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Soul Work: Being Under Construction

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Under Construction- being built or repaired -Webster

I have been driving the same route to work for the past few years now. One day something was different. When it was time to take the usual right turn, to the street that leads to the office, I was met with a “road closed” sign. I would have wanted advance notice about having to take an alternate route other than the sign.  I did not get an email, text alert, or phone call about this change. I like to be mentally prepared for changes. Needless to say, I had to take a minor detour to work that day. Construction on that road continued for a few weeks thereafter. I simply had to make an adjustment in regards to my usual route, it wasn’t fun, but it was necessary. When a road, home or office is under construction the process can be difficult, inconvenient and lengthy but for the most part, the purpose of a renovation is for improvement. In the same light, there will be detours in our lives that we will not be prepared for. We will reach certain seasons in our lives where our former selves cannot go. There are places that God wants to take us spiritually that old thought processes, old ways of doing things will not be able to sustain us in the months and years to come.


Renovation
 (also called remodeling) is the process of improving a broken, damaged, or outdated structure. Renovation can refer to making something new, or bringing something back to life and can apply in social contexts. – Webster

Fix what is broken.

Most people walk around in a cloud of denial, pointing fingers at others, thinking that personal development is for everyone else but them. That is a dangerous way to think. It is for both men and women. Joining a gym, going back to school or starting a new business are great #goals to work on. Congrats on all of your endeavors!  I believe we have to give attention to every part of our lives. We cannot neglect our souls.  You are responsible for the condition of your soul. Plant seeds into people’s lives, lead people to Christ, love people with the heart of God. Do not forget to tend to your soul as well. Paul spoke about making sure that He was fit so that while he preached to others he wouldn’t be disqualified (1 Corinthians 1:9-27). You will be the one that gives an account for your life. What we refuse to deal with in our soul will bleed through into different areas in our lives. It will affect your relationship with God and people. It will continue to resurface until you learn the lessons and heal. A wedding ring can’t remove the wounds, status and position can’t cover the scars, and a new promotion will not remove post-traumatic stress disorder. It may give relief but it will be short lived.  In order for us to get to the next season of our lives, our soul needs to go under construction.

The purpose of being under construction is for God to restore us to complete wholeness. When someone betrays you, takes advantage of you, use you, mislead you, or hurts you in any way it can cause great distress in our heart. I know we live in a thug life, get over it society. We don’t have time to feel pain so we pretend like it doesn’t exist. Here’s the issue, brushing pain under the rug doesn’t mean it goes away. It can lay dormant for years. It can show up as sickness, anxiety, nervous breakdowns, depression, suicidal thoughts etc.  In order for God to heal you, you must allow Him in. Vulnerability should start with God. Everyone’s healing process and journey is different. If there is unresolved pain in your life. There is a reason some things are coming up in your soul. It could be God wanting to heal an area in your life. I am a huge advocate for asking for help and/or going to counseling. He won’t be able to repair a certain area if you don’t allow Him to assess the damage.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds- Psalm 147:3

God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit- David (Psalm 34:18)

Wholeness is connected to healing, deliverance, holiness and sanctification. You may have to start with a new foundation.

Check your foundation! (Matt 7:24-27)

 If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything -Alexander Hamilton

If your foundation, worth and value as a believer is not solid, you won’t be able to be who God created you to be. You will always reach a road block. If who you are as a person is built on sand (ex: money, status, approval, and popularity), then you will not be able to handle the pressures of life. Your validation and identity should come from Christ, the solid rock, not from a parking space, your name on a plaque, a huge promotion, accolades and admiration from people. People will disappoint you, and shiny awards will not fulfill your voids. Where does your identity come from? Where does your hope come from? Any prop that is holding you up or gives you your significance outside of God, is an idol. In order for God to restore you to wholeness, He will have to strip you of everything that is causing you to have a faulty foundation.

Let Go or Be Dragged- Zen Proverb

Everything starts with surrender. “I Surrender All” and “I Give Myself Away” are beautiful hymns. Surrendering to Christ is a daily act. When you reach the end of yourself…that is the beginning of your new life with Christ. This is for veterans in the faith and new believers.  I believe God will do everything in His power to help us. By any means necessary -Malcolm X. It can be a willing act of surrender or a battle. It’s a battle between your will vs. God’s will. In order to be restored, it is supposed to be a collaborative effort between you and the Holy Spirit.  You have to tell your flesh to have several seats. “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you” (Psalm 32:9). Could you imagine the Holy Spirit having to wrestle with you to go in the right direction? I don’t have a horse, but I have a dog.  Let me tell you the struggle is real. When he’s on a leash he has a mind of his own. When I walk him… He walks me instead. I have to get his attention, because he has a mind of his own sometimes. I can only image what God has to do with us.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6).

There will be areas of your life that it’s easy to hand it over to God. Pray more, read the bible, make it to church on time, or join a new ministry. Oh that’s a piece of cake. I’m not saying that those goals are not important because they are.  Any area of your life that is not submitted to Christ is an area that needs “work.” This work may be gut wrenching, but you won’t have to do it alone. Will power is not enough, the Holy Spirit is the one who will enable you to keep on going. It will not be a walk in the park, but developing your character will be well worth it.

It’s about progress not perfection -Unknown

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

There will be areas of your life where you will soar in! On the other hand, there will be areas where you will be crawling. I do not want you to start obsessing over your flaws. We are all a work in progress. You won’t have to make changes all at once or in your own strength, again it will be the Holy Spirit that will help you. Pray and ask God for His help. There is strength in your weakness. There is a thin line, Appreciate and celebrate your strengths. However, do not allow your strengths to create conceit and superiority over others in your heart. Even in your weakness you can boast, it is an opportunity to lean on God for His supernatural ability in that area.  I want to encourage you. You will make progress, you will take great leaps and bounds in your faith walk.

 


If you think you don’t need to go under construction…
Yes you do. EVERYONE has some level of flaws and character shaping that God needs to take care of. We are not immune from the pruning process. Ahh The “pruning” process. It’s not glamorous but it is necessary. You may be unaware of areas in your life that need repair. Our soul is like a garden, if we don’t tend to the garden, you can grow weeds of unforgiveness, strong holds, and bondage and not even know it. Brace yourself for impact! Seeing your humanity is not easy, it can be a painful process. God is a comforter! Ask Him to show you what changes that He wants to make in your life.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  -David (Psalm 139:23,24)

You will never arrive to a place where you will not need God. Self-righteousness has no parts in the kingdom of God. We are flawed human beings. Just like the saying “there’s always work to be done.” Sanctification is a lifelong process. That is not an excuse to sin or remain in bondage. There will always be in area of our lives that God is perfecting, pruning or correcting.

Let God be God in your life, step off of the throne and surrender to His will. Awareness is the first step. Knowing what areas that you need healing in is good. However, you are responsible for taking action. It may feel like your life is falling apart all around you, it may feel like pieces of your heart has shattered into a million pieces. When you are being rebuilt, it’s going to look worse before it gets better.  In the end, you will be an upgraded version of yourself for God’s glory. Only then, will you be able to handle the next season of your life. The beauty of being under construction is that when people see you, they will see the Christ in you.  Take heart and be encouraged! ❤

 
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The Great Wall of Contentment

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Rat Race- A way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth and power.- Oxford 

We live in a rat race called life. Everyone is rushing to go somewhere or to accomplish Screenshot_2015-12-02-23-40-43-1something. It doesn’t matter what success you achieve in life, it may feel like it’s never enough. There are areas in your life where you’ve made peace with your portion, you are living your life and you are content with where God has placed you.

