d chalked it up to Christianese, one of those things we just say like “To God be the glory”, and “Bless your heart.”
But what does it really mean,
“Blessed be the ties that bind all hearts together in Christian love?”
What are the ties? How IS Christian love different? What does it look like to carry this out in the 21st century?
There is clearly a blessing associated with true unity in Christ’s Body:
An Anointing, Grace and favor, and life!
Psalm 133 says
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for  brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron,Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord Commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.
What ought to unite us is Christian fellowship, more than socioeconomic position, or childhood experience, or education, or national origin, or speaking the same language, or even social media.
We know that God has called each and every one of us to the ministry of reconciliation, according to 2 Corinthians 5:18-19:
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
The gospel has the power to draw men and women to Christ, to His unfailing love and His eternal Kingdom! To repair the broken relationships between parents and children, among siblings, between friends. To heal and transform our surrendered hearts in order for us to love others as He loves us.
It has the power to unify even a divided, hateful nation under God indivisible with true Liberty and justice for all.
We know we are commanded to love one another: 1 John 3:23 NKJV
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
This radical love is marked by grace and mercy, humility, serving, submission to authority, speaking the truth in love, unfailing constant hope… It is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to love this deeply and supernaturally, because by nature human love is fickle and self-preserving. By nature I might hold onto an offense, let the sun set on my anger. But God’s love endures all things, believes all things. It never fails.
In this hour, the enemy has released a torrent of fear, hatred, envy, strife, violence and absolute disregard for life, all over this country.
In this hour, it’s not easy to be a proud Black, female, Christian. It’s easier to use blanket statements about police, non-black people, protesting, Black Lives Matter, than to engage hurting communities one on one. It’s easier to let Twitter and Facebook lead/dictate conversations than to press in God’s Word, or pray for direction. It’s easy to be a passive leader.
In this hour, I believe God is calling us, the least of these in this nation, to activate our faith, to stand in the gap and represent this unshakeable Kingdom! To demonstrate, not just March with our coworkers, family and friends in coty streets, but live it out loud! To be on one accord with His Word.
This is a time when our ties, our loyalty, our connections, our friendships, will be tested and shaken–or proven to have a solid foundation.
Philippians 2:1-3
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Blessed are the ties that bind. Powerful are the ties that bind.
Victorious are the ties that bind.

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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.

#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…

#WYAOApril| Heal

*This post is for Write Your *** Off April, a Twenties Unscripted writing challenge. Today: Musings on Healing. Enjoy!*

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” Malachi 4:2

I Am the God who heals you. Exodus 15:26

What happens when you suffer an injury?
Capillaries break and blood rushes to the surface of your paper thin skin.

You experience the sensation of pain; your brain synapses fire, your body indicates that something traumatic has occurred. Homeostasis disrupted, security breach. Must seal the wound and block from infection.
That’s bites, bruises, burns, lacerations for you, in a nutshell.

Healing: sealing the breach, repairing the brokenness, replacing with new tissues, restoring to a strong condition. It is rarely a comfortable process–in fact, it can be stiff, acute, tingly, and downright itchy. Even mending fractures requires setting, casting, fusing, and rehabilitation. Alone, without intervention of antibiotics, salve, and bandages, our wounds may become malformed. Bones misalign, muscles ache or atrophy, we end up long-term requiring others’ assistance when we don’t acknowledge and accept short-term help.

God often facilitates our healing through key people that He places on our path.

Addressing psychic wounds is no less messy, collaborative or informative.
To heal an impaired mental state takes lots of time, patience (literally long-suffering), trusting in God to carry you with joy and peace through the process, interdependence within a family and a community.
Isolation is devastating, but genuine fellowship in love uplifts and empowers. We heal faster within groups, shouldering one another’s burdens, carrying our weights. I speak life over you; in turn, you encourage me. There is more to sharing honestly than merely exchanging the most exciting parts to our journey–that’s just broadcasting. To dig deeper, we must five below the surface, sand off the veneer, make an incision to medicate that raw flesh underneath. The aim of group therapy is to access an open, safe space for you to be held accountable, to give your testimony, to commit to trusting and sustaining the souls within that circle.

Confess your sins to each other, praying for one another that you may receive healing.

I heal when I can touch your life as creative, as sister, as confidante. I receive healing when I humble myself long enough to become vulnerable, to be meek. Meekness, strength operating under self-control, draws and frames the support you need. When you are meek, you are not loud, boastful, resistant to seeing yourself reflected in others, but quiet, embracing the flow, the critique for necessary change.

