Saturday, July 14, 2012

Got My Mojo Back

On February 16, 2011, I began to jot down dreams and creative goals I wanted to accomplish. I kept saying to myself "You've done too many things in your young lifetime not to be able to create another revenue stream". I jotted down any and every talent I believe I had and anything that I've trained in or accomplished and started connecting dots. Unfortunately that chart sat for months and my dreams on paper stayed right there. I'd get some motivation here and there to revisit it and see what I was ready to do or could afford to do, but still no real movement. In October, I started my own black business woman's mastermind group called Purpose Driven Women. This was a result of me needing other like minded woman to encourage me and we could all hopefully do joint ventures with our individual business goals. Meeting after meeting I'd get some great feedback and inspiration but just couldn't see what my avenue of income would be for a business plan. I struggled with knowing that I had knowledge and services to offer but not believing that people would pay me to receive those services and knowledge. Self doubt held me back for quite some time, even when God would make it so clear what I should be doing.

In February 2012, the Pastor of my church in Maryland gave me the green light to use their facility and offered to cover travel expenses for me to start my business. I still sat on my dream and doubt ate away at me. In March, while walking to church in NJ I had an amazing talk with God about starting the youth acting workshop. Up until this point I had only thought about teaching kids how to act and had no real vision for how to develop the workshop. God dropped some nuggets into my spirit during that walk, I was blown away. I could not get to church fast enough to write down the vision and make it plain. Then God spoke further through Pastor's sermon about the Abundant Life and how to take what God gave you and use it. He confirmed the age range, the pricing (which I lowered because of doubt and later proved to still be selling myself too short), and all the youth requirements for participating. He said I needed to create an official proposal to present to locations and be decent and in order. There was so much more and I was on fire but still I sat on my dream and more doubt set in.

In May, I attended a woman's retreat and I think God just about had enough of me and my doubting Him. As soon as I sat on the bus a lady sat next to me and we quickly started our fellowship. She shared a lot with me but as I listened to her pour out her burdens I kept hearing her say that she and her boyfriend just signed their teenage daughters up for a scouting cruise with BARBIZON (this should be a curse word, a dirty little curse word!) for... hold your seats...$3500 each! I was flipping in my spirit with rage over this scandal of an offer she was locked into. (Sidenote: God's divine appointment is so awesome. He sat that sister next to an aspiring youth acting instructor so she could share that testimony and light a fire under my butt.) Moving on, all I kept thinking was this scam agency has placed their value at $3500 per youth and I have the nerve to question God's confirmation about my value and the value of the services I'm offering to folks. Yeah I got some nerve!!! I got my buns home from that retreat, dusted off my notes, updated my flyers and got to Facebooking, Tweeting, texting and emailing folks to sign up for my first youth acting workshop.

The divine silver lining in all this was that God's timing can't be matched by us moving ahead of or behind His will for our lives. When I went to update the flyer from a workshop I did 7 years ago, the date of that previous workshop was one day off from the day that God confirmed this new workshop to start. It was like a took a 7 year hiatus and God took me through all these events to be prepared for such a time as this. I successfully completed my first four week workshop last week. Bonus: I got the sister from the retreat to sign up her daughter and niece and now I'm steering them on the right track with their career and will stand in the wings to protect them from further scandals. God is so friggin awesome and while I may have doubted what He told me to do repeatedly, He came back for me repeatedly! It's hard for me to process financial challenges at times because I've always had multiple revenue streams and have never been afraid of hard work or multiple jobs. I got so complacent over the years and I'm so glad I got my mojo back. Thanks to the G-O-D!

Peace yall!

Yes I'm Perfect?

It's funny how I go back through old entries I never published and they have much more meaning to me today than when I originally wrote them. Here's another old one from last year in response to just letting people be themselves.

I'm learning the high standards I set for other people aren't always the standards that I even live up to. We can be great motivators to "do right" but fall short of taking our own "Miss Know it All" advice. For me, I'm learning that in my passion to prevent others from repeating my mistakes I can come off a bit Holier than Thou. Learning to let people be themselves and not judge or compare as we grow is the ultimate goal of God's Agape love.

It's also important to recognize when people aren't letting us be our less than perfect selves when they judge us for shortcomings they didn't think we had and not beat ourselves up about their comments. Comes with the territory though. Some say leaders are always held to a higher level of scrutiny and surely as Christians we're called to live under a higher standard. Some people label me as a Proverbs 31 woman and I humbly appreciate them and recognize that I strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman but I'm not yet. But I will continue striving for that Proverbs 31 status by allowing God to work in me and the rest will come.

Peace yall!

