Sunday, January 21, 2018

Wild Goose Chase: Throwing down the Staff of Success

One of my awesome clients told me she was reading a book that i may like: It was Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.  As you may have already been able to tell, I am a huge Mark Batterson Fan!  She loaned me her copy.  This is my THIRD Mark Batterson book in 3 months but his writing resonates with me.

The premise of his Book Wild Goose Chase is that Celtic Christians called God "Wild Goose".  His idea is that if you're really following God and not a religion that God will send you on a Wild Goose Chase.

If you read this blog, then you know that it seems like I'm on a Wild Goose Chase.  We go from pillar to post.  One minute I think I've got things figured out and then guess what?  That wasn't it after all!  I can totally relate to what he's writing about.

So much of the time it doesn't make any sense at all but then it makes all the sense in the world...so who knows? I've given up on trying to figure it out!!

Testimony Time

So this past week I was short for a major cash payment that I needed to make.  I decided to proceed with business as usual.  I prayed for provision and I thought of my theme for the week:

"The Lord himself will fight for you...Just stay calm"

So there it went.  Later that morning I get a phone call and the rest is history.  I was covered...and then some!! 

I realized that a lot of time I am operating out of fear. Since I like to keep tabs on everything and be prepared...when things aren't adding up, I shrink back and don't make moves.  I deliberately went for a different approach this time.

I am learning something!  To God be the Glory!!



Throwing down the staff of success

In his Book Wild Goose chase, Mark Batterson recounts the story where God meets Moses in the wilderness tending sheep.  God tells him to throw down his staff.  

"Throw it down on the ground," the LORD told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.

As Mark Batterson teaches, the staff served as Moses' protection and his security.  Now God was throwing it down and it became a snake and Moses jumped back!

Then the LORD told him, "Reach out and grab its tail." So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd's staff in his hand.
The question Mark Batterson asked of us is what are we willing to throw down?  What security and protection are we willing to throw down?

I answered honestly:  I am willing to throw down the staff of Success.

Listen, failure terrifies me.  Success is my protection.  It's what lets me know I have some semblance control.  It's what comforts me.

Now what this means to me is that I am willing to look foolish for a season.  In a sense I am doing this by running my own business.  However personally I am willing to forfeit what surface looks like to the "world".  As I recount my own wilderness experience in 2014, I was so bent out of shape because I didn't have superficial success....and oh how superficial that success was.

However I am willing to throw down what I thought success would look like.

This week in my relationship class one of the topics was:  Am I willing to be wrong about what I thought the right man for me would look like in my life?  Am I willing to be wrong about what I thought it would be?

One of the ladies is high powered and has an MBA, PHD.  Very accomplished and in leadership.  Her husband turned out to be a Fed Express Driver and she is now in a thriving Purpose Driven marriage.  Because he is smart and a good steward, he supported her entrepreneurial goals both financially and emotionally.

Other ladies had similar testimonies.  

They stopped looking for what the world says is successful (titles, looks, money, degrees, etc) and started focusing on values and character.  A lot of times we will get into trouble focusing on all of that surface level nonsense because we listen to people who tell us this is who we should be with.  

Anyway...I'm off on a tangent!

The point is I'm willing to throw down the staff of worldly success if it means that God will be glorified and I get to teach and encourage others!

Amen!!  

To God be the Glory

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Keeping the Focus on the Focus

I am very ambitious and driven to succeed.  

I want what I want and sometimes I can go overboard when I see something that I want. 

Like many ambitious people, I get excited and then want to do all the things!  But as we all know, You cannot do all the things and be successful. 

You have to be focused and not easily distracted. 

This past week I told one of my friends that my goal right now was to:


FOCUS ON MY FOCUS.  

I've really made it a point in these last few years to SAY NO when I don't think something is lining up with values or my mission, but sometimes I hear about an opportunity and I think:  DO IT!!! However that's before I sit down and count the costs.  As a business owner, this is a great way to end up in the red.

Recently, I asked one of my advisors if I should invest in an opportunity and she told me:
Do it if you're not attached to the Return on Investment
Well in this particular instance, it would have been a significant investment so I would have been attached to my return.  It may have been a good opportunity but not the right decision at the time.


