The Inflation Rate of Silence

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?

Make Decisions for Yourself

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.

Mustard Seeds & Mountains

“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.

 

Growth Requires Rain & Pain

“There is growth in the rain and progress in the pain.”

Every time I go to Mississippi to visit my grandparents, we always spend more time sitting on the porch than in the house. Whether it’s raining or the sun is shining, we’ll stay out there talking and waving at cars as they pass by. I remember one specific day when I was younger, it was just me and my Papa sitting on the porch. It began to rain and he passed me a cup. Normally when he passes me a cup, it’s because he wants me to go into the kitchen and bring him some ice water with more ice than water. This time, he instructed me to take the empty cup and place it in the rain. I ran out into the rain as fast as I could, placed the cup on the ground, and ran back under the porch where it was dry. When the rain stopped a few hours later, he told me to go get the same cup and bring it back to him. Once I brought the cup back to him, he said “You see that BB, that’s how you measure the rain. Now go water the plants with it.” So, I walked over to my Grandma’s plants under the porch and poured the rainwater on it. It was at that moment that I learned that rain needs to fall in order for things to grow.

That moment was symbolic for the years that lied ahead of me. I was to experience a lot of rainfall and after every rainstorm, there was a choice to be made. I could either leave the rainwater sitting in the cup or use the same rain that fell in my life for spiritual, mental and emotional growth. By the grace of God and that little girl on her grandparents’ porch…I always chose growth.

It is a known fact that rainwater produces healthier plants and more growth because it contains certain nutrients that tap water does not, which means that there is a certain type of growth that can only be accessed through rainfall. Every raindrop that fell can be seen in the woman that I am today. Yes, I’ve been through a lot but I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the world. If the rain had to fall all over again for me to become the woman that I am today, I would grab the biggest cup, place it in the rain, run back under my grandparents’ porch, and watch it fall.

 

I’ve Settled on Not Settling

“If you wait while you work instead of dreaming after you’ve settled, then you will begin to see God’s plan for your life manifest in miraculous ways.”

“You can be anything you want to be, but if you can’t do it quick enough then give up and do what’s easy.” “Don’t settle for less than what you deserve in a relationship…under 30 years old…after 30 just make sure he has a 401K and all of his teeth.” This is the voice of society. Encouraging us to have limitless visions for our life for a limited amount of time.

I refuse to listen to the ticking of the clock, when I serve the author of time. I refuse to listen to the voices of those telling me to settle for the same “less than” life that they settled for because they were too impatient to wait for the life God had for them. I have no desire at all to take the safe and popular route. I desire to take the road less traveled where there are no ticking clocks and only the sound of God’s timing.

Growing up, I was never the one to rebel against the life society had set out for little girls that come from the suburbs like me. Become the highest selling Girl Scout during cookie season…check! Go to school…check! Go to college…check! Make good grades…check! Don’t get pregnant and end up on an MTV reality show…check! I did everything according to plan…up until now. I’ve been striving after the relationship that I desire for a few years now and every single day someone tells me to settle for what’s easy.

Have you ever realized that those that love you will tell you to take the safe route or the popular route? They will tell you to accept the lowest risk in a stock market full of opportunities. At first, I would get so upset with them for telling me to settle for just anything, but I realized that they say this because they love me too much. They love me too much to see me hurt, so they would never encourage me to take a risk. In this life, sometimes you have to respect and at the same time dismiss the words of those that love you when you know for a fact that God has told you something completely different.

God has told me that there is more out there for me, so I refuse to accept a love that is less than what I am worth. After a series of bad relationships and years of healing, God has shown me just how precious I am and just how much I am worth. Now that I know my worth, I refuse to accept less in relationships. I know exactly what I bring to the table and I’m confident in just how beneficial it will be to the life of the man that God has chosen for me. As a result, I no longer sell myself short and I have chosen to patiently wait for the man God told me is mine.

There is power in waiting while working. The Bible says he is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” We love to focus on the rest of the verse, but the keyword to receiving everything God promises in that verse is “works”. Although I am waiting for the right man to be ready for a relationship, that does not mean I’m not working. I’m praying, fasting, and healing every single day as I work on becoming the wife God wants me to be before he allows my husband to see me as his wife…while I wait. If you wait while you work instead of dreaming after you’ve settled, then you will begin to see God’s plan for your life manifest in miraculous ways.

 

 

The Reason Why Heartbreak Hurts So Bad

The reason why heartbreak hurts so bad is because you put God-expectations on mankind. The Bible says that God will never fail you, but nowhere does it say that “Mankind will never fail you.” Why? Because mankind will fail you.

