God is in Control!

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.

Isaiah 41:10 

“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.”

Psalm 46:1 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“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.”

Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Mathew 6:34

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Proverbs 16:4

“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“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.”

Psalm 56:3

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Remember, we are in this journey together!

Love,

6 Ways to Finding Happiness

The search for happiness is a piece of life that one must find within. As I’ve gone through this journey called, life, I’ve realized that happiness is not based on external factors but internal. Of course, money and materials things make life easier to manage. Yet, if you talk to the wealthy they’ll say “No matter how much you have, you’ll still want more”. It is your inner peace and the small things in life that make life worthwhile.

I always say life is like a rollercoaster. You will have ups, downs, twists, and turns. The only thing you can do is hold on for the ride. What do you do when those valleys hit home? Money can’t fix rejection, loss, and pain. Learning how to master peace, while you’re going through a storm, is the art.

If you base your fulfillment on environmental factors then you will constantly blame your unhappiness on people and things. “I’m not cheerful because I have a flat tire”. “I’m not happy because I don’t have enough money”. “I’m sad because I didn’t have a date”.

We all can find something wrong with our life every single day. Yes, we will have moments when we are down emotionally but we have to try to not allow these moments to take control over our life. Below you will find a list of tips to find your happiness:

1. Find your passion- Seek out the activities that you love to do.

2. Protection- “Rejection is Gods protection”. Rejection can come in many forms such as: not getting job promotion, breakup, loss of friendship etc. Just know whenever life does not go the way you envisioned, that makes room for something bigger and better to occur.

3. Pray- Some of us just naturally have a pessimistic view on life. Ask God to give you a new mindset, to be able to see the world from optimistic outlook. “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”(John 15:15)

4. Contentment- Reflect on your life to evaluate where your discontentment is stemming from. Sometimes, our unhappiness comes from not walking in our calling, feelings of being lost, or not truly understanding who we are. Take time to journal and gain a deeper interpretation of yourself. Find out the “Why” or the root of where your unhappiness resides. Once you establish a strong foundation, contentment will be on the horizon.

5. Make a choice- We make decisions every second of our life,yet, some are more difficult than others. Just like we choose what to wear to work, or cook for dinner, we have to choose to be happy. At times that maybe more difficult than others, however, be determined to not allow our circumstances to dictate our life. We are in control and have to constantly cast down those negative thoughts that want to reign on your parade. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2Corithians 10:5

6. Counseling- Sometimes a person outside your circle can bring about an awareness. Our friends may not understand or you may not feel comfortable venting to them. Find a therapist near your community to discuss your presenting situation and to find deep meaning to your unhappiness.

Remember, we are in this journey together!

Love,

Living Single: How to Deal with Singleness on Valentine’s Day

One of the most hated days for many singles across the nation is, Valentine’s Day. It is a day dedicated to love which reminds many individuals of the relationship status they lack. It is a painful reminder that one does not have significant other, to share “love day” with.

I’m single, however, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays (not a public holiday). I have always equated it to love but not solely for couples. Even though it’s a day most recognize for couples, my family and friends have always made it a collective celebration. I enjoy it just as I do Christmas. Everyone gives and receives cute gifts and just enjoy the occasion.

If you are single this year for Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage you that fulfillment of love does not stem from a man or woman, but it comes from within. YOU. Two of the greatest loves of all are, self love and the love from God. If your heart is hardened by this day of love, find rest in knowing that you receive the best love from our Heavenly Father. Below you will find a list of tips to help you through the Valentine’s season.

1. Girls night-Girl, enjoy this day by engaging in your favorite things. Self love is one of the best loves. Go to dinner with your gals and celebrate yourself. Cheers to not settling and being content with life. (Vice versa for the Fellas)

2. Favorite-Order take out from your favorite restaurant and catch up on your favorite tv shows or watch your top movie.

3. Family time-Most people do not like going out on Vday due to the crowds. If that’s in the case of your circle, the, spend time with your family. What better way to spend this day with people that love you most.

4. Gift giving-Send a gift to someone and help brighten their day. You never know what the next person is going through. Plus, it does the heart well by doing good for someone else. “It is always better to give than receive”.

5. Spa day/night- Give yourself a gift to the spa. Get a nice massage, hair/nails done and enjoy “Me time”.

6. Choices- “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. That is true in a lot of cases but in others you know how to make the right choices. Just like you choose a show to watch or what you will cook for dinner, you have to decide to be happy and not bitter. So what you’re single! So what “everyone is in a relationship”! Are you going to sit there and choose to wallow in pity and despise the plan God has for your life? Girl/Guy dust yourself off and fight for your mind! Better to be single and happy than married and unhappy. If you do not master contentment in your singleness it will follow you into your relationship. Talk to married individuals and they’ll tell you, at times they feel lonely, unloved, not valued, or stuck. “Marriage won’t fix you and being single won’t kill you”. Emotions do not change just because of your relationship status. Managing your emotional state, is an inside job that you have to work on constantly, until you reach eternity. You got this!

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Remember we are in this journey together!

