At a young age we are taught to be kind and respect one another despite differences. There are so many characteristics that set us all apart, such as: personality traits, morals, values, skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight etc. We are all made uniquely and bring something special to the world.
There are times where we fail at respecting one another, especially when an individual is impolite or hurts our feeling. During those moments I like to reflect on the word and focus on verses where, love, is displayed. As humans we may fall short, but we can always get back up and try to better our interactions.
Currently, we are living in unprecedented times and can easily allow our hearts to be hardened towards one another. However, below you will find scriptures that reminds us, what love is and how we can respond to others with adoration.
Love your neighbor as thyself. There is no commandment greater than this. -Mark 12:31
Love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. -Romans 12:9
My command is this, love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. -Romans 12:10
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or a sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. -1 John 4:20
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. -Romans 13:10
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. -Hebrews 13:1-2
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. -1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; -Mathew 5:44
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 22-23
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With all that is going on in the world it is so easy to become inflicted with fear and worry. I will be open and honest that anxiety gripped me while I was in the store one night. I viewed the empty aisles and fear seeped into my soul. As I felt my heart racing, I was reminded that God does not give the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He is in control!
I want to encourage us all that what’s happening in the world is not a shock to the creator. Though we may not understand completely, God will see us through. Let’s take some time out to re-center our minds on the Lord’s promises.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
You know that saying “Your true friends you can count on one hand”, has began to ring clear, the older I get. I’ve come to the realization that you have to compartmentalize the people in your life. Everyone is not qualified to know your deepest thoughts, battles, weaknesses, and strengths. Only those individuals that are truly for you deserve to know you at a profound level.
We all have varying relationship levels based on situations. For example, coworkers, church friends, family, gym friends, brunch group, networking bunch and the list goes on. The conversations that you have with your best friend, may be totally different than those with your co-workers.
Your inner circle or, “tribe”, should consist of people that help you to become better. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). You and your closest friends help each other to grow. There’s only room for constructive criticism and no judgement. You feel safe exposing yourself because you know that this individual has your back. That’s your tribe.
Below you’ll find a quick list on ways to identify your true tribe!
1. You can discuss your battles in confidence, without the information being thrown back at you and vice versa.
2. Your friend lovingly corrects you when you are wrong. (Vice versa)
3. Your information is safe and does not get spread to outsiders. (Vice versa)
4. If you set a goal, your friend helps to hold you accountable. (Vice versa)
5. Forgives and communicates any issues with you, directly to you. (Vice versa)
6. Loves you no matter what. (Vice versa)
If you find that your close friends lack some of the traits above, I encourage you to have a conversation disclosing your feelings. Hopefully, there will be a positive progress towards strengthening of the friendship. If not, then use the tips above to find the right tribe.
Life can bring about some difficult times that cause unwanted stress. Your enjoyable day can be flipped upside down in seconds. I am literally writing this post as I sit in the dealership getting my car fixed. I was supposed to be having a pool day with close friends but that changed quickly! Fun day quickly turned to business in a matter of seconds. Although, frustrated, I had to find a way to relieve the stress and relax.
Plans can switch unexpectedly, but the way we handle the circumstance, can determine our stress levels. I am sure we all want to keep our mental state, balanced as possible. So I have compiled a quick list of ways to reduce stress.
1. Change your perspective
Instead of focusing on the difficult moment, change your perspective, and look at the bright side. Okay you have car trouble, at least you have a car. You have your life, health, strength and means to get it fixed. Whatever your situation is, it could always be worse.
Just pause for a moment and take three deep breaths. Increased heart rate, incline in blood pressure, and fast breathing all occur when you are stressed. Breathing exercises help to reduce tension.
Accept the situation that happened. There is nothing you can do to change. If you continue to rehash the event in your mind you will continue to have high stress levels. So accept the event and think of ways that can help you cope or solve the issue.
Remember when you were child and were carefree? You enjoyed playing with dolls/toy trucks, riding your bike, skating in the street, and had to be in before a certain time lol. You had joyful attitude and were friendly to many. How you looked to an outsider was not important and you stayed in your own little world.