Sowing and Reaping

This past week I've started thinking about how much I've been investing and sowing these last few years.  Whether it is my business or myself, I've been doing a lot of investing and sowing with money, time, and coaching to help me move forward.

This past week I got to thinking that it's time to begin to let the sowing work, nurture all these investments, don't jump into anything new, and begin to witness the reaping.

I don't know much about farming but I don't think that it would work out very well if the farmer just kept planting seeds without letting the ones he had already planted have a chance to grow first.  That's how I act a lot of the time.  If I'm not complaining about things not growing fast enough, then I'm complaining that it's not working and I need to do more.  (That's the old Legalistic Mindset)

I've signed up for a  year long Business program that I know is going to launch me to the next level.  Investing in this program means that I don't need to run around to everybody else's seminar trying to gain more knowledge.  I have to put what I learn in this program into ACTION and reap the benefits.


Upgrading the Personal Side of things

You know my word for 2018


When it comes to my Personal Life, I've also invested in help because my behavior hasn't been acceptable and neither is my attitude toward men.

 I have made a lot of progress so far and I've got some things that I'm focusing on for 2018 like not being so suspicious and protecting myself from being taken advantage of.

I attended a  negotiation workshop and realized that I am always trying to play offense have built up  because I don't want the other person to have the upper hand.  These feelings didn't come out of nowhere. 


Growing up I saw naive and gullible people fall victim to men who are con artists and rolling stones and I vowed that would never happen to me.  Sadly what has ended up happening is that I am distrustful of men and assume they're trying to pull one over on me so I want to be in control of everything and I also don't want to get too close because I don't want to give anyone the opportunity to leave my life in shambles. 

This isn't the right attitude and instead I am focused on appreciating, showing gratitude, and honoring people whether it's my clients or anybody else I cross paths with.

I am also working on being more appreciative and acknowledging of men. In my world I didn't see much use for men.  If anything, what I saw was men dragging women down so I vowed that wouldn't happen to me either and that created this mindset where I saw men as useless for the most part. 

I am working through all of this and so I believe that I by sowing into coaching, teaching, prayer, and nurturing action that I will reap a better attitude.


FOCUS, Stand still, and stay Calm

It is hard not to get discouraged when not much seems to be changing.

Of course I know it is...Revenues have grown by 30%, Got my Health in Order, and not only am I self aware of my behavior I've enlisted help to change it and taking action on it.

However it does get discouraging when things aren't moving as quickly as I would like.

Today I was thinking about how I have so much faith in some areas and in other areas, we're doing great if I have mustard seed faith on Tuesdays.  

Right when I was writing that, I pressed shuffle and my new Favorite Worship Song came on:  Do it Again.  This is my Favorite Line:

I've seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I'll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I'll see You do it again 
It's true.  Everything that has happened up to this moment is because God moved mountains and he made a way when really there was no way.  There's no way I should have gone to the college I went to and barely had to pay anything until I got out. 

There's no way I should be hooking up with a business coach who I really can't afford on paper but somehow not only am I affording it but paying in cash.

Then today in worship at Shiloh Church Pastor Javier quoted this scripture which I remember way back in the earlier days of This Sacred Journey.  Search on the Blog and you'll find where I referenced it.  I forgot about that until today.
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again
And here's my favorite part.  It's almost like Pastor Javier was talking to me this morning. 

 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

and if I could add on to that...it would be to focus on your own task at hand. 




Sunday, January 7, 2018

My Word and Declaration for 2018



My word for this year is Upgrade

I want to Upgrade EVERYTHING.  

I want to Upgrade my business and I want to upgrade myself.  I believe life is all about growth and I am ready to see increases and improvements in my life across the board.

I feel like I've been in a holding pattern for a while now and I've been consistently growing.  I'm ready to see some visible evidence of this growth.

Scripture Isaiah 40:31



A familiar passage of scripture but also having significance for me this year.  When this scripture came to me, I thought..."Hmmmm" and then hearing the Prophetic Teaching of Patrick Kiteley at Shiloh church that 2018 will be a year of Fulfillment and Awakening....I thought "Right on the money".