Healing occurs in waves and stages, like grief. It is not always instanteous, nor is it so glamorous: when the breach is mended, this process leaves scars. Unpretty, discolored, awkwardness, raised patches & paths. Keloids, stretch marks, incision lines. It’s about what exits us as much as what remains and enters. Reminders of past injuries and afflictions will surface from time to time, and in the locus of your memory, you may relive the trauma, fool yourself into thinking, This presently affects me.
You know you have healed sufficiently (completely) once the once aching places no longer hurt when you touch them.
Hearing their name or passing that house doesn’t make you wince; you don’t downward spiral recounting the offense. You barely remember why you were so upset. You can recite the facts, and laugh out loud at how less wise you were; looking back yields gratitude in place of bitterness.

Therapy requires constant stretching and strength training.
We are susceptible to injury, to fracture, suffer repeatedly in the same places. Thankfully, we’re being renewed in the inner man day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)

I am growing.
I am recuperating. I am rehabilitating. I am healing.

#WYAOApril| Complicate

This post is for Twenties Unscripted writing challenge, #WYAOApril. Today’s Musings: how we Complicate our faith by walking by sight. Enjoy!

Pending: Sonrise

At night, the darkest clouds roll in to drench us in anxious thoughts
At night, the enemy plagues us with air raids firing into the canopies
Incoming
seeds of self-destruct to kill our faith, steal our joy, wreck our connection to God.
At night, as we relax and recline, seductive demons slip into our wild dreams and torment us out of sleep
The accuser of the brethren dons a sheer facade of light to pace the Father’s throne room, citing all his petty grievances
At night, the questions arise–anticipating daybreak–
Lord, when shall You come through for us?
O wretched person that I am! Shall my Beloved deliver me?
At night we rail against the Most High with clenched fist and indignant tears, daring He prove He’s concerned about us.
Tossing at the sky our presumptions, our meaningless resolutions, screaming desperately at pitch midnight indigo silence.

At night we double over clutching our stomachs in agony.
At night we cry and howl in type as we slice paper thin skin with serpents’ fangs
Hoping our neon gods will supply us an answer.
At night we can catch the faintness of resounding truth if we would only wait
the stirring of the still small voice, if we would suffer long
For, He waits
for our tantrums to subside

before cradling us in His everlasting arms,
calling forth the moon and the stars to show forth His handiwork
To quiet our much vexed souls

At night, the Redeemer rebukes the storm and walks the waters.
At night, He strides the mountain tops and weathers the valleys with us
He doesn’t slumber nor sleep,
for night
is as day
to Him who is able to keep you from falling.
At night wonders never cease, Adonai centering in the midst of it all.

#WYAOApril| Love

This is a part of Twenties Unscripted Writing Challenge, #WYAOApril. Musings on love. Enjoy!

Memory no. 24:

The texture of tepid mists that ripen the tomatoes and make okra lilies bloom
Make me blush shades of the rose quartz near my womb
Your nails firmly pressed into my palms
keep calm in fits of laughter
delighting in fresh picked strawberry arugula salad
duck attacks by quiet manmade creeks
How many birds have we frightened now by being genuine
but my favorite feeling is a tie between
reverberating effervescent silence warmth vibrating in my blood
and the cadence of that knowing watermelon smile when you chuckle at my feigned ignorance, my melodramatic silliness

I’ll remember, I’ll remember, I’ll remember
When love paused on a damselfly’s back and illuminated her lacey wings
I’ll remember reciprocating with tea and witty banter & closed eyes
what three words in English verge inadequate to communicate:

This remains new.
***********************************************************************

She calls us the most likely least likely duo. Ha. I recall having sentiments that really defied any particular label toward you. Song of Solomon made a bit more sense–you know, when she says she wishes her beloved was her brother so she could shower with affection without judgment? Yeah, I overstood then. At the same time, I just really desired to be your best friend–we flowed pretty well; I processed my thoughts quicker and more accurately; i recharged, and so did you. Vibes flying and curiosity building–I think I probably always loved you, but ego, denial ran interference.

Love, I learned, we learn in context, sharing ourselves with other people, who are also flawed, temperamental, capricious, rough around the edges; they polish and refine you. Those people that break you down have the potential to show you the depths of your own compassion, resilience, and faith in the midst of immense pain.

No, I am not advocating for Stockholm syndrome. But you haven’t truly lived until you’ve been betrayed. Passed over and around, kicked to the side in favor of the pursuit of riches, status, sex, their own interests.
And given the opportunity to repay the evil, I didn’t kick back.

Are we least likely because we can’t see it coming? Are we most likely because we are so alike, we mirror each other?

I realized while you deliberately broke me down, as acutely as it hurt, that I HAD to feel more than just arbitrary fondness or infatuation. Self-preservation instinct screamed at me to retaliate. Finish him! Ruin him! But I couldn’t dare be so hateful. I realized as I braced the flaming sword above your head, I couldn’t lop off your head. Oh, no, I thought, you are actually this significant to me; your mind, emotions and will matter to me. I mean, maybe I actually love my mortal enemy?