Then puberty hit and that is when views of the world typically start impacting your personal outlook and character. You gain concern about the clothes you wear, hairstyle, body shape etc. and suddenly the judgement from individuals, distort your self image. Your personality shaped to being nice in hopes to gain many friends or mean because of the hate and slander. Throughout middle and high school, you care about having the designer brands, body imperfections, character traits for popularity purposes.
College age through twenties, the years of “finding yourself” arise, and realize that you are trying to, undo the negative thought patterns that you gained. (If you are younger I challenge you to reject the judgement now) Have you ever thought about the reason behind your alleged flaws? Who planted in your spirit that you were too skinny or curvy? Who said you were overly dramatic? Who pointed out that very part on your body or character trait, that you now dislike?
This is what I call the, “Side Effects of Judgment”. Gaining weight because people think you’re too skinny or losing weight due to people feeling like you are too fat (unless doctor recommended) Plastic surgery because others feel your butt, boobs, nose are too small. Calming your personality down because people think you are too goofy/nice. Being mean and having a cold heart towards people because others hurt you. The list can go on but my question to you is, who were you before judgement and experiences of life, came upon you?
Life can change you, however, we have to recognize the cause of the change and understand that some alterations are not good for us. Many adjustments we make or the way we act towards people are caused by the trauma we have received from others. So I challenge everyone to analyze your life and heal. Try to understand the, WHY, in what you do. Are you changing this facet of your life based on the, side effects of judgement?
How to heal and recognize the, WHY:
Get a journal.
Write down what you dislike about yourself.
Recall the earliest memory of someone pointing out that flaw/being rude. Write it down
Write down how it made you feel and why
Now you recognize the, WHY, it is time to undo the thought pattern
Write down affirmations on how you are beautiful/handsome, the way you were made. Repeat this every time that negative thought comes into your mind, and until you truly believe it!
Remember, the world does not define you and we were all made in our own uniqueness. One of a kind! “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” -Psalm 139:13-14
Social media wasn’t prevalent back in the day as it is now. Women would literally analyze subtle cues when it came to dating. Ex: a slight change in his text message lingo or he called a little later than normal. Those signs would be a direct indication that he was talking to someone else or his interest in you, was declining. Nowadays, people need feelings outwardly written or go to the relationship coaches to tell you, “How to Know When a Man Wants You.”
Now, it is not wrong to get guidance or a second opinion while you’re on the dating scene. However, you do not NEED a person to tell you certain information that is evident. Ladies it is simple! God gave us innate capabilities or intuition, to be able to decider if a male is interested in you.
For starters, look at his actions. Secondly, listen to what he is verbalizing. Men will tell you if he want you to be his girl or “I’m just chillin”. Lastly, if his actions and words do not match, clearly he is confused and you need to guard your heart. The fact that you have to question, “Is he interested in me as much as I like him”, reveals that y’all are possibly not on the same page.
Who watches Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, Realhousewives?
Reality TV is a hit in this present day. I caught a clip of Love and HH last year (I don’t know if it’s old or not because it was the first time I watched) and this male was in a love triangle with two women. Both women knew about each another, yet, continued to mess around with the man. On top of all that, the women literally hated each other. Whattt??? When did it become okay be an option in a mans life? This is a situation, like many others, where women endure mistreatment, in hopes of being the “chosen one”. One should not be okay with being an alternative or welcoming less than the best. Ladies, we have to remember our worth and value is not tied to any man.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made-Psalm 139:14. You were designed to be the ONLY wife to ONE man. No matter how much society normalizes it, you do not have accept: misconduct, low quality characteristics, or wait until a man matures to be treated correctly.
Ladies, we complain about the few options of good men, but many of us play the game with them. Instead of holding firm to our standards, we tolerate behaviors that should not be welcomed. Women literally have the power to change this dating scene. If we collectively stopped settling for less, then men would have to raise the bar. Now, of course that is not an excuse to why men behave as they do and there are various correlations. However, I can speak from a viewpoint from a woman since I am one. I am trying to help my sisters see their value and part we play in this society, where there is a high volume of singleness and desperation to be married. We set the limits but until our standards increase, the dating cycle won’t change.