As Bishop Garlington Prophesied 2 years ago:  It will Happen (Isaiah 34:16)

Hello 2018: Why did we go this way?

On New Year's Eve 2017  we had the pleasure of hearing the awesome Patrick Kiteley formerly of Shiloh Church and now at Rain Church ATL.

I've talked about Pastor Patrick on this blog a number of times and he's prophesied so much that has happened and took root so he's a legit guy with fabulous rhymes.

His Sunday Morning Sermon was entitled: Why did we Go This Way?

He used my favorite story in the Bible to illustrate this point.

Leaving Egypt and off towards the promised land....

The Children Of Israel leaving Egypt and their subsequent Wilderness journey is my FAVORITE story in the Bible.

I love it because I think it perfectly captures a common life journey.  

Leaving a toxic environment and then moving towards your Promise.  

Pastor Patrick talked about how the people left Egypt and then God says..."You guys are taking the long way because if you see war along the way, then you will change your mind and want to go back into the toxic situation of Egypt"

That's pretty much how it is for anyone who has ever decided to leave a toxic environment and move toward Deliverance.

You can see miracles along the way (The parting of the Red Sea, Manna, etc) but the second things get hard or not so great, you're ready to go back to where you were because at least you KNEW what you were dealing with!  Out on the journey it's all unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

I can definitely attest to this as someone who decided to strike out on her own entrepreneurial journey.  I have had so many miracles on this journey and wonderful gifts but there have also been a number of challenges.  Sometimes I wish I had never started this journey and that I could go find a steady job with a steady paycheck and benefits instead of trying to do this whole entrepreneur thing.  However I get reminders WEEKLY if not DAILY that this is what I am supposed to be doing.

But why did we go THIS WAY

I don't know all of Pastor Patrick's story but I do know that he stepped down as Shiloh's pastor a few years ago due to family issues and it was clearly stated he did NOTHING wrong.

He is now pastoring in Atlanta. 

 Why did we go this way?  He asked that question himself why preaching.  I'm sure he's wondering why he had to go this way in order to be where he is now.

I know the feeling.

I often wonder why I'm going THIS WAY

Why am I going this way?


So much does not make sense.  So much seems barren and I feel like I'm going on so many detours but at the same time I feel like God is telling me the same thing that he told the Israelites

I have to take you the long way because if you see the battles (like starting your own business and having to count on God for provision and no stability) you will want to turn right back around.

Over these past 4 years since I've started keeping this blog, my life has completely changed.  I quit the management job (the sure thing), worked at my dream job, quit my dream job, received prophesy that it was time to get my own thing going, started my own thing, had surgery, signed up for relationship classes, met my awesome business coach, and stuff I can't even remember....I'm glad we did go this way.

Had I experienced the level of success earlier in my life that I  ultimately believe that I will have, it would have not been sustainable because I would have thought it was all me and not because of God.  I also would have felt unworthy and undeserving of it.

Because I went this way, I have the credibility and will have the fruit to teach other people.

If we hadn't gone this way, then my faith would not have grown because I wouldn't have known how to rely on God.  

If we hadn't gone this way, then I wouldn't have some of the stories I have now about various prophecies that are coming true and giving God the Glory.

If we hadn't gone this way, then I would probably still be dysfunctional in my mindset towards relationships and if I had decided to marry, then I would have settled and been divorced.

So yes I understand now why we are going this way.

This year I hope to march into my own victorious Promised Land and begin to see some of these prophetic words and visions come to fruition.

I believe they will.

To God be the Glory

Recommended Read: Instinct by T.D. Jakes

This is more of a Personal Development book than a Spiritual Book but I think it's well worth your time  of reading.

Using the backdrop of an African Safari, Bishop Jakes discusses using your instincts as a leader as well as in life.

To add my two cents, the only way to sharpen your instincts is to TEST your instincts.  This is where most people fail.  If you make a decision that was according to your instincts and it doesn't turn out right, then that's fine.  You're testing your intuition and to me that's the only way to develop a strong intuition.