For example, you have accepted the fact that your bank account might not be where you want it right now but you’re thanking God for His provision. Perhaps, you’re excited about going back to school and starting your new classes. Better yet, you’ve even come to terms with the fact that singleness is a beautiful thing and when your bae comes God will reveal it to you.

Buster: A person or thing that breaks, destroys or overpowers something. -Oxford

Brace yourself, someone is going to ask you a series of “adult” questions that will have you reevaluating your whole existence. If you have your Bachelor’s degree, they ask.. when are you getting your Master’s degree? If you’re single… When are you getting married? If you are married… When are you having children? If you’re in an apartment… when are you buying a house? They just want to know “the tea.” That’s fine and all but if you ever leave a conversation feeling like “what have I done with my whole life” based on an interaction with someone. My friend, you have met a “Contentment Buster.” Let me tell you, there is always a “Contentment Buster” waiting to shake your peace and steal your joy.  I mean, you’ve prayed, you’ve fasted and you’re waiting on the Lord. Now all of a sudden, you have allowed this person to dismantle your “Great wall of Contentment” brick by brick.

Contentment: A state of happiness and satisfaction [in one’s situation]. -Oxford

Perspective: This Fictitious American dream notion that suggests that everyone should have their dream job, have a house with a white picket fence, be married, and have 2.5 children all by the age of 25 is not everyone’s reality. Maybe it has worked for some and that’s beautiful. However, for those of you who are still trying to figure it out. Your life is not in shambles because you have not achieved what society says success should look like. God’s timing is perfect. Even if you are tired of waiting, say it by faith until you believe it. It is better to receive His blessings when you’re ready then receive it prematurely and ruin it. Trust the process.

How to Spot a Contentment Buster

  1. Impose their expectations on others
  2. They give back-handed compliments
  3. Use their life as the standard for perfection

Ladies and Gents, it’s not okay to make people subject to your time table. I know you may want to cupid shuffle at your friend’s wedding but you have to chill. She just met the guy 3 weeks ago, stop it!! God will reveal if He’s the one or not. Be encouraging, pray for her and be an accountability partner. Your pressure is not necessary. Your friend who is married is celebrating her 3 year wedding anniversary and you may want to rock her future baby to sleep but continuing to ask ” when are you going to give that man a baby” is not okay. Shouting, “you’re not getting any younger” is not wise. You have no idea if the couple is having fertility issues. Trust me, when a relationship is worth sharing your girl will fill you in. When they hear the “pitter patter of little feet” you will get the pregnancy announcement. Celebrate with your friend where they are right now. We are a society obsessed with “What’s next?” that it’s hard to enjoy RIGHT NOW! Don’t miss this season of your life focusing on what’s next. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). When you read  Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 there is a great depiction of time and seasons. Whatever is meant to happen will be. Do not allow others to impose their unrealistic expectations on your life.

This race to adulthood was all a setup. What were some of us racing to do? Pay bills? Work until retirement? Don’t get me wrong, there were some perks. We celebrated the milestones as we got older. The big ones were, turning 16 years old, you’re able to drive. Then at 18 you’re legal and you can vote. When you turn 21 you’re legal to drink. Okay, now what? You fast forward, you should have everything you ever wanted in life! Right? Nope… not quite. That type of thinking of I “SHOULD” have… many times are unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves or that others have imposed on us. Who created this standard?

Shift Your Focus to the Will of God 

What is going right in your life currently? What can you give God praise for right now. An God's timingattitude of gratitude will shift your focus. When we are appreciative of where we are currently this allows us to look at the bigger picture as opposed to nitpicking at the things that are not happening in your life. Besides, we can’t control life anyway. Here’s something to think about.  Think about where you used to be, thank God for progress. I’ve been told, it’s about progress not perfection. We have to put that “American Dream” check list to the side. Don’t get me wrong, have goals, dream BIG, break stereotypes, write the vision and make it plain!!  Understand that your accomplishments don’t even matter if you’re not in the will of God. We have to make sure God is in the midst of our plans. Trust the timing of your life. Sometimes you will get discouraged because you may not be able to see the fruit of your labor. Being exactly where God wants you to be isn’t always roses. You may be burdened with heavy affliction. One season can last for many years and you may feel like giving up. Don’t give up! Do not be weary in well doing, for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we faint not (Galatians 6:9)  Why do we need a reminder to not be weary? With our human nature chances are we may become weary. Sometimes it is our eyes that cause us to be discontent in our current season. We live in a visual era with social media and it has been easier to “Keep up with the Joneses” via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, we’re not supposed to be competing or trying to emulate someone else’s life. We have to tend to our own grass instead of focusing on whose grass “looks” greener than ours. When you see others moving along and you have not reached your promised land yet it helps to shift your focus on to the word of God. Remind yourself of the promises of God and that will help rebuild your “Great Wall of Contentment” brick by brick.

Guard your heart, eyes and ears! Yes, we all could use some more money in our bank account. We could travel more, go out more, dress a little better, read the word of God more, have more fun… the list goes on. We can dissect our lives and truly see where we should get it together. I am a strong advocate for self-awareness and evaluating different areas in our lives. However, Paul taught about being content in every season. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11). Paul knew what it was like to have plenty and to be in need. He attributed his abilities to remain content was through Christ. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

Accountability Partner  VS. Contentment Buster :

Let’s be clear everyone that enters your life is not entering your life to bring down your “Great wall of Contentment,” it just may be someone who God has placed in your life to hold you accountable in order for you to fulfill your purpose. They are there to keep you on track. If they ask you what happened to that ministry you were going to start 6 months ago? It doesn’t mean they #triedit No! They may genuinely want you to win and want to see you walking in purpose. It could be that it may not be the right timing, or you may just be procrastinating. Fear can really stop you in your tracks. Find out what is really going on. If you prayed about it and you believe God is leading you in a new direction that may happen as well. Whichever one is the case, if you feel as though that person can be an accountability partner and they are safe to be vulnerable with, allow God to reveal that to you. You may be able to share with them some of the obstacles that are standing in your way and they could be a great encouragement to you. Pray for discernment before sharing. You will know, because the Holy Spirit will lead you in the right direction if you consult with him. I wanted to clear that up before you tell Sister Jessica “Don’t come for me” when she asks you about your life. She may be genuinely concerned about you and wants you to win! Iron sharpens iron, sometimes you need a push in the right direction. We can’t go through life alone. Hopefully you surround yourself around those that will help build up your “Great Wall of Contentment” not knock it down.

Vicky S. Joseph

Vicky is a Public Speaker, Spoken-Word Artist, Actress and Writer. With Her sparkling personality she wants to ignite moral change in individuals! ❤

 
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Berwick “Underscore” Augustin Interview

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It was an honor to be able to interview Berwick “Underscore” Augustin. He is a Playwright, Spoken Word Artist, Writer,  Producer, Instructor, Director and an Acting coach. He is a modern day Renaissance Man. He uses his gifts and talents to uplift, inspire and to evoke change in the community.