You have to be okay with being alone and maybe that is the fear of most. Yes, you may desire marriage but not at the expense of your sanity. You are someone’s one and only and deserve to be treated with the love, respect and honor that was intended by Christ. If your desire for marriage is stronger than your longing for Christ, then sis you have made marriage an idol. The good thing is God is forgiving and we can change our ways. We should yearn for Christ more than anything in the world. He is the one that can fill our voids of loneliness, pain, rejection, sadness and the list goes on. Below you will find scriptures that discuss focusing on Christ. As well as, scriptures that explains how love and kindness are put into action.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.- Colossians 3:2
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you-Mathew 6:33
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.-Isaiah 26:3
But the fruit of the Spirit is love,joy, peace,forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.-Galatians 5:22-23
Love is patient,love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not prou. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.Husbands, love your wives,just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,and to present her to himselfas a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.-Ephesians 5:22-28 (you may not be a wife yet but these are qualities you and he should have prior. Not what is being normalized in the world today.)
I am super excited that I have been vegetarian for a full year. Not that I doubted myself, but I never imagined becoming a vegetarian! The main question I’ve received is, do you struggle with any desires to go back?
The answer is simply, no! Reason being, is that I have a greater cause. You simply cannot change a habit based off popular trends or because someone tells you to do so. There has to be a higher desire from within, to transform your regimen.
My motivation to be a vegetarian was health. No, I do not have an illness and I am in good condition. However, I am a big component for prevention and always have been. The propelling question that kept my younger self curious and eventually brought about change was, what is the cause of sickness? Of course you cannot completely dodge ailments, but I discovered that several diseases are linked to the foods we eat. Meat (but not limited to) plays a major role.
*disclaimer this post is not to force anyone to become a vegetarian but just exposing the reasons of why I am one* “One person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.” Romans 14:1-3
Below I will answer questions I have received regarding my journey as a vegetarian.
1. What is the most difficult part?
– We’ll I love eating out, but there are not many vegetarian restaurants in Houston. However, there has definitely been an increase of vegetarian options on menus. Plus, you can ALWAYS find a bite to eat like sides of veggies, salad, soup etc. However, sometimes you want something more filling and satisfying. With that said, seafood restaurants are not the place to go. I’ve learned to create my own entree or you can simply have your waiter, ask the chef, to whip up something special.
2. Did you lose weight?
Many people assume you lose weight, not in every case. If you ask anyone that is trying to decrease pounds or look at a trainers page, they do not completely eliminate meat. It’s the carbs and sugar that is taken away, which helps with the decline. Both of those are my love!!! To answer your question, I have not lost weight! Remember everyone’s process is different.
3. Did you become vegetarian cold turkey?
I did not become a vegetarian overnight. It was never my intention to become a vegetarian it just kind of happened. When I was a young girl I was always picky about the meats I would eat. Chicken was the top choice, burgers, and ribs. I never liked steak, brisket, roast etc. So about 2-3 years ago, I was doing some research on clean vs unclean meats in the Bible, Leviticus 11 (though Western culture doesn’t live by that law) and decided I would stop eating pork. I continued my studies and would analyze how other meats were processed, so next, I cut out seafood. In 2016, I only ate chicken or turkey. In January, we always do a fast, so I gave up all animal flesh in 2017. I continued to analyze how foods impact your body and can cause certain ailments and I never went back.
4. All animal products should not be consumed, do you think you will become vegan?
That is still up in the air and I have wavered back and forth on it. It is really difficult to be a vegan in Houston and I would need to up my cooking skills. Eating out would p-existent lol!! However, I think one day I will be a vegan! Stay posted.
5. What do you eat during the holidays?
Everything except the meat!