Tons of Personal Anecdotes

I am always curious about how leaders got started and in this book Bishop Jakes shares quite a few stories about how he first started in ministry, relocated to Dallas, how his Woman Thou Art Loosed Production was a disaster at first, and other struggles he has  had along the way.

Some leaders yammer on about their struggles but they never share any of them and what they learn.  To me, that's not useful information.

Not so much Theology

This book is NOT about Theology which was fine with me because I was more curious about Bishop Jakes and his entrepreneurial philosophy.

I'm not one of these people who thinks that if you're in ministry that you have to be poor and broke.  While I will never ever condone people taking advantage or fleecing the flock, I am not mad at people who are in ministry and are entrepreneurs.  

Who says that you have to be limited to be ONE thing?  Why can't you preach and teach Godly principles when it comes to business and personal development?

Book for Leaders


If you're in leadership, then this is a must read!

Even if you're not a "leader" with a title and you know you're called to be an influencer, then read this book!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Recommended Read: In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day




I heard Bishop Joseph Garlington speak and he gave the scripture about Benaiah, one of David's Mighty Men, who went into the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and ended up with the victory.

2 Samuel 23:20-23

20There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warriori from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two championsj of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21Once, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it.22Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.

Getting in the Pit with the Lions 

 The premise of this book is that every believer in Jesus Christ should be producing fruit in their life.  We only produce fruit in our lives by living a lifestyle of faithfulness and FAITH.

Many Christians do not have faith.  They have religion They don't take risks.  They play it safe and their lives look no different than if they did not believe in God and because of this lack of faith, they don't produce fruit.

Mark Batterson's charge to Christians is that they should chase Lions into the pit, do battle with them, and believe God for the victory.


Stories of Faith and Faithfulness

The best part of this book are all of the stories about Faith and God's Faithfulness.  Mark tells his stories but he also includes the stories of others which is so encouraging.

One way to know you attend a dead church is if there are no stories of God's miraculous provision or any stories of Great Faith.

Nothing says Dead Faith more than lack of action and excitement.

Legacy

At Shiloh Church the pastoral team is very big on LEGACY. It's not just about US.  It's about our legacy of faith and  prayers that will outlast our lives.  It's about planting seeds that will someday sprout into mighty oaks giving glory to God.

God Given vision and Not Fantasies 

As Dr. Nina says at Shiloh Church, we must know the difference between God Given Vision and Fantasies.

Batterson talks about God Given Vision and what accompanies that.   There are disappointments, road blocks, detours, discouragement, sacrifice, etc.  It's not name it and claim it or blab it and grab it nonsense.  God Given Vision requires faith and determination so I appreciate Mark Batterson not sugar coating this and selling the readers fantasies.

This is a great book to encourage you and to remind you that with Faith in God, your life and legacy is LIMITLESS!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

If you're going to be an effective leader, then you must do this ONE thing




You must WALK YOUR TALK.

I've been thinking a lot about this in the last few days.  One of the reasons I believe that our country and our world is in such chaos is because of a leadership void.

We no longer have ACTUAL PRODUCTIVE & FRUITFUL leaders at the forefront.  We have celebrities, false prophets, and people trying to sell us stuff but we don't have effective LEADERS that  are role models that will inspire us to greatness and produce much fruit.

In this hour the one glaring shortcoming  that I have seen of our "Leaders" whether it's political, social, familial, religious, or otherwise is a lack of people who WALK THEIR TALK.

In order to be an effective leader then it is imperative that you WALK YOUR TALK.

Webster's Definition of Leader

a person who has commanding authority or influence

We have a lot of terrible influencers these days.  Whether it is people with poor moral and ethical behavior or ignorant people who thrive on fluff and shallow content.

I believe that everyone is a leader in some capacity.  You may not have the title of leader at work but you are most likely leading in your every day life. 

If you're in a relationship, then you're a co-leader.  Some days you're a leader and some days when you just can't...you're a follower.
If you have children, then you are most definitely a leader.  
If you're serving in your church or volunteering somewhere, then you are a leader.  
If you've positioned yourself as an expert or coach, then you are a leader.