Meet Underscore:

Berwick “Underscore” Augustin’s literary work is a sponge that has been soaked with a strong blend of culture and spirituality. He uses spoken word poetry and theatre as a vehicle to drive empowerment, freedom, and pride to the international community from a Haitian perspective. He is the founder of South Florida’s monthly interactive spoken word experience, P.H.I.R.S.T. IMPRESSIONZ (2002-present). Mr. Augustin has also facilitated writing workshops throughout South Florida. He served as the Artistic Administrator, Acting Coach, and spoken word instructor for Miramar Cultural Art Center’s Summer Camp’s Little Broadway (2012-2013).

Underscore’s tongue is the pen of a ready writer. As a speaker and performing artist for over a decade, he has been blessed to arouse purpose, passion, direction, and discipline into the lives of many. Berwick has written, produced, directed and acted in numerous stage productions.  As a playwright, his plays reveal the true essence of reality by fusing his visionary mind with the power of interpreting hands. From 2005-2010, he released four spoken word CDs (The Base The Chase The Place; I’m Looking, Babymama, and Babydaddy). On the theatre stage, he has been blessed to premiere new works Libere Liberis (2004), HaitiArt (2006), The Awakening (2007), DiaspoArt (2008), Pray-Hope-Help (2010), Timeless (2011), Clashing Christmas Carols (2011), Hispaniolove (2012), and Living This Life (2014). 

Under Mr. Augustin’s leadership, the company has collaborated with Final Destination Music Group, Art Fusion Gallery, Haitian Heritage Museum, Fashion Showcase with Labissiere Dezign, Arts of Color Production, Lavie Music, and Nest of the Living Arts. In 2008, the company released DiaspoArt, a unique line of Haitian-Creole and English greeting cards. The company looks forward to a future that will fuse pieces of the arts and multiculturalism into well-blended productions for the international community. 

The Interview:

Vicky S. Joseph: How did you find your voice?

Underscore: I found my voice once I started writing authentically. Whatever I had on the inside naturally flowed on paper and on stage. I was never one to compare my work with others so that helped me stay true to my voice as well.

Vicky S. Joseph: Why did you start the Evoke180 movement?

Underscore: I started the Evoke180 movement as a means to sprinkle seeds of transformation in the lives of the unchurched and those in need of hope. The arts is such a powerful tool to arouse change in individuals and ultimately society. Most importantly, 180 is about turning your back to things that are ungodly, unproductive, and unfruitful.

Vicky S. Joseph: How was your stage name “Underscore” birthed?

Underscore: A childhood friend gave it to me when I was in college before she passed. We were writing correspondence letters to each other and had to pick an alias for one another. I called her “Lil’ Russet,” she called me “Underscore.” This is before I indulged in the world of spoken word and theatre. Once I began to write and perform, the pen name was a no brainer.

Vicky S. Joseph: How has Spoken Word changed your life?

Underscore: Spoken word has changed my life by literally saving my existence. Primarily, I believe and confessed God’s spoken words; which saved my life spiritually. In 2001, I was suicidal, spoken word poetry was the outlet that helped me maintain my sanity and not harm myself physically.

Vicky S. Joseph: What is your creative process when working on a new poem and/or project?Underscore

Underscore: The process is ever evolving. I get inspired by life and everything it brings with it. Some pieces are written after conversations, watching current events, or reading. Sometimes I’m driving I’ll either pull over or record an idea on my phone and finish the piece at a later time. For some strange reason, a lot of projects or revelations come in the shower. Of course, there are the quiet times when I’m meditating and talking to God; he downloads His plan in my spirit.

Vicky S. Joseph: How would you encourage someone who wants to start a movement? What steps should they take?

Underscore: To start a movement, I would encourage someone to definitely be confident about their belief system: 1. Believe the movement is bigger than you. 2. Be laser focus on the mission and not get sidetracked by people, money, fame, or distractions (granted the mission is not about those things in the first place). 3. Anything below excellence is uncivilized. 4. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who will help execute the movement.

Vicky S. Joseph: What is your superpower?

Underscore: The Triune Godhead (God, Christ, Holy Spirit).

Vicky S. Joseph: What advice would you give your younger self?

Underscore: I would tell my younger self to pray more, be wiser when making moves, seek excellent mentorship like my life depended on it, and not juggle too many things at one time.

Vicky S. Joseph: What advice would you give an individual who is nervous about sharing their art publicly?

Underscore: I would tell them fear is a crippling disease; I would tell them that their art is the antidote for it and that sick person who’s dying to hear your message. Your pain, gift, and talents are not for you. There’s a world of people who are waiting on your work for various reasons, if you don’t do it God will simply choose someone else to fulfill the goal.

Vicky S. Joseph: How can an individual become comfortable with being vulnerable in their writing?

Underscore: Becoming comfortable with being vulnerable has everything to do with why you’re writing. If it’s about you and your reputation, then you’ll have a hard time. Once you believe that your writing is a source of healing that happens to be running through you as a vessel, then you’re humbled to put an x-ray on your skeleton closet. At the end of the day, everyone has an opinion about you before you open your mouth so you might as well say something.

Vicky S. Joseph: How do you find work-life balance and remain true to your creative projects? What’s your secret?

Underscore: There is no secret. If someone lied to you and told you they have the secret, I wanna meet him or her. Balance is a fleeting thing. Something will be sacrificed in order for you to attain an ultimate goal. There are times when I lay low off certain projects because priorities call for it. It becomes more difficult when you’re married. It’s a beyond difficult if you have kids.

Vicky S. Joseph: If you had the power to change one social issue in our society what would it be?

Underscore: The welfare system. I’d give it to the church and let it handle it in a more missional way like the book of Acts.

Vicky S. Joseph: What is next for you?LL Part I May 22,2004 (4) (1)

Underscore: God willing, I’m working on a couple of books. I’d like to restage a few of the plays I only produced once. I have a few things in mind but they’re not official until God puts His stamp of approval on them.

Vicky S. Joseph: How can people get in touch with you?

Underscore: www.evoke180.com or info@evoke180.com I have a blog on the website, that’s a good to stay informed with what’s going on with the movement… To subscribe to our newsletter, they can text to the number 22828 and type Evoke180 as the text message.

 
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Chrisnatha Derosier #HearMeRoar Interview

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I had the privilege of interviewing the Masterpiece Maven, Chrisnatha Derosier. She is an Author, Speaker, Life Coach and the Chief Empowerment Officer of the I am a Masterpiece Movement (IAAM). Her mission is to encourage women to Discover the Masterpiece Within as well as inspire women to operate from the C.O.R.E. of their being!  She is funky, soft and just plain fabulous! She has been seen on Lee Pitts Live, Tropik TV and also featured in Bronze Magazine, Today’s Innovative Woman Magazine, and radio shows such as Naked Truth, Love/Hate Relationship Show, Soul Topics, Love 101, MIA-Live.net, Positive Teen Talk and Joyful Living for Women. Here’s how Chrisnatha found her authentic voice #HearMeRoar

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Vicky S. Joseph: How did you find your voice?