You expected them to not leave, you expected them to always love you, you expected them to not betray you, and you expected them to not be deceptive. You expected them NOT to be everything that mankind IS. If your expectations are placed onto God and not mankind, then you won’t be detrimentally hurt when mankind fails you.

Instead, you’ll be able to expect that somehow this will all work for your good because your expectations were in the right place. It took me a while to learn this because we don’t do it on purpose but subconsciously we walk into relationships placing God-expectations on normal human beings.

“The source of your pain can be tracked by locating your expectations. Are they rooted in Man or God?”

Quiet The Voice of Your Heart

The voice of our heart is frequently and unintentionally louder than the voice of God in many of our lives. We will believe that God has spoken to us when it was really our heart’s disguise as His voice. We couldn’t quite tell because we only heard the voice that made the most noise and God will never yell if we choose not to listen. That is why the Bible says that the heart is deceiving because if you aren’t listening to the voice of God then your heart can deceive you down a dark path by luring you in with its light. I believe that God speaks in whispers and if we aren’t intentional in quieting the noise of our emotions to tune into the guidance of God then we can easily find ourselves calling a relationship “God-ordained” when it was actually “Heart-proclaimed.”

Therein lies the question, “How do you know that a relationship is God-sent when it all seems so good in the beginning?” I can understand why this question can seem so hard to answer when you haven’t quite learned how to distinguish the voice of truth from the voice of deception, but the answer is simple. Ask God and he shall respond with the right way to proceed. If you find that it is hard to hear God’s voice in your relationship, then maybe your heart is too loud. Your heart is overtaking the conversation that God is trying to have with you so you may need to step back and enter into the presence of God void of your heart’s emotions and simply pray this prayer.

“God quiet my heart so that I can hear your voice.”

Keeping The Thorn, Changing The Prayer

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9                  

When the waves are crashing down and we feel life about to take us under, we’ve been told by preachers, teachers, and even The Bible to ask what we desire in prayer and we will receive it. At one point in my life, I began praying the same prayer every single day. I wanted God to remove one thing in my life to allow something greater to manifest and since the good book told me to pray without ceasing then I decided that if I truly wanted this then I must consistently pray that God performs this miracle and makes things better. A year later I found myself still praying that same prayer because my circumstances were still stagnant so I came to the conclusion that God needed me to prove further dedication. Along with my daily prayer, I began fasting. My consistent praying and fasting were not changing my circumstances because I found myself in the same place with the same problems and the same prayer. A thorn had officially been declared stuck in my side. In The Bible, Paul had asked God to remove the thorn from his side three times, but God answered his prayer not with the answer he was looking for, but with an answer of grace which truly was the only answer Paul needed. God told Paul that his grace was sufficient for him.

When you feel like your prayer is going unanswered, God may have already answered it with an answer of “grace” and although it may not feel like it, God is performing a miracle beyond secular imagination through your thorn. The Bible says that His power is made perfect in weakness, which means that the same thorn that causes you to feel weak is an indicator of the presence of God’s power to change your situation. He is calling you to greater heights and is working things out in your life that couldn’t manifest without this thorn. To ask God to remove the thorn before the perfect timing of His will would be asking the presence of God’s power to exit the stage, which will leave you in the same audience of desolation you were in before the thorn. Thorns cause us to go through a process that may be painful but cause progression that will ultimately grant us prosperity. Process. Progression. Prosperity.

Once I had that revelation and the perspective of my thorn changed, my prayer had to change along with it.

“Father God, I come to you today thanking you for my thorn and your answer of grace. Your word says that you will not put more on me than I can bear, so Father I know that if you’ve placed these burdens into my life then you have granted me the power to bear them. I trust you even in times when I don’t understand because your ways are not my ways and your thoughts are not my thoughts. I no longer want to ask you to remove my thorn. I’m asking for you to remove my doubt. Remove my lack of faith. Remove the pieces of me that desire a lighter load to carry and a weightless burden to bear. In the midst of every storm and in the face of every thorn, your grace will be sufficient for me. Amen.”

The Process of God Creating Your Destiny

Natchez, Mississippi holds a lot of my memories and many of them involve watching my Grandmother in the kitchen. She’s the reason why I love cooking now and I still call her for recipes. There were many times as a girl that I would pull up a kitchen table chair and just watch her bake for the entire family. She made the rest of the family stay in the living room and wait until the food was done, but I was more enamored by the process. I wanted to see how it was that separate ingredients including vanilla extract, eggs, flour, sugar, and butter came together to create something so beautiful. First, she adds all of the ingredients and then mixes them together. But before anything can be consumed, it had to go through a heating process. No matter what she made, the same basic process had to be repeated and she could never make anything without two basic steps…mixing and heating. In essence, I believe that is how God deals with us. He takes all of these ingredients, deposits them into who we are, mixes them together, takes us through a heating process, and then we become who he has destined us to be.

