We must grow up in our thinking and reasoning. All through the Bible, God is constantly talking about our thoughts and our minds. Why? Because our thoughts determine our moods, our actions, and the words that come out of our mouth. Our thoughts determine how we deal with each other. In Philippians 2: 1-8, Paul says let this mind be in you. What mind is he talking about? The mind of CHRIST. He says to ALLOW this mind to be in you. Once again, we are faced with a choice. It’s our choice to change, it’s our choice to grow up in mentally and spiritually. It is our choice to allow the mind of Christ to be in us and to work through us. Purging out all of the negative thoughts. Purging out all of the pain we have been through so that we can become Better Women, instead of Bitter Women, and essentially becoming BETTER CHRISTIAN women.
If we are going to do anything in the body of Christ, if we are going to serve, if we are going to serve our purpose in life, if we are going to go to work and tell folks we are a Christian, we must actually do the work to become CHRIST LIKE. If you are determined not going to work in the body of Christ, not to participate in anything, then you especially, need the mind of Christ because Christ was all about doing the father’s business. In case you missed the memo, none of us are exempt from our Christian duties and responsibilities. There is plenty of work for you to do! The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are sleep in the bed and the pews. As women, saved women, sisters in Christ, it is high noon and high time we wake up and get to work!
How do I stabilize my emotions? Sadhguru says become a mountain. I acknowledge the fluctuation of my emotions. I am responsible for my emotions and my responses. I can neutralize the threat of drama brought on by others by CHOOSING no response, a response in love, or a higher level response. I choose to work through my day focusing and refocusing on the tasks at hand. I choose to unwind this evening doing something I enjoy.
I am by nature a quiet soul. I love the quietness of the morning, of the evening, and of the night. It was very noisy growing up but mostly in good memorable ways. I liked growing up with all of my brothers and my sister in the house. And when they were older, sometimes they came back home as they got their lives together. They were much older than my younger brother and I. That to me is good noise in memorable ways. I was shy. I was quiet. I could sit outside for hours on the porch or lay on a towel on the patio staring at the sky until I was told to come in. So, as I began to have to “speak” in front of people in church and in school, I began to develop my voice and muster up courage. As I was required to write essays or answer “what do you think questions?” in school, I was force to share my opinions. When asked to write short stories or poems, I was forced to share my true thoughts and opinions.
I was quiet but, I was a rebel. I realized I didn’t give typical answers. I realized I had some sort of wisdom that the teachers marveled at. I gave my Sunday school teachers something to think about. I read the Bible for fun and talked to God about some of the fascinating stuff in there and some of the scary stuff. I asked questions. I asked so many questions my dad was sometimes stumped and he had to look things up and get back with me an answer. “But why?” I would ask. “What if?” is another lead in. In church, preachers would visit to preach and if their sermons were boring, I would read the Bible or draw. Sometimes, a preacher would preach and I would say to myself, “Uh, I don’t think that’s what God meant, but okay. I’m just a kid.” And then there were those that were DYNAMIC. They came with research and insight. Those are the ones that honed their craft and studied to show themselves approved, not for clout.
As I grew up, I became more rebellious towards the norm. I wasn’t normal as a black child with natural red hair. I had to learn to live with that. I had to learn how to be seen and stared at. I was fashionably rebellious. If everyone was doing it, wearing it, I wore it different or not at all. As soon as it went out of style or trend, I brought it back with “my style” added to it. If the crowd went left, I went right or at least questioned why are we going left? I needed to KNOW. I needed to KNOW many things. What does that word mean? My dad, “Look it up.” READ. I love to read. I love to know. This rebelliousness, lead me down some twisted roads coupled with my stubbornness and I was met with some very, very BIG LESSONS. Until, I heard God say to me, “Use your rebelliousness for me.” And that is where GOOD TROUBLE began to grow. (Note: Even at work I was known as “Trouble” because I challenged policies, supervisors, managers, and even H. R. I hated the mistreatment of others and the misuse and abuse of authority).