Chrisnatha Derosier  : Remaining silent was literally killing me. I was dying on the inside. I was hurting and no one knew. My past was running my life and I had absolutely no control. As a result, I was hurting other people. I was making terrible decisions while living in bondage and fear. I began to journal to express myself. Those journals eventually turned into my first book, Through the eyes of the KING: seeing yourself the way God sees you. Once I wrote my truth I was able to finally be free. That is how and when I found my voice.

Vicky S. Joseph: Why did you start IAAM movement?

Chrisnatha Derosier : I am a Masterpiece (IAAM) is an assignment from God. He gave me the name of the movement along with the scripture Ephesians 2:10. It was during my quiet time with Him, a Heavenly download. But He didn’t say anything else about it for 6 whole months! Finally that summer as I was cleaning my house (lol), He downloaded step by step what to do next. And I took off running!  :-). The movement was created to help women discover the Masterpiece that already lives within them. As we confront our past and unpack our invisible baggage-we can begin to see ourselves through God’s eyes. We all have a deposit of Heaven on the inside of us. That is what makes us a masterpiece.

Vicky S. Joseph: What advice would you give your younger self?

Chrisnatha Derosier: I would tell my younger self how beautiful, smart, and special she was. She didn’t believe that to be true back then. She was so insecure and suffered in silence. I would also encourage her to speak. Tell someone how much she was hurting.

Vicky S. Joseph: What do you enjoy the most about your personality?

Chrisnatha Derosier: I enjoy that I am able to be quiet, reserved and observant. I also enjoy that I look for the beauty in all things, perspective is key.

Vicky S. Joseph: What is your super power?

Chrisnatha Derosier: My superpower is very cool. I can make anyone feel completely comfortable with me. I can have a conversation with a complete stranger and at the end of the conversation; I’m giving them a hug! LOL. It sounds silly but it’s true. I really do love people and I want them to feel the love of Christ through me.

Vicky S. Joseph: How do you remain organized, focused and consistent?

Chrisnatha Derosier: Remaining organized can be challenging especially when you have a busy schedule. My outward environment is usually a manifestation of what is taking place on the inside of my mind. Being organized helps me to be creative, productive and focused. If I am not organized, I will be busy but nothing will get accomplished. I am surrounded by vision boards. I have boards from 2011 until now. I love them and I have my goals in front of me at all times. Every day, I take a moment to go over my goals and pray over them. I also write out step-by-step action plans to reach those goals and put those up as well for me to see. This keeps me focused. I get discouraged at times. But over time I have learned that how I feel has absolutely nothing to do with how I perform. I keep my WHY in front of me. This enables me to be consistent.

Vicky S. Joseph: What problem in our society were you created to fix?

Chrisnatha Derosier: I help women and young ladies discover the Masterpiece within themselves. As someone who once struggled with an identity crisis, low self esteem and eating disorder, I want women and young girls to know that their identity lies in God. They are significant, they have purpose and they are God’s most prized possession.

Vicky S. Joseph: In a world oversaturated with posts, tags and likes, what is the key to remaining relevant?

Chrisnatha Derosier: It is imperative to not get consumed by the amount of likes, comments and shares that our posts get online. If we are not careful, we will only share what we believe will get attention but not necessarily add value. The goal is to always add value. As I add value, I remain relevant.

Vicky S. Joseph: What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own movement?

Chrisnatha Derosier: Starting a movement should not be a fad or a hobby. It’s an assignment. You can’t quit when the excitement fades or when you don’t feel like delivering. It is a commitment. It is a lifestyle. It is authentic. I would encourage those that are interested in starting a movement to make sure to operate from a place of authenticity. It is important to pray for direction and to be in alignment with your calling. Be strategic, it is about the people you are assigned to and the people you are serving.

Vicky S. Joseph: As an Author, Life Coach and Speaker, how do you prepare yourself for new projects? What is your process?

Chrisnatha Derosier: I pray about each project. Every great idea is not a God-idea. Once I get confirmation about the project I ask God for wisdom. I brainstorm and begin the work. I consider the needs of my audience and ensure that I offer them a solution to a problem. I’ve learned to be extremely intentional about WHERE I’m writing from. Am I writing from a hurt place? Healed place? Insecure place? Performance-based place?

It’s not about what I want to say to my readers. It’s about what my readers need from me. I’m here to be part of the solution to a problem. God ultimately solves the problem but I have the honor of being a vessel on His behalf.

Vicky S. Joseph: What is next for you?

Chrisnatha Derosier: I am currently coaching a group of incredible, purpose-filled, God fearing women. They are so inspiring to me. I get to watch them grow more and more deeply in love with God and themselves. It’s amazing! That has been my focus since the start of the year.

I am planning my 2nd Annual IAAM Empowerment Conference which will take place on Saturday, September 12, 2015. All details about the conference will be available on www.iaamevent.com

I also have a documentary in the works. It will focus on the obstacles we face as a generation and our journey in getting through them along with discussing identity. Our generation is suffering from an identity crisis. I am happy that we’ll be shedding some light on this prevalent issue.

Vicky S. Joseph: How can people get in touch with you?

Chrisnatha Derosier: I can be found on all social media outlets:

Facebook: Chrisnatha Derosier

Twitter: @chrisnathad

Instagram: @chrisnatha

 

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Iron Sharpens Iron

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I’ve seen a lot of Instagram memes that say:

“Surround yourself with only people who will lift you higher.”

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I genuinely think that this quote is right on the money. I believe the people you choose to have in your life should add to your life. On the flip side, you also have a responsibility to add to someone else’s life. Relationships should not be one-sided. When these amazing people come into your life, what will you be doing? Are you an asset or a liability? Are you a giver or a taker? Are you a breath of fresh air or a ball and chain? I believe in divine connections. I also believe that God will place people into your life to help you become a better person. However, we can not solely latch on to someone else to take us higher.  It’s about God, you and others. Who are you going to lift higher? The beauty of “Iron sharpens Iron” is this… both parties actively sharpening each other.

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Sharpen Yourself

You have to first get sharp! If you try to cut something with a dull knife. Listen, it is the worst. It will not be as effective. If anything you would have to put more effort into cutting the object. A blade that is sharpened is more effective. In the same light we must be “sharp” to be effective. There are different areas in our lives that must be assessed in order for change and growth to take place. What I have learned about God is this, the closer you get to building your relationship with Him through prayer and reading your word, you will begin to look at your reflection. God will reveal to you areas of your heart that you need to work on. Brace yourself, it may not be pretty. Take heed and ask God to help you work on those areas. Don’t beat yourself up about it because in your weakness He is strong. Building your character is so important to God.  In becoming more like Christ it is a life long process. Sorry no drive-thru breakthroughs over here.

Get Help

If you ever played the arcade game “Whack-a-Mole,”  the object of the game is to hit each mole that pops up out of it’s hole and you get points. Here’s the kicker, when you hit one mole 2 other moles pop up at the same time. You have to hit as many as you can until time runs out. Sometimes that’s how self-improvement may feel like. Just when you thought you had things on lock. BAM here comes something else that needs to be dealt with. Whoosa… Breathe…  and Get help… Could you image 3 or more people helping you hit those moles… You can’t do that with the actual game though, I would call that cheating lol but in real life, it’s okay to get help. Invest in a life coach, consultant, or a mentor in areas of your life that you believe that you need to be sharpened in. If you think you’re all good and that you don’t have anything that you could improve in your life. Houston we have a problem. There is always room for improvement. Just so you know, your life coach is not your crutch or someone who will enable you or carry you. They are meant to be your accountability partner on this journey. They may be with you for a season but while they’re on this journey with you they will see your blind spots and point you in the right direction.  You have to actually go out and execute the steps that you need to take in order to fix your life. Every area in your life is important. Do an assessment, take responsibility and actively work on areas that need improvement. Not all at once… baby steps. Take it easy, but get Excited 🙂 because the best project that you will ever work on is you!

