Many of us are searching for something, but we keep coming up empty. We may be searching for validation but yet we remain unvalidated. We may be searching for someone to love us, but yet we keep ending up unloved. Pastor Michael Todd preached a sermon called “Thirst Trap: Searching for a Feeling” that addresses how to receive the things that we’ve been searching for and asks you to dig deep to answer the two questions 1) What are you searching for? and 2) Where do you go to find fulfillment?
There is a reluctance and outdated stigma when it comes to going to therapy or receiving mental health treatment but reaching out for help doesn’t mean you are weak. Reaching out for help means you are wise! If you have anxiety, depression, or just need someone to talk to through life and relationships, the best decision you can make is to seek counseling.
Luckily, there is a rise of alternative ways to receive emotional support through a variety of online platforms that are free and affordable, depending on your needs. These platforms give you the opportunity to chat with real people for free that are trained to guide you through the challenges of life. These platforms also offer paid upgrades that come with a personal board-certified therapist that are there to offer you the emotional support that you need through message chat and even video chat. Check out our favorite online therapy platforms below!
iPrevail is unique in the fact that it includes an entire therapy program that is FREE, anonymous and confidential through their website and app. The wellness program assesses your health through a series of questions and gives you Trained Peer Counselors that you can talk to and set goals that they will keep you accountable for meeting. It also entails self-paced interactive lessons and progress assessments so you can monitor your growth. Although the program with Trained Peer Counselors is free, if you find that you need a licensed therapist there is a paid option for $9.99 per month.
7 Cups of Tea provides FREE 24/7 on-demand online emotional support and therapy through their website and app. They connect you with trained “Listeners” based on your specific concern so that you can take part in free, anonymous, and confidential discussions about your hardships and struggles. If you ever feel that no one hears you, no one is there to help you, or if you’re feeling lonely, 7 Cups is a great resource for you. Another great aspect of 7 Cups is that they offer certified therapists if you find that you need a higher level of emotional assistance that comes with a 3-day free trial before charging you $150 per month.
Talkspace is the leading online therapy option that connects you with a licensed professional. They have Matching Agents that will ask you a few questions first so that they can match you with a therapist according to your preferences and one that is specific to your needs. The unique part about Talkspace is that offer individual, couples and teens counseling. Although Talkspace does not offer a free option, they do offer a variety of subscription plans starting at $49 per week with text, video, and audio messaging availability. You can even receive $45 off of your first month with the promo code APPLY45.
We will never experience peace of mind until we take back every piece of our mind.” – Bianca Baymon, Founder/Senior Editor of Silhöuette Magazine
What if I told you that your thoughts were not your thoughts? What if I told you that everything that you think about yourself and about the world was once an external idea that entered into your mind and became an internal thought?
The biological structure of every human being is composed of entrance-only or exit-only gates. Your eyes and ears are gates that only allow ideas and beliefs to enter, which is why you have to be careful what you see and hear. Your mouth is a gate that only allows ideas and beliefs to exit, which is why you have to be careful what you say. Every single thing that you see and hear becomes what you think and eventually what you speak…unless you have a filtering system on the powerhouse we call “the mind.”
There are two minds. One is the subconscious mind and the other is the conscious mind. The subconscious mind is more powerful than the conscious mind because ideas and beliefs can enter without your active consent. When listening to a song, scrolling on social media, and watching a television show, most people are operating in their subconscious mind. Rarely does someone take the time to realize that every scene in the television show, every post they scroll past, and every line in that song is downloading itself into the mind. The biggest winner of that scenario is the marketing industry.
Marketers utilize tactics that take advantage of the natural vulnerability of the subconscious mind. The most successful companies are not the ones that have the best business plan or even the companies that have the best products. The most successful companies are the ones that are highly effective at creating a desire for a product or service in the subconscious mind of as many consumers as possible.
Take a moment and reflect. How many things do you need that were not always needs? Nobody knew they needed an iPhone until Apple’s marketing department convinced the majority of the world that they did. They were effective at creating a desire in the mind of many consumers and now they are one of the world’s most successful companies. They mastered the art of influencing the subconscious mind like many other companies, which is proof that the many forces we encounter every day are battling to enter our minds when our guards are down and our conscious minds have taken a backseat.
We can no longer allow external forces to affect our internal thoughts, beliefs, and desires. It is our turn to become masters of our own mind if we want peace of mind.
We will never experience peace of mind until we take back every piece of our mind that we’ve allowed social media, television shows, music, conversations, and societal structures to steal. We have to become more aware of the things, words, and people that we expose our minds to.