Bottom line if you have influence over SOMEBODY, then you are a leader.

The costs of not walking your talk

When you are in leadership and do not walk your talk, there are serious consequences and costs.

YOU forfeit your own power, influence, authority, and effectiveness

When you're saying one thing and doing another, the personal toll it takes is significant.

You feel as though you are a fraud
You feel as though other people will begin to learn your secret
You lose your boldness
You lose your affinity for risks because you're so afraid of being found out

You lose your own power and effectiveness.

You lose the EFFECTIVE people

One of the lessons I took away from my childhood and adolescence is that if you ever want to lose your credibility, influence, and effect with effective people, then say one thing and do another.  

Notice I said EFFECTIVE people.  If you want the lukewarm, mediocre, shallow, and ignorant crowd, then it won't matter because that group doesn't care one way or the other.  They will blindly follow and never question much of anything because they are just there.

However the EFFECTIVE people are not interested in following a hypocrite.

YOU lose your potential for Growth and Personal Development

When you're not walking your talk, you lose your potential for growth because there is no time for growth.  You spend more time hiding, deflecting, denying, and distracting yourself that you don't have the time for growth and development.

One of my keys to success for leadership is that they MUST be open to growth and personal development.  If you cannot grow, then you will end up dying on the vine!  These types of people have no business trying to lead anyone if they are not open to leadership.

Transparency is key!


Donna Brazile once said, "There has never been a leader who hasn't led his or her people into the ditch"

Every leader has screwed up.  Epic fails are a part of the job but one of the characteristics that  separates the great leaders from the mediocre are those who are transparent and honest about their epic fails.


As a Women's Health and Wellness expert, I went through a period where I was facing self image problems, disordered eating habits, weight gain, hormonal issues, etc.  I was very open about what was happening with me.  During this time I started connecting with other women who were going through the same thing.  I even got clients out of the deal because I could relate to what they were experiencing and I was sharing what I was learning with them.  We even went to workshops/events together as part of our healing.

My transparency with my own struggles helped others to know that they were NOT alone.  People even thanked me for being transparent about it because they didn't know what to call it and they thought they were the only ones.

I have worked with trainers who thought nothing of drinking soda, eating fast food, and tons of candy  IN THE GYM.  Needless to say they weren't effective trainers and lost all credibility with their peers AND the clients.

A Challenge to myself....WALKING MY TALK

As I am constantly going through my own learning and development, I've thought about how I want my message to land.  

I realize I will have the MOST impact if I am walking my talk because then I will produce the fruit to show that what I am saying works.  It's one of the reasons I am so focused on constantly studying, learning, developing, and taking action on what I learn because I want to be fruitful.

If I am living out what I am saying AND have the fruit to back it out, then my Message will land squarely and be effective.

I don't want to be one of these mediocre folks with a "good" story and some "good" points.  Ho hum. Lukewarm. Mediocre. Forgettable.

I also don't want to be one of these people with shallow surface level fluff.  Those types of people are great for selling fantasies to the dreamers who don't take any action but my audience are "Dreamers" who take action.

A leader who has authority, credibility, and influence is one who takes action in her own life and also inspires others to take action in their lives.

We need effective leaders

Watching the state of the world these days presents such mixed feelings. On one hand it is discouraging to seeing the constant turmoil, chaos, and confusion but on the other hand there is tremendous opportunity.

The chaos and confusion is intentional.  We are in a shift and I believe we are in a shift towards destabilization.  I believe it's spiritual as well as literal.  

I believe that we are headed into a time where we will need EFFECTIVE leaders.

We don't need the false prophets of celebrity, entertainment, and other snake oil salesmen.  We need real and effective leadership with authority, influence,  sustainability and most importantly POWER.

We will need effective leaders who have a MESSAGE and not just selling fantasies.

Now is the time to re-evaluate our own lives.  Are we walking our talk?  Are we producing the fruit that supports our message?

Even if you have gone into the ditch, now is a good time to get out and become transparent about the lessons learned. 

Our future is dependent on it!