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Sharpen Others

Once you have a mentor in your life then what? Okay, you watched Oprah walk on fire and Iyanla fix my life … now what? Now you have to take what you have learned and impart it into others. Each one teach one. I am a teacher by nature. I’m teaching when I ‘m not even trying to. At the same time, I will forever be a student. I was always taught that I can learn for anyone or any situation. I may not agree with everything that is said, but I can still look at the world through another person’s eyes. Once I get it, I share it with someone else. Those who are around you have a huge influence on who you are today and who you will become. It makes me think about how Jesus walked on water and He called Peter to come to Him and Peter also walked on water… (Matthew 14:29) (I don’t care how many steps he took… give that man some credit lol) After Jesus left the disciples and  completed His mission on Earth through His death and resurrection. Peter and the crew could have said forget it… Oh No they kept fighting the good fight of faith. Peter and the other apostles, later on, with the help of the Holy Spirit were healing people like Jesus did when He was with them (Acts 5:15-16). Jesus was around the disciples for a short time and had a HUGE impact on their lives. We are ALL called to make disciples and change this world! I say We have some HUGE shoes to fill, but God sent His Helper. The Holy Spirit to Help us. When you’re in someone’s presence spread some sunshine… let your light shine, leave them with something special!

Some of you may be thinking that you don’t know enough yet… Yes you do. You are an expert! You always have something to share based on your life experiences, testimony, perspectives and ideologies you become an expert in your own right. Be careful not to become a crutch for someone or enable them to continue a behavior that is inappropriate. The whole point of mentorship is to help them to help themselves. There are parts of someone’s life that only God can fix. Give what you can, pray for them and allow God to do the rest. If you are feeling like you don’t have anything to share or your “blade” is becoming dull … go sharpen yourself, learn something new, read a book, pick up your bible, join a group, go to an event, or get a new hobby!

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Hurt people Hurt people…

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The gift and the curse of someone entering your life is this. They can make deposits or they can make withdrawals. Ask yourself is this person a friend or a foe? Everyone who comes into your life comes for a reason. I am someone who tends to see the best in people and I can be an optimist. Through that, I have also learned that there are people who may not have my best interest at heart. I never understood why someone would intentionally cause another person harm for no apparent reason. I’ve learned that the saying is true that “hurt people hurt people” and that you must guard your heart. What is more difficult is that you can hurt someone you love and not even be aware of it. That’s why self-awareness is so important. We must OWN our stuff! Our insecurities, baggage, disappointments, and struggles. What you don’t know can hurt you and someone else. Pain can cause you to push people away who genuinely care for you.

Healed People, Heal people…

I believe that healed people, heal people. One of my mentors told me this, she said “We build walls to protect ourselves from getting hurt but those same walls can hinder love from coming in.” Sigh..  that’s a catch 22 isn’t it? Everyone doesn’t have an ulterior motive.  We can say “no new friends” and push people away but Guess what? What if that person had an antidote to heal a certain area of your heart that you didn’t know needed to be healed?  God is the ultimate healer and He truly knows the depth of our heart, only He can truly help us to repair what is broken. The unconditional love of God is a beautiful thing. We have to learn to give that love to people and receive that same love from others. The people in our lives that He places in our circle are strategically there to support us and walk with us on this journey.

Be What You Want  

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Soo… ummm… where are these iron sharpen iron, shine bright like a diamond, giving, supportive, encouraging people, who love with everything they have? Don’t look at me, I don’t know lol no, seriously, when you’re ready they will come! You first have to BE sharp! Shine your light, sharpen others, love yourself so you can love others properly. Then, you have to be open to having great people in your life. Trust me it’s a process. I love the people I have in my life! I am truly blessed. I am also a blessing to those in my life as well! To be quite honest you may need to make room for the people you want in your life. Push the blood sucking parasites out of your inner circle. Pray for divine connections and Godly friendships/relationships. You will reap what you sow. If you sow love to people… it will come back!

Check Motives

How do you check the motives and the intentions of people… discernment! Listen, I can spot a Taker easy (<–click the link to my blog about “Takers”). You know the ones. Take, Take, Take and they never pour into your life because they don’t have the capacity. They only call you when they need something. They really don’t even know you, but they know what you can do for them. STOP THE MADNESS. Own your power! Givers, you have to set boundaries. Even if you love them, if they do not care about your well-being, you will find yourself depleted, running on E, trying to please someone who doesn’t even truly care about you.  When you allow someone into your space, you give them access to hurt you or heal you… keep that in mind. You don’t have to put up with anything you don’t want to.  Ask yourself… When you’re in this person’s presence does this person make you feel drained or uplifted? Are you adding to the people in your life? Are you in a one-sided friendship/relationship? You can have a Taker in your life or be a self-centered Taker and not even know it. Evaluate your friendships and relationships. Remember, Iron Sharpens Iron, while others are lifting you up be sure to lift them up to. <3

Vicky S. Joseph

Vicky is a Public Speaker, Spoken-Word Artist, Actress and Writer. With Her sparkling personality she wants to ignite moral change in individuals! <3

 

Be Human

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Have you ever poured your heart out to someone and you were given a cliché response? You know the… “It could be worse,” or “Everything happens for a reason,” or “There are other people worse off then you.” These responses have been ways that people encourage others to look at their glass half full. However, if one of those responses are said without an individual truly taking the time to empathize with a person, it can come off callous and a bit robotic. I know that those responses are what we know to say. It’s how we have been conditioned to comfort people. What if I told you there is a different way. You can say the same thing but the timing of when you say it makes all the difference. The truth is, when someone comes to you with an issue most of the time they just want you to listen. Most people want to be seen, heard, and understood. You can’t just shove answers down someone’s throat without listening fully to what the person has to say! The truth is most of the time “You ain’t got the answers” *Kanye Voice* (I had to do it lol) There is nothing wrong with giving a solution. However, when you problem solve before you can truly comprehend what a person is saying, what happens is you mute that persons voice. They will retreat, repress their thoughts and shut down. Here is an example.

Take 1

Person 1: How was your day?

Person 2: I had a really tough day at work today.

Person 1: Well at least you have a job.

Person 2: Yes. I know, but my supervisor yelled at me today.

Person 1: Robert down the street isn’t working. He would be happy to take your place without complaining.

Person 2: I hear you, I know Robert has been looking for work, but I am trying to tell you, my supervisor made a huge scene in front of everyone. I felt so embarrassed.

Person 1: I mean if you made a mistake, as a supervisor, He was just doing his job.

Person 2: You don’t even know what happened… I didn’t make a mistake…

Person 1: Don’t worry about it. Look at the bright side, at least God has blessed you with a job.