Don’t allow the subconscious mind to drive the direction of your thoughts and beliefs. Get in the driver’s seat and direct your thoughts. Direct your desires. Direct your beliefs. Direct your life! The moment you get out of bed every morning, you step into a mental battle. Are you prepared to fight?
7-DAY MENTAL AWARENESS CHALLENGE: Before you open your social media apps, play your favorite album, or watch your weekly television shows, I challenge you to check with your mind and your heart. Ask your mind and heart what condition it is in. If it isn’t at its optimal level of strength, then I challenge you to find something positive to expose your mind to. Protect your mind like your life depends on it…because it does.
“Go with your heart”. This is the infamous response when someone is uncertain about a specific decision. I’ve always thought that was a reasonable response but God told me differently. I received a promise from God a year ago and to this day the promise has not been manifested in my life and I can’t say the road has been easy but it has supplied me with the wisdom of hope and complete trust in God. The moment I received God’s word, the promise that He told me was mine drew further away from me and my reality completely conflicted with His word. There have been many times over this year where I’ve wanted to psych myself out and convince myself that I didn’t really hear God just so I can forego the desire of this promise and find something easier. Something less challenging. Something less painful. Something less gray. Something more black and white. Something that would have been outside of the will of God, but that is somewhere I don’t want to be.
If I would have followed my heart, I would have been on the feeder road of my promise after exiting too soon because the highway was too hard. And each time I would get over into my far right-lane to attempt to exit, God would steer me back with Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” The definition of deceitful is “intended to deceive; misleading; fraudulent.” Since the Word of God itself is telling me that my heart is intended to deceive me, will mislead me, and its feelings are fraudulent, then I would be making a huge mistake if I went with my heart. The reason why The Bible tells us the heart is deceiving is because the heart is where emotions root from and emotions are an immediate byproduct of current circumstances. That is why making a decision by following my heart results in a high possibility of regret because I don’t know if my emotions concerning this decision will stay the same once my circumstances change. So, I had a conversation with God where he told me not to follow my heart, but to follow my soul.
The soul is where the mind and the heart congregate with the guidance of The Holy Spirit. If I have The Holy Spirit, which provides divine guidance, congregating with my mind and my heart then I am bound to make the right decision for my life. Going with my soul furthermore means that even when my heart is telling me something and my mind is telling me something, it must congregate with The Holy Spirit before a decision is made, which will align my mind and my heart with God’s will for my life. That is why when people feel strongly about something they will say, “I feel this deep down to my soul”, because the soul goes beyond the surface outlook and provides concrete God-given truth on the matter at hand.
The reason why God didn’t say to go with my mind either is because the mind is constructed of past experiences and I can’t trust a building that was built in the past to hold my future. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8). His thoughts and ways are based on getting us to the things which he has predestined for our lives because he knows what lies ahead but we only know what lies behind. That is why I can’t lie to you and say that I know why my promise and my reality contradict each other because I don’t. My ways are not God’s ways and my thoughts are not God’s thoughts. I may not understand God’s way of bringing my promise to fruition, but I do understand that if God gave me a Word then it shall come to pass. That is why every time my mind and heart wants to forego the promise, my soul overpowers the voice of fear and uplifts the promises of God.
Father God, we come to you enlightened because the word has been a lamp unto our feet and a light onto our path. Thank you for guiding us with your Word. God, we come to you today praying for divine intervention and discernment when decision making. We declare today that we will no longer make decisions with our deceitful heart just because it feels right, but we will congregate our minds and hearts with The Holy Spirit because it is the guiding light. I pray that even when we feel outside the realm of our promise, remind us that your Word will never return void so if you said it we can believe that it shall come to pass. Father, we surrender to your will. Whatever you want us to do we will do. Wherever you want us to go we will go. However long you want us to wait, we will wait. Thank you for the power of The Holy Spirit to align our hearts and our minds with your will in the depths of our soul. The Bible says that a cord of three strands is not easily broken, so God will you be our third strand? Wrap our minds and our hearts in the power of The Holy Spirit and strengthen every weak mind, strengthen every weak heart, and enlighten every soul. In Jesus name, we pray this prayer of enlightenment and alignment. Amen.
The longer you are silent about your experiences, the more you are costing your future. Give your experiences a voice and forfeit the cost of your silence.