I laugh when I think that this quiet girl by nature, was created to make some noise and to get into some good trouble. It’s funny as I am now coming into some confidence to SPEAK what I think and how I feel about Christianity and spirituality. I mean, men have been doing it since the beginning of time. I wonder how many women philosophers there were back in A.D. and B.C. that never got the exposure that men did. (As I type that, I am not going to research that lol). Maybe at the watering holes and rivers they could share with each other their TRUE thoughts and FEELINGS. The wisdom we will never know, yet I would like to think it was whispered to their daughters and sons.
I’ll never forget a minister telling me that I was “controversial” and I should stop being that way and just preach. I told him Jesus was controversial and he did more than “just preach”. He thought. He taught. He upset the scholars. He upset the religious. He shook things up. He healed. He delivered. Etc. He was crucified for being who he was created to be, yet he rose up from that death (darkness) and successfully completed his mission. Here I was thinking, that we should be like Jesus as a Christian. I wasn’t made to just preach. I don’t even like that word. I like teaching. I like speaking. I don’t like titles, either. I don’t like boxes and I’m not fund of rules that attempt to box me in. And let me say this, when it comes to the notion that we should be “like” Jesus, we cannot be like Jesus as in the sense of copying his personality and his exact mission. It was his. Being like him, should be understood as having the same or similar morals and values, doing what God has called you to do, and mirroring the God like, Jesus like characteristics. I have turning over table tendencies. I have drawing my sword and using it tendencies like Peter. I have war like vibes like David. I have Lydia goals. I have Vashti rebelliousness. I reach for Jael nerves if an enemy comes to the house.
Everyone is called to make some noise in their “own way” and to get into some “good trouble” and that takes guts for some of us timid by nature people. I don’t know if I could have done what those like John Lewis and Rosa Parks did. I do think I would have been who I am. Somewhere behind the scenes, strategizing and organizing. I don’t think I could have been Harriet Tubman. But I would have been one to follow her for my freedom. I think I would have hid slaves for sure if I was white. I think I would have use my privilege at the expense of the hatred and disowning of my family. Making noise and good trouble cost and I am willing to pay the price. I pay the price with side eyes of men and women in ministry. I pay the price by being called, “not a real Christian” and not being invited to speak at some churches (and I am good with that). I like my freedom to move about and to be among the people. I like service and to have my hands dirty in creating change. I don’t mind being Queen but, I don’t need to have my crown on 24/7. It’s for special occasions. Not for every day grit and grind. It’s not for construction work. Some just want to the crown for the jewels, power, and position to fulfill their egos or to band aid their bullet wounds of insecurity. I am mostly, wow, this crown is pretty!. I like it. Do I have to wear it every day? No. I like the crown of humility adorned with humanity, compassion, love, peace, empathy and sympathy. It’s invisible as it sits on the head and can only be seen through words and actions of the heart.
As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
Let’s jump right in! Here is my new Thursday series that is based on a “lecture” I “taught” one Sunday morning. Although I am primarily speaking to a group of Christian women, if you are truly spiritual you can connect with this series and get something out of it. The original was titled “Becoming a Better Woman with the Christ Mind.” But for this series I decided to define the word Christ which is a title that means “the anointed one.” It was not Jesus’s last name. It was and is a title, but has become a name synonymous with Jesus.
Becoming a Better Woman, with the Anointed (-Consecrated, Sacred, Christ) Mind
Philippians 2:1- 8
1 Corinthians 13:11
To become better sisters to each other within these four walls, in our friendships, on our jobs, and as we interact with other women in our daily comings and goings, we must first become BETTER WOMEN. It is difficult, to strengthen and encourage each other, if we are selfish, complacent, full of criticism and complaints, malicious, keeping up mess or sowing seeds of discord, on an ego trip that we never seem to come back from, goals of selfish ambitions, and throwing fits of rage. Basically, we are too tired, too broken down, too busy and knee deep in flesh, to encourage and strengthen each other. If we are going to reach across the aisles and become better sisters in church and in the community, we need to become better women. And we can start by becoming better Christians (women, men, children, young adult, human beings!).