Person 2: I know but…Never mind…

You tell me how the Heart to Heart conversation went with Person 1 and Person 2? Was person 1 really listening? NOPE. Person 1 was shutting Person 2 down by saying at least you have a job. I mean the SHADE that was being thrown. Yes, that may be true that there are people in America who do not have a job. But Person 2 is entitled to how they feel and should be able to express themselves without feeling guilt. Person 2 said their supervisor made a huge scene and embarrassed them. Person 1 didn’t even ask what happened, they already jumped to a conclusion. Plus they topped it  off with “encouragement” don’t worry about it… Look at the bright side, at least God has blessed you with a job! Person 2 just pretty much shut the conversation down and said Never mind! The main thing that was missing was empathy.

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We have to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Even if we never experienced what they have gone through. Even if we had a similar experience. Do not minimize someone else’s experience. Some people push this whole “You need to be more transparent message.” Then turn around and perpetuate this cycle of “Perfection”….you have to be happy all the time and not have any problems message. Guess what? If someone is going through something they’re not going to call Ms. Self-Righteous or Mr. Know-It-All to pray them through! It never fails, when there is a major tragedy, that same person screams at the top of their lungs. “Why didn’t he or she talk to me… I was available.” The truth of the matter is, no one is going to be transparent or share the depth of their soul with someone they feel is judging them or someone who doesn’t listen to them. What Individuals don’t understand is when you give people a cookie cutter, one size fits all response, we remove the human side of encouragement. You are speaking to a human being who is discouraged, frustrated, or down. In order to move from a surface relationship to one of substance, one must learn how to empathize. Let’s try it again..

Take 2

Person 1: How was you day?

Person 2: I had a really tough day at work today.

Person 1: Really, What happened?

Person 2: My supervisor yelled at me today.

Person 1: He yelled at you? Oh no! Why?

Person 2: He made a huge scene in front of everyone. I felt so embarrassed.

Person 1: I can hear how hurt you are over what happened. If anything, He should have spoken to you one-on-one and not in front of everyone.

Person 2: Here’s what happened, my supervisor continues to dump his work on me and I wasn’t able to finish my work and his on time. So he made this huge scene. Sigh… I feel overworked and overwhelmed.

Person 1: So you’re doing His work and your work. That’s messed up. Have you tried bringing this up to his superior. It sounds like He may be taking advantage of you.

Person 2: You know what, I have thought of it a while back, this time, I think I will have to make a phone call!

This is the same conversation from earlier. There is a huge difference! Person 1 was present in the conversation. They listened. The greatest gift you can give someone is an ear and an open heart… Just listen! Without judgment and empathize with that person’s situation (even if you’ve never experienced what they’re going through). You’ll be surprised, how much healing takes place. The main difference here was active listening. Person 1 didn’t jump to a conclusion right away. They asked for more details,  identified the feelings (I can hear how hurt you are) that were not said… Person 2 was hurt, and because Person 1 was so connected to Person 2’s story. Person 2 felt safe and opened up even more and started to share details. Relationship is about connection. Empathy brings us together in such a humbling way. You have to be able to relate to people in order to connect.

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We’re All Human: We have to stop acting like we have it all together all the time. The truth is we do not. NO ONE HAS ARRIVED! Strength is not one-dimensional. There is strength in standing in your truth. There is strength in being vulnerable. I want to break this ideology of pretense and phoniness. What people don’t realize is the counselor needs to be counseled, the one who offers encouragement needs to be encouraged… the pastor needs to hear a word… the healers need to be healed. The strong one deserves the right to be vulnerable as well.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle-Plato

FYI: Even Christians battle with depression and suicidal thoughts…everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about… All you see is the surface and make assumptions. Individuals are held captive, hiding behind masks, in this prison, scared to show their scars, because of fear of condemnation. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Christ has set us free…  Your expectations for Believers may be that we have to wave, smile, kiss the babies and we don’t have problems… that is a lie. Yes. We count it all joy when trials come, but God allows us to be honest with Him through every experience. David kept it real with God. Job kept it real with God. Jesus kept it real with God.

1. There are modern day Pharisees. Don’t allow them to condemn you and point a finger of Judgment into your life. It is not their fault, they don’t know any better. Pray for them to Allow God to reveal Himself to them in a way that will soften their hearts.

2. You may feel misunderstood and alone because no one understands you. Listen, Jesus understands you. He was touched by our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). He is able to empathize with us! We have to strive to be Christ like and if God who became flesh and dwelled among us is able to understand what we are going through yet He did not sin. We have to learn to empathize with others.

Everybody Can’t Hang : I’ve learned along the way that everyone can not carry the weight of your cares. Talk to Jesus First. Then pray for divine connections, confidants who can handle the depths of your soul with care. Everybody can not hang. Nor should they have the right to. They could be a family member, a spouse or a close friend they still might not have the capacity to comfort you. Being emotionally available is an emotional workout… some people may not know how to tap into those parts of their heart yet or they might not want to. One of my good friends always reminds me “Do not give your pearls to swine” (Matthew 7:6). Everyone should not have an “All Access” Backstage pass into your heart. The truth is, only special people can handle your heart with care. Be vulnerable… yes… with safe people only.

Vicky’s Final thoughts:  Since I was a kid, I was always a good listener. I was the one who was easy to talk to so I studied psychology in undergrad because of it. What’s interesting enough my day job allows me to be a listener. I never fully understood the power of listening, until I knew what it felt like to not be heard! What can be painful is pouring out your heart and soul to someone who does not have the capacity to comfort you. One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of mercy so God allows me to connect with people. It warms my heart when I hear “Thank you for listening.” Our society can be so Robotic. Get over it, move on, hurry up and heal! Sigh… I wish it were that easy but it’s not!

Before you assume, learn the facts_ Before you judge, understand why_ Before you hurt someone, feel_ Before you Speak, think_

I’ve learned to watch my words, not to dismiss people’s feelings. Disconnect when I need to. Cast the cares of others to God. He’s the only one that can do something about it and although I give advice it is up to that person to decide what they want to do. I thank God for allowing me to be myself and hold my hand along the way. He shapes me into who He wants me to be. He also teaches me to empathize, still speak the truth in love, be honest, correct when necessary and most importantly, He gives me permission to… Be Human..  <3

{P.S. I am an advocate for counseling! Seek help. If you are a college student and you need someone to talk to visit your counseling center. For 24 hour help if you need to talk to someone call 211 or 954-537-0211 First Call for Help 211 Broward.} <3

Vicky S. Joseph

Vicky is a Public Speaker, Spoken-Word Artist, Actress and Writer. With Her sparkling personality she wants to ignite moral change in individuals! <3

 

Something Else

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Who likes washing dishes? Not me! Hey, it’s the most loathed chore known to man. Do you know what I hate the most about washing dishes? As soon as you get into your groove and you’re almost done… You start cleaning the sink out and wiping the counters down… You turn around… BAM… there’s another plate you missed, then you go in the fridge.. WAIT… there’s a plate in the fridge. You THOUGHT you were finished, but the task becomes even longer. Don’t let someone stop by the sink and add more dish to the sink, you just might cut someone. lol *Twenty minutes later*  the sink gets filled up with all these new dishes and you’re back where you started. Sigh… there’s always something else. Isn’t that how life feels like sometimes. Just when you thought you figured it out, just when you thought you had the formula to life down pat. BAM! You’re right back where you started, the cha-cha slide of life. Unfortunately it’s not so fun.  It can be so frustrating.  You finally started standing up for yourself, here comes a new bully. You finally  paid off your car, here comes an unexpected expense. You finally went back to school but because of your full-time job (which helps pay for classes) it’s hard to carve out time to study. There’s always SOMETHING! Ugh…