“What happens in the house, stays in the house.” We may have moved out of our parents’ house, but many of us have subconsciously U-Hauled those same words we were told during our childhood throughout the rest of our lives. A lot of us have been carrying those words so long that we don’t even notice how it has infiltrated every area in our lives. “What happens in my heart, stays in my heart. What happened in my finances, stays in my finances. What happened to me as a child, stays in my childhood home”.
We’ve been raised to believe that we should only speak on thoughts and experiences that paint the façade of us having it all together and a picture-perfect life. I noticed at the age of 13, shortly after my parent’s divorce, that I had been using the same paintbrush to paint my picture. It wasn’t until almost 10 years later, that I chose to put my paintbrush down and pick up the voice that I lost along the way.
When I say ‘voice’, I’m not only talking about refusing to be silent about the circumstances of your life. I’m also talking about refusing to deny your feelings a voice and to tear down the perfect picture that you thought you had to maintain.
Some of us have even been guilty of attempting to turn the volume high enough on our accomplishments and social media pages in hopes that nobody notices the pain behind our pictures. What many people have failed to notice is that silence has a sound that is louder than anything you may attempt to overpower it with.
When you choose to give your life a voice, you choose freedom. The very thing that you are hiding in your silence could be the avenue to your breakthrough. God isn’t going to allow you to continue into your destiny with a muted view of life, so he needs you to find the strength to find your voice in the midst of the silence you’ve been so accustomed to.
The longer you are silent about your experiences, the more you are costing your future. In economics, inflation is defined as the rate at which the price level is rising. That means that as the inflation rate increases, the purchasing power of your currency is falling. The same dollar that bought you a gallon of milk last year, may only be able to buy you a pint next year. As the price level of something increases, it costs you more for the same amount of money and you’ll receive less in return the longer you hold off.
That is what your silence is doing to your destiny. It is costing you more and more each day. The longer you remain silent, the less valuable your voice will be when you find the courage to speak.
Your silence is an expensive price to pay. What is the price of your silence? Have you lost the ability to communicate in your relationships because you’ve held on to your silence for so long? Have you missed out on opportunities because you were scared to voice your desires? What is it costing you? How much are you willing to pay?
Everybody knows at least one girl with an extremely negative and pessimistic view on men and relationships. She thinks that all men are dogs because she’s been cheated on by every man that promised to be faithful. She believes that men only want to have sex because she’s been left by every man who got tired of waiting until she was ready to take it to the next level. She also knows that all men will leave, because all of the men she was dating dropped her like a bad habit and a lot of the time it was without giving an explanation. I used to know that girl very well. Matter of fact, I used to be that girl.
After being hurt and used a countless number of times, I was pretty much over the whole concept of relationships. I started to believe that maybe other people were created to be in great relationships, but maybe I was made different because it never worked out in my favor. From the guy who asked me to be the Godmother of his child with another woman while we were dating, to the guy who disappeared in the middle of our relationship after he had planned a couple’s getaway. Those experiences built my belief that maybe I was meant to be what the Twittersphere calls “#ForeverAlone,” because I couldn’t manage to find love as quickly and successfully as other people on my timeline.
I was frustrated with myself because I couldn’t understand why my love life was ending up like a rollercoaster ride. I felt like I was losing in love because I wanted things to change in my life, but I still had yet to start consulting God before involving myself in relationships. Also, I still didn’t stop asking God to bless relationships that he didn’t ordain in the first place. If I wanted things to change, I had to change the rushed view that I had on relationships so that I would make better choices in men.
I wanted the perfect man to show up and date me as quick as it looked like it was happening for others and I was getting exactly what I asked for…quick relationships. I was asking for a “McDonald’s” experience with the quality of a 5-Star establishment. McDonald’s is a fast food restaurant, which means that they can only put food on the menu that can be cooked in a matter of minutes.
Since most meals take longer than two or three minutes to make, they have resorted to adding chemicals to normal food like burgers and fries in order to speed up production and maintain appearance. For example, the bun of a McDonald’s burger has a plethora of dangerous chemicals including one chemical that is also used to make fireworks, which is dangerous to your body. And the French fries contain 19 ingredients, instead of just potatoes, oil, and salt. So, in reality, what looks and tastes like a regular burger and fries to you, is really just a build-up of chemicals stuffed in a white paper bag with fancy ketchup.