Now, can God use a broken vessel? Of course, he can! Can you use a broken cup or bowl? Of course, you can. But it’s going to be messy. It’s going to leak. It’s going to possibly cut you in the process. That is what it’s like for women and men who are broken and trying to do the work of God, without transforming and renewing their minds. We are saved, but we can be messy because we are broken. We are saved, but we are hurting each other, because we are broken. It’s the potter’s job to put you back together again, but it’s your job and your choice, and therefore your responsibility to get on the wheel.
Side Note: We need to be broken so that that which is not light in us can run out and that which is good can remain.
I don’t know if I told you that I was dumped by my therapist but, I think I did in one of these blog posts. I laughed a bit on the inside as I typed that because I have a weird sense of humor at times. Odd maybe. I quickly thought about my reaction and how hysterical I was. How angry I was. And that made you laugh Nikki? It did because I reflected on how I could not see myself working with anyone else, being as open and honest with anyone else, and especially because my then therapist had one of my personality traits. Chill.
I recently went to a new therapist and she is not like my old one (shocker). She is retired from the military and you can tell that she is structured, but very “real” and “raw” in her delivery. So, I thought I was going to waltz in there with my credentials (all of the work I had done previously) and we were just going to pick up where I left off. NOPE. She could tell that I had done the work. She could tell that now was the time of doing the work of RELEASING. Releasing? I thought that’s what I was doing. I thought I’d already did that. I know how everything is connected. “Yes. But you don’t know how to let go and it’s time that you do. Are you ready to work? Because this, is going to be work.” She said. Hades no. I am not prepared for that because I didn’t realize that I had not been releasing. I have sat with that all week. I have processed it and I can see she is right. It’s crazy to be stuck and not know you are stuck and to realize you are stuck. How long have I been stuck? How did I not know? Oh man, more breaking down mental and emotional barriers. MUST THERE ALWAYS BE SOMETHING ELSE I HAVE TO DO OR FACE ABOUT MYSELF?
God was like: “Nicole, you know the answer to that. The answer is the same it always is when you ask this question. Yes. ” It’s never going to end and I know that. Will the debris of our lives lessen? Yes. It will be much easier to see once we clean up. But, just like cleaning up the clutter, there are things you have to “let go of” and there are things you keep. Even with the things you keep, they have to be cared for, dusted, moved, in other words, tended to. Cleaning up once and for all doesn’t happen because a home is not like that and neither is life. Life has to be tidied up, decluttered, cleaned, bleached, dusted, power washed with the truth from time to time. We form new attachments. We experience new hurts or familiar hurts in new ways. It’s like my yard. One year, there are the same kind of weeds. The next year there are hardly any. The next year, there a mixture of different weeds. This year, we killed the yard and now this beautiful grass is springing up with patches of dead grass around it.
Your life is your life’s work. Your calling and destiny is a huge part of your life. You want to be doing what you love and living the life you wan to live. However, there is the maintenance of YOU. The mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. Even the physical. These are what you come home to. Home has to be taken care of.
A few weeks ago I posted in a rheumatoid arthritis support group a tip on relaxation. One of the tips involved soaking in a tub to help relieve tension. And that is where the drama from the trauma began.
I define it as trauma because you must be experiencing some type of trauma that pushes you to release drama on unsuspecting strangers. Sadly, people that deal with you on a regular basis know you are about dramatization. They know that when they see you, you bring the drama. You see, in the comment section there were responses to my post like: I CANT SOAK IN THE TUB! HOW IS THAT RELAXING? I CAN GET IN BUT I CAN’T GET OUT. HUMPH, THAT IS SURE TO CREATE TENSION AND NOT RELAXATION. I AM TOO LARGE FOR A TUB. I HAVEN’T SAT IN A TUB FOR YEARS. NO WAY THIS CAN WORK. One lady even said to me I should have modified the post. I wanted to say, “Ma’am, I didn’t write the article. DUH. And you should have modified your thinking.” BUT…I respect my elders most of the time (because I don’t believe it’s okay to be 80 and say whatever you want to people). Also, the Spirit told me to be quiet. She’s traumatized by Rheumatoid and many other issues. This is her sadness, pain, hurt, gushing and lashing out.