Something Else… Projects and Events

Improvise.  There may be technical difficulties  with a PowerPoint or the computer doesn’t work or the videos won’t load. That doesn’t mean to just wing it every time, you should most certainly plan every detail of an event, but I also know that no matter how much you plan there may be some random “something else” that may take place, if so… improvise. Make sure you have your presentation printed out, have an ice breaker activity handy just incase or you have a plan B. Be ready for anything. Be flexible.  If you know me, you know that I need to be mentally prepared for things, may it be house guests, hosting events or the like. I would love to know ahead of time, what I am responsible for, so I can prepare. There are times when I don’t have that luxury and I have to adjust accordingly. I have learned that things will not always go exactly as planned. You just can’t go. Listen… There will always be something else… a wedding, meeting, baby shower, quinceañera, a bar mitzvah,  a shin dig, a pot luck, a get together and a just because… guess what? You may not be able to attend every single one. I know Diddy and them make being a socialite look sooo easy on social media, but it can be exhausting spreading yourself too thin. I love a good celebration like the next person but I know that I will not be able to do everything or attend everything. You may have to say no sometimes. Real friends will be able to see your heart and understand if you are not able to attend.  Be honest with yourself and your friends about how you are able to show your support.

Something else… Flaky People
Find someone new! If someone is helping you with a project or you’ve hired someone to handle a job for you and you’re doing more work then the person who’s supposed to do their job, maybe it’s time to get a new person. If you are putting out all the fires and have to monitor all of their progress and call them every five minutes, that’s not going to work. When dealing with flaky people, loyalty has an expiration date. It’s time to hire someone else. With flaky people, they are not thorough in keeping things in order.  There will always be something else YOU have to take care of. I understand things will not happen over night. There will be cases where things may happen that you can’t control, but if the person who is supposed to help you is causing you more stress it’s not worth keeping. That goes for relationships (platonic or romantic) business wise. I have two blogs on flaky people be sure to check them out here: Stop Flakin’ and Stop Flakin’: Business Edition.

Something else… Self development I don’t care how many self help books you read. You will never “arrive” there will always be things that you need to improve on. Self development is a life long process. Being the recovering perfectionist that I am. I always thought I had to have it together all the time.  I’ve learned that some issues are surface level, whereas others will take more than a week to change. What is crazy is that what hurt us for 10 years… we think in 2 days we will be healed. Don’t beat yourself up, do the best you can at the moment. I know with the New Year, people are so excited. Truth is for most, the new years resolutions may get tossed out the window with life’s “something else.” One of my mentors always tell me… “Vicky, you’re not starting from scratch.” I just want to tell you, you’re not starting from scratch, you’ve come a long way! If you miss it, just start where you left off on your journey and go from there. 

Something else… Life experiences

Life will send you… something else circumstances that you won’t be able to run from. You have to go through the process. Microwave healing doesn’t exist and just when you thought you were making progress a trigger from the past comes and you’re taken aback. I have had many of those experiences, but I would say, feel it, express it and allow it to pass. Don’t pretend that you’re not bothered by it by being “positive.” Yes I’m all for positivity but don’t ignore how you feel. Feel it, but don’t live in those feelings. Find a new game plan once you’re settled. Let’s be honest some situations will not go away, and it’s a matter of learning how to deal in the mist of the chaos. You may not have the answers yet, but it’s okay ladies and gents lean on God through those times.

Vicky S. Joseph

Vicky is a Public Speaker, Spoken-Word Artist, Actress and Writer. With Her sparkling personality she wants to ignite moral change in individuals! <3

 

They Smile in Your Face…

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“They smile in your face…” is the beginning of an O’jays classic entitled “Back Stabbers.”  If you went to an HBCU or a high school with a decent marching band lol you have heard this song’s instrumental before. For the purpose of this blog we won’t be talking about backstabbers. I will be talking about another B word…BULLY. Being bullied is not only a childhood phase. Bullies grow up and become controlling adults. They are everywhere! At the workplace, in the classroom and even at church (yes church). Most of us are used to bullies who are overly aggressive and abrasive in nature. That is not always the case for a bully. They can smile in your face and still be disrespectful. I am going to focus on the “nice” bully. They have the appearance of being nice but the truth is they can be condescending. The don’t fight fair, they fight their battles by being indirect.They throws jabs, snide remarks, with sarcastic undertones laugh at the end of it all. You were just cursed out and you didn’t even know it. This person is passive aggressive with their under handed comments.

Pay attention. The “nice” bully claims to have your best interest at heart. Honestly, it is really about their own interest. They want control and power. This type of person if you give them access into your life they will takeover! You give them an inch they will take a mile. Although they want to help… it’s your life. Once they have access, get ready for the control, personal investigations (aka being nosy), micro managing and being over shadowed in your own life.

I want you to know, no, you are not crazy, yes they did go there, and yes, you need to address it or it will continue. How could I miss it? you ask. Easy! You dismissed your gut feelings. If you ever feel uncomfortable or you feel like someone has overstepped a boundary, chances are they are doing just that. Stop ignoring that feeling. Don’t be fooled be a smile, listen to the message and read in between the lines. I am the queen of letting things slide because I HATE conflict! I don’t like drama at all. I’ve learned that, the more I let things slide… the more I got tried! (that rhymes! that’s my poetic side ya’ll watch out lol). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you kick down doors, and break windows to tell people to get it together. The truth is we have to stop going with the flow, you need to ruffle some feathers and rock the boat! ROAR!!! 

Just because you love Jesus, It doesn’t give people the right to take advantage of you, manipulate or bully you! Jesus was not a pushover or a people pleaser. He stood up to the two faced Pharisees. He was honest, He said what He meant and meant what He said. Identify those who are over-stepping their boundaries in your life and own your power! #standup 

Books that Have helped me with this Journey is:

Boundaries by Henry Cloud

No More Chrisitian Nice Girl

Assertiveness by 

In order to get into a battle you have to be equipped and 

 Remember you are an adult. Trust yourself to make your own decisions. 

Control need thing to be done their way…

2. Be assertive. Stand your group

3. It’s not all in your head. Trust that you feel uncomfortable. If you feel pressed or that person is invading your space. Chances are they are over stepping their boundaries. Although they want to help it’s your life.

 

Take Care Of Business

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It’s amazing to lend a helping hand and be there for others, at the same time there should be no reason as to why you are saving the world and you are not taking care of business… YOUR business! That means your priorities and responsibilities! I have learned that there are certain things in life that only you will be able to take care of. That business you want to start, the book you want to write or marathon you want to run… it’s not going to happen because you waved a magic wand! You’re going to have to assess your life and evaluate where your time and energy is being spent. Unlike money, time, once it’s spent you can never get it back.

I have always had a hard time creating healthy boundaries in regards to helping people, but Thank God I have become a lot better at it. I am still a work in progress but I have come a long way. Grad school taught me the harsh reality of managing responsibility and time management. I am grateful for my Masters in Public Relations & Corporate Communications, but it was not a walk in the park, my degree was only attained through faith and perseverance!