That is exactly the type of man that I was dating. He appeared to be a great man that was creating the relationship I desired very quickly, which I thought was amazing. But behind the appearance were a lot of harmful chemicals, red flags, and character flaws that I either subconsciously overlooked or just could not see until I took off the blinders and fully digested the type of man I had allowed myself to become involved with. That is when I learned that most men that are keen on getting into a relationship quickly after meeting me were hiding something that they didn’t want to give me the time to see. They feared if we took it at a normal pace then they would be exposed and I would leave, but if I discovered these flaws after committing to them then I would be more willing to stay.
I had to open up my Bible to see what God had to say about love and relationships, and it was in that moment that I realized that there was no way I could be losing because love isn’t a race. Love isn’t about who can get married the quickest and get the most likes on their wedding album on Facebook. Love isn’t about who can be posted the most as #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) on Instagram. Love isn’t even about how quickly can we move from being single to a committed relationship.
Love is about building a house. Nobody goes out and brags that their 4,000 square foot house was built in 3 days. Think about the responses and side stares you’ll get if you went out and told people that. They would automatically question things like the foundation of the house, the walls ability to withstand any natural disasters that may occur in the future, if the doors are in the right spot, and they would even question the builder of the house. Psalm 127:1 says “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
When the Lord is building your relationship in the same manner that he builds a house, you will notice that it may take some time. He has to remove you from your pain and heal the wounds of your past relationships in order for him to bring you into your present and future blessing. Love is not a race. Let God set the pace.
Wait for the man that pursues you endlessly. The man who will respond to your texts in a reasonable amount of time. The man who won’t ghost you with no formal goodbye. The man who will FaceTime you just because he misses your face and calls you because he misses your voice. The man who makes time for you each and every day because you are a priority in his world. The man who thinks you are the most beautiful woman walking the planet and you often catch him staring just because you are too captivating for him to look away. The man who never makes you second guess how he feels about you and will commit to you with no hesitation because he doesn’t want to risk losing you in his life. Wait for that man!
When you’ve had many hot and cold relationships, it can become tempting to settle for a lukewarm kind of love. Please don’t settle for less than what you desire! The love you want is out there, you just have to believe it. And yes, you may have to wait a little longer than you expected for it to show up, but trust me it will show up. When the man you’ve always dreamed about does finally show up in your reality, everything you’ve had to go through to get to him will be worth it. Every time someone told you they loved you but treated you like they hated you will be worth it. Every time someone said they would never leave your side, but left your side without a formal goodbye will be worth it. Every time you got rejected when you were only looking for acceptance will be worth it. When you meet the man who makes you feel at peace with how he loves you, it will all be worth it.
Just don’t give up! Don’t give up on the love that you desire just because it hasn’t shown up yet. Don’t allow the hurt people that have hurt you to make your heart turn cold. And please…don’t allow the people that have rejected you to make you believe that no one will ever accept you because that is a lie. You want to know how I know that is a lie? Because you, my dear, are amazing! You are beautiful! You are everything the right man will desire and everything that the wrong man won’t be able to see because he is not meant to see it.
Promise me you will wait. Promise me that you will wait for the man that pursues you endlessly. Promise me that you will wait for the man who will respond to your texts in a reasonable amount of time. Promise me that you will wait for the man who won’t ghost you with no formal goodbye. The man who will FaceTime you just because he misses your face and calls you because he misses your voice. The man who makes time for you each and every day because you are a priority in his world. The man who thinks you are the most beautiful woman walking the planet and you often catch him staring just because you are too captivating for him to look away. The man who never makes you second guess how he feels about you and will commit to you with no hesitation because he doesn’t want to risk losing you in his life. Promise me that you will wait for THAT man because he is waiting on you!
In a society that prides itself on knowledge, being ignorant is a negative thing. No one wants to admit that they are unaware concerning anything, so we’ve adopted this mentality that it is acceptable to “fake it until you make it”. This mindset may work in your career, but this mindset is destructive in relationships.
The majority of people walk into a relationship with preconceived notions that they either developed from past relationships or from observance throughout life that they place upon their significant other. When you walk into a relationship with preconceived notions, you never allow the other person the opportunity to show you who they truly are.
You have to learn how to love the one that you are with. Love may not be a course that you can sign up for at your local college, but it is something you must enroll in to gain the knowledge of how to love properly if you are in any sort of relationship.
Assuming you already know how to love somebody is essentially claiming that you’ve become the master of someone that you’ve never served. The key to loving someone effectively is being ignorant during the process of learning how to love them and then by committing to always remaining a servant in expressing that love.