Friday, July 13, 2012

20 Years Ahead

This is from an entry the mentors had to write to their South African mentees about where we saw ourselves in 20 years. I wrote this last year but never published it.

In 20 years I'll be 51 years old. wow that's a lot of years. I think I'd still live in New York or at least travel to New York often for work but maybe live in a warm place near water like Barbados or even Miami permanently. I pray to still be faithful to God and wake each morning to pray to Him and read the Bible but maybe it will be different because we get wiser with time and life experiences so I hope to have a better understanding of God and His plan for me at 51. I've always been an early bird so I'll probably still wake up early with or without an alarm clock. By then I hope to have a husband and kids so they will be waking me up in the morning. I don't know much about my house but I do know it will have one empty room with mirrors and music for dancing. I love to dance and just enjoy music so I will have a dance studio for me and my kids to just dance around and be joyful in. God willing my Father will still be alive and healthy so maybe he'll live with us and I'd love to still be able to have talks with him and sit down and laugh like we always do. As for my career, I will still be an actress working on big movies and shows so I will be headed to work soon for a long day on the set of my next movie.

I'm on the mark with some of these expectations and I'm confident the rest will come. So grateful for growth and hiccups in my path. By the grace of God I will have the abundant life He promised and this peek into the future will be on the smaller end of what He will actually bless me to experience within 20 years. Peace yall!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guilt Trip

I have been itching to write about so many things but I have to use discretion with how much of my personal life I share right now. Life has been all over the place for me to say the least and I'll try to give yall an update without spilling all my beans. Guilt Trip...I've definitely been on one. I have condemned myself into seclusion and shamed myself into a bit of depression over current circumstances. As I embark on a new journey of life I've experienced negativity and opposition from people close to me. I've definitely checked out emotionally to some folks and have been pulling back my online presence most days. I'm in a season of decision making which impacts my career, my future, my location of residence, my friends, my circle, my finances, my health, my everything. It has been amazingly discouraging to go through most of this by myself because I felt I couldn't trust people I should be able to depend on. A few outwardly spoken people have spoiled it for those who may have my best interest at heart and I decided to go inward and trust God and God alone to be my counsel. Makes for a very lonely place at times but God's companionship is amazing. I'm probably talking gibberish right now so let me be more clear. I've been on a guilt trip because I know I've been doing things or NOT doing things that haven't been too pleasing to God. But what's been eating me up inside is what others have said and might say about some of my decisions. I've allowed the opinions of others to almost dictate my life and happiness to the point of being so confused which way to go some days. I couldn't hear anything but negative voices and the doubt from the enemy nagging in my ear. I love my life, my career and the success so far, but I desire something different in life now. A family of my own and that desire has caused a roller coaster of emotions and occurrences. It's funny to me that from the outside looking in others have assumed that I'm wasting my talent and giving up on my dream by deciding to share my energy with another dream of mine. Why are people's minds so limited as to not believe that I can do both? That our God isn't big enough to give me love and career? Or even that I'm somehow not in control of my own mind and body to make my own decisions based on God's promises and counsel. It's been most discouraging to have folks treat me like I'm a child making rash, irresponsible decisions when I've lived cautious and planned out and too in control of most of my life. To treat me as if I just woke up one day and decided that I would throw my life away and just blow with the wind instead of giving me the benefit of actually having a brain and a relationship with a God that speaks to me about decisions. Let me not ramble. The point to this entry is really that God is so great that He is loving me back to a healthy state of mind and right standing with Him. Helping me to drown out the voices of others and hear His voice even louder than my own doubtful voice at times. Moving out of feeling guilty because I'm actually living my life for me for once and not going according to everyone else's small thinking and plans for MY life. I've had to meditate on Romans 8:1 even before I knew what that scripture was. The words popped into my head whispering "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." and I kept repeating that over and over again and eventually I turned to it in my Bible and it was confirmed during devotions and prayer calls. I'm not perfect but I serve a perfect God and He doesn't judge me and condemn me like myself or others do. He is the God of turnaround so even if I'm making unwise decisions I trust that He will guide me back. He doesn't let His children fall too far. Hallelujah! My life is changing daily and some days I pause and reflect on what I may be giving up but then I look forward to what I'm gaining and I press on. It hurts like hell to break relationships with folks over decisions that are mine to make and not theirs but time will reveal truths and heal wounds. Hopefully I can reveal more to yall and speak more specifically to my circumstances but for now be encouraged. Don't let anyone dictate your life and what you should do. Consult your God and keep your trustworthy circle small and close. Don't be afraid to go against the grain and follow your heart, dreams, and passions. Peace yall!