Diary of a [former] Grad Student

About two years in the program, My life was way out of balance! I was overwhelmed, overcommitted and overbooked.  There was one instance when I thought, “It’s a wrap,” “The fat lady has sung”…. I knew I bombed my midterm. I walked to my car, closed the door and began to cry! The way grad school works is basically you’re always on thin ice, any false moves, you can get kicked out of the program. When the grades came back I was not surprised. I walked into my advisor’s office the next day, I had my withdraw papers in hand, ready to drop the course. She told me that she believed in me and that although I did horribly on my test, I was doing a great job on my research paper. “You have come too far to give up now” she said! That was my wake up call.

As much as I loved helping people and being a part of the mix, I had to set my priorities. I cut back on everything! Why? I had to take care of MY business; no one else was going to do it for me! I realized no one was going to type my 35 page papers, but me, no one was going to leave the computer lab at one in the morning for me, no one was going to take my final for me, I had to make it the study groups… I had to do it! (Mind you, that wasn’t even my only class.) I burned the midnight oil and had sleepless nights.… DRUM ROLL PLEASE… I came out of that class with an A. #GodRocks I am not trying to say I did it all alone, I had great support from God, my classmates, family and friends but the bottom line is I had to do my part!!!

I shared my experience to ask… What do you have on the line right now? Is it your dreams because you’re too busy rescuing the world,  Is it your relationship, because you don’t have any time to spend with your significant other, or is it your relationship with God because you’re to busy serving Him, but not spending time with Him.

Multi-tasking is great but when you spread yourself too thin… something will suffer because of it! Let me be the first to say life does happen… although I cut back on many things I had life circumstances thrown my way that I could not control (we’ll chat about those on another day), but the things I could control, I got rid of! I started telling people NO! That meant saying YES to me for a change!I realized when I dropped the ball, and took a step back it allowed people to step up and take ownership of their own responsibilities. I stopped picking up the slack for those who were slacking, I stopped carrying the weight that I wasn’t meant to carry! I did not allow certain individuals to take advantage of me any longer. Even the things I WANTED to do, I had to pick and choose! I could not go to every social, pot luck or get together! It wasn’t easy but it had to be done.

Get rid of the time wasters in your life and write that blog. Get rid of the takers in your life and pursue your dreams. Take off the “cape” and take care of business YOUR Business. Make time for the things that are important to you! Your purpose is depending on it.

Can you tell I was excited :-)
Can you tell I was excited lol 🙂

START READING Take Care Of Business

 

Authenticity: Keep it Real with God [Part II]

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ImageThe man upstairs is how some refer to God, a distant reference to a God who wants to be so close to our hearts! Some of our prayers are so disconnected and robotic “God bless me… Amen.”  All God truly wants is for us to pull down the walls and keep it real with Him. A relationship without intimacy (sharing of personal thoughts and emotions) will be superficial. If we only keep it at a surface level with God, you may not fully experience the deep relationship many of us crave.

If you ever find yourself around a gentleman, and a lady is in his presence he won’t let her carry anything.  I know God as a gentleman. Although I am on stage acting or speaking publicly I am an introvert by nature. I carry a lot of weight internally; God knows this, so He reminds me to let Him carry it (1 Peter 5:7). In order to let Him carry your cares or anxieties you have to trust Him. Vulnerability breeds authenticity.

In life there will be experiences that may consist of joy and excitement, as well as tears and turbulence. Having a relationship with God will help with dealing with both sides of the coin. It won’t be easy but it is well worth it.  God is a gentleman so He won’t force you to have a relationship with Him. On the flip side, He is a romantic so He will woo you! God is the lover of your soul. There are so many things that have hurt us in the past. We have walls built up to protect us from future pain but those same walls are shutting God out. How can He reveal more of His character to you? First, remove the walls that you have built up brick by brick by being honest with God. That means revealing anger, fear, doubts, disappointments, loss, regret and bitterness… laying it all out.

ImageOne of my favorite books in the bible is Psalms. David and the other writers kept it real with God, pouring out their hearts. David expresses true sincerity with every verse; poetic authenticity that gives us a glimpse into his heart for God. I could just imagine David journaling his joys, hurts, depression, despair and frustrations. When you read the Psalms one moment David is saying Praise the Lord sharing his adoration for God the next moment, he is worn out from calling for help (Psalm 69:3) then his soul is down cast (Psalm 42:5), then he is asking God for forgiveness for his sins (Psalm 38). These can all be different seasons in his life but for the most part, it means that he had an authentic relationship with God. God allowed him to share how he really felt about his circumstances and God gives us the same access.

There are only a slim few who know me very well. I may get the question “how are you doing?”  I might respond “I’m ok,”  but only those special people can look past my cheerful disposition and then ask me again “NO REALLY… how are you doing?’’ Depending on who is asking, I really go in-depth and share what is going on. I’m learning that although there may be people who truly care about me, everyone cannot handle or help carry some of my burdens (I will be writing about “safe people” soon). Those that he has placed in my life that can, I am grateful for them <3. The beauty about God is that he can handle all of it! Many of us go to God acting like it’s all good and He’s giving you the side eye like …. No for real… What’s really going on? Although He knows all things, He still wants you to share your heart with Him!

2013 was one of the most painful years that I have gone through. While everyone was excited about 2014, I stepped into a new yearImage without my mommy </3. I was and I am still grieving the loss of my golden star. My whole world shattered. I can’t explain it but I’ve never felt so much pain in my life thus far yet, I have never felt so close to God. Through this season God constantly tugged at my heart, when I had no words to pray or when I couldn’t find the words to write because I was so heartbroken. I soon learned that God is truly close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), I always felt His presence. As of now some days are better than others. I truly take it one day at a time. I see so much of my mom in me, I miss her like crazy <3.

The best advice that I received was from my cousin and she told me to grieve in the way I chose to grieve, no apologies. Then my mentor told me to go through my experience authentically. I ran with it! Freedom!!! God allowed me to be honest with Him about how I was truly feeling just like Job. Job is another book in the bible that I love. I’ve read Job before, but this time was different, every word pierced my heart like daggers, I felt it! Job expressed his hurts to God authentically, he kept it real. This Christian walk is not only about joy and blessings! No matter how much we love Jesus, we will experience tragedy!  Open up your heart to God through each season of your life.

Start with prayer. Hey, you do what best suits you. Don’t get caught up in tradition so much. Your quiet time with God doesn’t have to be super structured. You create it! Some of the best conversations I have had with friends… we have no agenda. Let your prayers be conversational or if you are more of a writer start a journal.   Granted, there will be many occasions when we come to God for specific needs and requests. If you are hurt, start there. “God I am hurt about…” Sometimes you won’t have any words to say… it’s ok… let the tears fall. He understands that as well. Just be your beautiful self in His presence, He gets you! God will not judge you for not being strong enough…man will. You are not weak because you are vulnerable. It takes great courage to delve into your soul and share yourself, the raw and uncut version. Everybody cannot “hang,” but God can! The experiences that you go through may even cause you to stray away…it happens… come back. Through your pain, He will carry you with His grace.

Vicky S. Joseph

Vicky is vibrant and vivacious and she exudes versatility. With Her sparkling personality she wants to ignite moral change in individuals through creative expressions such as acting, writing, public speaking and poetry.