Love,


10 Tips on Self-Care

Taking care of ourselves is one important value to help us function more efficiently. Between working 40hrs a week (or more), kids, cooking, cleaning, running errands, social events etc. life can get overwhelming. So it is important to take time out for yourself to relax and reset. Below you’ll find 10 quick tips on self-care.

1. Hobby- Take a designated time out of your day to focus on an activity that you love. The time may vary depending on your schedule (10min., 30min., 1hr.) and enjoy your favorite hobby.

2. Bath- Before bed take a nice warm bath with soft music in the background to relax from your stressful day. Ease your mind and body from all tension to reset.

3. Sleep- Sleep is vital for the body. When you do not get enough sleep it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Try your best to get the rest you need daily.

4. Girl time- Enjoy a ladies day/night out. Go to the spa, get mani/pedis, brunch, or dinner. Have fun!

5. Prayer/ Quiet time- When we pray we are reminded that we can cast our cares on Christ because he cares for us (1Peter 5:7) We do not have to carry the burdens of the world on our shoulders. God knew that it would be too much for us to bear. That is why he wants us to give all of our problems to him. He will give you the peace, comfort, and remind you that he has everything in control.

6. Take a walk outside- Changing the scenery and getting out to get fresh air can help you refocus. Stepping away from your daily duties for a few minutes has positive effects.

7. Listen to music- Put on your favorite hits and jam away. Music is proven to boost your mood.

8. Journal- Start a gratitude journal or creative writing journal.

9. Read- Read your favorite book instead of scrolling through social media’s world. We may not realize it but a huge part of our day is spent looking at a phone or computer. Plus staring at our devices all day can cause negative effects on eyesight. Try reading a book to help you de-stress.

10. Take a break- Some times we just literally need a break from the daily hustle. I am an advocate for taking off of work, for a mental health day. Use that time as you wish. Most importantly utilize it for relaxation.

I hope you enjoyed these quick tips on self-care. Remember we are in this journey together!

Love,

Tips to Reduce Stress

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.

Tips:

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.

2. Breath

Just pause for a moment and take three deep breathsIncreased heart rate, incline in blood pressureand fast breathing all occur when you are stressed. Breathing exercises help to reduce tension.

3. Acceptance

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.

What are some ways you relieve your stress?

We are all in this journey together,

Side Effects

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:

  1. Get a journal.
  2. Write down what you dislike about yourself.
  3. Recall the earliest memory of someone pointing out that flaw/being rude. Write it down
  4. Write down how it made you feel and why
  5. Now you recognize the, WHY, it is time to undo the thought pattern
  6. 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!
  7. 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

We are in this journey together,

Faith

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). When you extend your faith you are believing that certain events will transpire, despite, what you see. For example, job promotion, healing, or new car etc. At times, faith, begins to subside during the, “between stage”. The between stage, is when you are waiting to get from point A to B. You want that job promotion and you killed the interview, but, the company decided to go with someone else. Therefore, you remain at point A and discouragement sets in because you know it is time for you to move to higher levels. During this middle phase, is when your faith gets truly tested but do not lose hope!

Lets look at biblical stories where faith is tested:

-Sarah could not bear children, but was told that she would conceive a child, during old age. It took faith to believe that she would have a baby in her nineties. (Genesis)

Abraham- He had to offer up his son, as a sacrifice, as a test of his faith. (Genesis)

Noah- The world had become so evil so the Lord told Noah to build an Ark with two of every animal and only his wife, sons, and daughter in laws, would be saved. Noah had faith and did everything that the Lord commanded. (Genesis)

Joseph and Mary- Mary a virgin, pregnant with child. The lord told Joseph that Mary bore Christ and gave instructions on what to do after Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary followed what the Lord said. (Mathew)

Moses- He delivered thousands from Egypt and traveled to the promise land. Moses took heed to the steps that the Lord spoke. (Exodus)

Woman with the issue of blood- She had been bleeding for 12 years but her faith made her whole, by touching the hem of Jesus’s garment. (Mathew)

Job- The Lord allowed Satan, access to Job. Job lost everything but he still had reverence and served God.

Regardless of the time frame or emotional turbulence that possibly ensued, the word of the Lord came to fruition. I am sure there was doubt that arose, during the waiting period. Yet, If HE said it, it will come to pass!

You may be in a season where your faith is being tested. You are waiting for that promise to come, but you are getting tired. I just want to encourage and remind you that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forevermore-Hebrew 13:8. Just like the promises manifested in the stories above, YOURS, is on the way.

I challenge you to read Hebrews 11 and analyze, how faith, orchestrated the lives of many.

Apply the verses from the bible over your life:

-By faith I can trust God

-By faith I understand that the world was framed by God

-By faith I can be confident with gods promises despite circumstances or consequences

-By faith I will run with endurance the race that is set before me by looking unto Jesus

-By faith I am healed

If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there and it will move”- Mathew 17:20

We walk by faith and not by sight.- 2 Corinthian 5:7

Remember, we are in this journey together.

Love,

C. Allen

Dating, Intuition, Standards

Intuition

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.

Standards

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.

What’s next?

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.

Verses:

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 himself as 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.)

Remember we are in this journey together!

C. Allen