Pause. When you see a post of something that you don’t like such as one that reads: “I love strawberries.” Do you hop on and respond: STRAWBERRIES ARE DISGUSTING. I HATE THEM. THEY ARE THE WORST FRUIT ON THE PLANET. CAN’T SEE HOW YOU EAT THOSE. Has it ever occurred to you, that post was not for you? I see people raving about things that are not for me. Unless I see a “what do you think?” I don’t bother UNLESS they are family or close friends. Many times, I don’t bother then. It’s one thing to say you don’t like berries or I am allergic but I wish I could eat them. It’s whole other thing to BASH and INSULT and have a total meltdown over nothing. A simple positive post or someone’s opinion over if they like pumpkin spice lattes (ugh).
Press play. I wonder did those people stop and think, I can do ALL of those other things except soak in the tub. Great article. No. They saw the ONE thing they couldn’t do and “went to town” about it. They didn’t think: “Gosh, I can follow all of these tips in the shower, in my shower chair, or however it is I get clean.” Nope. They honed in on what they could not do. The trauma of what I cannot do. The trauma of WHAT I USE TO be able to do.
This trauma is VERY real. I know about it. I live it and if you keep on living, as the elders say, you will know it, too, in some shape, form, or fashion. Sometimes, I think about my life B.R. (Before Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease) and B.F. (Before Fibromyalgia) and MY GOD! I miss ALL of the things I could do. Even the simplest things. Sometimes I stay in those memories a little too long and I become sadden, blue, depressed, compressed…oppressed. And then I have to free myself from those thoughts with therapy, journaling, talking to a friend, or…THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THE THINGS I CAN STILL DO and even if I have to modify them or have help they still can be done! “Glory to God!” in somebody’s southern church goer voice (:-D). You can heal yourself, or get some help, from the trauma of what has happened to you, whatever it is. The trauma produces the drama and quite frankly, people get tired of it. We know you are hurt but, there is a more EXCELLENT way to deal with it and release it. It’s called prayer, meditation, yoga, sound baths, therapy, Yeshua, Yaweh, spirituality, your choice of religion, forgiveness, etc. It’s called reading a books about it. Going to your temple, church, mosque, and REALLY walking in your religion. Developing a relationship with your Creator. SOMETHING! Something other than bringing the drama, spreading the hate and hurt. Lashing out has cause your relationships to be severed or strained.
What can you do? Huh? THINK ON THOSE THINGS. Think on the things you can do! Those things are TRUE, too. Those things are lovely. Those things “are” admirable. Those things “are” excellent and praiseworthy. Think about such things!
It’s hard work, but you know what? It’s the best, most rewarding, hard work you could ever do for yourself. It builds this amazing confidence and resilience. It builds this relationship with yourself that is not built on lies. It makes you better for those YOU love, those that love you and those who are yet to love you. It makes you choose peace over pain. It teaches you to be less judgmental and more mind your own business. It strengthens the law of attraction. It sets you up to receive the greater goodness of life. It teaches you to let others be as free as YOU want to be. It’s a dangerous thing to be religious without self-love. It’s a dangerous thing to be spiritual without self-love. You know why? It creates a self-righteous stench. Self-love can illuminate your path. It can make your journey so much clearer. It can make your purpose so much clearer. Self-love is dynamic; it grows through actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept our weaknesses and own our strengths. We have less of a need to explain away our shortcomings. We have more compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning. Self-love helps us to create a more centered life. But you must do the work that brings a gratification like no other.
Thank you for reading and following The Heart Epiphany Blog Post Series! This was my lecture at the first conference/gathering I hosted in March.