For example, I receive love in the simple and thoughtful things that someone I’m with will do for me. On the opposite end, most men are used to women that receive love in extravagant monetary gestures. I’ve had men that assumed that I require those same acts, but I would’ve actually been overjoyed with a surprise picnic in the park. That is because they brought the identities of their past girlfriends and preconceived notions and then placed them upon me. They were not willing to be ignorant in the process of learning to love me and therefore I was at the receiving end of an ineffective love. They were attempting to serve me a love on a platter filled with things I couldn’t digest.
Those experiences are what made me realize how important it is to enter every relationship with an ignorance that only your partner’s knowledge can inform. It is important to find out how someone receives love and what makes them feel loved in order to sustain a healthy relationship. After you’ve been informed on how to love the one you are with, you have to be willing to commit yourself to serve their needs of love on a consistent basis. If their needs of love are words of affirmation, then you must be willing to affirm them every single day. Don’t let the one you love experience a day without feeling loved. Relationships are work and you should only enter one when you are ready to consistently serve the other person’s needs of love because it is selfish not to do so.
That is why I believe that love is a choice. It is a choice to seek knowledge concerning the receptors of your partner’s heart and it is a choice to serve the needs of their love throughout each day.
I’ve always been a free-thinker, not easily influenced by the opinions of others, but always open to hearing the wisdom of those around me. I never noticed that it was rare until I started analyzing the effects of social media on my generation. Every decision that we make should not include the question, “What will (fill in the blank) think?” When you make decisions for other people, you sacrifice the happiness you could have had for yourself. You sacrifice potential opportunities. You even sacrifice yourself.
Today, I challenge you to stop making decisions for the validation of other people. When you go to bed tonight and your head hits your pillow, you have to be okay with every decision you made that day…not me…not your family…not your friends. Make decisions for yourself, not the validation of other people.
“Faith of a mustard seed can move mountains and when the mountains don’t move, God will give you the strength if you have the faith to climb it.”
The Bible says that with the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains. Initially, that verse led me to believe that if I was facing mountains that weren’t moving then that must mean that my faith was lacking. But for some reason, I couldn’t receive that message. I couldn’t receive the message that my faith was lacking, because it was in the face of the steadfast mountains that my faith had enlarged. During my vacation last week, God made me realize the reason why I couldn’t receive the message of my initial conclusion. It was because the steadfast mountains were not indicative of my level of faith. It was only an indicator that I had a choice to make. Rise or fall.
I hiked near the top of Mount Rainier, one of the nation’s highest mountains, which was a challenge I was ready to meet. When I got out of the car to begin my hike, the challenge heightened as I realized I was about to hike a mountain covered in snow with neon pink Nike’s because the shack to get snow boots was closed that day. I looked around and saw other hikers pull out snow boots they had in their trunk and it was clear that they had all of the necessary tools to hike this mountain but I had nothing but faith and my Nike’s. Later I found out that was all I needed.
I’ve never been the person to let circumstances stop me, so I took a few deep breaths and began my hike. The beginning was the hardest because it began with a very high-inclined slope. The slope was so steep that I would take one step forward and slide two steps back because of the unsuitableness of my shoes. I had to realize that the mountain was not going to move for me, the mountain wasn’t going to magically dry up from the snow in order to adapt to my un-adapted shoes, and the mountain wasn’t going to decrease the magnitude of its steepness to make it easier for me to climb. Although I was not in control of the challenging aspects of this mountain, I also couldn’t let its challenging aspects control me. So, after sliding back so many times I had to make a choice to either try a different method or settle for not climbing this mountain which wasn’t an option for my over-ambition. So, I dropped to my knees and decided to crawl up this initial steep slope until I reached a point where I could walk. Was it my first choice? No. Was it the most glamorous sight to be a grown woman crawling through the snow like a child at Winter Wonderland? No. Did it get me up the slopes? YES! And that was all that mattered to me.
No matter how you have to climb the mountain you’re facing in your life, just make sure you grab your faith at the bottom and make your way to the top. If you got off to a disadvantaged start…climb it disadvantageous. If you’re insecure in your ability…climb it insecure. If you’re tired…climb it tired. The reason why I encourage you to climb regardless of the negative feelings is because as you climb higher you will notice that the heaviness of those feelings is causing a strain in your ability to reach the top. You will make the choice to either fall back to where you started or remove the disadvantageous feelings, the insecurities, and the tiredness but keep the faith because the faith of a mustard seed is a lighter load to carry. All I needed was my faith and Nike’s to climb Mount Rainier and all you need is your faith and your works to climb any mountain in your life.