Even while unpacking that,

Love is quieter and more conventional now, haha. I have a range of exuberant expressions (gifts and lyrical declarations) and some practical things, like bringing a sick friend soup. Love isn’t just good morning texts or liking the same music, not that cut and dry,  as five hour phone calls. Love is praying together for one another. Love is studying Scripture, then waxing poetic about how awesome God is. Love is protecting even when it’s difficult, and telling the truth at the risk of being on someone’s “bad side.” In fact, love is risk-taking, trusting, believing the best, hoping in the middle of worst case scenario, reconciling, humbling, transforming.
I loved at deeper levels, more profoundly, after I understood “unconditional” as without condition, clause, extenuating circumstance, or time limit. Desiring the best for someone’s physical, social, mental, spiritual well-being, even without being a part of their lives. Love is generous, hopeful, unwavering, as strong as death.

I love others, and you. Love is so much for than what we attempt (and often fail) to describe, signify, or settle for. It is healing inside out, refreshing, resplendent, radiant, transcendent.

  • You can continue to love someone without being reconciled to them. What a glory ache it is to love somebody from a distance! But it’s a protective measure.
  • You can love someone exponentially more, appreciate, value, demonstrate, and persist in love after you’ve gone through the testing, the forgiveness and restoration. You accept (not merely tolerate) the endearing and the not-so-cuddly aspects of their person, and decide to literally love the hell out of them.
  • If Love lifted me when nothing else could help, then by electing to love when I don’t feel like it, I lift, uphold, empower the “irredeemable.” That is radically great power. That is being godly.
  • I not only wield, possess, and embody that restorative power within myself, but I have great responsibility to love unconditionally.
  • Don’t dilute the strength of true, pure, noble, righteous, praiseworthy, excellent love with the impure motives of lust.
  • Love is holy, of one, sacred–not because it’s associated with an edifice, or chubby winged babies, or splashed with Florida water and anointing oil, or fueled by mere passion alone.

Holy is love, because it plunges in deep waters and goes through fire, yet emerges intact, purer and truer than 24-karat gold.

#Flourish30| Our Free Will

Have you ever made a promise, set a goal, said that you were going to do something, and then stopped “feeling like it?”

Did you quit altogether? Did you only give it a half-hearted effort because you were so over it”?

It is harder to commit your will to something than it is to persuade your rationale/reasoning or your emotions. As it ought to be.

God wired us for our wills to dominate, so that temporal distractions, erroneous knowledge, and fleeting pleasures/feelings won’t sideline us all the time. He created us with a free will like His own, so we could make choices. Unfortunately, we sometimes choose to be led by our feelings, our intuition, our past experience or limited understanding–instead of aligning our will with the absolutely, ultimately awesome will of God.
We make the easy, simple choices and delay decisions that have greater impact and bigger consequences–or we go with what seems correct but in the end leads to death.
(In the meantime, God, in His great fatherly love for us, allows us to take these “shortcuts” and eventually come to the end of our own devices, so He can step in and lead us. :3)

If we depend on our understanding,  we forget that Jesus is The Truth.
If we demand our own agenda and methods, we forget that Jesus is The Way.
If we seek compromise/loopholes or try to manipulate situations for our own good, we give up access to the abundant life that He has in store for us.
If we neglect reading the Word, praying and so separate ourselves from the Source of our salvation, joy, peace, love and power, we forget that Jesus is the Life and apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Once you commit your will to something, your mind and your emotions eventually catch up and follow suit. After all, they form one unit, your soul. And as your soul prospers (in submission to God’s best, acceptable and perfectly pleasing will), so will you. Choose to commit your will (and your ways and your understanding) to something that stretches you, challenges you, increases your dependance on God and lessen your reliance on self. Then the true way of life, that “enlightenment”, every New Ager espouses, can be yours already in Christ.

I’m in the middle of renewing some commitments in different areas of my life and being intentional about how I spend my time: more time in service to others, deeper prayer life, less time on social media (from sunset to sunrise, no social media for me this week), firmer Nos to distractions and “good” opportunities, saying Yes to things that free me.

Yes to taking better care of myself, No to overwhelming myself and slacking off on what truly matters.
Yes to honoring my family, friends, church, and organizations, by showing up on time and being fully present. No to selfish ambition, image building and perfectionism.
Yes to living boldly for God, taking heed to guard my heart, my words to my self and other people. Ephesians 4:29
No to being hypocritical, religious, judgmental, highminded, timid and rude.