Imagine having a misunderstanding about your appointment and being dropped by your therapist via email. It happened to me Thursday. Monday, there was drama. Tuesday, there was drama. Wednesday, there was drama. And Thursday I opened up my email to a response by my now ex-therapist, that my time slot was no longer available. Well, I imagine not if I’d been trying to contact you via phone and messages since April and your office is open with no response.
I won’t go into details because it’s not necessary to make the best of this situation. I will say I was stunned. I will say I cried. I will say he was an EXCELLENT therapist and I progressed in leaps and bounds and I was READY to keep going. After sitting at the table I went to my room and journaled. I had my cry. I felt abandoned. I felt misunderstood. I felt sad. I felt angry. It felt some of my relationships, the end was out the blue. I felt like, “I didn’t even do anything. All I did was misunderstand the conversation, was ignorant that therapist offices were still open during the quarantine and they were considered essential.” I had no idea. Seems like to me, this could have been cleared up with a conversation. I realized I had left messages saying I needed some help and he didn’t respond. I was concerned about his safety. Hell, I thought maybe he had Covid because surely I would have heard back by now. I prayed he didn’t. This is when I became angry. I called. I left messages. And he didn’t respond. I sent an email and I got a response.
Talking to a therapist friend, I was given great advice and pushed to move on. I mean, I had no choice. And when I look back, when I got still, I knew this was coming. I had thoughts that “This was going to end.” Although, I couldn’t understand why God was putting this in my spirit. I thought it was just me thinking this because things seem to happen when things are going so well. I told myself I was just being negative. But the thought or message would float to me from time to time and I would shut it down as nonsense. I was wrong.
Well, Thursday evening I had accepted that this was reality. I definitely was not going to plead my case. I sent an email thanking him for his help during my journey. I started looking for a new therapist. I left emails with several therapists Thursday night. I got responses the next morning, but it was one that stood out. I made an appointment on line to go into the office. Her reviews were good as all of the ones I chose were. So, looks like I have a new therapist, a new journey, and instead of looking at things as if I have to start all over, I decided to look at it as, I continue. It’s a new leg of the journey and my ex-therapist, as great as he is, was not equipped for this next journey. I mean, this is 2020 and the 4 energy is on it’s high. It’s a 1 energy in June. Yes, I am talking numerology, energy, and Bible. It’s in there.
I also “shopped” for a new doctor. I’ve always wanted a new doctor, but was reluctant to change. My Primary Care Physician is good. We just don’t connect. He’s very text book, very mechanical, like a robot? He is void of emotion. Also, he is now looking for patients and I suspect this is one of the reasons why. I have now learned that for me, it’s not enough for a doctor to be good, it’s important I have a connection with the doctor. We should be invested in each other to some degree.
This week has been one for the books. I survived this week. As things crumbled and my relationship with my therapist ended, I remember my mantra for this year, “FOCUS, AND FEAR NOT.” Also, what came to me was, CHANGE, AND FEAR NOT.
Friday I celebrated Juneteenth. I grilled. I haven’t grilled in about 5 years and before that attempt, it was 2011 when I stopped because of Rheumatoid. I had a great time with my daughter at home Friday. Saturday, I spent time with my parents, one of my brothers, and my sister. We gave Dad his Father’s Day gift, a bench for the patio. He was surprised and pleased. My baby brother and I chatted as we headed to Home Depot to pick up the bench, look for material, pick out molding for his “man cave” he’s having built onto his house. We picked up dinner for Dad. Then as the evening began to wind down, my daughter and I hung out a little late last night. We’ve been spending more time outside in the evenings. All is well with my soul. It’s the calm of the storm.
On the menu for Juneteenth: Grilled jerk wings with a jerk seasoning I made. Crab cakes, with aioli sauce, sweet corn, chopped salad with avocado ranch dressing, and a homemade lemonade I have decided to name, Freedom Lemonade.
Self-love is setting boundaries and enforcing them. SETTING AND ENFORCING boundaries is hard work. Especially, when you love that person. Especially, when people don’t understand your journey or your vision. And let me just say this, they don’t have to, and you need to learn to be okay with that. Self-love and setting boundaries is hard work. You have to stand your spiritual ground.