6. Did you watch the documentary, “What The Health.” If so, did that contribute to you becoming a vegetarian?
-Yes, I watched the documentary and encourage everyone to watch in my blog post called, What The Health. That film, motivate individuals to make become VEGAN! However, it did give aid to my vegetarian lifestyle and it still impacts me to this day! . That’s why I believe I will eventually remove all animal products from my menu.
6. So you can’t eat any animal products, right?
No that is wrong. There is a difference between eating vegan and vegetarian. Vegans do not consume any animal products (no meat, eggs, or dairy). Vegetarians only eliminate the meat from their diet (still eat products containing dairy/eggs).
7. Where do you get your protein from?
-Contrary to popular belief, you can get protein from many of the foods you eat and not only meat or nuts. For example, fruits and vegetables are great sources of protein. Check this out, gorillas and elephants are two of the biggest and strongest animals in the world, yet, what do they eat? Fruits and vegetables! There are vast amounts of options for protein. If all else fails, google is your best friend. Personally, I eat lots of quinoa, oats, black beans, nuts, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, bananas, nectarines etc..list can go on but I’ll stop here lol
8. I have heard coworkers say that they feel lighter, when they do not consume meat. Do you feel a change in your body as a vegetarian?
-Yes I do. I agree with your coworkers regarding feeling light. After I eat, I do not get the “itis” or experience heaviness.
Are you vegetarian? How has your transition been? Give me all the deets below in the comment section.
Are you looking to become a vegetarian? If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
I hope you enjoyed the Q and A. I sure did! Remember, we are in this journey together!
One of the most anticipated times of the year is, Christmas. The season of giving, joy and spending time with your family. It just makes individuals feel so loving and warm inside. However, that is not the case for everyone.
There are some people who dread this occasion for various reasons:
-Some individuals may be away from their family and are experiencing loneliness.
-This time of year allows one to reflect over the year and be reminded of the negative events that transpired. For example, a called off engagement, break up, loss of job, or something else.
-Buying gifts, can cause the serious “buh humbug” feeling. People feel like they let others down because they cannot purchase presents, due to their finances.
Whatever the case may be, we have to be sensitive to the fact that everyone does not have the same feelings regarding holidays.
If you happen to be the individual that is having a rough time during this Christmas, I want to encourage you to find the joy within it.
If you are away from your family, try surrounding yourself with friends. Hang out with their family for the holidays. Of course there is nothing like being around your own loved ones, but it can sure lighten your mood.
Indulge in something you enjoy. Finish that book, take that class you wanted, or volunteer at a local shelter…etc.
In continuation from number two, give to others. Contributing to another persons life can definitely transfer you energy from gloom to joy. There is something about pouring into others that just will heighten your day.
Most importantly, focus on Christ. He is the only one that can fill your voids.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Mathew 5:4
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest.” Mathew 11:28
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4
I hope the tips above bring you immediate comfort during this time. Remember, we are all in this journey together!
Fall or autumn, is the transitional period between summer and winter. The leaves start changing colors and plummet off of the trees. The temperature begins to drop and fashion begins to shift from tank tops to sweaters. Your favorite seasonal drinks hit the shelves and Starbucks.
Though fall is a season within a year, you can equate it to your personal life. Sometimes, you enter into a period where one loses friendships, relationships, jobs, etc.. It may seem like God has been removing everything from your life and you cannot comprehend the change. Letting go of people and opportunities that you desire, is difficult. However, it is important for your growth.
Leaves may die and whither but in spring, new flowers bloom. Allow God to rid your life of old conditions and provide his best. This juncture may bring extreme discomfort because it is not your familiar. Yet, in order to get to the next level, you must let go of some baggage.
During this fall season, be open to the transition that God is taken you through.
“Out with the old in with the new.”
If that friend stops hanging with you, understand it is for your growth. God may be tugging at your heart, to release an entity, that is keeping you bound. If so, listen to that warning. You are headed to higher heights and dead weight will hold you back.
Instead of fighting this shift, let’s welcome this term with anticipation. The blessings that will sprout forth, by obeying God, will not be in vain. You can trust that he knows the best pathway for you. The man that created you, heaven and earth, will not fail you!