As I take it day by day, “being confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in me shall continue it and complete until the day of Christ,”(Phillippians 1:6),
I turn my own will, my plans and blueprints, my desires over to God’s sovereignty. I trust Him to do what I am not able to do, what I’m not strong enough to finish on my own.
I’m a work in progress.

#TuesdayTea| Perfectionism

Welcome to TuesdayTea! Pull up a chair and fill up your mugs. 🙂

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Arise, My people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you.  Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you.  All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see the glory of the Lord upon you.
Isaiah 60:1-3

Hi, my name is Mia, and I struggle with…perfectionism.
You can now stop holding your breath, and holding in your negative feels, because I know you probably sit in this boat, also. Welcome, welcome, friend.

As creatives and entrepreneurs carving out our own space in the gig economy, we often feel as though we have to do absolutely everything ourselves. We are at the helm of all things from the creative process, to customer service, to branding and marketing, to research and development. It makes sense to want everything you put out there to be of utmost quality, the very best of the best.  You want to represent yourself well and put forth a good image–professional, excellent, commendable at all times. You want to demonstrate that you’re becoming “the best version of yourself.”

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Here’s the catch: Sometimes in striving to appear the best, we end up setting our hearts after an unrealistic image.

What drives us to perfectionism? The urge comes from a place deep within us, in the recesses of our hearts and the back of our minds, that’s fearful and insecure. That part of us that is afraid of messing up and having to start all over. That part of us that loathes rejection and sees delay as denial, as a blow to our egos. That part of us that would much rather control everything than to feel powerless.

I wrestle with perfection when I entertain doubts that what I am doing is not enough, that what I am making is not enough, that it–that I–am not prepared. It rears its ugly head when I misalign my perception of who I am and equate my identity to a sum of my triumphs and failures. It’s a crisis of doing and pursuing to look mighty instead of being and becoming strong and at peace first. And, perfectionism is a weapon the enemy uses to delay and derail your best work.

Perfectionism steals our joy, sucking the fun out of celebrating any accomplishments. Perfectionism steals our peace, winding us up tight with anxiety. It destroys what we are on the verge of creating, as we block our minds with “Not what I wanted! Terrible!” and other projections. All that intensity and frustration can cause us to seal ourselves in funk, self-pity and isolation, because we’ll push off the very folks who want to help! It makes us less authentic, less relatable, harsh, and even hypocritical. Ouch.

Ready to exit that horrible headspace? Give yourself some grace!

Arise, and shine, for the glory of God is upon you.
Do you believe that you have God given gifts, good and perfect in and of themselves, deposited inside of you?
Do you believe that you were chosen in advance for greatness, created intricately in majesty and wonder? The Scripture says that the light of the world is already shining from within you. You are glorious in God’s eyes, you are glorious in Christ.
You are special; you are brilliant, splendid and radiant.

So there is no need to push to dress the latest style, or obsess over the sound of your voice in a recording, or edit the same design over and over and over again because you’re afraid it isn’t absolutely perfect. Make improvements, but there is no need to fret your heart out over your flaws and faults. They’re complements that magnify the grace you’ve been given.

Don’t focus in on yourself so much. Ultimately, your success, your achievements, your shortcomings, your stewardship of your gifts and the goods you provide to the world don’t point back to you. All the glory goes back to God. 😉

Be encouraged, and release what the world is waiting on.

#WYAOApril| Surrender

April is National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month, 2 of my favorite art forms which incorporate improvisation at their cores. In order to celebrate them, I have decided to show a more lyrical side of me. 🙂 One of my goals for the next 90 days is to write more consistent, compelling, transparent posts, so here we are!

Tyece Wilkins of Twenties Unscripted (@Tyunscripted) started this writing challenge to get us to delve the depths of raw emotion, to be vulnerable and connect with the layers of nuance in our voices. 10 days, 10 words.

Today: Surrender [as yet untitled]

Hands up raised
Head bowed in reverence
I choke out the words
I’m grateful, grateful, gratefulness
Is flowing from my heart
Fat tears leaving salt streaks down my cheeks
Flooding my lap with reckless abandon and overwhelm
I’ve been captured by inexplicable
Love
and he’s filling me in on the inside
Every crack, cleft and crevice
Every forsaken, neglected, abused, mistreated, hated, self-deprecated, injured place
Every numb high, every devastating low
Instant healing

Oh what needless grieves we bear
We don’t carry
We don’t carry
We don’t carry, well–just sieves full of sand and broken cisterns
It’s less strain to let the storms overcome us than to battle wind and rain and drown
I would rather be swallowed alive by peace
Ego down, defenses at rest, no more combat–at least, for tonight.
Like a toddler with his mother is my soul within me.
Amen.