At the beginning of 2016, I just remember going through a lot of transitions and more changes than I was comfortable with. I didn’t know what God was doing to me and back then all I knew was I didn’t like it. As he was adding these ingredients of faith, courage, love, kindness, and self-control into me he was also causing havoc in my life. I didn’t understand why God would be depositing all of these amazing quality traits into me and then mixing up the woman I was all at the same time. It felt counterproductive, because if he mixed too much then he could risk some of the ingredients falling out of the bowl. But just like Grandma, God is an expert cake maker. He knows how to angle his wrist one way and the bowl the other way so that everything that he’s putting into us will stay in us throughout the process of being mixed. If you’ve ever made a cake, you know that you can’t just dump all of the ingredients at once into a bowl and then mix it. You have to continue to mix as you add more ingredients so they are distributed evenly throughout the batter. God wanted to be sure that he couldn’t just taste the ingredient of faith in one area of my life while faith was tasteless in another area. God is not that kind of God. If he deposits faith into one area of our life, he’ll mix up other areas so that faith will seep into those as well. He had to make my faith consistent throughout the woman that he was forming me into.

Once God mixed all of these ingredients into who I was becoming, he had to take me through a heating process. In my figurative heating process, I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Just like an oven, the door must remain closed in order for a cake to bake correctly. No one could see the magnitude of the tribulations I was enduring and I remember feeling so hidden and alone, but God set it up that way purposely.

When he was creating me, he couldn’t let everybody stay in the kitchen. He had to be like Grandma and put everybody else in the living room because they had the possibility to interfere with the finished product. Throughout the entire process of mixing and heating, God was creating a destiny that no one could tamper with.

Stuck at the Start of Your Dream

The definition of “stuck” is to be trapped or held in one position as to where the person or object cannot be moved. That was me. Trapped in an overwhelming reality of rejection. Held back from running towards the desires that God had placed into my heart. I was stuck at the starting line.

One of the most frustrating feelings is to be stuck at the starting line when you have the vision to run towards the finish. When I graduated college last year and began working temporary contract jobs, I had the vision to obtain a permanent position in human resources because I was good at it and it was a route that required less risk. So, I applied to every job in human resources that was listed online, redid my resume countless times, and attempted various interview techniques. Although my efforts landed me 30 interviews, it also landed me 30 rejections. At this point, I questioned whether God was punishing me so I began praying and reading the Bible every morning and every night searching for an answer. My search concluded with God telling me that the rejection was not punishment. It was a redirection.

God has gifted me with amazing creativity in the areas of writing, marketing, graphic design, and website development but I was scared to use it. I was scared to use my God-given gifts because they are out of the societal norm, but after countless rejection, the fear of failure subsided because I had already failed. Failing will undoubtedly make you less scared to fail. God told me to redirect my efforts towards a path of creativity and using the gifts that he had given me, so I started this blog, obtained a website development job on the side, and started striving in the direction of securing a permanent job in marketing. Then, I redid my resume in a format that had never been seen before and applied for every marketing position listed online. The calls began to roll in, the interviews began to be scheduled, but I was still stuck. I was stuck in a contract human resources position but the director admired my work ethic so much that she asked whether I would be interested in taking a permanent position in the company. Although I was not in any position to deny any possibility of a permanent job…I did. I said no so that I could say yes to God’s purpose for my life. I truly believe that was God testing me to see whether I would be truly patient and believe that he will bring my marketing job to fruition or whether I would give in and take the first opportunity to run after a long season of being stuck. Two days after I passed up on that opportunity, I was offered a dream job in marketing where I can utilize my creative talents on a higher level…a level where I can run.

Over the course of one year, I went on 35 interviews…received 34 rejections…and 1 offer. I had to go through this because if I would have gotten any of the jobs I had interviewed for before then I would have begun running but it would have been in the wrong direction. I stayed stuck at the start until I allowed the world’s rejection to provide redirection as a result of God’s protection. God will keep you stuck at the starting line until he redirects your path in alignment with his will for your life. God has a Plan A for our life and he loves us so much that he won’t hesitate to block and redirect everything we attempt to run towards that foreshadows Plan B. Man’s rejection is God’s protection.